Hey, first post here. And this is probably difficult to answer. But anyway...

Been playing for exactly 8 months. Trying to focus on doing it right, learning theory, having good technique. Here's the thing: I snapped a tendon in my left (fretting) ring finger years ago. It will not bend at all from the last knuckle to the finger tip.

There's no way of fixing it surgically as the window has long passed.

So, this prevents me from having nice fretting hand technique, because I have to compensate for this finger. Tough to explain what I have to do, but basically I have to twist my wrist so that I can get a clean note with this finger.

So here's my question: do I just try to work around it with the "bad", sloppy technique, or do I try anything I can to play proper technique (wrist under the neck, fingers nicely curled over fretboard, etc)?

Yeah, I know about Django and his fingers and Iommi etc, but I ain't those guys.
Last edited by grushka at Sep 6, 2009,
If you're willing to start over, play lefty.

Or instead of using your ring finger, slide to the note or play it with your pinky.

Or always become a rhythm guitarist. Not much to say. Sorry
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If it is such a severe limitation that you don't think you can work with it, perhaps consider teaching yourself to play left handed. I had a friend who hadn't been playing guitar too long who shattered his wrist. Once it healed, he was still almost unable to move it at all, let alone fret a note. So he switched over to lefty, and was able to reteach himself fairly quickly.

It was the only task I would undertake...

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Switch to lefty guitars...
More seriously, I'd seek professional advice - a guitar teacher, not a doc. You'll get more help from them than from the Pit... er UGers.
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Try using proper technique, that will keep you from developing wrist problems in the future. Honestly though, I'm not sure what other advice to give you, you might want to see a teacher or something, maybe they can give you some pointers to play with that disability... Maybe you want to play lefty, I assume your right hand is OK. That will suck, but it's an option... Good luck buddy.
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I have lost a piece of my ring finger on my left hand, from the last knuckle to the fingertip. My handicap is that I can't bend upwards with that finger, only downwards (if you get what I'm saying). Makes it hard to play blues from time to time, and it's hard to get it prefectly synchronised when speed picking. But I always find my way around things.

Maybe you should consider cutting it off?


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Last edited by BlisteringDDj at Sep 6, 2009,
i would also say to try learning as a lefty, it wont take too long to adjust if you just focus
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Sorry to hear about your predicament. There's quite a bit you can do to work around it by adjusting your fingering. For example, the two short phrases below are the same lick, but the second one could be used to work around not using your ring finger.

  Gtr I
  E E  Q   E E  Q

One thing that will eventually become an advantage is that you will wind up crossing strings a lot more, because you have less fingering choices. Even the little lick above has one in the version that would work for you versus none for the version most people would use. So, you will probably become better at string crossing than you would otherwise.

Here's another example, regular old Am pentatonic re-fingered to avoid the ring finger (and a ton more interesting than just boringly ascending it in the 5th position).

  Gtr I
          E E E E  E E  E E E  E  E

There are also many cases where the ring and middle finger are pretty much interchangeable - for example, the common W-W shape, for example 3-5-7, on the E string - G-A-B. As many people play that with 1-2-4 fingering, as people who play it with 1-3-4.
All of that said, switching the lefty guitar is also a valid option, though it will take some getting used to. Either way, there are ways that you can work around this.
Last edited by se012101 at Sep 6, 2009,