A busted thumb ...

  1. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    ... gives me trouble I didn't expect!

    I did a real bang-up job of bursting my left hand thumb open today - an accident on the job. Dang thing bled profusely all day long while I drove all over the country doing service calls on furniture repair. The bandaids I was able to get ahold of didn't help for long; I kept leaking all day. It wasn't too serious, but very disconcerting. Of course, right away I thought about music - I'm always wary of damaging my fretting hand the most - but I thought that this thumb wouldn't cause much problems until I get out with a guitar this weekend, and then I'd just have to limit myself to chords that don't use the thumb.

    The surprise came about 30 minutes ago when I got ready to get down and practice some stuff on the mandolin. I learned that it is impossible to tune the darn thing in this condition! Can you believe it? Don't laugh - and don't argue ... tuning a mandolin requires some really fine adjustments to get the pair tuned up. I can't do it without my left thumb, at least not without busting it back open!

    I said "don't argue", but that was in jest. I'm open to suggestions here, and I'll be thinking about how to get it done. Just not tonight

    Anybody got tips on how they tune up a mandolin without using their thumb?
  2. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Would a couple of stitches help it to heal in a week instead of a month?

    If you have a string winder, could you use that? It might be a little clumsy, but string winders usually don't leak blood all over your instrument. Or, you could take it to the neighbor's and coach them to do it for you! Drive over to the local jam and find someone else who plays? Ask the dog for help? Get used to a whole new "temperament"?

    Frankly, Mark, I'm a little appalled that your mando didn't come tuned from the factory!
  3. HonketyHank
    Aw, jeez, Mark!

    1. How about one of those string winder thingies? I don't know if they would allow the required precision though.
    2. Don't worry about tuning. Just wear a set of those fancy noise-cancelling headphones when you play.

    All I can say is OUCH. I hope it quits throbbing soon. Superglue can probably stop the leaks, but not the throbs.
  4. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    "Frankly, Mark, I'm a little appalled that your mando didn't come tuned from the factory!"
    I know!

    "Get used to a whole new "temperament"?
    Okay, I specifically said "Don't laugh" and I can hear Louise over there laughing. Geez Louise.

    Thanks for the suggestions, I have one of those string winders and I'm going to try that. A little while ago I managed to get my Washburn in tune by contorting a bit and using an undamaged part of my thumb. The damage is in a spot that normally provides pressure on the tuners.

    I was planning to spend the entire day Saturday playing down at the Pearl 1st Saturday Bluegrass Jam and Stage Show 200 miles south of here. Something came up with my picking buddy, and we canceled that trip this morning, which is a good thing. I may go to a small pick & grin party Saturday night, but that'll be easy peas-y. The following Saturday is a big event Christmas party. If I can get my Collings and a couple guitars tuned daily between now and then, I'll be a happy camper.
  5. Sleet
    "Frankly, Mark, I'm a little appalled that your mando didn't come tuned from the factory!" Louise wins!

    I've often suspected that work is detrimental to music, and I think this proves it. I don't have any suggestions. It takes the full complement of digits to tune my mandos. If you're still leaking, a stitch or two might be in order. Best wishes for speedy healing.
  6. SOMorris
    Bummer, Mark! I wonder if you could use a small pair of visegrips with a piece of rubber or similar to keep from damaging the tuner?
  7. choctaw61
    Mercy Mark,hope that thumb heals quickly. I just got to get back playing a lil this past wkend.since last of August when I busted my right hand ring finger.Now got to build callouses again.I finally got a nail growing again.Hope U heal quicker than this has.My right hand is my fretting hand!Anyway best to U my friend!
  8. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Yeah that thing is pretty painful, swollen, and ugly - probably should have had it stitched (or glued as they do these days), too late for that, but it's not bleeding anymore today. I'm an ok doctor/nurse just from growing up in the woods, but a couple times I made the wrong decision not to go to med clinic, I kind of wish I had with this one. But forget about that now. The thumb will be ok, I haven't tried tuning up today but I did get in a nice little nap.
  9. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    I was going to suggest superglue . But I think it would be better if you ship that collings up here and I will tune it for you
  10. bbcee
    I was going to suggest the same thing, Kevin, but it will probably stay in better tune going to you than sending it all the way to me in Spain! Hope that heals fast, Mark.
  11. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    You live in Spain, Otto? How exotic!

    And, Mark, about all I can add is sympathy and moral support - if that helps.
  12. OneChordTrick
    Ouch! Heal soon.

    How about flipping it so that it's a "leftie" and tune with your right hand?
  13. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Yeah I should just learn to play every instrument as both rightie and leftie!

    Kevin, Bruce - forget about it, that mandolin is never far from me. Hey, if I were filthy rich I'd send each of you guys an MT! Aren't I a generous old soul?

