How to Play Guitar with Arthritic Hands or Fingers, ‘re interested in trying out slide playing, here’s an inexpensive slide starter pack available on Amazon. Try a deep heat muscle rub, or soak your hands in hot water. I had arthritis in both of my hands and not only couldnt play the guitar, but doing dishes and other kinds of housework were miserable. Check Out The Best Electric Guitars for Smaller Hands Below: 1. Yeah, I'm going to go with that as my advice. Arthritis is a general term for chronic swelling in the joints. As with any chronic pain condition, it’s important to listen to your body and not push too far. It happens when the cartilage between bones wear down. I'm so happy I found it. That will make it easier to curl your hand around the guitar when you play. I already tune down a half step, full step, two full steps, etc., depending on the song I'm recording. I have bad carpal tunnel. Osteoarthritis (OA) is degenerative. If you are an acoustic player, investigating silk and steel strings may also be worth your time. Just a friendly reminder that political discussion, (including "offhand" and 'sideways' commenting) is. Tension in the back or legs can create tension in other areas of the body, so good posture is important. If you are a guitar player with small hands that like Nirvana, you’re in luck! It is possible to play guitar with arthritis in your hands and fingers with the right tools. OM also sounds good, or other size variants, but I can't say I'm familiar with the various scales. Start out right with the best beginner electric guitars; You can't go wrong with the best electric guitars under $500; How low can you go with the best 8-string guitars; Go unplugged with the best acoustic guitars for all budgets; Best electric guitars: Our top picks. • Whether you are an electric or acoustic player, lighter-gauge strings will be easier on your hands. Learn more about the causes, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, home remedies, and prevention of hand osteoarthritis. Sweetguitartones.com will soon be a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. • Slide playing may be easier for you to play for a longer duration, since there is less movement of individual fingers and no fretting of notes is required. I purchased this for my daughter in law who had stopped playing guitar because of severe rheumatoid arthritis in her hands. You need an account to post a reply. Daisy Rock Guitars was founded on the idea that small-handed guitarists did not have representation in the guitar manufacturing market. Thanks for visiting Sweet Guitar Tones! The maple 9.5 inch, C-shaped neck and fingerboard with tall, narrow frets, is ideal for small hands. It sounds weird, but she swears it keeps the arthritis in her hands at bay. It works, she is thrilled. Arthritis in the hands is the most common type of arthritis. When the joints of the hand or wrist are affected by inflammation, we refer to it as arthritis, or osteoarthritis due to wear and tear. Playing Guitar with Arthritis The Pain-Free Way to Learn Guitar Chords Playing guitar with arthritis used to be unheard of until ChordBuddy came around. This 3/4 size guitar is a fantastic option for those with small hands. GP means Grand Performance. Thanks, but I write country songs and they need real steel stringed acoustics. As always, it is important to play with proper form, and stretching, to prevent other kinds of injuries and joint damage. The low action makes this one the undisputed choice as the best guitar for small hands. Initially I wasn’t sure either if I’m completely honest. The two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Thank you very much for the reply concerning a guitar for small and arthritic hands. It felt like my hand was on fire. If you are successfully controlling the arthritis so you can still chop an onion or change a plug, time practising the guitar is a small price.” Don Hurley. In this case, an occupational therapist may be helpful as well. OA is often caused by aging, but people can develop it when they have certain kinds of injuries, or when they carry excess weight. Far less tension on the strings and a lot of lower cost guitars sound fantastic when you tune them down. 5 meaning the 5th tier and lowest expense. Shorter scale will help, too (I was shopping Epiphones, between the Gibby copies and the 'originals', many variations exist among similar models, including scale). If you have found guitar playing to be needlessly frustrating, you need to look at this one. It too is pretty small and has a relatively small shallow neck. Use a Thumb Pick. • Make sure your guitar is well set-up. It typically causes stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion. If you’re unfamiliar with what a set-up is, check out my post Demystifying the Guitar Setup With Tips From a Luthier for more information. If it helps you play longer, it would be worth the investment.). If you‘re interested in trying out slide playing, here’s an inexpensive slide starter pack available on Amazon. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Need easy action acoustic for arthritis hands, Already have an account? On acoustic, what has made all the difference for me was the right choice of strings. Pick a comfortable chair to sit in and try to play ... 