View Full Version : Perhaps I need Occupational Therapist for finguring problems?

Uke Whisperer
03-13-2011, 01:46 AM

Any Occupational Therapists "Ukers" out there? How about anyone that can help? (perhaps I need mental therapist)

I have relatively short but thick fingers. Yes, I'm having trouble reaching certain fret positions on many chords without effecting (touching) adjacent strings. Seems that I need to be able to bend (on command) my Top Knuckle on each individual finger of my left hand with minimal bending of the Middle or Base Knuckle on each finger (unless I choose to do so). My goal would be to keep my Base and Middle Segments nearly straight in-line and bend the Tip Segments down “approaching” 90 degrees (again, each individually and “on command”). Ukers do this on YouTube all the time. My wife can do it, but I can’t bend one down at all without substantially bending the Middle Knuckle at the same time! Interesting note: My wife said she learned to do it simply by “wishing” them to bend that way. That “wishing technique” hasn’t worked for me, nor have finger strengthening exercises found on the web.

Anyone know of specific exercises and/or any special gadgets/tools I could obtain for “training” my fingers to bend that way?

Thanks for any/all replies!

03-13-2011, 03:52 AM
I used to have issues with too big fingers and hitting adjacent strings.

2 things helped:
1. I moved to Tenor size, got practice and
2. Built decent calluses on my fingers which results in my fingers no longer "squishing" on the strings when I fret chords.

Now I can play easily on the Soprano and my fingers do not bend the way you describe. The max I can get is 45degrees on the first joint.

Basically, practice and your dexterity will develop to make your playing more precise and you will be able to hit the cords that seem impossible physically right now. Look at IZ, he had big fingers and played the Soprano beautifully. :) One thing I figured out as well was not putting too much pressure when fretting notes. There is a right amount to get a clear note. Someone said on these forums that a trick is to look at your nails when you do a chord. If your nails turn white, you are pressing too hard.

Hope this helps.

03-13-2011, 03:54 AM
Aside from practice, practice, practice, the best thing you can do is get a squeeze-ball and strengthen your fingers with it. Sometimes sold as tension or stress toys, they're great for keeping up dexterity.

03-13-2011, 04:15 AM

it might help your tiping too :)

03-13-2011, 04:54 AM
ichadwick mentioned my advise. practise and then more practise. I would recommend changing to tenor as well. I have issues with a soprano. I can play it but not nearly as comfortable as my tenors.

Uke Whisperer
03-13-2011, 06:15 AM
Thanks for suggestions /comments so far. I'll definitely "keep on keeping on" with practicing, strengthning exercising, mentioned! I can control each finger individually and seem to play chords that I can reach. My frustration is that when I try to bend the tip of my fingers downward, the middle joint bends a lot before the tip, which causes a half inch, or more, shortning of the finger reach I do have.

Again, I will continue my hour+ practice sessions (3 or 4 sessions a day). Can't "not get there", I'm expecting to receive 3rd Uke tomorrow! "I will overcome!"


03-13-2011, 06:24 AM
It's all practice, really. Aldrine's Uke Minutes on this is really good. I won't recommend a tenor though. I'd go with a concert.
I play a tenor neck. I can't reach as far on it as I can on a concert. If I tried a soprano I could probably reach farther.

mm stan
03-13-2011, 05:56 PM
Aloha Uncle Tom,
Some people have the natural dexerity, for me it took a couple years to develop that bending of the first joint...guess my fingers are a slow learner...Just keep plugging along and hopefully one day it will come along.. there is no shortcuts with this...practice other things in the meantime new chords and smooth transistions on your chord progressions...since the soprano has a smaller fretboard, for me it was easier...
everyone may be different....as you get better and more comfortable and confident you can move up a size to concert...I hope it helps, Happy Strummings..Good Luck!! MM Stan

03-14-2011, 01:08 PM
it might help your tiping too :)

You mean tipping? Taiping?