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SmallPoxie
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:56 pm
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Location: Chile
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:42 am 
 

It doesn't matter if it's a bass or a guitar. What are riffs or solos that are impossible to play with small hands?

Examples:

https://youtu.be/OMOGaugKpzs
https://youtu.be/srN1GsnBui8
https://youtu.be/NIGaaimTZkI

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LithoJazzoSphere
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:47 am 
 

Paul Gilbert's work in Racer X was notorious for having a lot of licks with wide stretches.

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Morn Of Solace
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Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:19 am
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:53 am 
 

The first riffs that comes to mind is the classic main riff in Dream Theater's Stream of Consciousness, i've had zero problems but my small handed bandmate was sweating trying it.
We also used to cover Pestilence's Land of Tears and he was suffering during the verse riff and with the clean guitar chords under the solo, he hated that song :lol:

Megadeth have an abnormally large stretch on the Washington is Next solo, even with the right positioning and my big hands it's a huge pain in the ass

Also any diminished lick with the shape like the ones in Opeth's Heir Apparent solo are finger breaking. Shawn Lane used to play those at ridicolous speeds and he was like one of the few human beings able to do so. Check at 2:36 of this video



Last edited by Morn Of Solace on Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Prigione Eterna
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:58 am 
 

Cowboys From Hell by Pantera; the solo has some licks that require a big stretch with the pinky.
Symphony of Destruction by Megadeth, same, if I remember.
The neoclassical legato bits at the end of Ride The Lightning's solo are pretty hard, too.
The Drapery Falls by Opeth has a lot of those add9 chords in the clean parts that are hard to play if you can't stretch that much.
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Last edited by Prigione Eterna on Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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aloof
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:19 pm 
 

the intro to Queensryche's "Speak".
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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:51 pm 
 

aloof wrote:
the intro to Queensryche's "Speak".


Weird pick, i tried to play it and the stretch is actually very small on that one

continuing the topic Leprous have several riffs with insane stretches. Right now i remember the intro of The Price and some crazy chords in Third Law, but there was a song i can't recall on Malina that was absolutely insane


Last edited by Morn Of Solace on Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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aloof
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:56 pm 
 

sorry to disappoint :p
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Subrick
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 1:03 pm 
 

Morn Of Solace wrote:
Megadeth have an abnormally large stretch on the Washington is Next solo, even with the right positioning and my big hands it's a huge pain in the ass


I was just gonna say. Wasn't a large part of why Megadeth's crazier riffs were so crazy is because Dave Mustaine has hypermobile fingers?
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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:52 am 
 

Subrick wrote:
Morn Of Solace wrote:
Megadeth have an abnormally large stretch on the Washington is Next solo, even with the right positioning and my big hands it's a huge pain in the ass


I was just gonna say. Wasn't a large part of why Megadeth's crazier riffs were so crazy is because Dave Mustaine has hypermobile fingers?


Yeah, right now i can't recall really stretchy riffs, but he gets crazy in some solos!

Another song that springs to mind is the section with natural harmonics beneath and after Tyr's The Edge chorus (more clearly heard at 2:35 of the song)
making them ring clearly requires a stretch from the 7th fret's harmonic to 12th one, and on a seven string it's quite a pain in the ass. I've never seen them playing that part well live.

Dokken's Lightning Strikes Again has also an intro riff that is an hard beast for the small handed!

The Painkiller solo also has a tough Van Halen-like lick at 2:59 that i often seen "cheated" with tapping in local cover bands. The original is a legato run and and it comes after a several hard runs. That solo is still a tour de force in 2021!

The kingpin of metal stretches is still probably Petrucci, the stretches at 14:50 are Allan Holdsworth-like

Spoiler: show

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Lord Diabolus
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Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2019 6:22 am
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:11 am 
 

(Electric) Guitar is an instrument where I do not think having small hands really inhibits your ability to play extremely technical music or even "wide" licks (assuming we are not talking of people who do not have some actual condition like dwarfism where your hands really might be too small for regular guitar fretboard)

For example, if you look at the hands of guitarists like Alexi Laiho or Yngwie Malmsteen, you might notice that both of these guitarists (who were ranked one of the best metal guitarists of their generation) had a quite stubby, almost a bit fat hands and fingers (Yngwie) and Laiho had a very petite and quite small hands (as he was otherwise quite small guy too)

There are instruments, like a classical piano to my understanding, that might have some advantage having a rather long "piano hands/piano fingers" to my understanding, but guitar is not in my opinion one of those intruments.

