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Old 03-29-2013, 07:20 AM   #1
llBlackenedll
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Can vibrato/bending do permanent damage to your fingers?

I was thinking the other day about a Guthrie Govan video giving some tips about bending/vibrato and he says at one point that he's not using his index finger for bends and instead sneaking down to the middle/index together because his fingers will last longer that way (because you're spreading the force over two fingers instead of one).

When I do bends and vibrato and my index finger is already hovering over the fret, I don't bother moving down a fret to use my middle and index together and instead just use my index finger alone. It works, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't do it, but will this cause me problems in the long run? I like it this way because it just gives me a bit more flexibility but I don't want to do it at the risk of causing permanent damage to my most useful finger.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:48 AM   #2
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If you don't do it properly, yes. I don't know why so many people think bends need finger strength. Here you have your entire arm at your disposal and can take advantage of the instrument's weight + gravity to bend notes and people think you need insane finger strength...
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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I definitely always get the impression when he says that he's talking more about destroying the skin on his fingertips rather than anything permanent. I mean it's always possible to do permanent damage to yourself doing almost anything but as long as you're not bending from the fingers I think you should be fine.
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I definitely always get the impression when he says that he's talking more about destroying the skin on his fingertips rather than anything permanent. I mean it's always possible to do permanent damage to yourself doing almost anything but as long as you're not bending from the fingers I think you should be fine.

No I don't bend from the fingers (well, unless it feels absolutely necessary but that's pretty rare).

OK thanks for that. My concern wasn't about skin damage, I mean that will likely just lead to thicker calluses, I just wondered if regularly exerting that kind of force on a point in your finger would cause some kind of internal damage.

And yeah you're right, you can cause permanent damage to yourself doing virtually anything. I'm constantly hurting myself using a computer... and I'm a software developer
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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I think when he says last, he means hold the bend longer/more easily, no?
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:46 AM   #6
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Even if it does cause permanent damage, why should we care? By that logic, people who weight lift (or in general work on their muscles) are destroying their body, but that's not really the case now, is it?
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:17 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Hrvat
Even if it does cause permanent damage, why should we care? By that logic, people who weight lift (or in general work on their muscles) are destroying their body, but that's not really the case now, is it?

People who weight lift are damaging their muscles intentionally because that's how muscles grow. I mean will it cause problems down the line. "Why should we care" is a pretty stupid question, I don't want to get to a point in the future when I'm no longer able to use my index finger properly because I did something stupid repeatedly early on.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:33 AM   #8
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Yeah, you are probably damaging your body by bending, weight lifting, etc. that's life. The key is to it properly so you can minimize the damage. I assume what Govan meant by do it longer, was he can hold it longer or do more of them. People need to be smart and not bend 12's even if they an. That extra strain adds up.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llBlackenedll
People who weight lift are damaging their muscles intentionally because that's how muscles grow. I mean will it cause problems down the line. "Why should we care" is a pretty stupid question, I don't want to get to a point in the future when I'm no longer able to use my index finger properly because I did something stupid repeatedly early on.

Well, I didn't mean that neglecting our body is good. I was going more like, if you really enjoy playing guitar, then do it without worrying too much.

If we'd go on thinking what consequences it could have for our body, it'd be best to quit playing, because bending and vibrato hurt your fingers, we could get carpal tunnel syndrome, if you're playing while sitting down you're probably slouching (I personally play standing!), not to mention how hazardous gigging without proper protection (or just rehearsing with your band) is for our ears. And not a SINGLE musician I know wears ear protection during rehearsals (except for me), and I believe everyone knows how loud rehearsals are.

I meant no ill with the "why should we care" comment, and it's definitely true that whatever we do with our guitar should be done with proper technique!
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Hrvat
Well, I didn't mean that neglecting our body is good. I was going more like, if you really enjoy playing guitar, then do it without worrying too much.

If we'd go on thinking what consequences it could have for our body, it'd be best to quit playing, because bending and vibrato hurt your fingers, we could get carpal tunnel syndrome, if you're playing while sitting down you're probably slouching (I personally play standing!), not to mention how hazardous gigging without proper protection (or just rehearsing with your band) is for our ears. And not a SINGLE musician I know wears ear protection during rehearsals (except for me), and I believe everyone knows how loud rehearsals are.

I meant no ill with the "why should we care" comment, and it's definitely true that whatever we do with our guitar should be done with proper technique!


Fair enough - yeah I understand that it's obviously going to do some damage, and that it's about minimising that. My question didn't really mean "how do I play guitar with no physical consequences", it was more "is it going to cause a significant problem if I bend with my index finger alone as opposed to using two fingers at a time".

As an aside, I wear ear protection during rehearsals. Being in a fairly compact room when it's that loud, it's pretty stupid not to wear ear protection.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:00 PM   #11
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I honestly think it should cause serious problems. Especially when your finger gets stronger and accustomed to bending (and I guess it already is strong and accustomed!). I usually bend with my middle and ring finger, and have the index finger mute the upper string(s), but then again, how a person bends depends on their style, preference, and the "situation" in which the fingers are.

About the ear protection, I don't know how someone could NOT use it. I ask the guys I play with why don't they use ear protection, and they keep on babbling how they don't mind loud amps and drums. And the drums in our practice space are a meter or two from us. Amps are even closer. I mean, the foam ear plugs cost like $1 and are SUPER easy to put in.

