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Thumb Osteoarthritis


thumb osteoarthritis: Had this in both thumbs for about 3 or 4 years. Until last year it never interfered with my guitar playing. Now it does.

Now I cant use the thumb-over-the-top technique to fret the bass E. I use it a lot in fingerstyle. The thumb just doesnt bend enough anymore, and if I try it hurts too much anyway.

For soloing and band work. I only discovered yesterday how I minimise thumb use.

Normally the thumb grips the back of the neck when the fingers press down on the fingerboard. This became severely painful and I didnt know how I was overcoming it.

Now Ive noticed that the missing thumb support is replaced by the elbow of the picking arm (right arm). My right elbow uses the entire guitar as a lever with my body acting as the fulcrum. So by pushing the guitar body backwards, the neck wants to swing forward, and providing enough support to enable my fingers to fret properly. All the while, my left thumb is doing almost nothing.

Theres nothing I can do about the 'thumb-over-the-top' thing though. Maybe re-arrange some fingering? Probably not but I'll try it on a couple of rags and see what might be done.

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Ok thanks Les,


Yes the left arm's fingers apply pressure against the fretboard, which would just force the neck backward without support. So the right elbow assist is quite useful. 

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