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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:29 am 
 

Lord Diabolus wrote:
(Electric) Guitar is an instrument where I do not think having small hands really inhibits your ability to play extremely technical music or even "wide" licks (assuming we are not talking of people who do not have some actual condition like dwarfism where your hands really might be too small for regular guitar fretboard)

For example, if you look at the hands of guitarists like Alexi Laiho or Yngwie Malmsteen, you might notice that both of these guitarists (who were ranked one of the best metal guitarists of their generation) had a quite stubby, almost a bit fat hands and fingers (Yngwie) and Laiho had a very petite and quite small hands (as he was otherwise quite small guy too)

There are instruments, like a classical piano to my understanding, that might have some advantage having a rather long "piano hands/piano fingers" to my understanding, but guitar is not in my opinion one of those intruments.


I'm sorry but this post is kinda dumb. Laiho and Malmsteen are guitar gods, but you hardly see them playing stretch licks like the ones posted.
They found their strenghts and played by them: Small hands can become a true problem only when you try to push the envelope of what is possible on guitar.

Look at an accomplished guitarist like Dean Lamb from Archspire. In the past on his YT channel he covered shred licks and you see him to suffer a lot because of his small hands

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Lord Diabolus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:36 am 
 

Morn Of Solace wrote:
Lord Diabolus wrote:
I'm sorry but this post is kinda dumb. Laiho and Malmsteen are guitar gods, but you hardly see them playing stretch licks like the ones posted.
They found their strenghts and played by them: Small hands become a true problem only when you try to push the envelope of what is possible on guitar.

Look at an accomplished guitarist like Dean Lamb from Archspire. In the past on his YT channel he covered shred licks and you see him to suffer a lot because of his small hands


The standard length of electric guitar fretboard itself speaks what sort of inhibition is even possible. The length is almost nothing compared to some other intstruments. You really have to have extremely small hands, like in some conditions like dwarfism, that you possibly could feel inhibited as a player. The average man's hand can cover easily over 1/3rd and even 2/3rd in terms of reach of the fretboard at any given time. It's another thing how flexible your hands and fingers are. It has nothing to do with the actual size of your hands or fingers.

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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:15 am 
 

An highly flexible large hand can cover more frets than a highly flexible small one, this is a physical fact. If you design a lick that surpasses the stretch of the small handed guitarist he will never be able to play it like intended.

I get what you say, a normal player can play for his entire life without even feeling that limitation, but if you go into shred guitar you can see that that some licks are more straining even for the most nimble small handed players. It's possible to overcome some of the hardships (Shawn Lane himself has not big hands, for example) but there is an upper limit on the craziest shit (es: some Buckethead insanity, a player with huge hands and huge stretch capabilities)

I think that the misconception comes from the thread title. The Op wrote about the size of the hands, but here we are really talking about the size of the stretches

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Lord Diabolus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:57 am 
 

Fair enough. Yes, the thread title did confuse me, because I opened this thread and then I go to watch the video like "Shawn Lane Sick Lick" and even though it seems extremely impressive lick, to my eyes Shawn's hands actually might maybe a bit smaller than average male's! (But that might be subjective, it is hard to judge from the video alone, even though he was big guy otherwise :D )

Similarily, when it comes to shredding, Jason Becker also uses very wide arpeggios in this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87Iz3RHZNDQ

The magic happens with the pinkie... it is almost like extra hand playing

But my point being, does/did Becker have bigger hands than the average male? I don't think so. Same goes for Petrucci? Maybe a bit big guy over all, but I don't think his hand width are that made him play those licks... and other names dropped in this thread. Probably just outstretched to the max and good pinkie control

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interstellar_medium
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:14 am 
 

Lord Diabolus wrote:
good pinkie control


This must be it.
I don't even play lead, let alone shred, and I use a simpler tuning than the standard, but - let's just say that if you have issues with your pinkie, it will manifest even when typing.
So, folks, if you have no physical conditions, go and train'em pinkies :D

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Hexenmacht46290
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:47 pm 
 

This is way more of a thing on bass, than guitar, unless you do lots of shredder stuff. I can barely even play harmonics, but I almost think that I should trade my regular bass for a short scale one. Still, if you’re not trying to play really shreddy, it doesn’t take that much pressure m, to fret it enough. Just make sure you use lots of gain.
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Prigione Eterna
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:29 pm 
 

