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New guitar player here with a problem


superdave

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This is not a short post so bear with me. I bought an electric guitar back in 1978 and was set to take lessons the following week. Two days after buying the guitar I had an accident in the machine shop I work in and lost the first joint of my left hand ring finger (fret hand). To add to that I have very small hands. I tried to play and went on with the lessons playing with my three good fingers but I "convinced" myself that I just couldn't do it. I always regreeted that decision.

About a month ago I bought an Squire Strat Pack at a local guitar store and I have been practicing everyday since then. I am working on scales and chords and all that kind of stuff. I was wondering if anyone on this forum knows a guitar player that has had an injury similar to mine and if so how have they progressed? I am also interested in any advice that can be given to help me get better. I love guitar music and I'm not givin' up this time.

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Hmm, I know Django Reinhardt couldn't use his ring finger (and pinky). And Tony Iommi lost tips of the finger. Of course, it will be hard to reach them here :) I think there's someone on the forum with an injury similar to that on here?
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There are plenty of guitarists who get by with only 3 fingers. There's Django Reinhardt who shreded through jazz with only 2 working fingers, I'm sure others can tell you more about him. And someone once posted a video here of a midget with three fingers and apparently 1.5 arms (the video quality could have been better), and he was shredding circles around me.

 

Finally, especially if you're early in your technique development, you can turn the guitar around, restring it and play with your right hand as the fretting hand.

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Originally posted by Squ:

There are plenty of guitarists who get by with only 3 fingers. There's Django Reinhardt who shreded through jazz with only 2 working fingers, I'm sure others can tell you more about him. And someone once posted a video here of a midget with three fingers and apparently 1.5 arms (the video quality could have been better), and he was shredding circles around me.

 

Finally, especially if you're early in your technique development, you can turn the guitar around, restring it and play with your right hand as the fretting hand.

Now THAT is a excellent suggestion! If you are not really playng much now that is exactly what you should do! good one Squ!!! :thu: You can develop your technique just as well doing what Squ. said.
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I know a guy who did that with relative success. A right hander, he was born with a deformity of his left hand that left his fingers way shorter than normal.

 

But, I'll suggest...if picking up the guitar right handed feels natural to you, playing southpaw probably won't...and I'd really give it a go right-handed first. I think you'd have an easier time working through your injury than playing the opposite way to what feels natural..

 

And, it could give you a great blues handle...

 

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, please welcome Sawfinger Dave!!"

 

(Wild roar from crowd)...

 

Ba badada bump...(thump thump)

Ba badada bump...(thump thump)

Ba badada bump "Well I woke up dis mo'nin'

Ba badada bump "Half mah finga was gone"

 

:D

 

BTW...that's another suggestion...become the king of the bottleneck slide... :D

 

Oh, and, BTW...my father in law is missing his entire left ring finger from a similar accident. My mother in law swears he just did it so he wouldn't have to wear his wedding ring.

 

He plays some piano..if that counts at all.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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I would agree with trying to play left handed, why limit yourself at the beginning by fretting with your messed up finger. Its not that you have to use all 4 fingers for fretting, but it sure would limit your chording. You could also look into playing slide guitar, its specialized but some great music could be made and the finger thing would not be a detriment there.
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Superdave, whatever you do just stick it out. I have a feeling you'll be chording better than I in no time and I don't have any damaged fingers.

Is your ring finger of the left hand usable? Seems like you might have lost some reach but can you fret with it at all?

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Thanks for all the input from everyone. I can make the basic chords that are in my Fender players book with my extra pinky and even some barre chords. I've been running some scales such as the A minor penatonic. I have also been plucking out some pieces of songs. There's so much stuff on the internet that can keep you busy it's mind boggling.
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Welcome to the forum, Superdave, as you can see, we're a friendly lot (unless you're trying to sell something - oh yes, you have to be able to smile!!!).

 

I only have one thing to add to the above - you don't have to play 6 string chords all the time - or any of the time, even! Many guitarists have made a good living playing 3 or 4 string chords. Remember - a chord is made up of at least 3 notes (2 are harmony).

 

If you try the left-handed thing (& why shouldn't you give it a try - many left-handers play golf right handed) and decide it's not for you, then consider short chords.

 

Geoff

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the World will know Peace": Jimi Hendrix

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=738517&content=music

The Geoff - blame Caevan!!!

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Jimi was right handed in normal life and played lefty :)

 

Django was the god of Gypsy Jazz... But dont forget.. being a gypsy he had all the time in the world to practice :)

 

Id suggest putting a slide on your pinky for adding some flavour, playing in open tuning and getting some dirty blues goin on. Great thing about open tuning is there are no barre chords as such (as you can jsut hold the slide over the six strings for a complete chord) the fingered chords are generally only 2 fretted notes and a couple of open strings.

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I play with a friend who has lost his pinky finger on his fret hand, yes he took a long time out when it happened but he is back playing guitar and keyboard. Just gotta keep going.... all the power to you, stick at it.

Love life, some twists and turns are more painful than others, but love life.....

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=592101

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I read an interview years ago with Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard, Dio) who said his ring finger is the least useful for him. He basically uses his first, second, and pinky finger for everything. I'm sure, with practice, you could work around it. Nothing is impossible.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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