I'm considering learning how to play guitar. Though I learned piano and brass instruments as a child and played through college, I've always loved guitar, from classical to reggae and ska.
Problem is, I've had an injury to my left ring finger - the tip got cut and the result is that last segment is is about half the normal length and the nail curves down. The pad is only really on the bottom, and the nail can act a bit like a hook (which doesn't seem like it would be great for playing guitar). Anyway, this isn't my finger but it looks quite similar to this: http://tinyurl.com/6ctdkwn
With a slightly non-romantic outlook (yes I've heard about Django's injury to his hand ), what is my guitar-learning prognosis? Everything else is pretty good - I have a good ear, and I proved to be pretty good at my other instruments. Just this potential mechanical issue.
Having a good ear helps. You don't want to be cutting any of that off?
The prognosis is good if you develop an average or better flexibility in all other joints of the left hand and can articulate it.
I have cut off the ends of both thumbs, and they grew back, and the end of my left (fingering) first digit. It only grew back partially, or maybe just smoothed itself over. I find that it is either highly innervated or damaged - well, it hurts, but still works. I had a friend who was a butcher - really, and didn't learn to play guitar or violin until he cut off three left fingers. I remember at least one had no joint, but didn't stare or look closely. Anyway, he compensated at the wrist and was flexible.
I think that the finger nail will get in the way and have to get shortened. I have a burned finger too with only half a nail.
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
I agree with Blue Jay, It can be done. And a good ear is a good start. You should probably consider trying slide guitar too. With a slide on your ring finger you would bypass your injury and If you like blues (of course, lots of genres can be played using a slide) that could be a great thing for you. But do not give up on conventional fretting either; players do seem to get around their mecahnical injuries. In fact, just learn some chord fingerings or scales and try it out -see if there is a way to make it work.
So the prognosis is bright, considering your musical horizon and your good ear.
I was totally freaked out about not being able to use the finger but I have just started to play and although I don't have a fullr ange of motion (and may never have it) I can do most things I could do before I broke it.
So I am going to persist and modify my playing if needed.
I would guess like Jason said if you are highly motivated you'll find a way to play with your limitation.
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!
He had to create his own playing style, and had to build some prosthetic "thimbles" to fret without pain, but he's done it.
So I looked like I was deep
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cnev wrote:I would guess like Jason said if you are highly motivated you'll find a way to play with your limitation.
There's only one major problem with learning anything and that's to lose your motivation. Almost every other difficulty can be overcome or compensated for in some way.
I use the little finger instead of the ring finger most of the time. Only real problem is when I bend the other fingers, the ring finger still sticks up or out, which can be misinterpreted with a fast look. Anyway, patience and substitution works fine for me, and I play solo for myself, and in a couple of groups performing for nursing homes and retirement homes, and actually for just about anyone who'll invite us! Make it sound good to yourself and it's more fun anyway. Cheers,
Now it's frozen as if I have just one long bone. I "point" at everything now.
I'm an excellent flat-picker and I actually thought of suicide after everything healed...seeing as my playing feeds me and is a great part of what I am...no...it's all I am. Other than my guitar, I'm an uneducated bum. It was a really bad trip for me, and, truthfully, I thought of checking out.
But now I'm back to where I was. It's like it never happened. I just had to retrain my "second nature" picking. Not easy...
All in all...I feel deeply for all our military that come back home maimed...wayyyyyyyy worse than me or you...resulting from helping ignorant savages that want all of us dead.
All good now, I'm glad to say. Spent today playing Santana solo's. Not quite like it never happened but better than I hoped.