Forum - Banjo Ben Clark


well i never dreamt that i would ever be complaining about “arthritis” i suppose age just sneaks up on ya. well i’ve been playing (learning the open chords) guitar for a few weeks now, and i know that new chords etc are gonna make life a little difficult (pain wise) but playing out of “c” just kills my left hand finger joints!!! i remember a guitar playing buddy of mine complain about the the same thing years ago. so i was wondering if any of you guys have them same problem? i have no such problem when i play banjo, much slimmer neck i suppose. i do have a few lumps and bumps on my index finger joints perhaps i have the start of the dreaded “A” your thoughts please.


I’m there with you. I spent most of my life as a drummer. Because of the hours of playing I’ve had surgery on both wrists and now I think arthritis is developing in them. I’ve given up on the drums, left that for my son to carry on, and have since taken up the mandolin. I have to be very conscious of playing relaxed or will only be able to play a short time.
Maybe you need to try alternative chords until you find something that isn’t as painful. Good Luck!

Relax as much as possible when you fret your chords. Also, be careful that you’re relaxed if/when you slide up or down. Slides are harder on the finger joints than normal fretting.

If you don’t already do so, use coated strings. They’re easier to slide around on than uncoated strings. Get your guitar set up so the action is as low as possible, using the lightest string gauge that still works for you.

Playing in “c” is more difficult than playing in “G”, because you won’t be able to use as many open strings. So try to play as much as possible in the key of G. Relax!

Good advice form Julian. Only thing I would add is to make sure your not pushing down any harder than you have to. I remember when I started playing I pushed much harder than was necessary to make the notes and hurt my hands (and playing) quite badly because of it.

Some of the over the counter stuff works to a degree. glucosimine chrondoiten (spelling) is one that may help I use an infered light on my hands and it works . 850 nano hertz really fast has a red glow to it they sell them just for that . Vets are having great success with it I recommended it to my Vet and he bought a unit that cost $36,000 . Mine is home made and cost about 50 bucks to make, it is a 4 watt unit 2 to 3 minutes is all you want to leave it on . some of the new rubs are also good for that .

I feel your pain! (no pun intended) I broke my left hand pretty bad in my younger days and now at 51 ole Uncle Arthur pays a visit quiet often. Actually more in my hand than the fingers. A slimmer neck profile works best for me. I regrettably sold a wonderful Collings D2HA with a “vintage now” neck earlier this year because my hand would get so sore after an hour or so of playing. Still miss that guitar. I have small hands and a chunky neck just irritates the problem. Someone with bear paws might be better off with a bigger neck. Anyway, in my situation its all about finding the right neck profile.

Dang, just realized this is an old thread. Oh well…