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Left Hand Rehab for Guitar

sharyn 14 Jan 09 - 10:33 PM
Seamus Kennedy 15 Jan 09 - 02:35 AM
David C. Carter 15 Jan 09 - 05:06 AM
GUEST,KP 15 Jan 09 - 06:04 AM
Leadfingers 15 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM
sharyn 15 Jan 09 - 09:05 AM
sharyn 15 Jan 09 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,iancarterb 17 Jan 09 - 09:30 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 09 - 10:09 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 09 - 10:27 AM
Max 17 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM
sharyn 17 Jan 09 - 11:59 AM
DADGBE 17 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,iancarterb 17 Jan 09 - 04:53 PM
sharyn 17 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 18 Jan 09 - 07:11 AM
Piers Plowman 18 Jan 09 - 01:12 PM
Bernard 18 Jan 09 - 02:16 PM
sharyn 18 Jan 09 - 02:26 PM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 09 - 09:53 AM
sharyn 19 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 11:08 AM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 11:10 AM
oggie 19 Jan 09 - 12:09 PM
sharyn 19 Jan 09 - 12:11 PM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM
sharyn 19 Jan 09 - 01:04 PM
sharyn 19 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 01:45 PM
Piers Plowman 19 Jan 09 - 01:54 PM
oggie 19 Jan 09 - 01:59 PM
sharyn 19 Jan 09 - 02:02 PM
sharyn 19 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM
Piers Plowman 20 Jan 09 - 03:30 AM
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Subject: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 14 Jan 09 - 10:33 PM

All you guitar-pickers out there, I need your help. In July 2008 I broke my left hand in two places: a spiral fracture below the index finger and a plain old fracture below the ring finger. I have been in hand therapy since December for contractures of the PIP joint (first joint of finger) in the index, middle and ring fingers) and am using various splints to stretch the ring finger joint (under medical supervision.

I have recovered enough strength and range of motion in the hand to make a few chord shapes (D, A, G, Em) and to almost press the strings down enough to play a little. Other shapes (C, Dm) are really difficult for mw to make at all, much less change at song speed.

Questions:

1) Who has rehabbed his/her hand from fractures?

2) What are your favorite basic exercises for limbering up your fingers, building strength and stamina, etc.

By the way, I am right-handed and used to have light-to-moderate hand-strength (never could play full barre chords, for example, but could play half-barres)

I'm very interested to hear what you all have to say.

Thanks,

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 02:35 AM

Sharyn - you might PM Don Meixner for information on this subject.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: David C. Carter
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 05:06 AM

Sharn-sorry to hear about this.I badly fractured my left arm last August.I've been in therapy since October.I play guitar,but I can't chord or do very much else for that matter at the moment.
Seems it's a long process.Sometimes therapy can take longer than the break.
I have to visit the clinic three times a week for exercises,electrodes and massage etc.My wife massages my wrist and fingers every day,and I use my son's hand gripper,whatever they call it!
Maybe I should also PM Don Meixner/thanks Seamus.

I can play the banjo a little but still can't hold down chords yet.
I wish you a speedy recovery.Keep in touch.

David


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: GUEST,KP
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 06:04 AM

Sharyn
I have had persistant shoulder and neck problems which gives me referred pain in the left hand. As well as various treatments I also changed my guitar tunings!

For playing melodies, DADGAD and CGCGCD have scales which fall under your left hand much more naturally than EADGBE. For playing chords, I came up with DGDGAE, which sounds bizarre, but actually lets you make lots of chords with just 2 fingers. There are easy G, C, D, Em, A shapes among others as well as a simple 4 string Dm.

Best of luck with the hand!
KP


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Leadfingers
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 07:38 AM

I had only had my shiny new Martin D35 for three months when I had a motorcycle accident (No The guitar was NOT with me) and apart from the Intensive Care items I had nineteen fractures and dislocations of the left wrist ! When I came out of plaster (Double fracture of the arm and damaged radial nerve) I had VERY Limited movement of any part of the hand ! Intensive Physio and excercise and six months later I was doing floor spots . Its All Hard Work and patience , but
doent need to be the end of playing .


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 09:05 AM

Thanks everybody. My condolences to those of you who have been smashed up. My hand therapy is going well -- I'm about to go from once a week to once every two weeks. I just wish I knew more about how to proceed with guitar practice. Maybe I'll play scales. Maybe I'll play scales in open tunings, KP, which will help me find my way around them (I have been mostly a standard-runing player).

