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Author Topic: Recommendation with arthritis in mind.  (Read 2218 times)
afiaowo
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« on: July 24, 2006, 11:55:50 PM »

Hello all.  I used to play electric many years ago and wish to start playing acoustic.  One major buying reason for picking a new guitar would be that it frets softly.  I don't know if that's the right term to use but having arthritis already I can't have something that takes a great amount of force.
I really don't know what makes one guitar better at that than another and would like your help with it.
I do not have much money to spend so limit your responses to lower end guitars.
I know that's allot to ask but your help will be appreciated.
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Ratishna
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2006, 12:49:40 AM »

You could develop as a slide guitar player and not have to worry about it at all.

E. Shoaf
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2006, 01:58:09 AM »

Having pretty bad arthritis myself a setup is more important
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dcarey
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2006, 02:17:11 AM »

A good setup is very important. Scale length is also a consideration. The Larrivee parlor has a shorter scale length, so will a 12 fret instrument.
Taylor also makes short scale models. Any can be a good choice.
Another thing that I find very helpful is a daily regimen of glucosamine chondroitin and ibuprophen. Not massive doses, just a standard dose every day, coupled with the use of Chinese hand exercise balls. (yes, they really do help)
Five or ten minutes a day with the exercise balls keeps my hand joints from aching.

Dan
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2006, 02:18:24 AM »

Seagull is probably the best amongst lower end solid top guitars. Anything lower than that and you might have trouble getting the action right without any buzzing. Some Yamaha ply tops are OK.
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jmhyer
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2006, 03:32:11 AM »

Seagull is a good suggestion because of their shorter scale.  Combine that with a good setup and some strings designed for lower tension at concert pitch (silk and steel or round core strings or just regular hex core strings in an extra light guage) and you should be in business.  Consider also a nylon-string (i.e.- classical) acoustic guitar.
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Tycho
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2006, 01:47:01 PM »

Quote
A good setup is very important. Scale length is also a consideration. The Larrivee parlor has a shorter scale length, so will a 12 fret instrument.

Apart from the Parlors, this isn't the case with 12-fret Larrivees such as the 000s and 00s.  They have 25.5" scales.

Coincidentally, I'm finding that my 00-50 is giving my fretting hand a somewhat harder time than either my dread or my OM.  Right now it feels like a new Martin on the first couple of frets, and barres are a bit of a challenge.  I'm going to take it in soon to have the action adjusted.
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Fergy07
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2006, 01:51:41 PM »

I'm not certain from your post, when you last tried to play an acoustic. If it has been a while times have changed and since the late 80's the acoustics have moved from the older 'chunky' necks to more of an electric neck, with significantly lower action. This was primarily driven by Taylor, and they still tend to have very easy fretting guitars. However, most of the manufacturers have also embraced this style and finding an easy to play and affordable acoustic is not a very complicated issue any longer. Affording some of the guitars maybe though.

Also, there are what are called 'cross-over' nylon string guitars, which have a standard width neck and are super easy to fret thanks to the lower tension of the nylon strings. I really messed up my left wrist a few years and it tends to bother me a lot. I do find playing my Breedlove crossover very easy to play when my wrist is really hurting.

I think Unclrob recommends a warm towel for a few minutes before playing to loosen the joints, but I can't say I have tried that.

Good luck.

Andy
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2006, 09:27:20 PM »

I'm doing hot wax for 10 min. before I play.
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rpg51
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2006, 12:10:58 AM »

My sense of this is that a short scale length acoustic set up fairly low, say .005 neck relief, 4/64th 12th fret string height on the Low E and 2.5/64ths on the high E - measuring form the top of the fret to the bottom of the string with a capo on the first fret to take the nut height out of it would be the best you could do to get a "soft" playing guitar.  Personally I don't think a 12 fret guitar is any softer playing than a 14 fret guitar. Its the scale length that really makes a significant difference.  Also, a careful job on the nut height helps a lot. Personally I would suggest that you consider a meatier neck, not one of the thin narrow modern necks.  My experience is that with a good set up a fairly meaty neck actually reduces the pressure on your thumb and fingers when fretting chords.  Worth a shot anyway.  Unfortunately most, not all, Larrivee's have a long scale length. The Parlour is a notable exception. I love my Parlour and it is amoung the softest playing guitars I have used.  The scale length on a Larrivee Parlour is 24 inches which is extremely short.  Taylor makes a good number of short scale guitars, so does Gibson.  Most Santa Cruz guitars can be ordered with short scale length. Many custom builders out there will build lovely short scale guitars.  All depends on your budget.  But I really think a short scale guitar is going to make you happy.
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2006, 05:59:34 PM »

Hello:
I suggest you do some hot water-cold water contrast exercices. Put a bowl with hot water next to another bowl with cold water. Add some salt to the hot water bowl only. Put yor hand and do gentle wrist, hand and finger movements for 3 -three- minutes in the hot water bowl. Inmediately `do the same for 2 -two- minutes in the cold water bowl. Repeat this 3 - three- times.(that is 3minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes- Total 15 minutes once a day).
The Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate tablets should be only be prescribed by your doctor,
By the way I´m an orthopaedic surgeon myself.  :POL>
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2006, 10:53:18 PM »

A Doc that does Forum calls. 
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Ron

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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2006, 11:51:41 PM »

I've got some pretty tough psoriatic arthritis in my left thumb and fingers.
I had a Seagull and it was about the easiest guitar I've had on my fingers.
I think the nice chunky neck helps along with the low string tension.
I also set it up so low it buzzed if I didn't strum lightly.  Almost as nice
as my masterbilt for fingerstyle.

Stan
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« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2006, 12:28:33 AM »

Apart from the Parlors, this isn't the case with 12-fret Larrivees such as the 000s and 00s.  They have 25.5" scales.



and whay is that?  :UND> i wish the larrivee 00 had a shorter scale...

 afro J.
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« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2006, 02:53:01 AM »

and whay is that?  :UND> i wish the larrivee 00 had a shorter scale...

 afro J.

Apparently Larrivee made at least 1 OO with a short scale. But its the only one I've heard of. So, if the custom shop ever opens again, you might be able to get one.

Personally, I prefer my standard scale OO.
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« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2006, 05:04:23 AM »

yamaha put out a nylon "folk" guitar a few years ago. long scale, but slot headstock. looked pretty much like a reg. guitar. they billed it as "a fingerpickers dream". not sure of the model number. if i were sufferering from pain i'd probably pick up something along those lines.
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