Honestly, I think it's harder for playing chords than leads, especially barre chords when you use certain shapes near the first position, and it's worse on acoustic.
But it's not easy to find examples in metal.
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LithoJazzoSphere
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:31 pm 
 

Lord Diabolus wrote:
to my eyes Shawn's hands actually might maybe a bit smaller than average male's!...The magic happens with the pinkie... it is almost like extra hand playing...But my point being, does/did Becker have bigger hands than the average male? I don't think so. Same goes for Petrucci? Maybe a bit big guy over all, but I don't think his hand width are that made him play those licks... and other names dropped in this thread. Probably just outstretched to the max and good pinkie control


I wish we had casts of player's hands like we do for some famous piano players, like Rachmaninoff. Hand size can be deceptive, and I wonder how many of these guys had longer pinkies than normal, or weird muscular/joint/ligament quirks that allowed them to stretch further with less effort than the average person.

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Opus
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:29 pm 
 

Check out Rick Renstrom, and stop making excuses!

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SweetSilence
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Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:52 pm
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:32 pm 
 

Hexenmacht46290 wrote:
This is way more of a thing on bass, than guitar, unless you do lots of shredder stuff. I can barely even play harmonics, but I almost think that I should trade my regular bass for a short scale one. Still, if you’re not trying to play really shreddy, it doesn’t take that much pressure m, to fret it enough. Just make sure you use lots of gain.


In this case, my vote goes to Frantic Disembowelment. Alex Webster's left hand in that studio video is fucking unreal.
On the opposite end of things, Steeve Hurdle of Gorguts had some pretty thick sausage fingers but in his solos he still manages to cram them into more compact runs.

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interstellar_medium
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:16 am 
 

Prigione Eterna wrote:
Honestly, I think it's harder for playing chords than leads, especially barre chords when you use certain shapes near the first position, and it's worse on acoustic.
But it's not easy to find examples in metal.


Yeah, acoustic is where you would actually play full chords (and preferably "do it right" because resonances).
Now, something out-there simple and distorted on a (cheap) electric tuned to drop C repetitive open G... you might want to try it one day if you haven't yet =)

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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:41 am 
 

If you want a finger breaking bar chord there is the one of Into The Dead Sky by At The Gates at 0:06. Playable but tough, in particular on an acoustic!
The whole song has some uncomfortable positions to be fair, i wonder if they used a capo just for certain sections.

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LithoJazzoSphere
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:06 am 
 

There are a lot of difficult chords to reach in jazz and fusion playing, Allan Holdsworth's, for example.

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Frank Booth
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:26 am 
 

Sanjay Kumar's playing with Wormhole and Equipoise has some truly painful-looking chords and a lot of really awkward string-skipping runs, and I'm honestly not surprised that he developed a repetitive strain disorder based on some of what he does.

Also, there's Jake E. Lee's playing starting around 1:20 - this HAD to hurt.


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BastardHead
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:34 am 
 

This is a dumb answer but the bridge in Laid to Rest by Lamb of God absolutely murdered me when I used to actually play bass. It's probably no sweat at all on a guitar, but the longer neck on the bass made that stupid really fast 5-1-5 bit was a nightmare for me to play. And it's in a drop tuning so I couldn't even cheat by playing that 5 fret as an open on the next string! It's a really stupid thing from my adolescence that haunts me, lol.
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CoconutBackwards
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:10 am 
 

Morn Of Solace wrote:
Subrick wrote:
Morn Of Solace wrote:
Megadeth have an abnormally large stretch on the Washington is Next solo, even with the right positioning and my big hands it's a huge pain in the ass


I was just gonna say. Wasn't a large part of why Megadeth's crazier riffs were so crazy is because Dave Mustaine has hypermobile fingers?


Yeah, right now i can't recall really stretchy riffs, but he gets crazy in some solos!

Another song that springs to mind is the section with natural harmonics beneath and after Tyr's The Edge chorus (more clearly heard at 2:35 of the song)
making them ring clearly requires a stretch from the 7th fret's harmonic to 12th one, and on a seven string it's quite a pain in the ass. I've never seen them playing that part well live.

Dokken's Lightning Strikes Again has also an intro riff that is an hard beast for the small handed!

