View Full Version : Two Burnning Questions!

12-04-2003, 03:45 PM
I have to mention that since joining this site and subsequently reading the articles, I have had my best practices ever. As I have mentioned in my introduction, I play blues guitar and have been practicing like a mad man. I have put together a daily breackdown to get the most out of my playing. I have also set weekly and monthly goals for each category. The practice schedule is as follows:

Hour 1. Warm Up and Technique using Terrifying Technique
Hour 2. Blues Technique and Lick Training
Hour 3. Blues Rhythm Guitar
Hour 4. Ear Training
Hour 5. Guitar Theory
Hour 6. Weekly Lesson Review
Hour 7. Repertoire Training (After reading James' article on the subject I am quit certain I am in desperate need of this.)
Hour 8. Bending and Vibrato Work.

Time constraints may cause me to design a training split where each area gets hit once every other day. However, I have to practice a minimum of 5 hours daily. With that being stated, on to my question.

My question is two fold:

First, since I have been practicing so heavily my index finger has been killing me. Obviously, while playing the blues I frequently use bending and vibrato. It almost feels as if the muscles in the tip of my index finger is seperating from the nail. Immediately after practice the index finger remains quite sore. I'm currently using light strings 11 gauge (d'addario). Any suggestions on the reordering of my practice schedule that may limit the beating my fingers are taking? Any suggestions on hand care? I'm not certain if there is a connection, but I use my left hand to apply moisturizing lotion on my body and face twice a day due to my skin texture. I also have a weird habbit of washing my hands quite often. I will, however, wait at least 15 minutes before playing guitar after washing my hands. I think this may prevent me from having rock hard calusses. Any thoughts?

Secondly, I need some suggestions on intermediate to advanced blues tunes that I may develope over the next couple months to start playing in front of other people. I have never played in front of anyone aside from my brother, my girlfriend, and my guitar teacher. And whenever I do play for them it is quite awful due to nerves. I understand that practice alone will get me nowhere, I need to develope my repertoire and get playing already. So I need some suggestions of 2 electric blues songs and 2 acoustic blues songs. One intermediate and one advanced for each.

I certainly appreciate any advice given.

12-04-2003, 04:20 PM
Obviously, while playing the blues I frequently use bending and vibrato. It almost feels as if the muscles in the tip of my index finger is seperating from the nail.

hi bparham!!

if you execute vibrato and bending properly there shouldn't be the pain you mentioned. i guess you are bending with the index finger and, from what i read, it sounds like you bend the string upwards by pushing the finger. don't do that (if you have done it;) ). bend it downwards and take the power of your wrist to bend and vibrate, not by pushing or pulling the string with the fingertip. i think eric wrote an article about bending, you could take a look at it in the article section.
and if there is a situation where u can take a grip on the string with 2 or 3 fingers do it. you'll have more power and control that way. and in executing a good bend/vibrato control is what it's all about.

I'm currently using light strings 11 gauge (d'addario)
maybe try 10th or even 9th since 11th are really heavy to bend.
(when using thinner you might need to readjust the neck)

hope that i understood the problem right and that i could help somehow.

12-04-2003, 04:46 PM
hey thanks. I will have to read erics article. I am defly pushing upwards with my fingers but I mostly use my third finger (ring finger) to make bends. My index is used heavily on vibrato's. I don't even have a clue what the push down with the fingers and up with the wriste means. Guess I've been doing it wrong all along. Thanks for the input.

Any suggestions on building a repertoire?

12-04-2003, 04:50 PM
Hey bparham77 , welcome to IBM! Be very careful with your hands. If the pain you feel is "inside" the tip of your finger rather than just the skin i advise you to stop, it might be something that could worsen. So inside = see a doctor.

I had an injury some years ago where something under the tip of my finger really hurt, like a nerve or something...
I iced my hand for about a week and massaged my finger and it went away, you could also try that.

Regarding the blues tunes:
Electric: SRV Texas Flood, B.B. Jimi`s Red House, two great classics
Acoustic: Try anything Clapton played in his unplugged, Before you accuse me comes to mind. Also try " i wish i was a catfish" from jimi´s blues record.

Hope this helps, and its great to hear youre really enjoying IBM!

12-04-2003, 05:00 PM
thanks for the tip koala. those are four great tunes that would keep me busy for the next 6 months. Anyways, the whole hand injury is kinda scaring me now. :( Not cool. I'm gonna play through and get some advice from my teacher. If need be I'll rest it for a week and ice and massage it. Question though, how do u know if its on the tip or inside. This may just be my inner denial working but is there like some sort of test I do?

12-04-2003, 05:26 PM
I actually figured out why my index finger is hurting. I had completely forgotten but a couple of months ago I got a huge sliver stuck underneath my fingernail. I'm thinking now that either the cut hasn't healed properly or there may still be a small piece in there.

12-04-2003, 08:11 PM
That could be it, still... dont get scared, it probablly something that can be solved without much effort.

When i talked about inside and outside i meant,
outside- just the skin hurting from the string pressure
inside- feels more like a nerve, or bone, or muscle

Hope this helps you out

12-04-2003, 08:55 PM
Its defly inside the finger. I noticed it only hurts in one particular spot... especially when pulling of a vibrato because of the position of the finger. Actually, typing this right now is sending jolts up the fingertips. Playing chords doesn't seem to bother it at all or playing simple licks without bends and vibratos is fine as well. I have been reading some articles on line and am now thinking that it may not be related to the sliver I had under the nail a couple of months ago. I think I will take your advice and lay off it. Maybe catch up on theory and eartraining for the next couple days.

12-04-2003, 09:14 PM
Oooh... that sounds like a swollen nerve (don't laugh, it actually happens, the medical term is "neuritis") just give it a rest and alternate cold and warm patches (water compresses will work just fine) and if the problem goes on after 7 or so days I'd definitely recomend seing a doctor.

I hope this helps.


12-05-2003, 03:46 PM
how often should i apply the ice and heat? time duration, etc?

12-05-2003, 04:44 PM
I'd do it the same way you'd normally do it with sports injuries (15 - 30 min) the principle is the same, you want to aleviate the internal presure that makes it hurt. Let it rest for a while (even if it doesn't hurt anymore!) and ease your way back after a couple of days with not pain.


Spin 2513
12-10-2003, 02:47 AM
If you don't pay your Credit Card bills , they take those , you know ?

12-11-2003, 02:23 AM
hey just wanted to give u guys an update. it's been just about a week and my finger is feeling a ****load better. thank god. i was getting depressed. i am going to slowly ease my way into the guitar today. warm up extremely slowly and play for maybe 2 or 3 hours. tomorrow back on schedule. thanks for all the great advice.

Spin 2513
12-11-2003, 04:35 AM
Ahh , more finger touture!ha ,ha .