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Old 03-21-2013, 02:42 AM   #1
Monkeyleg
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Fingers losing dexterity?

I've been playing for a year now, and I've learned a lot. When I play some of the songs I started with a year ago, I'm amazed at what I struggled with, as it's easy now.

Something I've noticed lately, though, is that the fingers on my fret hand as well as pick hand just don't seem to have the dexterity they did. I'm tripping up on riffs that I could breeze through a month or two ago. My pick hand isn't hitting the right strings, and the rhythm is off sometimes. My fret fingers are fumbling notes. I'm having trouble getting to the string in time for the note to be picked.

My hands just feel stiff. I don't know if I've been playing more than they'll take (I'm 62), or if I'm just not at it 100% mentally and physically.

Has anyone ever had a problem with hands just not working?
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:20 AM   #2
innertom
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iv had a similar thing happen when i went about a year without playing.

if they are stiff all the time not just when you play you might wanna see someone about it
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:09 AM   #3
stonyman65
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62? There might be chance that your problems are arthritis related or something similar like stiff joints.

At that age (no offense), I'm surprised you can play for any amount of time. Even at my age (22), I can only play for maybe an hour before I start to get tired and my fingers don't want to do what they're told anymore .

I guess the best advice I can give is to keep at it and work on some finger exercises that will help build stamina and dexterity like this

and just keep doing variations of that unlit your speed/accuracy improves.

If there is a problem where your hand really starts to hurt or even go numb, stop playing a take a break for a while. If that keeps happening or if it gets worse, go see a doctor. Playing guitar isn't worth messing up your hand.

Good luck!
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:51 AM   #4
Klonoa87
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This isn't specifically related to guitar but it's an idea that has helped me get through funks in my playing. Over time, with practice, you will (hopefully) improve but your ability day to day is not static. Your "best" on Thursday might not be quite as good as your best that previous Monday. It's just how it goes. All you can do is try to do your best each day, whatever that might be. Just as random as it might seem that all of a sudden you are having trouble with previously easily accomplished tasks you will find that you will be able to play back up to your ability again. But it never hurts to take breaks either if your hands are getting fatigued.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:36 AM   #5
Monkeyleg
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Thanks for the replies. I practice two to six hours a day. It's just in the last few weeks that I've noticed that my fingers just don't move right. They're stiff.

There's a riff early on in SRV's "Pride and Joy" where he does three slides on the G string from fret 2 to 4 followed each time by hitting the B string at fret 3, then sliding down to fret 2 on the G, pulling off, hitting fret 2 on the D, hitting an open A, then two half notes on the 2nd fret of A, going to open D, 1st fret of D, 2nd fret of D, open D, 2nd fret of A, 1st fret then a pulloff from 1st fret to open A, 3rd fret of E, open A, 2nd fret of D, then 2nd frets of D and A.

Months ago I could move through that riff pretty quickly. Now I stumble every single time, even when playing it as slow as possible. My fingers just won't move properly.

stonyman65, I don't think it's arthritis (my mother had that, and I'm pretty sure I'd know if I have it). It could be stiff joints from doing other work with my hands (working on cars, house, etc).

Maybe I should try giving the hands a little less of a workout when playing, or at least stop playing when the fingers start acting up. I noticed that I was feeling a bit of pain when I was playing the Stones' "Brown Sugar". I laid off the song for several days and came back playing it better.
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