Keep the suggestions and stories coming. Thanks.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 15 Jan 09 - 11:14 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 09:30 AM

I've never found the equal of the Segovia scales for loosening up cranky arthritic fingers, all four of them. They don't have to be played fast to do the work of remaking the finger-brain connections or just restoring the muscular ability to respond to them. Three or four minutes is worth a half hour of any other exercise to me. Good luck on the restoration of the broken parts.
Carter


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:09 AM

try a gripmaster,or this exercise, which piano players use.
rest all four fingers on a table,then lift first finger and put down again,do this with all four fingers,keeping one finger up while the other three are down.
do this first with index , then the middle , then the ring , then the pinky.
dadgbd is also a good tuning,lots of two fingerd chords for d and g,but you can still think in standard for the inside four if you want to.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:27 AM

dgdgae,interesting,but couldnt find that easy d minor chord.
what is so wonderful about experimenting with tunings are the new inversions,that one particular tuning throws up,that may bevery difficult in standard


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Max
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 10:51 AM

I broke my left arm a few years ago and they installed a plate. When I got the cast off, I was scared and sad because I had lost most of the movement in my left wrist. I couldn't chord because I couldn't twist my wrist into position. I thought it was the end of the world.

After about 12 weeks I got back to about 95% flexibility. Patience is key, stretching, keep up with the exercizes they prescribe you. I don't know what the electric stuff did, but I did it all and I'm ok now. They also did this cool thing with hot wax that loosened up my tendons. In the end, I'm back to what I was but now have an excuse as to why my bar chords don't sound quite right.

On cold days like today, it feels like the plate argues with the bone as to who's in charge, but overall I feel pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 11:59 AM

Thanks everybody. Coincidentally, I got both the hot paraffin treatment and the finger-walking exercise (lifting one finger at a time, as described by the Captain).

I don't know the "Segovia scales" though. Can anyone describe them or link me to a description?


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: DADGBE
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 02:05 PM

Hi Sharyn,

I wondered why you weren't a Harmony! Give me a call up here in Davis and I'll be glad to work with you on this. I'll send you my phone number by private message.


Much love,
Ray


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 04:53 PM

Sorry about the arcane reference to 'Segovia scales.' I remember them being called that during the few months of classical technique instruction I lucked into in 1965(?). If you start on any note, in C major or a sharp key scale anyway- G, D, A, E primarily- and use finger 1 on fret one, ditto through 4th finger on fret 4, open strings where available, you'll use fingers 2, 3, and 4 more or less equally. Good technique and subtly brutal muscular exercise. Index finger is the smartest one and strongest, so it will not send a letter of complaint about underuse. My particular favorite is G, which provides an easy 2 octave scale from 6th string to 1st and back, in movements that are actually useful in most accompaniments, in between chords. Hope that makes sense, Sharyn.
Carter


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 17 Jan 09 - 05:14 PM

Thanks, Carter.

I used to do these when I first took guitar lessons -- didn't know they were attributed to Segovia.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 07:11 AM

I had a compound fracture of the right hand a few years back (idiotic, very cheap, high speed, overhead metal ceiling fan in a public place....the same year, a father accidentally scalped his two year old son lifting him up.) I compared the injury to the kind endured in a sword battle of old.

Had a wonderful, national specialist of a doctor; a doctor that surgeons go to when they break a hand. No set to the bone - the body has a marvelous capacity to heal and redistribute calcium of the bones when the muscles are actively in use.

Have patience - lots and lots of patience.

It will probably take years for it to become "normal." I had almost given up hope it ever would. I had hoped I might also get an extra key into the note span - nope.

Loved the hot wax "warm-up" of occupational therapy. (My favorite childhood piano teacher used to use the hot paraffin to get a few hours relief from arthritis)

The best therapy is to eventually forget it. Carrying things (bags) seems to stretch it out. Pull weeds. Knead bread. Do origami. Button buttons. And, of course, play - no matter how uncoordinated.

Counting back - I would guess it took the proverbial seven years to regain 98%. Just work through the discomfort and awkward control of the first three years. Practice the more difficult finger patterns of your good hand that you "never had patience for."

GOOD LUCK and Best Wishes,

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 01:12 PM

I've never had a serious injury to either hand, but I do have chronic pain in both index fingers and my left thumb and mild carpal tunnel syndrome.

I'm not a big believer in "exercises". I believe the best "exercise" is to do the thing itself, whether it's drawing, playing music or whatever. I do recommend scales and arpeggios, and practice them myself, but I don't consider them exercises.

