I’ve been playing guitar for about a year and I’m learning to play RnB style chord embellishments and right now they seem absolutely impossible. Playing an Emin7 and hammering on the 10th fret seems so hard. Any help?
Your hands don't seem extremely small. It's your hand-position that makes things impossible for you. I can't see your thumb but it seems to be stretched completely to the left, and your wrist is totally straight. Your fingers shouldn't be pressed against each other. Try to bend your wrist a bit, put your thumb behind your middle finger, and let it point upwards. Also point the neck of your guitar a bit upwards instead of downwards or parallel to the floor. This should help fix many of your problems.
Maybe something like this:
Trying to understand why your fingers slant over like in the picture, I get the impression you may be "gripping" the chord with a lot of force squeezing the ball of your thumb onto the back of the guitar neck.
When you position your hand like in @MattL's photo you should have the tip of the thumb (your thumb print area) on the neck. It may take some time to get used to this position, but eventually when your hand becomes trained it should not take much force.
Think of your finger position when making a fist compared to wrapping your hand around a tennis ball. With a fist your fingers collapse against the palm. Holding a ball the fingers are arched away from the palm. You want to fingers more in that arched position.
Pay attention to your whole arm and elbow position. You might try holding your elbow away from your body a bit to get your whole forearm more perpendicular to the neck. Instead of gripping with just the hand, think of your whole arm sort of pulling back. I'm exaggerating things, but it's like pulling your forearm back instead of only gripping a fist.
Also, if are not already playing these embellishment in open position, try that first and then move into the barre chords. Barre chords can be tough to play. If you first get your fingers coordinated to embellish with hammers and pull offs in open position, embellishing the barre chords should be easier.
Looking at the tips of your fingers, you are pressing way too hard. There's no blood left in them! Bear in mind with that shape, only 3 strings need pressing hard enough to sound - 5, 3 and 1. You could also do with having the neck higher, the lower it goes, the harder it is to get your hand round.
Maybe also rotate the guitar so the neck isn't parallel to the floor, but the head of the guitar is higher. That will help the whole of your hand from having to be bent in the way shown in the pic. For tht shape, fingers need to be almost perpendicular to the fretboard, which then brings pinky in line for that 10th fret.
Maybe the action on the guitar is bad enough for you to have to press really hard - in which case, lower it.
Checking dimensions, yes, your hand is small - even smaller than mine, which is not even medium. Consider looking at other guitars with different profile necks and different radius fingerboards.
Usually I would recommend lighter strings to aid a beginner.
But in this case it looks like your wrist is too bent, forcing your hand to 'claw' the neck. Try positioning the guitar to allow your elbow to move further away from your body, straightening your wrist. This will give extra free movement for your fingers to achieve the better position in the photo someone else shared.
It will be difficult and feel unnatural at first, partly because you have to unlearn your existing position.
Not at all, your hand is good enough. The issue is in the angle of the wrist. It is not perpendicular to the neck. If you keep the wrist straight then the pinky finger can get to the 10th fret.
During my early days, I would try this method.
- First practice normal bar chord. I pick all strings in a clean way.
- Next, I reach some higher frets with my pinky finger, keep it there and play clean.
- I take of my pinky finger and sound clean.
- I then repeat 2 with the pinky fingers and other higher frets as much as I can.
Note not only the requirement is to sound clean, but the requirement is also to hold it quickly.
Some stretching exercises are surely going to help, before you begin your playing.
It is readily apparent that you don't have a guitar teacher. You are bunching up your fingers and are pressing them to the frets as a bulk piece. I'd not even call that bad technique as the name "technique" for something that wrong and ad-hoc seems misplaced. Every finger should be placed independently. There is a bit of an exception with the thumb that may be required to provide counterpressure from the back of the neck particularly for barré. Fingers should go down independently on the frets and be at right angles to the string, pressing down on the fretboard. That's sort of indispensible.
A bit of a corollary is that you don't lock finger joints: they should all curve inward (your ring finger doesn't). A locked joint slows down your finger action. However, keeping all joints curved inward may take extended training of finger strength and position and will not likely work out of the box while your fingers are not trained for it. There may also be some chords where the distortion of the hand is large enough to leave little leeway. But as a rule, you should practice your finger strength such that the last joint does not collapse backwards but is always curved: that allows more accurate fingering action.
I hope some of these answers help me. I have the same problem with small hands. I fear I may have to switch to a much smaller instrument or drop guitar which I like a lot altogether. The reason the initial person has his Barre finger at such an odd angle rather than at a 90 degree angle to the fretboard is because that is the only way he can get his pinky finger in place two frets below.