Stretch Chords

(5 posts)
  1. Matt

    I've been working out of Ben Monder's Composition book lately, and I've come across a lot of stretch chords that a) i cannot do, or b)are very difficult to execute in time. There are also chords that involve barring notes with the pinky and playing notes directly below, which requires arching (like a roll) the pinky.

    Are there are any tips for practicing these, and is there any chance of injury? I try to rest for 15 minutes or so after practicing only stretches to relax my hands.

  2. mscheim

    psychedlicmatthew- I struggled with much of the same thing. I never worked out of Ben Monder's book, but I have spent some significant time working out some of my old teacher's arrangements. He was really big on Johnny Smith and used a lot of these really hip sounding stretch chords, that I heard on a lot of the Johnny Smith records. I practiced with a metronome making changes on time, and gradually building up the speed until I was able to grab them all in time at a reasonable beat. They do get easier! Your hand is forced to build up some new dexterity and flexibility that wasn't there before, because you weren't playing chords like that earlier. Remember to keep your hand as relaxed as possible when making the big stretches. This will make it easier on the hand, get the hand used to making the stretch naturally, and most importantly, avoid injury. Not sure if this helps, but just remember it takes time! Good luck.

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  3. geetarted

    I have found that if you move your fretting arm in so that your elbow is closer to the back of the neck, you 1 finger can stretch out. It helps with chords stacked in 2nds.
    Covering more than 2 strings with the 4th finger just takes time. Depending on the string spacing on your guitar, it's an option to hold down 2 strings with your pinky if you fret between the 2 strings. Barely covering both allows for notes below or above whatever the 4th finger is doing.

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  4. Yup, it's tough stuff. My hands are not big. I worked on one f the slower tunes... Not necessarily easier by any "stretch ". It is very much like transcribing or working through classical works ( mainly piano ) that are not meant for guitar. I look at a chord, it seems quite discouraging, I look at the lowest and highest note and see that it is actually possible- not as music (initially)but as a thing to physically hold for a moment, like when you are carrying many things and something is slipping out of your hands and yet you can hold things steady in the weirdest of hand shape till you have a chance set something down and adjust everything- the chords are big and I started getting distracted by what I would call it based on where it came from and where it goes... But that's not the point I'm tryng to learn how to do this ballet.
    The only thing that worked was adjusting my body and posture because I have a normal sized guitar and I am not a tall guitar genius with big hands ( guitars look like baby taylors in his and holdsworth's hands). Move around and move the guitar around till you fnd how to grab that chord and you might have to move for the next one.

  5. colinmanko

    I have huge hands so I never had to worry about it. But when I was younger I had a teacher tell me that I should't hold big chords like that for too long when practicing, you know when you are trying to figure out what you are going to play next...


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