2. A very inexpensive price to bring a smile to someone you love. And some people are just genetically predisposed to it so they may develop AO without injuries or excess weight. One last point. Hand and finger exercises can help strengthen your hands and fingers, increase your range of motion, and give you pain relief. Arthritis can also keep older people who want to start playing guitar from jumping in. First off, if your arthritis is minor, or in the early stages, playing guitar may actually help. This got me thinking about the impact of arthritis on guitar players. A professional can make sure your action is as low as possible and may be able to suggest additional modifications. There is no need to rush. They make some of the best guitars in the world that are specifically for people with small hands, mostly women and girls. Squier Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster. Swollen fingers, joint inflammation, stiffness and […] Thanks ever so much to Tom, Leslie and Chuck for your contributions. You may need to practice for shorter amounts of time, or take stretch breaks. This Squier... 2. The remaining three digits are painful and becoming less achievable. Here are a few modifications you can try that have worked for others. I am 71 and also have bad arthritis. I’ve never personally used one, but I came across glowing recommendations for the Hufschmid Drop plectrum as I researched this post. All things considered, there are a number of things which any 'good' guitar, at any price point, will nail. I wish you many more happy years of playing guitar and don’t forget that cherry juice!! I'm a professional pianist/organist, and I can't afford to have a lot of pain in my thumbs. Zager Easy Play Custom Guitars were designed for players with hand problems. Disclaimer: This post is intended as general information. You might find that short scale guitars better accommodate your condition. Why don't you just tune down a half step? Slower playing is easier on your hands and wrists. I have one and it is the easiest playing guitar that I own- and it sounds great too. • When you play, sit in a comfortable, ergonomic position. This causes inflammation and pain. The built-in chromatic tuner makes this super easy which is perfect especially for beginners (but I mean, who doesn’t cheat and use a tuner when it’s on hand?). There is no evidence that playing an instrument makes a person any more likely to get arthritis. If it doesn't last I will get another one. It sounds weird, but she swears it keeps the arthritis in her hands at bay. I'd also say a good set up goes a long way, and using the lightest strings you can will help a lot, too. As my arthritis has progressed my guitar playing has become more problematic, and is becoming impossible. Ready to find the right guitar for your small hands? I created this site to help answer those questions that we all have as players, but have had a hard time finding answers for. The good news is that if your arthritis isn’t too advanced, there are lots of ways to modify your playing so it’s more comfortable. The strings are really low action, much more like an electric, although it is a nylon of course. Best Budget: Pnrskter Hand Grip and Finger Strengthener at Amazon "Equipped with three resistance levels, this hand grip strengthens both the fingers and wrist." Design. A hands-on choice. This site will also participate in other affiliate programs and will be compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. My dad suffers from rheumatoid arthritis quite badly, particularly in his hands and he wasn’t sure whether he’d able to play or not. I’m Nate Hastings. I have arthritis in both hands, but mainly had pain in my fretting hand. Our simplified method makes it even easier to play guitar with severe arthritis. $750 for a used Taylor, good setup with silk-and-steel strings, and Bob's your uncle. So what exactly is arthritis, anyway? We’ll start off this list with a real classic, Squier by Fender. Frequent, low-impact movement has been shown in study after study to improve flexibility and strength. Many open/”cowboy” chords are easier on the hands and require less pressure from fewer fingers. Some examples include playing with a capo, adjusting the action of your strings so it’s lower, using lighter strings, using alternative tunings, and playing slide guitar. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is pretty much designed for population control and big business profiteering from your misfortune. Make sure that you warm-up and stretch your hand before playing. One of the reasons Taylors are so popular is that they feel more like an electric than a flattop. People who think playing guitar causes arthritis may be confusing arthritis with carpal tunnel or tendonitis. This site is owned and operated by Nate and Jenn Hastings. I play electric, if you can call it that, and my last one came with 008s on it. (Believe it or not, some guitarists with arthritis have found a lot of benefit from hot paraffin treatments at the spa!) I think what you need is a really good setup rather than any specific model of guitar. Maybe the bolt-on neck makes that setup possible, or maybe it's something else. If you’d like a guitar teacher but you’re not sure how to find one, check out my post on finding a teacher. When you buy products through links across our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. I have slight arthritis in the hands and recently picked up a Mahogany Ibanez AC-2040.It has a 45mm nut,great for fingerpicking is extremely light and wonderful tone.If you get the chance...try one out. Hey there! The crucial thing is to keep playing if you can. Painful hands. • Play around with the tuning. