lighter strings for trigger finger relief

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by pacumike, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. pacumike

    pacumike Guest

    Nov 8, 2012
    I've had a nagging discomfort in my left fifth (little) finger for about a year. I had a steroid injection for the diagnosed trigger finger which helped for awhile, but it is back again. Is there a better string that anyone would recommend that might be easier on my finger? I play a 5/8 Shen and currently use Flexocore 92 strings. Sound, of course is a factor, in addition to tension.
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg Supporting Member

    Jul 7, 2004
    I would suggest getting your setup as low and easy to play as possible and see if you can work around that with your technique. The string recommendations I can make would be Spiro Weich, Sprio Solo tuned down or Compas 180 Suit tuned down for less tension. I assume you bow as you're using Flexicores now.

    You might try accupuncture for the finger...
  3. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Add to that Velvet Blues and possibly Corelli's, or Superflexible Solos tuned down might be more like the Flex 92's in tone.
  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yes, both very gentle on the fingers. It's worth noting that the Corellis have a pretty bright sound.
  5. Presto Balance Hybrid Light or Innovation Braided (140B) have a bit less tension.
    The synthetic core Braided are thicker too, that may help with playing (but does sound a bit different).
  6. Medve

    Medve Guest

    Mar 8, 2013
    Since it is a temporary health problem I would suggest the same as I did a year ago. Helicore solos tuned to orchestra and low action. It helped me to heal my hand. Not a powerful sound, but liked it under the bow.
  7. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I have had trigger finger in three of my fingers in my life and I feel it coming on in one more lately.
    I can tell you that it will not go away and will only get worse, to the point where your hand is practically useless.. I had to get cortisone injections to get me by until I could get away with the down time.
    You have to get the surgery. It is a outpatient surgery and doesn't take long. My down time was a little over a month the first time because I waited so long. The other two I was down for 2-3 weeks.
  8. pacumike

    pacumike Guest

    Nov 8, 2012
    Thank you all for your advice and suggestions. Wish I could try most of them and avoid one (surgery). If there are more options or anecdotes I'd be happy to hear them! I guess that I'm not the only one who struggles with trigger finger. Now about my chronic back pain.....(just kidding :hyper:).
  9. jallenbass

    jallenbass Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Same experience with me. I tried hand therapy but to no avail.
  10. The softest string possibility should be a solo string set tuned down to orchestra pitch (helicore solo (inexpensive).
    Passione mediums orchestra set are quite easy on the left hand (Passione solo set tuned down even more so of course...)
    or light orchestral strings such as helicore orchestra light gauge...

    probably more important is the bridge setup and height of the strings...setting up a bridge with adjusters will help you to experiment and ensure easiest playability while you heal.

    Perhaps even more important, do a slow warm up before practicing and drink plenty of water before playing, hydration is important to prevent injuries by enhancing elasticity, and take frequent breaks.
  11. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    What is trigger finger? I've had pain in the fingers of my fretting hand for years and assumed it was arthritis.
  12. pacumike

    pacumike Guest

    Nov 8, 2012
    When one flexes (bends) or extends (straightens) a finger, a tendon (connects the muscles and the bones) slides through a sheath. When the tendon is inflamed, it can "catch" or "get stuck" in the sheath, and you'll feel a pop, or the finger just flat out gets stuck in a certain position (though it can be moved with extra effort or assistance). Discomfort will also be felt at the site.

    What is "orchestral pitch"? And how is tuning to orchestral pitch different than using a regular tuner? I thought that when you tune, that it is always to a specific note/pitch/frequency, so how can there be another kind of "pitch"?
  13. pacumike

    pacumike Guest

    Nov 8, 2012
    Sorry, I forgot to mention a couple more things. Art--Arthritis involves the joints, whereas trigger finger involves the moving of the joints.

    Luis--great idea on the bridge adjustments, I didn't think of that.
  14. Not orchestral pitch but orchestral tuning (EADG). There are string for solo tuning (a whole tone higher than orchestral tuning: F#BEA) made for some string families (but not all). Since they are made for a higher tuning, tuning them down a whole tone gives roughly about 20% less tension on the string. (They usually have the same tension on the string on solo tuning as the orchestral strings on orchestra tuning.) You can check that by downtuning your current strings by a whole tone before buying any strings. BTW, Light (Wech) strings often have about 10% less tension that the regular ones. You can check that by downtuning a regular tension string by a half tone.

    But if your setup is rather high, you need to elongate the strings more than needed and also need more power to do this than with a lower action. So checking the action is the first thing to do.
    Sometimes also more length elastic strings (which might have less dynamic range) can help if you won't like to reduce the action height. So using (braided?) synthetic core strings (downtuned solos?) might be a solution in this case.
  15. pacumike

    pacumike Guest

    Nov 8, 2012
    DoubleMIDI: Thanks for the tutorial and advice. I didn't realize there was anything different than orchestral tuning. Looks like I need to do more string research than I realized.
  16. travshorts

    travshorts Boomboomboomlet'sgobacktomy(practice)room.

    May 26, 2005
    Victoria, B.C., Canada
    Something the OP might want to consider, or any one else who has had trigger finger. Find a chiropractor in your area who is certified in "active release". I have dealt with bouts of trigger ginger as well and have tried many approaches to this annoying condition. The ONLY thing that has worked (after trying massage, injection, acupuncture, diet, etc) for me, as well as many others that I know, is active release. And not only trigger finger but carpel tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, strains from overplaying.

    The gent who provides this service for me also treats about 90% of the symphony here in Victoria and they all swear by it.
  17. I had trigger finger in both my index finger and my thumb on my fretting hand. It did not get better with cort shots. Cort shot are a temp fix. I had to have the sheaths that the tendon travel threw cut. It sound scary but after the operation i followed all the surgens instruction on rehab and my bass playing has not suffered at all. I am pain free and play better than ever before. Talk to a good hand surgeon.
  18. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Has anyone used the Corelli 370 TX Extended E?
  19. Brian K

    Brian K

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    The first time I had trigger-finger, it developed into tendinitis, and I couldn't play for some time.

    Now I have waves of it where sometimes I can feel the trigger and tendon pains when I wake up, and it eases over the course of the day.

    I think rest is one of the best things you can do for your hands if they are injured. No bass for an extended period if you can.

    I also love a product called Traumeel. It's a homeopathic topical anti-inflammatory cream that's arnica based and promotes healing. I use it in the morning and before bed when my hands are acting up and it does wonders.
  20. pn02


    Feb 9, 2013
    just diagnosed with trigger thumb. not sure how i got it. my doctor doesn't believe it's from playing but who knows.

    looking at this thread, i'll probably contact a chiropractor i've used in the past for ART.