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Author Topic: Sore Thumb  (Read 693 times)

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Emre Enercan

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Sore Thumb
« on: June 12, 2020, 03:25:48 PM »

Hey there, I have some thumb from playing the melodeon for hours, and the day after it gets hard to play because of the sore thumb, Im pretty sure im not the only one who has this issue, any tips?
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Peadar

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 04:09:29 PM »

If your thumb is aching that's just because soft tissue is being exercised and needs time to recover.
The exercise your thumb is getting is new to it and the physical work being done is no different to what you would be doing to your legs if you started running. You have to build up over time. When it hurts stop.

One other thing...if you have a thumb strap is it leather? There was a time when Hohner were putting stiff PU leather (i.e. reinforced plastic) straps on some boxes...or a least there was such a strap on one of my boxes when it arrived. The edges on that stuff can literally saw into your skin in a way that real leather cannot.
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Gena Crisman

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 04:24:49 PM »

Which thumb?

I have had thumb blisters and calluses on both sides for different reasons. Overly heavy air buttons can be culprits, too.
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Peadar

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2020, 04:57:04 PM »

Which thumb?

I have had thumb blisters and calluses on both sides for different reasons. Overly heavy air buttons can be culprits, too.

As ever you ask the obvious sensible question....it never occurred to me that you can actually hurt your left thumb.  :|bl
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2020, 06:12:09 PM »

I'm used to Italian wedge type air buttons.
When borrowing a Hohner Erika with traditional Hohner air button, I'd cramp my left thumb after a very short time.
Yep yer left thumb can suffer too!

Emre, if you're just taking up melodeon and 'playing for hours' then with respect I think you're overdoing it!
It's generally thought that several bouts of practice is better for learning than one long session.
I discovered that drinking a cup of tea was optimum for learning, so when I'd drunk it, or left it and it had got cold I'd stop. That often is in the region of 30 - 40 minutes.
Then when I wanted another cuppa I'd also have another play!
It's a physical instrument to play, so take time to ease yourself into playing and getting used to a new instrument.
Good luck!
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

george garside

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2020, 12:30:47 AM »

comfartable thumbing  with left hand ( air button or bar)  is dependant on the position of the wrist through the bass strap.  I have always found that having the bass strap  slightly above the wrist in more or less the position a watch strap would be  enables easy manipulation of air button or air bar on anything from a hohner button to the long air bar on a BCC# box, whilst keeping the 4 fingers in a good position to play anything from 8 to 120 bass,

using this setting or something near to it avoids any strain on joint at bass of thumb

Hveing the box firmly attached to the person helps  as the thumb is only required to press the air button/bar and plays no part in locating the box.

george
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Tone Dumb Greg

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2020, 10:05:44 AM »

I'd been playing a couple of years before I realised that I don't actually use the top joint in my thumb to operate the air button, but the fleshy part of the palm, or possibly the lower joint  area at the base of the thumb (if I think about it I can't do it).  I've never had any discomfort from that. If I try to use the top joint  my fingers can't move around the basses freely and I do find it uncomfortable. Works for me on Hohner type buttons and Italianate wedges.
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Greg Smith
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2020, 10:18:11 AM »

Yes, I too use the lower thumb or palm on the Italianate wedge button and find it much easier.
I find if I play a melodeon with a Hohner button I use the thumb top joint on the Hohner style buttons and I inadvertently tense my hand.
Some of this is because I wasn't brought up the 'traditional' way and didn't start on a Hohner!
To many people it seems to make no difference at all, so I suppose it is simply getting use to something.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

george garside

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2020, 11:03:24 AM »

Using the joint between the hand and the thumb  rather than the  joint half way up the thumb  works well on most boxes including hohner one row 4 stoppers.   However using  the mid thumb joint  seems to work well on hohner  pokerwork/Erica as the articulation can be shared between the bass of thumb and mid thumb joints

on the one row hohner I keep ,more or less, the bass of the thumb resting on the 'spoon' throughout the proceedings  and first and second fingers resting lightly on the 2 bass spoons

george
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Jeremy Burnett

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2020, 03:16:10 PM »

One can also get arthritis in the thumb joints due to ageing!
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Dick Rees

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2020, 04:07:59 PM »

Hey there, I have some thumb from playing the melodeon for hours, and the day after it gets hard to play because of the sore thumb, Im pretty sure im not the only one who has this issue, any tips?

https://youtu.be/4tZOundkoh4
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CAB

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2020, 03:02:29 PM »

A bit late but just noticed this one.  As Gena has asked, which thumb was the OP referring to?  Discussion seems to focus on left thumb.  I recall getting a painful right thumb when experimenting with one strap after years of playing with two, as a result of bracing too hard against the edge of the fingerboard to keep the instrument still.  Doubtless a bit of age-related arthritis involved, as has been suggested, but solved by going back to two straps and adopting the Máirtín O'Connor strap-over-left-bicep hold.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2020, 03:47:02 PM »

Thumb flexion is an anatomically strong movement, whereas ad/abduction (orthogonal to the plane of the hand) is very weak. I got sore from a one row air button, which went ‘in’ rather than down. Extend (as per thumb strap on pull is also weak.

This also once nearly killed me! A car pulled out on me and my motor bike’s horn UI was in a down direction, ie abduction, and same as my one row. Tried to horn him …  but got only achieved a headlight flash. The rest was … a year off work.

Things should be ergonomic. Otherwise it’s “bad design”.

Rx: rest. Try some Brufen or Voltarol gel on the sore area. Worked for me 👍
« Last Edit: June 21, 2020, 03:50:25 PM by Chris Ryall »
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JohnS

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2020, 05:11:18 PM »

This is a very interesting discussion for me as I've had problems with my left thumb for a couple of years.  That resulted from using lever air button boxes and stretching for the top notes on a long-scale tenor banjo.  I stopped playing the banjo late last year.  Also to give the thumb a rest for a while I took out one of the bass reed blocks so that the buttons could be used as finger-operated air buttons. Finally I do various massages and strengthening exercises for the thumb.

That has all helped and it's now more of a minor niggle than a serious problem.  However it would be nice if it went away completely.  So I'm going to try operating the air button with the thumb part of the palm as suggested above.  That makes sense as the impetus to press down the lever has to come from the lowest joint anyway, the other two thumb joints don't flex in that direction.  It also puts the thumb into a more natural position, as compared to operating the lever with the top of the thumb which forces it to lie in the same plane as the rest of the hand.
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Pat McInnis

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2020, 05:48:55 PM »

I'm really glad this topic came up. I've been dealing with a sore, cramped (right) thumb since I started. It has definitely gotten better since I'm developing my hand muscles more but it still aches after prolonged playing. One bad habit that I'm trying to kick is putting too much pressure on the edge of the button board as I slide up and down.
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george garside

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Re: Sore Thumb
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2020, 10:11:58 PM »

if 2 carefully adjusted shoulder straps are used there is absolutely no need to apply any pressure with the thumb to the edge of the keyboard. the thumb rests lightly on the edge of the keyboard so it can slide up or down to in effect locate the fingers.  Even this is not essential and the thumb can be lifted from the edge of the keyboard to press the chin end acidentals  as required which is easier than moving the whole hand there and back .  The thumb is much better at moving sideways than are the fingers
george
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