Working around restricted mobility on ring finger ?

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AK99AK99 Frets: 159
edited January 20 in Technique
Apologies if something similar has been asked before..

 I came back to guitar about a year ago, after a decade layoff - during which time I broke the ring finger on my left hand. Despite going through 6 months worth of physio, I never managed to get full movement back into the finger. I can't close the left hand properly. The top knuckle joint on the ring finger works fine, but the other two joints don't let it fold back properly.

I've worked round it to a degree. I can rotate the wrist round far enough to let me three finger solo using the ring finger - but am finding it's just not possible to form chords that need the ring finger on the top three strings.

I've always been a casual (read: not very skilled) player. At this stage I've been contemplating taking a more structured set of lessons to up the skill level and play 'full songs' for a while now, but am really doubting whether that's viable.

Anybody any experience of working around this kind of restriction - or pointers on musical styles genres where you could pass yourself when certain chord shapes are just impossible for you ?


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Comments

  • DulcetJonesDulcetJones Frets: 496
    This may not be of interest to you but a lot of slide players use a bottleneck on their third finger and have the guitar tuned to a chord, usually a major chord but it opens a whole new world where they can use a combination of slide/fretted notes with the other fingers.

    “To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.”– Ashleigh Brilliant


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  • AK99AK99 Frets: 159
    Thanks DJ. Interesting thought. I've experimented a bit with the DADGAD tuning recently - finger style, without the slide. Certainly doable. Not sure if I'm ready (or able) to take on trying to learn such a radically different genre of playing just at the moment. Might have to at some stage though.
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  • Old_SwannerOld_Swanner Frets: 20
    edited January 25
    Beginning again left-handed is an option; by the sounds of things the only one which can "cure" your ring finger problem.  Otherwise take inspiration from those who've over-ridden similar issues in their own way ...

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQhTpgicdx4
    When other sites and teachers leave you frustrated: https://www.taplature.com/ 100% Unique, 100% Effective, 100% Free!
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  • AK99AK99 Frets: 159
    Sorry - late coming back to this.

    I've often thought about Django, and wondered what I was complaining about - and yes, I did actually try left handed (for about 20 minutes once). Awful ..

    I think the way forward (for me at least) is to stop worrying about full chords, and give up trying to copy other people's playing note for note. Been working on it the last while, and discovered there's more to capturing the 'musicality' of a piece than hitting every note just like the original. Nice to stop beating yourself up on things too :)

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  • AK99 said:

    Nice to stop beating yourself up on things too :)

    Yep ... accentuate the positive!

    Can you manoeuvre the afflicted joint any further if you use your right hand to assist or is it up against a brick wall?
    When other sites and teachers leave you frustrated: https://www.taplature.com/ 100% Unique, 100% Effective, 100% Free!
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  • AK99AK99 Frets: 159
    edited February 19
    There is a bit of movement - it's a soft block. Had a bit of hand surgery on the other hand last year for something else. Spoke to the hand surgeon at the time,  who said it would probably respond to a 'manipulation' to restore full range of movement - but it would have to be done under anaesthetic as it would be bl**y painful (his words not mine). I asked could he have a go at this one as well while I was out  -  but he said it wouldn't be a great idea to have both paws completely out of action at once.  With hindsight, he was right on the money

    Do you think there'd maybe be merit in trying to bend the affected digit progressively with the other hand ?
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  • AK99 said:

    Do you think there'd maybe be merit in trying to bend the affected digit progressively with the other hand ?
    Got to be worth a try ... it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a way of measuring improvement either with a few exercises/tests related to that movement.

    Pushing slightly beyond the comfort zone with the right hand and attempting to hold the new found territory with the muscles in your left hand would appear to make sense.  You'd want to steer clear of any actual pain although any after-effects felt the next day should be ok.

    The last thing you want to do is make anything worse but gentle progressive examination should be fairly safe and may yield something.
    When other sites and teachers leave you frustrated: https://www.taplature.com/ 100% Unique, 100% Effective, 100% Free!
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  • AK99AK99 Frets: 159
    edited February 19
    I gave up the physio after seeing no progress the last time round - but y'know, after the surgeons comments, and thinking about it again - and your input - I think I shall give it a fresh go. Relatively little to lose really. Thanks Old-S
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