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Thread: Aching left thumb knuckles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Bonita, CA
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    Default Aching left thumb knuckles

    Relatively new Uke player here, but long-time musician (jazz trumpet). Uke is the first stringed instrument that I would admit to knowing how to play.

    It doesn't take very long (20 minutes) before my left thumb really starts to ache.

    I can't tell if I am gripping the back of the neck too tightly (I'm trying to be aware of the minimal grip needed), or I could have some arthritic activity going on from holding my trumpet in my left hand for years (I'm in my 50's), or maybe it's something that will get better as I play longer (like developing calluses)?

    Maybe it's all 3?
    Jamie T.
    Bonita, Calif.

  2. #2
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    Springfield, IL
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    Default

    What brand and size of uke are you playing, Jamie?

  3. #3
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    Sep 2013
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    Los Angeles, near the Beverly Center.
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    Default

    I played guitar for almost 50 years, then I started playing ukulele a little over 5 years ago and never had a problem with an aching thumb, but last week when I bought a used Fluke, my thumb started to ache after playing it about 1/2 an hour. I'm looking at two possibilities, one, the body is ABS and rounded on the edges, which allows the uke to rotate towards me a bit and makes it a little cumbersome to hold my fingers and thumb in a comfortable position, or two, the neck is thicker than any of my other ukes, which seems to put more pressure on my thumb.

    I'm trying to decide if it's worth either shaving the neck to thin it some, add some kind of piece to the side that prevents it from rotating, or just sell it and buy something else as a beater uke.


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  4. #4
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    Dec 2018
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    Bonita, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Sheehan View Post
    What brand and size of uke are you playing, Jamie?
    I'm playing a KoAloha Tenor, and I have big-ish hands.
    Jamie T.
    Bonita, Calif.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2018
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    Bonita, CA
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    I'm going to start paying closer attention to what my thumb is doing... I think I may also be gripping too hard on chords that don't need it.
    Jamie T.
    Bonita, Calif.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
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    Default

    Another possibility is the "A" word. That's what happens to my arthritic thumb after a few minutes of playing, particularly with lots of bar chords

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Maryland, USA
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    Default

    I'm a trumpet player too, who took to his first stringed instrument, ukulele, a little more than a year ago. Part of the pain your feeling is from pressing to hard. Remember your thumb is supporting the chord playing fingers, so only apply as much pressure as to stabilize the uke, and to prevent buzzing.
    Don't forget that Uke'n do it!
    Check out my Ukulele YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvG...7AmdP6rUzbWrzg
    Road work ahead? Well I sure hope it does.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
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    Jamie, if you have other ukuleles does it hurt to play them?
    LACole
    Laurie Ann Cole

    Northern UK20 Concert Mahogany GCEA Aquila Lava
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  9. #9
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    Dec 2018
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    Bonita, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Music View Post
    I'm a trumpet player too, who took to his first stringed instrument, ukulele, a little more than a year ago. Part of the pain your feeling is from pressing to hard. Remember your thumb is supporting the chord playing fingers, so only apply as much pressure as to stabilize the uke, and to prevent buzzing.
    Wow a fellow trumpet-to-ukulele musician? What are the odds? You would understand then that I might be gripping with my left thumb as if I was holding a trumpet. You are quite right.
    Jamie T.
    Bonita, Calif.

  10. #10
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    Dec 2018
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    Bonita, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacole View Post
    Jamie, if you have other ukuleles does it hurt to play them?
    Thank you. It pretty much hurts no matter what I play. I have a 1920's Soprano Banjo Ukulele, a cheapish concert, and recently treated myself to a KoAloha Tenor. I haven't noticed that one causes pain any more than another.
    Jamie T.
    Bonita, Calif.

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