EDIT: We have exactly the "opposite" guitar, you have EMGs and a Floyd, and I have SDs and a TOM. Great axe!
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrvat
I honestly think it should cause serious problems. Especially when your finger gets stronger and accustomed to bending (and I guess it already is strong and accustomed!). I usually bend with my middle and ring finger, and have the index finger mute the upper string(s), but then again, how a person bends depends on their style, preference, and the "situation" in which the fingers are.

About the ear protection, I don't know how someone could NOT use it. I ask the guys I play with why don't they use ear protection, and they keep on babbling how they don't mind loud amps and drums. And the drums in our practice space are a meter or two from us. Amps are even closer. I mean, the foam ear plugs cost like $1 and are SUPER easy to put in.


Yeah it's already pretty accustomed though I can't do more than whole tone bends/vibrato with just my index. I actually do the same, resting my index across the strings if I'm bending upwards with any other finger, but if bending with the index I mute the lower strings entirely with my thumb.

I agree, well they'll be the ones with screwed up ears (although I have a theory that people with perfect pitch actually just have really clear tinnitus that they can tune to ). I don't really like normal earplugs for band as I don't feel like I can hear clearly enough, I use a different brand with removeable filters, they're really good because they reduce the volume while still allowing you to hear fairly clearly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hrvat
EDIT: We have exactly the "opposite" guitar, you have EMGs and a Floyd, and I have SDs and a TOM. Great axe!


Yeah I love mine, so nice to play. The ebony fretboard is just a dream. It has a slightly shorter scale neck than my Ibanez and I found it too loose with the stock .9s setup so I've whammed 10s on it. It's so damn shiny. What colour did you go for?

When I first got it, my (previous) guitar teacher had a go. He was on a swivel chair and knocked the top of the headstock into the wall! Luckily there was no damage..
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:17 PM   #13
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I unfortunately have tinnitus, but you just gave me the idea to try and tune to it!

Can you link me to those earplugs? I've been looking to invest into something a bit more professional to protect my hearing (having those little... cables to pull 'em out helps too).



Which one do you have? I can't express my satisfaction with the guitar, it's just supreme! The neck-thru feeling is AMAZING! I also use 10s (Elixirs), and the raw sound with no pedals into my Marshall just knocks me off my feet!
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llBlackenedll
I was thinking the other day about a Guthrie Govan video giving some tips about bending/vibrato and he says at one point that he's not using his index finger for bends and instead sneaking down to the middle/index together because his fingers will last longer that way (because you're spreading the force over two fingers instead of one).

When I do bends and vibrato and my index finger is already hovering over the fret, I don't bother moving down a fret to use my middle and index together and instead just use my index finger alone. It works, obviously, otherwise I wouldn't do it, but will this cause me problems in the long run? I like it this way because it just gives me a bit more flexibility but I don't want to do it at the risk of causing permanent damage to my most useful finger.


Govan here just shows a tough case where you are in the high e string so you cant physically bend downwards and you fretting the note with your index.Bending with your index upwards is awkward so he brings the middle close to assist with the bend.Using just your index in such bends is counterproductive in the long run.If you can do your bend downwards problem solved....if you cant like this case...bring your middle finger to assist or even take over...
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:30 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Hrvat
I unfortunately have tinnitus, but you just gave me the idea to try and tune to it!

Can you link me to those earplugs? I've been looking to invest into something a bit more professional to protect my hearing (having those little... cables to pull 'em out helps too).


Which one do you have? I can't express my satisfaction with the guitar, it's just supreme! The neck-thru feeling is AMAZING! I also use 10s (Elixirs), and the raw sound with no pedals into my Marshall just knocks me off my feet!


Sure, here you go. They're not really cheap but worth a shot.

I have the see-thru-red one:

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Old 03-29-2013, 02:25 PM   #16
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They're beautiful.

You got it before the logo change, right? I did.

Do those earplugs have a rope (to pull them out)? If not I'm a little scared that I'll push them in too deep and not be able to get them out.
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Old 03-29-2013, 03:21 PM   #17
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They're beautiful.

You got it before the logo change, right? I did.

Do those earplugs have a rope (to pull them out)? If not I'm a little scared that I'll push them in too deep and not be able to get them out.

I got mine brand new last year, looks exactly the same as that pic (not sure about when the logo changed?). No unfortunately they don't have a cord, I would also rather have one but I think it's because of the replaceable filters... not really sure.

I used to use something like these which I believe do have a string, but I don't feel the sound was as good.

To be honest, looking back, I think the string may have been a bit frustrating as I seem to remember it occasionally getting caught on things and tugging on the earplugs.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:46 PM   #18
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That's true. I'll also check locally for some pro earplugs. I honestly wouldn't find anything that protects my hearing too expensive, so I won't go cheap on those!

And yeah, from 2013. ESP changed their logo font for all their guitars (this includes LTD) that are NOT custom shop or (I think) original series. And the new font sucks balls... Luckily I also got this one brand new last year, so yeah...

Best thing I ever bought.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:08 PM   #19
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This kind of reminds me of some skateboarder, not sure who, maybe Rodney Mullen had to do something therapy for his left leg where he had to rotate it in some wierd way everyday for 2 years because he had done so much skateboarding and repeated the same motion with his leg.
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