Flabby fingertip

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Oldbones
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Flabby fingertip

Postby Oldbones » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:17 am

So what, I'm guessing you asked yourself, is a 'flabby fingertip'?

It's turning out to be the key to the problem I've had playing guitar ever since I slashed my left palm over a decade ago. That severed the nerves which are in my lead and middle fingers but also severed several of the mini blood vessels. (It looked quite spectacular at the time as I awaited the ambulance and sat on our front garden wall looking as I'd just committed murder!)

Anyway - to get to the point ... I'm wondering if anyone can offer me advice or a solution on the problem that has persisted and doesn't look to be going to go away:

When playing guitar I find that I can cope with the numbness in my lead finger but the other lasting side effect seems to be that the fingertip of my left hand lead (index) finger is resolutely lacking in any real degree of firmness. It's flabby, spongey, and when used to press down a string (or a pair of strings on a 12er), it spreads and interferes with strings either side. Add the numbness and the usual effect is to play a bum note that I've fingered (not enough firm pressure to hold the string(s) in contact with the fretboard), and unintentionally mutes notes on either side.

So - any advice or solutions out there? I know that Tony Iommi used some form of rubber 'thimbles' to replace his lost fingertips, but that isn't my problem. I have the fingertip, it's just that it's ...... well, you get the idea.

Thanks for any tips. (unintended pun).
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

mel randall
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Location: South Lanarkshire

Re: Flabby fingertip

Postby mel randall » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:52 pm

Hi
Just over a couple of years ago I tried my best to cut 3 fingers off of my left hand at the joints up to the tips of my fingers. They were stitched up and except for a hard part on the joint of my middle finger they have healed ok. This stopped me playing for around 18 months and when I started again I found great difficulty holding strings down. The way I sorted it was to buy a mandolin and after a couple of months of alternating between guitar I am now back to playing at a local folk club. I treated myself to a decent 12 string with a good action and decent light gauge strings and I am virtually sorted, However my 6 string acoustic needs setting up as the action is too high and I find difficulty playing certain chords ie open D and A which I hope to cure by eventually having the action set similar to my 12 string. In your case I would recommend checking your guitars action is not too high and just persist playing and concentrate on the strings you are struggling with and hopefully like me you will get sorted. Incidentally for years I have suffered vibration white finger on 2 of my fingers on my left hand but apart from when it is really cold I have never noticed them affecting my guitar playing

Mel

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Oldbones
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Re: Flabby fingertip

Postby Oldbones » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:06 am

Hi Mel

Thanks for your comments. Oddly (or is that 'coincidentally'?) in recent years I've taken to playing the baritone ukulele and have found much the same as you found with the mandolin. The flabby fingertip (hereafter referred to as the 'FF') is no problem with that, possibly because of the neck width, nylon strings and ultra-light pressure needed. I've also owned a classical guitar for many years and find much the same with that. My problem, like yours, has been with steel strung guitars and even those with a low action continue to frustrate me. As I've mentioned elsewhere in other threads, I'm about to embark on a hefty sequence of restringing my two twelve stringers and, whilst I'm at it, I'll probably restring my Taylor GS MIni. I was interested to see you refer to light gauge strings as that's something I've been swapping thoughts about in yet another thread. I haven't as yet decided between lights or extra lights.

I was also interested to read your comment about the fact that you had "...treated myself to a decent 12 string with a good action and decent light gauge strings...". Can I ask what you decided upon as a 'decent 12 string' and also the 'decent light gauge strings'?

I was intending to experiment this weekend with Elixir and D'Addario sets to see which worked best on the instruments and also helped most with the FF, but the arrival of two young and highly enthusiastic granddaughters hell bent on a hunt for Easter eggs in our garden sort of got in the way.

Thanks again for your thoughts - and as you're obviously a 12 string fan, you might find one of my other threads of passing interest if you haven't already seen it ...

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1378

Cheers.

Alan
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.

mel randall
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:32 pm
Location: South Lanarkshire

Re: Flabby fingertip

Postby mel randall » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:17 pm

Hi Oldbones
The 12 string I bought is a Tanglewood TW28 and the strings I put on it are DAddaria EXP36. I have for years used light gauge strings on all the guitars I own after originally using medium gauge which to me is a personal thing. I have never used ultra light strings so cannot comment but I would have thought the thinner G string on a 12 string guitar would be easier to break but no doubt Gordon or someone else on here may be able to give you better advice.
Just as another thing which may help your problem finger, try holding your guitar behind the fretboard in a way that makes your finger touching the fretboard at near enough a right angle which should keep it away from adjacent strings. After getting used to playing your guitar in your own style it can be an awkward but when I injured my fingers I was given this advice which I never needed to do
Mel

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Oldbones
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Location: Cheshire

Re: Flabby fingertip

Postby Oldbones » Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:09 pm

mel randall wrote:I would have thought the thinner G string on a 12 string guitar would be easier to break

Hi Mel, thanks for commenting.

Probably not such an issue for me as I keep both my 12's tuned a tone and a half below standard, so string tensions are much-reduced.

mel randall wrote:try holding your guitar behind the fretboard in a way that makes your finger touching the fretboard at near enough a right angle which should keep it away from adjacent strings.

I've tried all ways, but usually without much success. What HAS happened over the years is that I've found that I use my other 3 fingers more than the index and usually use my middle finger for lead playing. I'm still experimenting to try to find a way to get back to being able to rely on that index finger, though.
It isn't how fast you can play that counts - it's that you only play as fast as you need to play that is important.
Silence can be as eloquent as sound.


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