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Thread: Arthritis - chords vs finger style

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2019


    I have osteoarthritis in my hands with my fretting hand worst.

    I now have problems playing chords on my guitar since my fingers just do not bend like they used to.

    I have tenor ukes and some chords are a bit if a stretch, but I did try Soprano and Concert sized ukes before I settled on buying my tenors. With the Soprano and Concert there just is not enough room for me to fret notes cleanly but the tenor is the best fit for me.

    So play as many as you can and decide which is best for you.

    Finger picking will add an extra dimension so I suggest playing all types.

    I have a Risa ST solid electric uke that I play with a pick and treat it as a mini Stratocaster guitar, its fun to play via my mini pedal board and amp.
    From the UK with a bad case of MIAS.
    Korg PA700, Korg Kross 2, Gibson LP, Fender Jazz Bass,
    + Amps, PA, Boss GT100, mixer.
    Ukes - Kala KA-TEME and Risa ST electric solid body.
    Uke wish list, a Bass, make and model yet to be determined

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Zacatecas, Mexico


    Quote Originally Posted by kypfer View Post
    I suffer from arthritis in my fretting hand. I also play guitar, mandolin, banjo and a variety of ukuleles (+ other stuff) ... my most "comfortable" stringed instrument? ... my Antoria "J200 copy", a "jumbo" six-string guitar with steel strings, then my five-string banjo!

    For me, it's all about comfortable playing position and my ukuleles, especially the smaller ones, are just too cramped to be comfortable, as much as I like the sound they make
    That is interesting. So for you the playing position of a full guitar offsets the string tension issue. I think I may be leaning toward a semi-acoustic to get the position advantage combined with potential amplification advantage. Plus it would have at least some volume unplugged. Thanks for the info.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    West Virginia


    I have hand and shoulder issues and take prescription Nabumetone.

    Warm-ups are a must - there are several good options on YouTube, but i really like the Mike Lynch ones. Practicing in little sessions every day (under an hour at a time) also helps.

    I need straps, even if it is just a ribbon around the body and tied to the headstock.

    Sopranos work for me. If playing a tenor or baritone, I hold it nearly upright. I like the string tension with Martin strings and D'Adarrio Titanium strings.

    I prefer fingerstyle for myself, but do practice and play in a weekly group that is mostly chord playing.
    Last edited by actadh; 08-24-2019 at 07:01 PM.
    - Laura

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2019


    Quote Originally Posted by Donblanco View Post
    So far chords are difficult in normal beginner ways. But some are also painful, As in like old fingers with early arthritis symptoms. So I am wondering what my options are.

    1 - magic position that will avoid all pain? - there is no magic to it.
    2 - Different size instrument or strings? - doubt that. Vinyl string is easier on the fingers, and ukuleles have a smaller neck.
    3 - electric? - for what? What kind of instrument?
    4 - Mandolin or guitar? - guitar will require more strength and never touched a mandolin but IMHO just guessing I would think vinyl string ukulele is easier on the fingers.
    5 - non-string instrument? - that is an option. I was messing with the harmonica and it is a lot of fun. The best achievement is when you figure out how to bend notes.

    Or just practice more...maybe. But physical challenges are sometimes telling you something like see a doctor.
    My replies are within the quote

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