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That pesky thumb Pt.2....Plucking Hand

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Fergie Fulton, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Thumb position in the plucking hand has consequences for the wrist.
    In the two techniques open to players, the choice between a floating or a fixed technique may be simpler than we think, as can what can be considered a floating technique as far as that pesky thumb is concerned

    Any questions this raises, post them and i will try and help.

    That pesky thumb Pt. 2 - YouTube
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Another good video. Plenty of food for thought there.
  3. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    I'm 100% with you on that one.
  4. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    In reference to the Carpal Tunnel area in the plucking hand, the answer is Yes the thumb has that same effect on it as explained for the fretting hand.

    If you look at the 4 min marker and watch the Carpal Tunnel area you will see it is flatter in a floating thumb finger technique, than the fixed anchor technique.
    Again, *the thumb has the influence to deform the Carpal Tunnel area in the palm when it moves over into the palm area behind the fingers. This will cause the tunnel area to deform and may put pressure around the Median nerve, the main source of agitation for CTS sufferers.

    This is part due to the layering of the muscles and nerves from the wrist to the palm.

    To pass through the wrist they must share areas in a much tighter interaction then say in the forearm where they have the room to keep apart. Therefore the wrist action will also play a part in how the Carpal tunnel area performs. So it is like a six lane motorway filtering down to one in order to pass through the wrist, then branching back out to more lanes one though.....similar to a road intersection.

    So understand the Carpal Tunnel is not a ridge structure and it does taper the further it gets away from the wrist as all the different muscles and nerves that use it brach off to different areas of the hand. So it has the ability to deform and reform it's shape to match the range motion of the hand.

    The thumb muscle Opponens Pollicis, is like a band that stretches across this area, much like a bridge spans a road, and we can consider the Carpal Tunnel the road that passes under it and all the muscles and tendons that use it to be the traffic on it.
    The Opponens Pollicis gives the thumb that lateral movement to come across that is why the Carpal Tunnel has to deform to allow this movement. If this movement is severe then the Median nerve will have pressure on it. If this movement is over a lifetime then the wall sides will wear and weaken and not have the strength to resist the pressures exerted on it so will again enflame or trap the Median nerve.
    This may happen a any stage in life as injury or illness may affect the health of the hand.

    The use that cause the problem may not be the real cause, it just highlights the weakness due to a new, over, or mis- use of the hand.

    In the main any technique you use that can keep that palm area flat/flatter is a better position to play in.

    Yes holding a pick will deform over this area as well. But the difference is that holding a pick, even though this area deforms over a bit, there is no real friction from the muscles/muscle groups in the palm that move fingers, so there is not that constant friction or rubbing.
    The action of holding a pick sets the Carpal Tunnel area in a fixed position and it is the forearm that moves the wrist,that moves the hand,so moves the pick.

    Quick test to understand the motion.
    Put the tip of a finger from the opposite hand into the palm of the other them move the fingers and feel that "ripple" of movement in the palm.
    Now simulate the action of holding a pick, put the finger back on the palm and now move the hand as instigated by the forearm though the wrist and you will feel no "ripple". So no "ripple" means no rubbing friction in that area.

    So what we are looking at is the little valley that appears in the palm at the base of the thumb. Without going in to too much detail just now, the muscle and muscle groups the control many of the holding, griping, and closing functions of the hand and fingers are using are located in this area....but also this area is how the Median nerve serves than hand and the middle and index finger and thumb.

    Of course there will be variations on how this can affect players, that is why it is an important to correctly identify and have any problems diagnosed correctly. There are a few more videos to come, one of them will explain a little bit of the anatomical uses we have in playing, but for now I just want to keep it simple and let your playing decide what works for you.

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