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> Focal Dystonia, Left hand and right hand playing
awat
post May 26 2012, 10:38 PM
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Has anybody on this thread had Focal Dystonia in the hands?. I was diagnosed with it last year in my left hand. The neurologist said there is no cure. I search the internet looking for answers. I could not play a single line on the guitar and chords were begining to become difficult to play. I became frustrated and thought about giving up guitar. Then I said to myself, try playing left hand. Instantly my right hand felt natural on the fretboard. It took about a week for my right hand to stop hurting when playing down near the first fret. I could now play legato a lot easier than with my left hand being on the fretboard. Picking is coming along, but not as fast as I would like. But at least I am playing guitar. It has now been a year and a few months since playing left handed. I listen to Allan Holdsworth a lot. When I play now people say it reminds them of Holdsworth and with more practice it will sound better and a lot more like him. Here is my delima. Earlier this year I stumbled upon a Spanish doctor who only works with focal dystonias. I bought his DVD. What did I have to lose besides the $35 for the DVD. I started the doing the exercises and I had sold all my right handed guitars and bought left handed ones. So one day after doing the exercises, I turned the guitar around like a right handed player and had noticed I was able to play single lines very slowly. So the exercises were working. It has been about two months now and I decided to buy a right handed guitar. I now can play chords again and some single lines not very fast though nor do I want play them fast on the right handed guitar. I just want to keep the tension out of the left hand. Now I can play somethings better right handed and somethings better left handed. Should I Just focus on playing one way and forget about playng the other?. I still have a little trouble holding the pick with my left hand due to the dystonia, but it is getting better. If anybody else on the board has had focal dystonia how did you get rid of it?.

Tony
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Ben Higgins
post May 27 2012, 10:41 AM
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Hi Tony, I've never heard of Focal Dystonia before reading your post so I hope you don't mind me offering some of my thoughts.

Whenever I've made a decision to follow a specific path or approach, there have always been times (usually when you've made a bit of progress) where something has made me re-think and be tempted to change back to another approach. However, after years of doing this I realised that is was more of a test to say 'Do you really want to do it this way, do you believe in it ?'

If you've decided fully on a path and the temptations to change haven't stopped you then you can dedicate yourself 100% to it and reach towards your potential. I hope I make sense with all that ?

I just read a bit about the condition. They don't seem to know what causes it but they do think there is a relationship between specific motor tasks so if your left hand is already prone to this then maybe sticking to playing the guitar left handed and training the fine motor functions in your right hand is the way to keep going. Also, if you're getting some good results and people are noticing your Holdsworth style legato then I would really use that as encouragement and follow this path. However, this is easier said than done as I'm not in your position so ultimately only you can tell what the best route is smile.gif


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 27 2012, 04:41 PM
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Hey Tony, I can't offer any real insight on this, as I never had to deal with such a nasty condition ever. What I can say is, follow the path offering the best results. Be organized and make a habit out of observing yourself when you play. If you see that in time the results are obtain faster in one direction and with potential to improve and slower in the other, then go for what's best. There is no right or wrong in this smile.gif Jimi Hendrix was also a leftie, right?

For a bit of inspiration on this, throw an eye in here - > The list of 'lefties'


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Ben Higgins
post May 27 2012, 05:58 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 27 2012, 04:41 PM) *
For a bit of inspiration on this, throw an eye in here - > The list of 'lefties'


OMG. I just read that list and it says Dave Kilminster used to play left handed until an injury and then he swapped to right. And he's an incredible guitarist, I would never have believed that ! There you go, goes to show you what can be done smile.gif

If you wondered who Dave is, he used to be a columnist for Guitarist magazine but he plays for loads of different people now. His columns used to be a monthly highlight for me and where I picked up a lot of my early tips and tricks !


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awat
post May 28 2012, 04:58 AM
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Thanks guys for your thoughts. Right now following one path is good, playing left handed. Even though I can not pick as fast when I was playing right handed. That is going to take some time. I feel even if my right hand does come back fully, it will not be as good as playing left handed and my instuctor has told me to just play left handed, because the time spent practicing right handed guitar, I could be improving my left handed playing and with more practice picking by the end of this year, I should be picking very fast. He said you can play right handed, but you will be doing double the work when you can focus on one path and not adding more work. He also said if you want to play some right handed guitar, just do not spend a lot of time on it, maybe 30 min to an hour and thats it. Now I practice 4 to 6 hours a day all left handed. So if I did play some right handed guitar that is not the path to spend a lot of time on maybe just for 30 min . Picking can be a problem sometimes because of the dystonia in my left hand, but I am still working on it.

