I have been “learning” guitar for almost 20 years and still can’t play. In other words, I had the habit of playing and practicing for a few months and then would quit for a year or 2.
Recently, I’ve had the desire to actually focus on learning to play guitar. And this is where my request for some insight comes from.
in June of 2019, I had an accident and lost the tips of my middle and ring fingers of my left (fretting) hand at the first knuckle. The residuum of the amputation is very sensitive and putting a lot of pressure on a string is “uncomfortable” to say the least. Also, the fingers are not nearly as dexterous as they used to be. So, I foresee both pain and struggle in my future if I go down this road.
I need some help in determining what kind of guitar to play. I would prefer acoustic but the pressure it takes to fret a string is more than it is on an electric. I’ve recently stumbled across Fender’s Acoustasonic and it seems like something that would play like an electric but give me the option to play acoustically. The problem is that it is more than 10x the price of what I’m able to pay afford.
Are there other similar options that are affordable? If not, what would you suggest?
That is every guitarist nightmare. Reading your story I wonder if you have thought about learning as a lefty. Considering that you would have to go through so much discomfort anyway the idea is maybe not as mad as it seems. Justin even has a couple of course modules where he learns to play lefthanded from scratch in order to better understand the beginner point of view. Justin’s Left handed course I think it would be worth googling the idea to see if others have succeeded and what there experience was. What ever you decide I wish you luck.
I injured my middle finger in a power tool accident and had it bandaged and too painful to play / fret the guitar for several months. I played slide guitar on my acoustic with open tunings during that time. I had the setup of it changed slightly with a little higher action and heavier guage strings. Lots of lessons all over youtube on playing slide guitar. I found i liked the porcelain slide sound better than the brass or glass ones.
I also like the advice you got above about considering changing hands.
At first, the idea to play left handed may seem a little weird. But maybe it’s worth a try? I remember that there is someone here in the community who’s relearning left handed. Can’t remember who it was, but maybe he can share his experiences with you?
Hello. I am a former right hand player of 40 years. A few years ago I had a left hand pinky injury that left it permanently disfigured and pretty useless. I stopped playing altogether. I was pretty gutted…
10 months ago I decided to start over as a lefty (I am naturally left-handed but learned righty when young). It has been difficult and frustrating, especially the first few months. However, I am SO GLAD I did this.
I have followed Justin’s course from Beginner Grade 1 and now in Grade 3. I will likely never “catch up” to my old self but I had to get that mentality out of my head. I love picking up the guitar and just playing it. That is all that really matters
Good luck on your journey. Glad to help in any way.
Hello and welcome to the Community! I think that @Helen0609 might be a good option to consider and I’m aware that it might seem more difficult than it could be. Also Nylon strings could be an easier start and then see how you go.
I have both, a 12-string acoustic and a Fender Squire Strat. I find that as far as far as fretting finger pressure, the Strat does require a little less than the acoustic, but the trade-off is that the Strat is significantly heavier than the 12-string.
Hollow or semi-hollow electrics are lighter than the solids.
Sorry to hear about your fingers. Have you considered learning to play left-handed?
That would solve the finger problem. I am naturally left-handed myself, but I’ve always played right-handed. As to diminished finger dexterity. Hey, it’s one of the scourges of getting old. I’m 75 and I have found that my fingers aren’t nearly as nimble as they used to be and I spend time trying to find work-arounds for things I used to be able to do easily.
I have arthritis and my fingers are twisted. I have an Epi 339 hollowbody. It’s light, it’s strung with extra light strings (which I have to be careful not to push out of tune sometimes when I’m fretting), It’s the easiest guitar to fret I’ve every had out of my Tele, my nylon string Cordoba, and my beloved Martin D-28. The tone is lovely. It works for acoustic songs and electric and jazz and… The lightness and balance of the guitar is very important when you are compensating for physical limitations. You can’t afford for it to get heavy and put your attention on the weight when you’re playing. Changing from left to right is going to have a new set of problems. Your strumming hand is more important that you fretting hand to the feel of your playing. Good luck.
Hello Seth and welcome to the community.
I am sorry that you are facing such a difficulty future trying to learn with the physical difficulties you describe.
You are correct about acoustic strings generally being more difficult to press. Note - the acoustasonic guitars are strung with acoustic strings - no difference between them and most other acoustics. So on those grounds plus the cost scratch them off your shopping list.
Learn to play left-handed - and you have already had a reply from someone in exactly that position. It is entirely possible. Many left handers learn right handed so why not the other way? Justin did it too!
Learn to play with alternate / open tunings. This will involve completely different chord shapes and a whole different way of approaching guitar but can mean you can play without the need for those two damaged fingers much or at all.
Learn with a hollow or semi-hollow electric with light gauge strings.
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide, Approved Teacher & Moderator
Lots of good advice given so far. About a year ago there was another thread started by @Helen0609 who had had a hand injury. Let me post my reply again, showing that even some very serious injuries can be “conquered”, so to say:
Seth, welcome to the community. Sorry to hear about your accident and your challenges playing the guitar. Ultimately, you may want to try to learn left-handed, but before that you might want go to a guitar shop and try out some student or beginner level nylon string and electric guitars. After a cheap acoustic, my first guitar was nylon string classical guitar that I used for playing folk/pop songs. You can’t get a lot of volume, but they are very easy to fret.