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Will a wider neck help

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Apr 16, 2020 - 11:09:49 AM
129 posts since 4/6/2012

Because of arthritis, especially in my left index finger, I have changed over to a wider neck mandolin and wondering if a wider necked fiddle will help also? Anybody else have any experience with this? Thanks!

Apr 16, 2020 - 1:51:06 PM

Mobob

USA

137 posts since 10/1/2009

Well, no two hands are the same, but I'm in my mid 70's with the same kind of hand problem and I actually find a narrower neck helps with the hand pain. If you can, try several different neck widths and see which helps most. Good luck.

Apr 16, 2020 - 5:51:25 PM

170 posts since 3/1/2020

Wide necks tend to make it more difficult to play. Narrow ones can be a little awkward as well.

Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to deal with arthritis for violin playing—the fingers of both hands have to be curved, which can be hard on inflamed joints.

One thing that has been helpful for some of my customers with arthritis has been switching to Wittner Finetune pegs. I had a customer walk in planning to sell her violin because she was in a lot of pain. After installing the pegs she decided to keep playing and teaching. She said it gave her a new lease on life.

Apr 17, 2020 - 5:39:32 AM

4731 posts since 9/26/2008

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful


One thing that has been helpful for some of my customers with arthritis has been switching to Wittner Finetune pegs.


As someone with arthritis, I don't see how this will help one have less pain while playing (as the OP mentioned)?  I can see tuning being easier, but not playing.

Apr 17, 2020 - 6:05:43 AM
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170 posts since 3/1/2020

quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful


One thing that has been helpful for some of my customers with arthritis has been switching to Wittner Finetune pegs.


As someone with arthritis, I don't see how this will help one have less pain while playing (as the OP mentioned)?  I can see tuning being easier, but not playing.


You're right, it won't help playing. As I said above, there isn't really a workaround for playing. But it does take the strain off your fingers during tuning, and that's something that gives a lot of people pain. Believe it or not, several people have told me that the torque on their fingers during tuning turned out to be more of an issue for their hands than actually playing.

The only other options are therapy or medication for the joints to reduce inflammation before playing. 

Edited by - The Violin Beautiful on 04/17/2020 06:09:04

Apr 17, 2020 - 6:54:32 AM

2264 posts since 10/1/2008

Yeah .. No ... the only way to ascertain if it will help is to go somewhere to play a large cross section of violins. Then you can either purchase one or have one built to spec. Luck ... R/

Apr 17, 2020 - 7:04:13 AM
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Jimhand

USA

129 posts since 4/6/2012

Thanks to all for your comments. I already have Whittner geared tuners and fine tuners and they do help. The biggest problem is keeping the index finger bent over the finger board and causes cramping and pain. I doubt that a wider neck will help like it has with the mando because of chord playing. I plan on going somewhere to look at/ play other fiddles after the lockdown period is lifted here in Illinois. I am a couple of hours away from the Bluegrass Shack in New Athens Illinois and that is where my current fiddle came from.

Apr 17, 2020 - 9:00:49 AM

WyoBob

USA

113 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful
quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan
quote:
Originally posted by The Violin Beautiful


One thing that has been helpful for some of my customers with arthritis has been switching to Wittner Finetune pegs.


As someone with arthritis, I don't see how this will help one have less pain while playing (as the OP mentioned)?  I can see tuning being easier, but not playing.


You're right, it won't help playing. As I said above, there isn't really a workaround for playing. But it does take the strain off your fingers during tuning, and that's something that gives a lot of people pain. Believe it or not, several people have told me that the torque on their fingers during tuning turned out to be more of an issue for their hands than actually playing.

The only other options are therapy or medication for the joints to reduce inflammation before playing. 


I have times when turning a peg is painful.  Thankfully, not all the time.  But, arthritis in my fingers and hands is one reason I wanted a second fiddle that I could leave cross tuned and not have to fool with wood pegs.   I think the Wittner tuning pegs would be wonderful and I do have 4 fine tuners on my fiddles.   I put cheap, guitar tuners on my free fiddle and really enjoyed the ease of tuning on it (about the only thing I enjoy about that fiddle).

I had a year of physical therapy due to a shattered left wrist I suffered in June, 2011 and a rare nerve disorder that accompanied it, CRPS.   It took me two months of therapy before I could tie my shoes again.  To celebrate what looked like might be a mostly functioning left hand/wrist/arm, I bought my first banjo.  It took me year before I could make a quick, clean "C" chord.   Now, I can play along with some really great O.T. players on the banjo which is a hoot.  

One great thing I learned about in P.T. was the paraffin hot wax machine.   I bought a "TheraBath"  and use it any time my hands get to bothering me.  It's plugged in downstairs as I type.  (Wow, it's been heating wax for almost 9 years!)  Advil works well too, but I prefer non drug solutions when possible.

Apr 17, 2020 - 9:14:49 AM
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WyoBob

USA

113 posts since 5/16/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Jimhand

Thanks to all for your comments. I already have Whittner geared tuners and fine tuners and they do help. The biggest problem is keeping the index finger bent over the finger board and causes cramping and pain. I doubt that a wider neck will help like it has with the mando because of chord playing. I plan on going somewhere to look at/ play other fiddles after the lockdown period is lifted here in Illinois. I am a couple of hours away from the Bluegrass Shack in New Athens Illinois and that is where my current fiddle came from.


Jim,  I just bought a fiddle from the Bluegrass Shack.  Chris set the fiddle up with a wider string spacing and lower action at the nut and fingerboard.  Perfect!  And what a great person to do business with.     I liked the setup so much that I duplicated the setup on my first good fiddle which wasn't set up all that well from the vendor.

A small change in string spacing at the nut and the lower action made all of the difference in the world for me.   No more string buzz from adjacent strings and easier (and faster) noting.   My string spacing at the nut from the "Shack" is .725" and on the fiddle I worked on, .68".   I couldn't do the 1st finger on the E string and 3rd finger on the "A" chord shape because my index finger really hurt.  I can do it now with no pain (but I still don't like that fingering!)

Apr 17, 2020 - 9:26:08 AM
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Jimhand

USA

129 posts since 4/6/2012

Bob, wow all the way from Wyoming, so cool. I have know Chris and her husband for about 15 years and yes, great people to deal with.

Apr 17, 2020 - 3:40:46 PM

Jimbeaux

Germany

348 posts since 5/24/2016

I went through some pain issues in both hands and arms that mostly went away with being able to relax more. They can come back sometimes but it's not so bad. I do need to work on slouching still!

Apr 18, 2020 - 5:39:44 AM

184 posts since 11/26/2009

Eat some wild blueberries and other foods that fight off inflammation. A different diet may help with the inflammation also as some foods promote inflammation.

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