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered. • Move away from full barre chords if your playing style doesn’t absolutely depend on it. Crossing over, and just turning pages is sometimes very difficult. This beautiful low action guitar has a unique Koa that highlights the spruce top with matte finish. Some people have said it's not durable, but I don't care. It occurs as a result of the breakdown of the cartilage that support the bone structure. In order to make this guitar sound its best, you need to tune it, of course. Stretch only until you feel tightness. My electrics are never a problem, but sometimes a regular acoustic is a bit much. It’s full of great advice whether you’re looking for a teacher for your yourself or for someone you care about. The guitar is very small and is electric-acoustic. • Play with a straight wrist. Play More Comfortably. Arthritis wears away at the cartilage of a joint, which is the cushioning material between bones.. (Yes, it’s expensive for a pick, but it’s handmade in Switzerland. This got me thinking about the impact of arthritis on guitar players. RA can affect a lot of different joints, such as the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, and ankles. With arthritis, cold and humidity are not your friends. It’s especially common in the hands, hips, and knees. Create the Right Environment. In the 500 range, seagull makes some very nice sounding, easy playing guitars, and you'd have money left over for a good set up. Musicians get arthritis, just like the rest of us. I haven't dealt with many of their acoustic models, but the quality...I've never heard a single complaint. 3. The “No pain, no gain” mantra may work for marathoners who need to keep running through aches and cramps, but it is a terrible approach to arthritis. Try lighter strings and see how it sounds. If you need help with any of these modifications, find a guitar teacher who has a lot of experience with adult students. That's a fatter C-shape neck but not incredibly huge (0.860 at 1st fret, 0.960 at 12th fret). The 5 Best Guitars For Small Hands. To say that this guitar stands out in a crowd is an understatement. Sweetguitartones.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. What works for you will depend on a lot of factors, including the severity of your arthritis and whether it affects your fretting hand or your picking hand (or both). Thats why I mentioned my 00016. Most problems relate to the fret hand and wrist (i.e. But, it seems possible to make them easier to play than most other flattops. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease similar to lupus. In addition to being a guitar player, I am also a photographer. • If you’re not a speed player already, this isn’t the time to become a disciple of Steve Vai. Do stretches and scales before you play full songs. Yamaha APXT2EW . Using this system makes it easy to learn guitar chords and begin playing your favorite songs despite the pain that comes with arthritis. • Try to play a guitar that has a large neck. I can no longer bend my index finger on my left hand so basic chords like C and G are impossible. 5. • Play a guitar with a larger neck, like a Les Paul. I second the Ibanez recco, great brand for the dollars and famous for fast necks. C stands for “cutaway”.PA stands for Performing Artist. 1. I’m not a doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV. Suffering from arthritis as a guitarist can really make things difficult with your career as a professional musician. Due to the systemic nature of the disease, RA can also impact the lungs, heart, and other organs of the body. Please consult an actual doctor for medical advice. I have slight arthritis in the hands and recently picked up a Mahogany Ibanez AC-2040.It has a 45mm nut,great for fingerpicking is extremely light and wonderful tone.If you get the chance...try one out. With that said, many boys and men can enjoy playing Daisy Rock guitars too, as many of them have a neutral look. Try open chord tunings or other alternative tunings that will allow you to take advantage of open strings. It won't matter what kind of guitar it is if the setup isn't perfect. • Try alternative picks that are specifically designed for folks with grip problems, like a thumb pick. With RA the joints are actually healthy, but the immune system attacks them as if they were a threat. If you have pain or stiffness, you may benefit from heat therapy (to … Whether you’re spending too much time on your computer or phone, are looking for relief from carpal tunnel or arthritis symptoms, or simply want to include hand massages as part of your routine, there are plenty of different types of hand massagers to soothe and relieve muscle tension in your arms and hands. For a serious guitarist, arthritis in the hands or fingers can be physically and emotionally devastating. When it's really painful, I'll play with a capo, or occasionally switch to silk and steel strings. All photographs are mine unless another photographer is credited. • If you can, keep your environment warm and dry. This site is owned and operated by Nate and Jenn Hastings. In middle school my friends and I were fortunate enough to have a music teacher who taught us by day and played the clubs of Boston by night. To make this easier, try holding the guitar in more of a classical position. I find it very comfy to play on for hours. I played a full sized guitar yesterday for just 10 minutes, and my left thumb is aching today. 