Jimi Hendrix chords and playing technique don’t work!
Q: “You can learn the typical chord technique of Jimi Hendrix (with the thumb at the top), i.e. is it purely technical or also anatomically determined or can someone with small hands and ditto talent learn that with practice or keep it best with ordinary barre chords?”
In the first place, perseverance is the most important thing and keep looking for the correct position of the fingers, hands, wrist, arm, etc. Do not think that better and especially more expensive material is the right solution. The latter is only a good solution for the economy and second-hand websites 😀 But it can be anatomically determined in some cases. Every person is different. Some guitarists simply have shorter or sometimes crooked fingers. I have students who absolutely can’t play guitar with their thumb at the top. So What?
Hey, no shame, don’t lose heart and don’t get stuck in what doesn’t work or isn’t possible! This playing technique is just one of so many techniques on guitar. You can’t do everything equally well, and most likely you will excel on your guitar in another area. Don’t forget that top guitarists usually have one (or sometimes two or three) particular specialty – we call this a “trademark”. Guitarists who can do everything just as well just don’t exist, no matter what! But OK, we are deviating from the subject, maybe I will dedicate another blog article about that :-)! Back to the question above.
Other restrictions can also work to the disadvantage, to give just one example: earlier or poorly healed fracture in the finger (s), osteoarthritis, rheumatism, muscle disease, etc etc. but on the other hand … the full holder wins :-). A possible solution is a thinner and/or narrower guitar neck, a second option (whether or not in combination with a thinner neck) are thinner strings with less tension (see the article on string tension and thickness of strings), and third option is to reduce the action. I myself use as a practice guitar or study guitar (so to beat many hours) a guitar with a thin neck: preferably my Ibanez JS1000 (Joe Satriani model) and JEM model (Steve Vai) with a d’Addario 009-042 string set.
A 008-set also exists, but they jump too quickly for my liking. I can play that 009-set on that for a long time, and even with a lot of bendings up to 5 semitones and a Floyd Rose bridge that I pull up completely, a string rarely jumps. And unlike the non-believers, you can get a relatively nice Stratocaster-like sound from these Ibanez guitars. Whether there are even thinner necks, no idea, can be good, you can always have a guitar neck made with a luthier according to your ideal hand size. Mind you, a thinner guitar neck also results in a “thinner” sound.
But remember, the good sound always starts at the source … And that’s the guitarist himself. A good guitarist will still sound good on a broomstick with washing wire!