Thanks guys, I hear what you are saying, and it is very good advice. Nothing is easy and I have to choose the right path for me and at this juncture it is playing left handed.

Tony
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Ben Higgins
post May 28 2012, 10:06 AM
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That's cool, Tony, I think that's a good decision. I'm sure you'll keep us updated on your progress and who knows, maybe we'll see some video action of your playing sometime ? smile.gif


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awat
post May 28 2012, 08:14 PM
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Thanks for the advice guys!!

Here is a music clip I did a few days ago. After about 15 months of playing. I still have a long ways to go, but with the boards encouragements and my instructor, I should get to where I want to be faster.


Tony

Ben,

Your legato lessons are great!!
Attached File(s)
Attached File  Full_fusion_2.wav ( 34.79MB ) Number of downloads: 122
 
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Ben Higgins
post May 29 2012, 08:40 AM
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QUOTE (awat @ May 28 2012, 08:14 PM) *
Thanks for the advice guys!!

Here is a music clip I did a few days ago. After about 15 months of playing. I still have a long ways to go, but with the boards encouragements and my instructor, I should get to where I want to be faster.


Tony

Ben,

Your legato lessons are great!!


That sounds really cool ! I definitely think this is the way to go smile.gif

Thank you, I'm glad you like them. After spending many months on picking and things, I'm embracing my legato roots again.

P.S. Have you found Juan Cortes's lessons yet ? Fusion legato and things wink.gif

This post has been edited by Ben Higgins: May 29 2012, 08:41 AM


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awat
post May 30 2012, 05:25 AM
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No not yet, but am looking for them now.

Ben, the tune I posted, I know it is not in the correct place , but how would you grade it?.

Tony
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Ben Higgins
post May 30 2012, 09:40 AM
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QUOTE (awat @ May 30 2012, 05:25 AM) *
No not yet, but am looking for them now.

Ben, the tune I posted, I know it is not in the correct place , but how would you grade it?.

Tony


Cool, hope you've found them ! If not, here they are

https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/instructor/Juan-Cortes/

I don't know what I would grade it as it's not a performance of another solo (or is it ?), it's an improvised solo. It would be interesting to hear how you're getting on with string bending and things like that too smile.gif


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awat
post May 30 2012, 03:50 PM
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Its just improv, I am learning Joe Satriani's Always with you always with me. I will post it in a week or so. I have been working on it for a week. I should have it down in a few more days.

Funny you mention string bending. My instructor told me to do more string bending and such.

Tony

This post has been edited by awat: May 30 2012, 03:53 PM
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Ben Higgins
post May 30 2012, 04:10 PM
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QUOTE (awat @ May 30 2012, 03:50 PM) *
Its just improv, I am learning Joe Satriani's Always with you always with me. I will post it in a week or so. I have been working on it for a week. I should have it down in a few more days.

Funny you mention string bending. My instructor told me to do more string bending and such.

Tony


Cool, that'll be a good one to do.. and good to hear. Yeah, string bending will give your fingers a test and get the strength building up smile.gif


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awat
post May 31 2012, 06:50 AM
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The guitar in your legato lessons, what is the top wood of the guitar?. I like the plain simple look of that guitar and I am going to get Carvin to build me a left hand one similar to it.


Tony
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Ben Higgins
post May 31 2012, 08:30 AM
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QUOTE (awat @ May 31 2012, 06:50 AM) *
The guitar in your legato lessons, what is the top wood of the guitar?. I like the plain simple look of that guitar and I am going to get Carvin to build me a left hand one similar to it.


Tony


That guitar be sycamore !!! biggrin.gif Not a usual choice for a guitar I don't think, but it's a nice weight and everything smile.gif

Wow, that would be cool to see a guitar based on this one wink.gif


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awat
post Jun 7 2012, 01:15 AM
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I do not know why I can not send a messae so I will post the answer here. My guitar instructor is Derryl Gabel, he has many videos on youtube and his site.


Tony
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