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New player big hands (Read 482 times)

Offline johnj32

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New player big hands
« on: September 05, 2020, 06:26:54 PM »
Hi all,

Iím brand new here and thinking about learning to play. Iíve been told multiple times I would be good at it because Iím almost 7ft and have huge hands. Is this true. I think I tried awhile ago and my hand span can reach 11 keys (I think) can anyone post pictures of their hand span ?

Offline ranjit

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Re: New player big hands
«Reply #1 on: September 05, 2020, 07:59:41 PM »
You don't really need people here to post their hands to check their handspan lol, most pianists will be able to quote it offhand. ;D

In short, no, it's not true. Having large hands doesn't really give you much of an advantage while playing the piano. However, having small hands can have some drawbacks. By and large, I think most people whose handspan is a ninth or larger are fine, and that is probably 50% of the population. Probably 50% of adult males can probably reach a tenth, and longer stretches are very seldom used. Having thick fingers is also a disadvantage if you can't get in between the keys.

Having a large handspan is useful for a number of rather niche techniques like rolling huge chords or playing walking tenths with the left hand. Playing constant fast octaves or legato octaves is also made easier by having a larger hand. You usually won't encounter these until several years after starting to play the piano.

The one instrument for which I've heard having unusually large hands is a clear advantage is the upright bass. I've heard most of the great bass players are at least 6'6"!

That said, you should definitely learn to play the piano! Having larger hands is almost never a disadvantage. It's just that you won't have any kind of significant advantage as such because your progress will be determined far more by talent and hard work. :)

PS.What do you mean by eleven keys? Do you mean 11 white notes in between your thumb and pinky? Can you play a C and an A in the next octave?

Offline j_tour

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Re: New player big hands
«Reply #2 on: September 06, 2020, 05:11:55 AM »
You don't really need people here to post their hands to check their handspan lol, most pianists will be able to quote it offhand. ;D

That's true!  Like you don't have to ask a fighter pilot what plane they drive:  they'll tell you.

No, I don't have huge Eubie Blake hands, but as ranjit noted, it can be a bit of a handicap getting closer to the fallboard on piano.

And let's not even talk about foot size and playing organ pedals!

Not even joking, it's not ideal.

And, also as ranjit says, yes, IME, big hands are great for playing both bass guitar and regular bull fiddle.  Also for barre chords on guitar.  Piano and organ?  Meh, it's a mixed bag. 

It's nice to be able to walk tenths in LH in certain keys, but so many composers for piano write voicings that are just impossible without rolling the chords with judicious use of the sustain pedal. 
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