The key to finger strength that is tried and true:
Learning to play on a shitty (action) acoustic with heavy strings. By the time you get 1/2 good on that old POS spruce and maple boat anchor....... grab a real guitar and youll instantly be inspired by the ease in which you can play.
Post by zippotragedy on Jan 6, 2008 4:43:37 GMT -5
I only started playing guitar recently (3 mos). Was a drummer for a long, long time before I had an accident to my L wrist
I didn't believe that I was ever going to be able to play guitar - simply (theoretically impossible when you can't feel your fingers or hand) - let's not even get into the whole finger movement thing.
About 20 years ago I was installing a huge storm window - sliced through all my tendons in my left wrist. Lost Ulner nerve, Median nerve, arteries, cut every tendor except my pinkie (go figure). I have no feeling in any of my palm or fingers (top part only) - literally dead. Emergency surgery was something like 6+ hours, and then follow-up surgery 3 months later to clean up scar tissue build-up (impeeded tendon slide) and to try to attemp a nerve repair under microscopic surgery. I spent 6 months in a cast/splint, and years adapting to my new disability. To this day when it gets cold my hand still turns blue - blood drawn to head (extracted from extremeties) and no return path cause the pumpers aren't there.
The good news is that when I was building up callouses it worked out brilliantly - no pain, no pain. Haha.
When I first started playing guitar 3 months ago, imagine playing guitar and not feeling your left hand touching the neck in any way. I was just really having a lot of fun with my BadMotorFinger - in this case arguably not so bad - but it was all about having fun, and that keeps me stoked about playing every day. 3 Months into it and I cook off 2-3 hours nightly noodling on the couch (after working, family, wife, etc.). I'm not interested in gigging or joing a band right now, but I'm getting better every week. I know that I am wicked fast in my picking hand - and my left is slowly starting to catch up. That's exciting. I've learned all of the neat trick - don;t do them all so well, but still practicing them. My one problem is with tremolo with heavy strings NOT using an actual Trem, but rubbing the fretted string for that resonance. With the beefier strings it creates a huge chanllenge.
I have gone back / forth on string gauges - basically the most headway that I *felt* like I made was using 9's. Now that I've built up some good dexterity, I feel like I can experiment with heavier string gauges. At the end of the riff it's all about the tone - and 9's aren't going to get you there, even with some kick-ass kit.
My suggestions would be to pick up a second axe (or a third, haha) and string them differently. I've got a few guitars now - and I string my #1 Axe (w/Trem) with 10's (big diff over 9's), my #2 Axe (hardtail) with 11's (sweet tone - huge diff), and my #3 Axe with 9's (since I use that more for leads stuff). Granted I am probably an anomoly in terms of having multiple guitars as a new player - I go big or go home - but you could pick up even some little shit-bird used Axe for short money and string it up diffeently.
I also bought this nifty little finger exerciser from GC - actually I atribute that device with a lot of my improved finger dexterity (initially) - now it's about just picking a few simple things and doing them over and over - muscle memory 4TW.
S0... I play the inchworm (chromatics), keep plugging some minor Pentatonics, etc. My adaptation was that I realized that for the style of msic I am interested in double drop d tuning made good sense - power chords 4tw and barring them is a shit-ton easier than doing the big reach all the time - although NOW I can actually do that. Haha.
Let me assure you - if I can do it, you can also. Your mind/body will adapt to your limitations (whatever they are) and you'll improve. Just keep playing as much as possible.
Also, the great thing is that there are a lot of tools that you will employ that you may have not considered - they will enhance your playing style or help to compensate for it. High gain setups are your friend, as are delay, etc.
Stick with it mate - rippin music is The Source, and the more you can get up against that, the happier you'll be. If you're feeling bummed, just remember that losers talk about the reasons why shit can't happen - winners go home and fuck the Prom queen.
Cant play with anything lower or less than 10s.. 9s gives shitty tone, 11s is too much to shred them properly for me. BTW welcome to IG, it must suck major time to lose the ability to play the instrument you have been playing for years.