Originally Posted by Pollyanna
So ... Unfunky ... you are wondering if my barre chord issues were because of the drumming? Interesting theory ... and good point about nails ... it's a big issue for me.
Eddie, while the fingers harden, I'm not sure I want to harden my soft fingertips any more than I want to wreck my nails lol ... no, I'm not a princess, just been single for over a year :)
I do remember having some nasty blisters on my thumbs while gigging on drums back in the 80s when the stage monitors were being unkind, but these days in my laid back band I'm just doing tappity-tap and barely even break a sweat (as opposed to the 80s, being blinded by the sweat pouring into my eyes). I played keys in a couple of little bands a few years ago but had to go back to drums because it was killing my fingers ...
Good luck with the bass audition, Al! Will this be the acid test for the Rush theory? :)
As for the thread, I also have a range of percussion toys at home. When I was young and living with my parents I had access to my sister's neglected piano and clarinet, which were fun to dabble on.
I've always loved messing around with other instruments and can usually get a serviceable sound ... apart from bowed instruments, from which I've only ever extracted noises than range from sick-cat to fingernails-on-a-chalkboard ... hmm, maybe well qualified for a violinist spot in an experimental music ensemble ...
yup, thatīs what iīm saying.
i have a friend whoīs a trumpet player and he describes the same phenomenon in going from trumpet to guitar. apparently the trumpet technique bends his hands out of shape for guitar. heīs the one who prescribed massaging the fingers back into normal shape and possibly alternating days (in some fashion). and it works.
as for barre chords...they are tough to master anyway. it may take five or six years to get the barre chord down, but there are inversions and things that you can do to get around that - different voicing that omit this or that from the barre - (co--incident-ly impacting and emphasising your flow at the moment).
and donīt be afraid to use the thumb. i know (so called) purists will say not to use the thumb. but check out any jazzer. and check out any blues man. whatever youīve got...throw it at that neck and squeeze out those notes. and check out a book of jazz chords sometime - check the designations for finger placement: T / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / Barre etc. if you canīt make the barre throw your thumb across the neck to get the low string. there are some chords that can ONLY be made by using the thumb.
back to drums. oh the blisters are HORRIBLE !!!! as a guitarist, iīve always taken good care of my hands. wash frequently. stretch. but the BLISTERS and CALLOUSES and the JOINT ACHE of playing drums is INDESCRIBABLY HORRID. BONE SHAKING ainīt the word for it. so i drum until my back aches and then i canīt play drums for at least three days.
but if you massage that crimp out of your fingers / hands and / or wait a coupla days or so, youīll be making barre chords and your fingers will be on point (fingertips) in a year. playing 2-4 hours a week. same for keyboards.
the important thing with any instrument is...donīt stop. if you donīt stop, i promise you will get there. you donīt have to bang your head against the wall to get it...just keep plugging at it. it will come to you.
also, as mentioned, it is very important to find the right neck (width / radius*) / string gauges / body weight balance / control placement / etc.
Choosing A Guitar:
as for instrument choice...iīm 5ī 10Ļ with (supposedly) nice long skinny fingers. whatever. i like em. but i too have trouble making barre chords. so i prefer smaller scale guitars (24Ļ scale like the originally student model Fender Mustang. the 7..25 inch neck radius also helps with making barre chords. i make sure that all of my guitars have that neck radius (pretty much only found on old Fenders). to sum up: shorter scale - 24Ļ Fender Mustangs, Duo -Sonics / Jaguar -and- rounder neck radius 7.25" is best. the rounder the radius the better. flatter necks like Gibsonīs 12Ļ radius are harder to barre. string spacing matters too. neck width matters too.
just try some short scale guitars and find one that suits you. i like the Mustang. i have an Aria Pro II that is short scale yet has 24 frets and set neck. very lightweight (as light as a Tele Thinline). unfortunately, it has a flatter neck, but i make do with that, because otherwise itīs a great guitar.