Playing with Broken fingers?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Richenbacher, May 6, 2012.

  1. Last time I ever play basketball close to a gig :bawl: ball bounced up and broke the index and middle fingers on my right hand. I've got a gig with a jazz band in a week, what'll I do?! I can't use a pick, it'll sound too harsh... I'm trying to alternate between my thumb and ring finger ATM, but it's not going well... Anyone have any advice? I'm feeling pretty anxious... :(
  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Inactive

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Felt pick
  3. Have you told the band about this. You need to because they need a bass for the gig they have contracted for.

    Looks like root on 1. Level with the guys and see if root on 1 will get by.
  4. rashrader


    Mar 4, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I ruptured a tendon in my right ring finger and broke my right pinky a few years back... I could barely play at all. I was probably playing at about %60.

    Seriously though... Index and middle? I'd give the band a heads up. You're limited. Perhaps too limited?
  5. Thanks for the replies all. I have some experience with thumb picking... the band can't use a replacement at this kind of notice, the gig is next Saturday and the drummer and rhythm guitarists know my playing style well. I think I can get through most of the songs with using just my thumb (1 year as an acoustic guitar player has finally come in handy! ;) ) but it's the like of vehicle, coconut champagne and low rider which are kinda giving me the most bother. Not particularly difficult, but quavers with thumb picking on a bass can be tiring with repetition. I'll have a conversation with the band leader on tues- it's a bank holiday in the UK tomorrow anyhow :)
    It's not just bass playing which is affected either you know... Try asking me to lift a box or open a jar... It's very frustrating. Can't bend them at all without some serious pain... Not looking forward to building up the strength again. I'm worried that my technique will be ruined as well because straight after the gig I have two months of exams and then an expedition in China :O
  6. Get a thumb pick. Cover it in felt or the like.

    I have a thumb pick that just slides over my thumb. I can play 16ths no question with it -- much easier than my thumb.

    I was a classical guitar player for a while as well, but I can play so much faster with this thing.

    Pick one up. I got mine at a pawn shop for $2. Maybe that'll save you :p
  7. Thanks, I'll look into it ;) I think one of the guitarists uses a thumb pick, I'll see if he has a spare :)
  8. If you go with the thumb pick give some thought to a little Elmer's Glue on your thumb before you put the pick on.

    The stick kind of Elmer's Glue and allow about 10 minutes for it to set.

    When I play rhythm guitar my old 77 year old fingers can no longer hold a plectrum through out the long gigs, but a thumb pick and some Elmer's Glue and I'm good to go.

    Stole this idea from a Travis Picker.

    Good luck.
  9. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Go into this thing intending to simplify your playing and take it easy. Your foremost consideration should be not making your injury any worse, or even permanent.

    Do what you can with hammer ons, and slides. (I met a bass player that lost the use of his right arm once. He said he still played at church and hammered or slid into notes)

    Just take it easy man!
  10. So the gig was today- luckily for me, the doctor said my index finger was good to go, so I was able to play à la Jamerson ;) tricky enough... I won't be in a hurry to play basketball again though lol ;)
  11. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Glad things went well.

    I would like to say that most players have a capacity to reduce their playing and technique if requred, really it should be required practice that players can play play bare minimum if required.

    I would also point out that not playing the gig is an option, i am always amazed at how players justify their need to play....not an issue or a bad thing by the way, just always amazed at how the idea of cancelling or letting any sort of dep stand in is not considered an option.

    Anyway look after that finger and give it a chance to heal correct and let the tendons and connections time to repair. If you have swellingand bruising, then use Arnica to help break down and reduce it.

    Arnica for your injury i woul recommend the tablet and the cream in tincture form as it is stronger and more effective.
    use the tablets orally to reinforce and build blood stream levels and apply the cream by rubbing and massaging the area affected.

    It need only be for a few weeks till the swelling or any build up of hardens tissue are gone.

    Problems with finger injuries are they are never far from a joint, so the sweeling and stiffining has a direct influence on the joints around it. Swelling is the bodies way to immobalize and protect injuries. When a swelling goes down there is residual tissue and fluids that are left behind.
    The body normally breaks these down and the blood stream removes them, but not all the time when joints are concerned.
    Because joints are movable this thickening process will reduce movement, and if the thickening is not all removed it eventullay becomes hard and remains as a lump or a permenant thickening.
    This may in the future lead to things like it clicks when use, the joint is weak, or has lack of range in its movement.