Apart from that, something an orthopaedist recommended and I still do sometimes is to squeeze a soft football (a real football, not a soccer ball) filled with soft styrofoam, or something like that. The pointed ends are handy. It's a rather dull and stupid exercise, but it seems to help.

Otherwise, I have had very good results with qi gong balls. I prefer the heavy stone ones to the metal ones that jingle. The bigger the better, but it may be smart to start with small ones. Helped better than anything else with the pain (except for pain-killers).

After a moth infestation, I did eventually discover that they were coming from the wooden box one set came in.   I have not had any problem with any of my others, though.

I also occasionally use a device for weight-lifters, boxers, etc., for strengthening the hands. It's a spring with two handles that you squeeze. They come in different "strengths". The really stiff springs are nearly impossible to overcome. One should exercise care with these devices; they can be great, but one can hurt oneself by trying to do too much.

As with any exercise like this, it's much better to do fewer repetitions slowly. It's not much use to open and close them quickly.

If you've always had trouble with a full barre, perhaps your guitar isn't suitable or set up properly for you. A thinner neck, and/or one with a "camber" (i.e, a concave surface), and/or lower tension strings might help. You might have to accept a little bit of fret buzz, but it might be worth it. A good guitar-maker, repair-person or even a knowledgeable salesperson at a guitar store might be able to help.

I wish you a fast and full recovery.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Bernard
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:16 PM

I only dislocated the middle finger on my left hand, and it took two years before it was anything like back to normal. A break may take a while longer. I was abe to start exercising the finger right away, but that isn't an option with a break.

I did lots of stretching and bending exercises to regain flexibility, clenching a fist and then fully outstretched. The hardest part was to get my fingertip to touch my palm again with a clenched fist - vital for proper fretting. Until I could do that, the finger felt really clumsy and unpredictable. Sometimes it would just 'lock' in a half-bent position, especially when cold.

My doctor advised using a basin of hot water as heat treatment - as hot as I could stand. Far more efficient than heat lamps and such.

Sadly, I think it will be a while before you get the muscles, ligaments and tendons back 'in fettle'.

Good luck!


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 18 Jan 09 - 02:26 PM

Thanks everyone,

The fact that I can play at all is amazing to me, considering my ring finger is still bent at nearly thirty degrees. I can now play simple tunes using D, A and G and Em if I need it. I can play ten or fifteen minutes at a stretch. I haven't played any new chords since I started this thread, but I'm still doing "finger-walking" and splints and several exercises to stretch the PIP joint, including variations of opening and closing the hand, in or out of warm water, as some of you have mentioned.

I couldn't type for several months, which is why no one heard from me sooner. I can type just fine now.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 03:32 AM

Re-reading my posting, I see that I was a little careless:

The "football" I was talking about is, of course, a toy football, like a "nerf" ball, if you've ever heard of those. I don't know if they still exist.

If you get a hand-strengthener with the spring, I recommend the very light spring, and I wouldn't do it without asking my doctor and/or therapist.

As far as the playing is concerned, you could make a virtue of necessity and work on your single-note playing. There are loads of things you could practice without playing chords, for example sight-reading and playing by ear. Another good thing to do is to play vocal music or music written for melody instruments. If you're really ambitious, you could get some viola music and learn to read C clef. I do this very often. In fact, I have more music for other instruments than guitar music.

You could also practice bass clef, if you don't already know it or don't play music written using the bass clef on the guitar often. This would be very useful if you like Baroque music and want to learn to play from a figured bass.

In addition, there's no need to play four, five or six note chords. _You could play two or three notes simultaneously instead. If you want to, you could play bass runs to make the harmony clear. Chord melodies, using full or sparse voicings, is an excellent way of learning the fingerboard.

These are just a few suggestions. There is literally no limit to what you can play on the guitar and you don't necessarily need chords.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 09:53 AM

sharyn,a place to start with bass runs,are the individual notes of the chord,plus passing notes second and sixth,for a g chord this would be g a b d e,this is the pentatonic major scale,for a g minor chord it would be g a bflat d e.,this is the pentatonic minor scale.sometimes replacing the third[the b in my example]with a c[sus4?]works well too,the best thing is experiment and if youlike the sound ,keep it.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM

Piers Plowman, thanks for the wealth of suggestions. I suspect I will know my way around the guitar better before this is over: I almost never play out of first position unless using a capo.