    Sherry, meet Bruce Calder (bbcee) in sunny Spain! My partner in crime and he's cooking up another caper, more on that at a later date.

    Otto is the name of the young feller who goes by Ellsdemon here. Sorry if my using folks' real names gets confusing
  14. HonketyHank
    Just don't call me 'late for dinner'.
  15. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    My mistake, Mark, as I knew better. I was just so excited at the thought of living in Spain. I was there last spring while on a repositioning cruise. Enjoyed the scenery and green wine - unless that was in Portugal.
  16. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Sounds like a cool trip Sherry! Nice. What's a "repositioning cruise"?
  17. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Some cruise ships "reposition" twice a year to locations better suited to the time of year. For example, a ship that sails to Alaska in the summer months might spend winter months in Hawaii. There are typically several days on the water when moving a ship from one area to another. The cruise we took in the spring started in Miami, then Portugal, Spain, France, ending in England.
  18. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Sounds like a wonderful trip!
  19. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Yes. We spent 4 days in London before coming home.
  20. HonketyHank
    How's the thumb, Mark? Still throbbing?
  21. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Healing slowly. I can play music without bothering it though, when the stars are aligned just right.
  22. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    OKay, I'm really feeling like the clumsy oaf now. Today while working on a furniture part (table runner), I drove a 2" long splinter all the way through the third finger's fingertip of my fretting hand

    Went through one side and out the other, through the fleshy part of the fingertip just below the callous. Pulling that back out was no barrel of fun - I got pliers on it and yanked it out too quickly to think about changing my mind

    Not much pain afterward, and at lunch time I tried playing mandolin, and had no problem playing until I noticed that a small bit of blood had leaked onto one of the strings - which was fairly disgusting, so I stopped.

    I suspect it may be more sore tomorrow, but I've decided now that I will go ahead and play if I'm able. After all, I've heard of musicians "playing until their fingers bled" before, and anyway it's time for new strings. I suppose no great harm in taking a chance on bleeding on these before I change them.

    Yes, I know this is a disgusting post, sorry. You never know what you might get when I start typing.

    Keep on playing!
  23. Kevin Stueve
    Kevin Stueve
    I think maybe you need to work less and play mandolin more
  24. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    Stop hurting yourself, Mark! Our sympathy goes just so far. Seriously, sounds like that really hurt and will continue to do so for awhile. And you do have my sympathy once again. At least you can still type!
  25. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    I think you are correct, Kevin, and I do very much prefer mandolin playing to furniture repair work. And thanks for the sympathy, Sherry, I hope to keep my hands and digits safe now at least until January when I hope to see you guys! Will be great if that works out.

    I'm not looking for any sympathy here, folks, I posted about it only because it affects my fretting finger and because it was so unusual. You'd have to see to appreciate, and alas, I didn't take a picture of the strange sight. Working with wood I've had plenty of splinters in my life, but never anything to beat this. It went through and had a small head sticking out, with over an inch protruding out the other side tapering to a very sharp point. Sounds a little macabre to describe an injury, but the sight was a bit uncanny - a freak occurence.
  26. Louise NM
    Louise NM
    Ouch, Mark!

    I did that once with an ice pick. Was using it to start a hole for a screw, something slipped, and that was that! It healed quickly and cleanly, as those things go, and didn't get infected, which was my main worry. Bleeding cleans out a puncture wound, so go ahead and make a mess of those strings.
  27. Sherry Cadenhead
    Sherry Cadenhead
    January is looking a little doubtful at this point, unfortunately. I should have waited to even say anything to you about the possibility. I do plan to make a trip to Abilene with my teacher, though, sometime next year. You've mentioned having family, and maybe even work, in the DFW area. Would love for you to be my guest at the senior center jam and/or maybe Fredk can jam with us one evening or weekend.
  28. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    No worries, Sherry, we'll talk more by PM about it.

    Yup Louise, this didn't bleed as much as I would have liked (none at all where the slender side came through). I'll soak it in peroxide the next couple days and do my best to keep infection at bay. I just got done playing mandolin; a bit uncomfortable but doable.
  29. HonketyHank
    Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch. That smarts.
  30. Trav'linmando
    Kevin is on to something, Mark.

    I banged up my plectrum (he he) hand earlier this month. So I feel your pain brother. Hopefully it heals quickly.
  31. Mark Gunter
    Mark Gunter
    Hope your hand is alright now, Larry.

    I haven't played the mandolin today, and kind of dread getting down to it, but I might give it a whirl shortly. After I recorded Whiskey Before Breakfast last night, I soaked this finger in peroxide (in and out) for about 45 minutes hoping to irrigate the tunnel a bit. Afterward, I was able to find a 1/4" of splinter still in there, and pulled that out. The way it feels, I may lay off until after Christmas; we shall see.
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