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Thread: Learning to play with one less finger

  1. #26

    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Not the same thing - but I had a tough case of trigger finger that was so bad that I actually started selling guitars because I thought that I would never be able to play without great pain again in my middle, ring and pinky fingers. Luckily, my bass playing was far less effected by the injury, so until the treatments (finally) kicked in, I thought that I could continue to make music, but I would just have to convert back to being a full-time bass player.

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  3. #27
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    This really hits home with me. Due to an usual situation, I lost function of both of my index and pinkies on both hands. It took me many years to relearn, but I figured out how to compensate. Keep at it and stay strong.

  4. #28

    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    I’m sorry to read about your finger. I had an accident last year and I still can’t use my left pinky well or without pain. I hope you heal fast and play well.
    Loar LM-370

    “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” ― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  5. #29

    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    I got bit by my Great Dane about 1 1/2 years ago, my pinky was broken and the tendon torn. Had surgery which did nothing. My finger is permanently bent. Luckily the mandolin neck being as small as it is, I’ve been able to adjust and can play with no problems after a little getting used to only using three fingers. Can not play guitar correctly anymore but mandolin is correctly anymore but mandolin is fine,
    correctly anymore but mandolin is fine,

  6. #30
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Gene Stroupe was a 2 finger mandolin player from the Mt Jackson, VA area. Only had index and middle finger on left hand. Excellent player. I think of Gene anytime my hands hurt!

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    B381 

  8. #31
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Can not play guitar correctly anymore but mandolin is correctly anymore but mandolin is fine,
    correctly anymore but mandolin is fine,
    You ok?
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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  9. #32
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Maybe I can learn to play "slide mandolin" with this thing...lol


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    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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  10. #33

    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Quote Originally Posted by B381 View Post
    You ok?
    Don’t know why my IPad does that every once and a while. Usually just one or two words. It’s maddening, but funny too

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  12. #34
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Well...I started this thread back at the beginning of March due to an injury at the end of February. Due to this covid crap I'm still unable to play and waiting on surgery. My initial surgery date was April 1st but it's been postponed twice due to the government scare of the people.

    At this point my calluses are about gone, my proficiency is gone and it's going to be like starting all over again when I finally get through the surgery/recovery time which their thinking will be mid summer but that depends on the government and how long they hype this crap.

    Thinking it might be time to thin the herd of mandolin as I have to wonder if starting all over is worth it anymore.
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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  13. #35

    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    I would like to encourage you to continue to play.

    I know that it is extremely frustrating. When I hurt my hand in 1995 I did not play guitar for about five years due to pain and lack of mobility. I started again in 2000 to see what I could do with what I have left on my left hand. Chording and techniques had to be completely redesigned around the limitations. I was starting over from scratch physically. By 2004 I felt good enough about it to invest in a decent guitar. For the last three years I do well enough to perform publicly with a small dance band doing polkas, waltzes and old Dixieland era jazz at dances and small town festivals. People even pay us to do that stuff amazingly. I took up mandolin to help my wife who was learning it around 2015 or so.

    You have to think longer term. Everything will take more time and effort than you expect. There are things I cannot do physically. I use mostly 3 finger chords and some fake arounds but can make decent sounding music on guitar. I am still gaining mobility 25 years after the accident. On mandolin I am still progressing a lot though I do not play it publicly too much yet. It will be worth your time if you want to do it.

    Keep the faith.

    p.s. I got to meet Barry Abernathey formerly of Mountain Heart a few years ago. He bowhunts with a friend of mine. Playing banjo with no complete fingers on his left hand is almost unimaginable to me. And to play well enough to tour with the like of Tony Rice is mind boggling.

  14. #36
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    I had the same problem, same finger 5-7 years ago or so. I kept it in a splint like you and gave up playing for the prescribed time, (6 weeks or so) and I healed up perfectly. Nothing residual. You say the medicines want to cut you?? That is strange to me because when I went in they (kinda) yawned and said "put it in a splint and wait for it, your body knows what to do, it will heal." Like I say, I have no residual anything. In fact I had completely forgotten about it until I read your post.