Pause for universal jeers. I am a singer, mainly using the guitar for song accompaniment. I do some fingerpicking (without a pick of any kind -- I don't like objects to come between me and the strings). I play a little blues, but am weak on leads (not un-creative, just lazy about fixing them in place).

While I can read music, I generally prefer not to. Although I love to listen to Baroque music, I've never tried to play any of it -- I can sing many of the melodies though.

No squeezing motions allowed yet, except those that occur ordinarily in life. I'll see the supervising doc again on January 23.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:08 AM

Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn - PM
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 10:52 AM

"Piers Plowman, thanks for the wealth of suggestions."

You're welcome. I hope you find some of them at least helpful.

"I suspect I will know my way around the guitar better before this is over: I almost never play out of first position unless using a capo."

Even though I know the fingerboard quite well, it takes an effort not to dive back to first position at the earliest opportunity.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a capo, though.

"Pause for universal jeers. I am a singer, mainly using the guitar for song accompaniment."

No jeering from me. That's a perfectly reasonable way to use the guitar. However, the more you put into practicing the guitar, the more you will get out of it.

"While I can read music, I generally prefer not to."

I don't play from music, either. However, it is very worthwhile to do so sometimes. There's a lot of easy music of the Renaissance, either for the guitar or (mostly) lute music transcribed for the guitar.

"No squeezing motions allowed yet, except those that occur ordinarily in life."

Ooh, err missus!


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 11:10 AM

"I don't play from music, either."

Sorry! That's not what I meant at all! I meant, I don't _always_ play from music. I often do. I most often either play by ear or from chord symbols, reading the melody.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: oggie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:09 PM

I used afetr my hand accident (and still use as a bass warm up) a variation of "The Spider" Start by playing on fret 1, bottom E with First finger, fret 2 same string with second finger, fret 3 with ring and fret 4 with pinky. Move to the A string and start on fret 2 with first finger and repeat the sequence, D string starting 3rd fret and keep going a string at a time and up the neck finishing back on Low E at with your pinky on 14. Then reverse the process back down to the start. Do it as slow as you like and work to build uo speed as your fingers improve. It's not incredibly musical but the object is to get the fingers working and strengthened.

Good luck

Steve


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:11 PM

Hi Piers,

The "universal jeers" pause was to honor capo-using guitarists everywhere.

The last thing that dramatically improved my playing was booking studio time -- I didn't want to embarrass myself and I knew I had to play things really well to withstand studio nerves. Which just goes to show I have to trick myself into practicing -- it's better if I say, "I'm just going to play." Not being able to play much is a good motivator to play all I can.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 12:28 PM

Absolutely nothing wrong with using a capo, ever. There was a discussion about this here not too long ago, and nine out of ten guitarists agree, the capo is a-ok.

Last night, I was playing some songs by the French chansonniere Barbara, which are often in flat keys, or rather, have sections in flat keys, because her songs usually contain key changes. I was playing in such a way that I was holding down a lot of chords, and it was murder on my left hand, because there was no possibility of using an easy chord in there somewhere to give it a rest. In such situations, using a capo is a good idea.

The keys in which the songs are published are impossible for me, because they almost all go too high, and I don't have the voice to sing them, anyway. I was too lazy and impatient to transpose them.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 01:04 PM

Thanks, Oggie.

I've done "spider" scales before long ago, but never gone above fifth fret, so I'll work on going all the way up to 14.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 01:31 PM

Alright, I just did a few sets of "spider" or "Segovia" scales up to seventh fret and back down to first and then played a little of "Sitting on Top of the World" in dropped D. Then I tried some "hard" chords -- the ones I haven't been able to do (Dm and C). What's notable is that I do better on what I already can play -- I can change chords faster, find   notes up the neck with more precision -- that's the scales! For now, I still can't get a good sound out of a C chord or a D minor -- the problem seems to be lack of strength in the index finger -- it hurts in the middle joint if I press hard enough to really depress the string in these hand positions. I can play an F without a barre (which doesn't do me much good without a C)


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 01:45 PM

Have you tried leaving out some of the duplicate notes in the chords? This requires knowing what notes are under what fingers, and not just the chord form, of course. Worth practicing.

In addition, as a rule of thumb, you can always leave the fifth out of a chord, unless it's altered (i.e., #5 or b5). Standard tuning makes it easy to alternate between the fifth and the tonic in the bass.

Oh, by the way, some of my suggestions are for things that will take years to master, if you choose to practice them. On the other hand, one does see results fairly fast.

