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k0k0peli
07-03-2015, 09:22 PM
When we recently traveled the USA SouthWest and scoured music shops, my wife and I strolled into a store in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I strummed various instruments. When I got to an Alvarez tenor, she said, "That's mine." And so it is. And tonight was her first uke lesson.

She has carpal-tunnel from decades of computer keyboarding (we're retired software engineers). We've tried banjos, keyboard synths, various other instruments -- they all hurt. But she thinks the tenor 'uke is just the right size for a bit of hand rehabilitation.

She is not musically illiterate. She didn't take piano lessons from her mother but she sang in choirs, including solo work. She reads vocal music and has a basic grounding, but not of chord structures. Ah yes, the mysteries of tonic - relative minor - subdominant - dominant. Too many syllables!

Then the instrument lesson. First step: how to hold the beast, and use a Snark to bring the uke into tune. Second step: basic turnaround chords, C-Am-F-G7, very little movement of fretting fingers. (The guitarist Me must remember they're not G-Em-C-D7.) We sing a little doo-wop. Third step: basic thumb strum, then forefinger strum, then thumb+forefinger alteration, and finally a simple 3-finger picking. And then her thumb hurt and it was time to quit.

Has anyone else here used 'uke practice for physical rehab?

PhilUSAFRet
07-04-2015, 01:01 AM
Have to be careful though with hand position, using only enough fret hand/finger pressure as is necessary to get a clean note, etc. Can help or hurt hand.
I have had carpal tunnel and currently have problems with arthritis at the base of my thumbs. too much pressure just aggravates it. Good luck.

Doc_J
07-04-2015, 02:39 AM
Have to be careful though with hand position, using only enough fret hand/finger pressure as is necessary to get a clean note, etc. Can help or hurt hand.
I have had carpal tunnel and currently have problems with arthritis at the base of my thumbs. too much pressure just aggravates it. Good luck.

Phil, I've had the same issue with my thumb joints in both hands. I found that some neck shapes aggravate it more than others. A flatter and thinner neck profile worked pretty better with my left thumb. You're right less pressure is better too.

But playing the uke has improved my range of motion on an old fractured knuckle on my index finger.