    The rubbing involved in applying the cream is probley just as effective as the cream itself, but the anti-inflamatory properties of Arnica are good, and the tablets reinforce the level.

    By all means see your GP about using Arnica (advised) and ask for a physio appointment.
    Tell them you are a musician and you need to make sure your hands are in top condition. Do not take no for an answer, insist you see one as it will take you a while to get referred. if you have a pharmacy or homeopathic specialist you can use, then ask them about the the benefits of Arnica in your situation. Its not expensive and it is a preventative treatment to stop the after effects of your accident.
    There will be many here on TB, myself included, that can testify that injuries acquired and healed when we were young do indeed come back to us in later life. If you are and older player then even more so you should get it checked out.
    When we are young and healthy our bodies can repair and heal fast so the effects of injuries are not always obvious becuase our body is in a constant state of regeneration. But when we are older and this regeneration slows or stops then these old injuries start to show.

    I personaly have an ankle and knee injury from playing Rugby over forty years ago ( been thirty five years since i even played a game) but they do twinge me and they are starting to twinge me more as i get do other injuries i collected.:)
  12. Your fingers are very precious.....I've come pretty close to losing one a couple of times......jamming one between drillpipes on a rig out in the Western Australian desert was the closest......I fully expected to see a stump when I finally pulled my glove off......mangled, but still hanging on by a thread..whew!
    In my early 20's and playing in a busy band, I had a day job cutting scrub (Thick Ti tree bush) and the weapon of choice was a slasher. I used to sharpen that sucker real good, but one day my file slipped and my left index finger pad was cut longitudinally, quite deeply. I bled like a stuck pig for a while and then all was ok, but I had a 3 nite gig starting that nite....hmm to the gig with finger bandaged and had some painkillers and a couple of stiff bourbs and got started on our first set. The bandage lasted about two minutes but we were cooking so I got into it...could feel no pain...halfway through the set, someone on the dancefloor shouted at me that I was bleeding...I looked down and there was blood all over the place.........I made some crack about playing my fingers to the bone, cleaned up and kept going.
    We had some great times in that band (and some not so great) doing typical covers of the day. Woke up many a slumbering 'ville.:D
  13. crobasster


    Jun 16, 2009
    I play/gig with guitar also and once uppon a time I had gig after gig,first with acoustic guitar and later on a bass,and since I like to play acoustic guitar with my nails,it bothers me playing bass,but I start using my thumb and played preety well so I developed very nice technique with it.

    And thumb technique helps very well with chicks.:bag:
  14. Went back to the clinic today, doctors announced that my fingers weren't as bad as they thought. They were broken very slightly, but some ligaments were pulled and that was why it was so painful. I'm out of bandages, and just in time for my exams :( but the good news is that I can play almost as well as before (doc said they still need a little time before they'll be back to normal, but hey, at least it's not six weeks in a cast or bandages!) :)
  15. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011

    Dude, can we talk? :)

    I have broken four different fingers at various points in my life: One was from a too-vigourous argument with my Dad that got out of control (age ~13), the other three times (ages 9, 17, and 35) were all from playing basketball!

    ...and unfortunately, that last time it happened while my band was in the middle of a two-week midwest tour! Just trying to relax an hour before our show in Canfield OH shooting some hoops in the promoter's driveway and BRONK! busted my right middle finger going for a rebound.

    Not that I'd necessarily recommend this tactic, but fwiw I didn't even go to the hospital until after the tour ended. Played that night in excruciating pain. Spent all my down-time over the remainder of the tour with that broken finger taped to my index finger to immobilize it. It got kinda swollen and eventually numb. Definitely interfered with my playing, perhaps not so much that anybody in the audience could tell but I definitely was not at 100%.

    Not my smartest move.

    Frank Zappa had the right idea: After bassist Tom Fowler broke his arm during a mid-tour softball game, Zappa officially forbade his bandmembers from engaging in sports of any type while on the road.

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