Really enjoy the forum and have been lurking around for a while hoping to find some answers to my problem.

I have been playing six strings on and off for 20 years or so and I am currently going through an on period.

However I am now suffering from both arthritis and dupitrons in my hands and fingers. The main problem is bar chords as my forefinger is bent and distorted (I can still bar but the strings are not sounding consistency clean as I am not making good contact.)

I have a number of guitars including a strat and a tele. The problem is more manifest on my Epiphone 335 (which ironically is the one I use and love the most).

I am quite prepared to try anything – new strings, even a new guitar as long as it would give me the Epiphone semi jazz sound (budget £500). The set up is as good as my luthier can get it – so sadly no room for improvement there.

Any suggestions would be most appreciated including ideas for a suitable replacement guitar.

Replacement fingers is not an option!!


Last edited by zegie at Mar 25, 2011,
Oh, I should add that if all fails - then reluctantly I'll move over to bass.

if it's any easier, try play chords with your thumb over top for the root note... and the other fingers playing chord notes. It's very common.

you can also use a capo for some songs, to possibly cut down on the amount of barring needed.

Other than that, lower action and lighter strings ( less than .10 ) should make barring and fretting in general, easier on the hands.

For guitars.. necks have all various thicknesses and radiuses that play differently - try out a variety and see what feels the best. I think jackson's have both a real thin neck and a compound radius... last time I played one it felt very comfortable. (That's a shred style guitar prettty much.)

For hollow body - I've never played one but I know people happy with the ibanez artcore series... and ibanez do have that reputation for 'playability'. Maybe worth a look. I'm really not sure.

If any of the above helps... but you still don't have your tone... you can always try to recreate it with different amps, EQ's etc.
good luck