    Get a 2nd opinion before the knife?

    At any rate, all my best wishes.

    Billy
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  15. #37
    Martin Stillion mrmando's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeZito View Post
    Not the same thing - but I had a tough case of trigger finger that was so bad that I actually started selling guitars because I thought that I would never be able to play without great pain again in my middle, ring and pinky fingers. Luckily, my bass playing was far less effected by the injury, so until the treatments (finally) kicked in, I thought that I could continue to make music, but I would just have to convert back to being a full-time bass player.
    What treatment for trigger finger did you find effective? I have a mild case affecting the fourth and to some extent the third finger on the left hand.
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  16. #38
    Rush Burkhardt Rush Burkhardt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Regarding trigger finger: overall my left hand looks like a war zone. First Dupuytren's contracture...pinky-finger and ring-finger, just ugly and uncomfortable; could play for about 45 minutes at a time, before the discomfort forced me to stop. Then, periodic trigger finger...when my hand got tired my index and middle finger would lock-up. Then, about 5 months ago, my index and middle finger (again left hand) developed constant trigger finger symptoms. Every time I attempted to play, the fingers took on mind's-of-their-own. I decided to try an orthopedic practice that specialized in hand problems, where they actually worked on professional musicians, had an exam and within 5-minutes had injections (very painful) of cortisone into the bases of each finger. Within two days, the trigger fingers began to relax, and now, my hand is performing without a vestige of trigger finger. (There's no punch-line; I'm not a better mandolin player. At least I can play, at it, again! PS I'm 77, still worth the effort!)
    Rush Burkhardt
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  17. #39
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Just an update as it has been awhile. Still going through this debacle. Now into occupational therapy. The delay in surgery due to the covid shutdown and long recovery period has taken it's toll on my hand. Occupational therapist is going to do their best but not sure if I will be able to regain full use of my hand.

    I look at my mandolin's sitting in the corner snug in their cases and hope that one day I can once again "start over" in learning as I'm sure I have lost a lot of the ground I had gained being sidelined so long.

    Hope everyone is doing great and hope to join you again soon.
    "It doesn't matter how much you invest in your instrument until you invest in you and your ability..."

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    Morgan Monroe MFM-300 (passed on to a new player)
    Rover RM-75

  18. #40

    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    The 3 Fingered Gypsy Django Reinhardt was pretty good on guitar.

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  19. #41
    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Hey B381, what a bummer and strange times we‘re living in. I feel for you!
    One thing (trying to help you lift up your spirit): When I went through a collarbone surgery two years ago, I used the down time of my left arm to thoroughly take care of my right hand technique (for the first time). That helped my playing a LOT since.
    All the best for your recovery!
    Pit

  20. #42
    Registered User lowtone2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    Django, blah, blah...

  21. #43
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    Default Re: Learning to play with one less finger

    I had a similar experience with a different finger.

    At a certain point I was experiencing excruciating pain in my index finger and the back of my hand, and upper wrist, after playing only for an hour or so. I cowboyed through it and soon enough could only take about 30 minutes of continuous play.

    I figured I better get ready for the day my index finger cannot contribute. I taped my index finger to a popsicle stick and went about learning to play everything with the rest of the fingers.

    Long story short about six months later, in a random physical, I learned I was diabetic. With medicine and diet I correct my blood sugar in about a week. And... the pain went entirely away. I could immediately play for hours and hours, with full use of my index finger, without any problem.

    Yea I dodged a bullet.

    But the long term result is that my playing became much stronger, my pinky became a full contributor, and I wasn't nearly as intimated by shifting positions and moving up the neck.

    Hind sight 20/20 it might be an excellent practice exercise to tap up your index finger and work on familiar music with that "handicap" to strengthen the use of the other fingers and the mental muscle to seek out new fingerings and boldly go where you previously had not gone before.
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