There isn't just one Dm, there are several on the neck. There are approximately seven basic forms for each chord. They are approximately seven basic forms for most scales, but the two sets don't match up perfectly. One can find them if one looks; one doesn't need a book with chord charts.

The only scales I've ever made a special point of memorizing are the major ones. I know the natural minors by heart, too, but it just sort of happened automatically. Of course, they have the same notes, just different tonics. I practice others and memorize them for the moment, but I really don't think it's necessary to be able to play them automatically, since I play by ear when I improvise, anyway. In my opinion, really knowing the major scales is enough. I _never_ play scales just as a finger exercise. I know others think differently on this subject.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 01:54 PM

"One can find them if one looks; one doesn't need a book with chord charts."

Sorry, I meant the chords. The seven basic forms for the scales are as follows:

Take five frets. All of the notes are reachable with a a maximum of 1 shift of position. Take the lowest fret as the position, say fret 1, but it works for any position (until you run out of space toward the bridge). You can build scales starting from the notes on first, third and fifth frets on the low E and A strings and the first fret on the D string. That's seven scales. Do the same thing starting from the next fret (in this example, the second), and you have seven more scales. Since there are only twelve notes in the chromatic scale, two are duplicates.

The keys are F, G, A, Bb, C, D, Eb / Gb, Ab, Bb, B, Db, Eb, E.

The duplicates are Bb and Eb.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: oggie
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 01:59 PM

Serious point - don't overcook it! The last thing you need is to add extra damage by overusing the hand! Pain is the body's way of telling us to back off so listen to it.

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 02:02 PM

Ah, it's all about habits, Piers: I want to be able to play things the way I play them, i.e practice my own arrangements. But you're right -- it wouldn't hurt me to look for new ways to play chords in the meantime -- perhaps my PIP joints are not the only things lacking flexibility.

I do know what notes each finger is playing as long as I don't stray above fifth fret. Above that, I play intuitively since I often capo on fifth or seventh (I like the way my guitar sounds with the capo up there). I can certainly look for other ways to play chords: I have used a few of them in my life, such as the F-hand-shape forms of G and A major. I often come up with creative ways to cheat on barre chords, like playing the first and second strings and then moving my index finger over to play a bass note (another activity not possible at the moment).

I'm sure I'll come out of this a better guitarist with more awareness of possibilities. I'll save this thread since it is so full of suggestions.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 02:30 PM

Point taken, Steve.

I'm supposed to use the hand, try things. I report to both a hand doc (every several weeks) and a hand therapist (weekly) and follow their instructions. I never play for more than twenty minutes at a stretch and    ten is more common -- better to do ten twice or three times a day (I also have a new, more severe, night splint since Friday and the index finger always reacts to new splints). I have no interest in damaging my hand further.


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Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: Piers Plowman
Date: 20 Jan 09 - 03:30 AM

Subject: RE: Left Hand Rehab for Guitar
From: sharyn - PM
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 02:02 PM

"I do know what notes each finger is playing as long as I don't stray above fifth fret. Above that, I play intuitively since I often capo on fifth or seventh (I like the way my guitar sounds with the capo up there)."

It's the same whether you use the capo or not. The only difference is the open strings. Sometimes written music specifies the use of the capo and the music is then transposed, so that one is supposed to play as though the fret the capo is on was the first fret. I really don't like this and tend to avoid playing pieces notated in this way. I would do it if I wanted to play the song, though.


"I can certainly look for other ways to play chords: I have used a few of them in my life, such as the F-hand-shape forms of G and A major."

Sure. Most if not all of the common first position chords using open strings have corresponding movable forms. The G maj and the C maj forms don't require a barre (but do require a strong and agile fourth and/or little finger).

"I often come up with creative ways to cheat on barre chords, like playing the first and second strings and then moving my index finger over to play a bass note (another activity not possible at the moment)."

That's not cheating. However, it's important to remember that there's only one third in the most common barre chords, and it's usually the third (and the tonic) that is required to make the harmony clear.

This is, in fact, a much better way of using barre chords than simply grasping the guitar in a death grip and bashing away with one's right hand. It's much better to be able to use the barre chords flexibly and use the notes in them together with changing patterns, runs, etc. It's a step toward the goal of being able to play freely --- anything you hear in your mind, without thinking about technique. That is why I say that being able to play by ear is the most important thing.

"I'm sure I'll come out of this a better guitarist with more awareness of possibilities. I'll save this thread since it is so full of suggestions."

I'm glad you've found this thread helpful.


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Mudcat time: 18 July 7:21 AM EDT

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