The Painkiller solo also has a tough Van Halen-like lick at 2:59 that i often seen "cheated" with tapping in local cover bands. The original is a legato run and and it comes after a several hard runs. That solo is still a tour de force in 2021!

The kingpin of metal stretches is still probably Petrucci, the stretches at 14:50 are Allan Holdsworth-like

Spoiler: show


I'm extremely impressed you were playing "Painkiller" live in front of people.

That sweeping bullshit at the beginning is still WAY out of my paygrade.
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Prigione Eterna
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:43 am 
 

interstellar_medium wrote:
Prigione Eterna wrote:
Honestly, I think it's harder for playing chords than leads, especially barre chords when you use certain shapes near the first position, and it's worse on acoustic.
But it's not easy to find examples in metal.


Yeah, acoustic is where you would actually play full chords (and preferably "do it right" because resonances).
Now, something out-there simple and distorted on a (cheap) electric tuned to drop C repetitive open G... you might want to try it one day if you haven't yet =)


Don't get me wrong, I've only mentioned stuff I can't play!
I'm too lazy to change tunings, but I myself sure prefer droning chords with open strings and fewer voicings. For leads, if it really requires the pinky, it means it's getting into freak show territory.

There's a great interview of Angus on Youtube where he explains that when he plays live and seems to be really feeling it, it's actually because, being that little, he struggles with bends and such.
In theory, I sort of agree that on guitar nothing is really that impossible to play for anybody, but in practice, not quite.
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frostjunkie
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:02 am 
 

Portal and Devin Townsend come to mind immediately.

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interstellar_medium
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:06 am 
 

Prigione Eterna wrote:
In theory, I sort of agree that on guitar nothing is really that impossible to play for anybody, but in practice, not quite.


Sometimes it would require too much practice to become practical =D

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Morn Of Solace
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 12:21 pm 
 

Frank Booth wrote:

Also, there's Jake E. Lee's playing starting around 1:20 - this HAD to hurt.



The camera doesn't help a lot, but i'm quite sure he's anchoring on the thumb like what happens in Megadeth's Washington is Next solo, it's surely not comfortable!
He also had some deceptive stretchy chords in his riffs: bark at the moon's verse riff has a chord that extends from the fifth to the tenth fret

BastardHead wrote:
This is a dumb answer but the bridge in Laid to Rest by Lamb of God absolutely murdered me when I used to actually play bass. It's probably no sweat at all on a guitar, but the longer neck on the bass made that stupid really fast 5-1-5 bit was a nightmare for me to play. And it's in a drop tuning so I couldn't even cheat by playing that 5 fret as an open on the next string! It's a really stupid thing from my adolescence that haunts me, lol.


you mean the one at 3:04 of the song?
That part is a little stretchy on the guitar, but i'm quite sure that the bass doesn't play the same riff and just goes for the root notes. Copying the guitar part would be a suicide!


Spoiler: show

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PureNegativism
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Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:40 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 1:23 pm 
 

Opus wrote:
Check out Rick Renstrom, and stop making excuses!

This is inspiring. 'The Fire Within' seems an apt title.
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tahu157
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:07 pm 
 

Morn Of Solace wrote:
Megadeth have an abnormally large stretch on the Washington is Next solo, even with the right positioning and my big hands it's a huge pain in the ass


This one always crack me up

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MawBTS
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:46 pm 
 

I think there was some Buckethead lick that involves tapping between the first and seventh fret or something. Can't remember what song it is.

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Metallic Shock
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:09 am 
 

BastardHead wrote:
This is a dumb answer but the bridge in Laid to Rest by Lamb of God absolutely murdered me when I used to actually play bass. It's probably no sweat at all on a guitar, but the longer neck on the bass made that stupid really fast 5-1-5 bit was a nightmare for me to play. And it's in a drop tuning so I couldn't even cheat by playing that 5 fret as an open on the next string! It's a really stupid thing from my adolescence that haunts me, lol.

Like most cases in this thread, it's true that recreating this exactly the way it's originally played wouldn't work for certain hand sizes but you can still achieve the right sound and notes in other ways. For this particular example, a 5 string bass would let you go back and forth between the 3rd fret on the B string and the 2nd fret on the E string instead. This story does hit home though as a bassist with small hands. Gotta find alternate solutions when possible, even if there is a certain amount of stretching that can be expanded through practice.

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