Topic: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

is there hope to keep playing can't play barre chords can one learn to play left handed? Im still playing but limited bumed out

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

This is copy of a previous post. It answers your current question. Feel free to email me privately and I will help you further, if you so desire.

You and i have something in common. We both were involved in very serious accidents. Yours a car, mine a boat. May 30, 1987, Claytor Lake, Virginia, I was riding in the back of a fast, powerful water ski boat. The steering cable suddenly broke loose and threw me out of the boat and into the direct path of the spinning propellor. It hit my left hand and arm. It was horrific. I was studing classical guitar, 20 years old and knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I had 13 reconstructive surgeries at the University of Virginia Trauma Center and they were able to save all of my arm and hand minus my left thumb and inner palm. 7 long months went by while my graphs took and the inner parts of my arm mended and then finally I was able to pick up my lifes love(guitar) once again. It was very different though.....

I had to switch my playing from right handed to left handed. The doctors told me I should find a new instrument to play. I told them they were freakin' insane. Years and tears have passed and experiment after experiment I endeavoured into. I had to invent a pick formation that would stay on my badly injured and minimal functioning left hand. I glued a thumb pick, a finger pick, and a flat pick together and slide it over the pointer and middle fingers of my left hand. I do not have the ability to grip with my left hand so this pick system works nicely.

I am unable to play the complex finger picking classical songs I played in my teens and early 20's but my overall musicianship has grown far beyond what the doctors and peers had thought possible. I play guitar for a living, it's all I know, except being a father. The doctors have concluded this; The exercise I gave my arm and hand from playing guitar, drums, and piano, saved my arm and rapidly increased the healing process. My arm will never be "normal" but I have it at least. What is the old saying? "When life hands you lemons, call someone to come over with a bottle of tequilla."hahaha

As you well know, all persons' ability to heal and withstand pain are different. So for me personally I play a minimum of 4 hours every single day, more often than not a lot more than 4 hours. Sure I have arthritis and physical pain but I can tolerate it and deal with it. It's a small price to pay for the pure happiness and elation it brings to my family and our lives. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE!!!! So live, play guitar, be happy, then rest the final rest with a soul full of music!!

Great topic Leiven, your hard work and research in this field is greatly appreciated.

Peace and Guitars,

Give everything but up.

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

django rhienhart a legendary jazz guitarist, he is honored anually at a festival in France to this day. In a fire he lost the use of his pointer finger. he simply taught himself to play with 4 fingers. his hardcore (guitar playing) fans are known to tape up  thier pointer so that they play the same way he did. so yes there is hope. determination is I would focus on

what a long strange trip it's been

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

SouthPaw - that is an incredible story. I could not imagine having to switch from playing from right handed to left handed. For you to go through that and make it as a professional musician is inspirational. I'll think of your commitment next time I struggle to hit that chord that I'm fighting with.

The power of music never ceases to amaze me. Ray Charles comes to mind - what he had to fight through. He became an icon. I saw him live many years ago - free show at a state fair - it gave me chills, near to tears. Music comes from your soul, your fingers are only playing along.

Best of luck to you rgross. I have a feeling that you will overcome this.

Rule No. 1 - If it sounds good - it is good!

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

Thanks Topdown,
It was a difficult, trying time but adversity defines  people we become as adults. It also tests one's commitment and love for their inner most passion and aside from my family there is nothing on or in this universe more important to me than music.

Don't give up, you can overcome your current situation. Again, I'll be glad to offer some assistance if you want it. Good luck.......

Peace and Guitars,

Give everything but up.

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

This is rgross and this is about my pinky loss so many positive vibes. All I can say is thanks your stories and uplifting encouregement was real man thanks

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

Also, Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath lost his fretting fingertips and Def Leppard's drummer lost an arm in a car crash but still plays for them cool

I'm the son of rage and love

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

You just got to admire this guy … re=related
I guess it means if there's a will there's a way

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

I broke my left ring finger badly playing cricket, steel pins in it etc to fix it so now it doesnt bend at the first joint, so no barre chords, well a very ordinary B is about it, but fortunately all the music I like uses open chords so fine by me. As Clint Eastwood said- " Improvise , Adapt , Overcome !" smile

A five yr old could understand this. Somebody fetch a five yr old !
Groucho Marx

10 (edited by Zurf 2008-01-10 02:52:27)

Re: lost the use of my pinky on my chord hand

A couple of years ago I smashed my ring finger with a hammer while doing some framing work.  (house framing, not picture)  It splintered the bone.  I was big into bass then, and it just hurt too much to play for about three months.  When I started playing, I noticed that the finger didn't bend properly.  It took a long time, but I finally got it working.  Winds up when I had the X-rays that the middle finger was smashed too.  I just didn't notice because the ring finger hurt so bad.  The X-ray tech had to tell me the middle finger was broken.  It worked out.

About a month or so ago, the pinky finger on my left hand went numb.  Actually tingly, but I couldn't tell if I was pressing a string or not.  So, I just learned how to control it without feeling it move.  Kind of wierd, but it works.  If a chord sounds fuzzy, I know its the pinky so I fix it.  Feeling comes and goes now.  Some kind of nerve damage probably.    Anyway, it can be done.  It isn't even all that hard. 

- Zurf

Granted B chord amnesty by King of the Mutants (Long live the king).
If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome! - Mekidsmom
When in doubt ... hats. - B.G. Dude