4. I know a man around the age of 50 who has been a carpenter his whole life. This can cause inflammation and … Thanks to him, we had School of Rock long before Jack Black was a household name. Playing related pain is very common in guitarists though and occurs in between 70% and 80% of them. Arthritis Treatment For Guitar Players. the left for most players), low back and neck. My wife’s 90-year-old grandmother has been drinking a glass of black cherry juice every morning for several decades now. Legal Info: Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar NOS. “K” means Koa pattern. Click here to login, The ability to reply to and create new discussions, Access to members-only giveaways & competitions, Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As, Access to members-only sub forum discussions, Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio, Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free. If you are a speed player, or have always wanted to become one, proceed with caution and make sure you are warming up properly. Well, most people say you can’t go wrong with a Martin and in this case, most people are right. Its gonna be the set up as has been mentioned that will make it easier though. Make a Fist. When you need to track an acoustic you can't use an electric. Since we use our hands and fingers in most activities, arthritis in the hands can be a cause of discomfort and uneasiness. Many of my students tell me that the physical act of playing guitar, and exercising the joints of the hands, fingers and wrists, have made improvements to their condition. • Where you’re fretting your notes can make a big difference in the amount of strength it takes to get a clean note. Arthritis can also keep older people who want to start playing guitar from jumping in. You could also try tuning your guitar a step (or two) down. Last edited by Macky; 17th May 2016 at 08:36 AM.. I might look at something like the MFG 000-18GE 12 fret. Change Your Tuning. There is no cure for arthritis, but lots of people find that regularly playing guitar helps them manage their arthritis pain long-term. There are plenty of ways to treat hand and wrist pain. The size and thickness of your hands and, especially, your fingers, play a crucial role in determining the type of neck that's best suited for you. The easiest guitar I have found to play is the Epiphone Humingbird Pro with 12 gauge light stings. And yet, bassists with small hands sometimes play tree trunks and guitarists with huge hands often choose the slimmest necks. If osteoarthritis is causing you pain and you are not in the market for a new guitar, you might choose to speak to an occupational therapist (OT), particularly one who specialises in hands. Best Overall: GRM Hand Grip Strengthener Counting Forearm Trainer Workout Kit at Amazon "Ideal for daily exercises, this workout kit accommodates various strength levels and treats both arthritis and hand injuries." You will find that this model will provide you with a true and reliable tone. If you don’t have a capo I’m a big fan of this one which you can find on Amazon. However, the distance between the frets is the same as for a regular sized electric guitar, which means the scale is the same and the frets are spaced the same distance apart. I suffer from erosive osteoarthritis of the fingers and am coming up on 50 years as a guitarist. • Some luthiers are making instruments specifically for folks who are having trouble playing stock models. Not sure if there are steel string ones too. Hand osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in your joints. I live in New Hampshire with my wife, our twin toddlers, and our shaggy dog. The regular 000-18GE is also very easy on the fretting hand. Such guitars make is easier for a player to curl hands around the guitar while playing. I have a no name Japanese classical I use when my hands hurt. Keith Richards has osteoarthritis in his hands, but he could have developed the condition due to age or genetics without ever picking up a guitar. 10 Tools and Tips for Playing Guitar with Arthritis. Use a Capo. As an example, check out the Zager Easy Play. While some are able to handle a mild degree of discomfort, arthritis in the hands is frequently more than a fleeting annoyance, and it can even lead to hand … Les Paul himself played guitar with arthritis for 50 years! I agree 100% on the setup. This may complicate playing with others, but if everyone is aware of your tuning they can accommodate you. • If your repertoire consists of many songs that have a mix of barre and open chords, investigate if using a capo will allow you to play those songs in the same key without using the barre chords. The object is to keep the hands working so this piece will do the business just as well as the next one or the one after. You should try a flamenco guitar! In many situations, yes! The best pill-free treatment for arthritis in hands depends on your symptoms. I hope you have found this information helpful. • Warm up before you play, both figuratively and literally. If your hands were identical to mine then you would likely enjoy the Warmoth '59 Roundback carve. I’ve been playing guitar for 25 years. For a serious guitarist, arthritis in the hands or fingers can be physically and emotionally devastating. Here’s a list of the top 5 guitars currently on the market that were practically made for you. The closer to the fret your finger is, the less pressure you need to use. RA is more variable than OA, and typically involves flares followed by periods of remission. As with most things, your mileage may vary.
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