Can't control joints in my fingers

I’ve been trying to learn for years, but when I press down on strings, the joints in my fingers keep uncontrolably switching from flat to bent, like I’ll have them bent but they suddenly go flat and sometimes it pushes the string up. Does this make sense?? It’s hard to describe. Not sure if this is a common problem or there’s something wrong with my nerves or muscles

Are you able to press down hard on a flat surface (desk etc) without this happening?

Welcome to the forum @JacobConell.

Sounds familiar, can you grap anything without this happening?
I have to use a bit of a grap grip myself in order to keep my frettinghand to work it out. So I ‘semi overuse’ my thump to keep my hand in a grap position without over tightening my hand.

Only with my right hand

What does grap mean?

Interesting, might be a finger strength issue then

grab :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Do you suffer from this??,Boutonnière%20Deformity,while%20the%20fingertip%20bends%20back.

I have that on my fretting hand pinky and it’s something I have to live with and work “around” as much as possible…


It’s mostly the last joint in my fingers that I’m having the problem with

Photos or videos are often helpful. Maybe you can share a photo?

If it is indeed a Boutonierre deformity, then there is nothing that can be done surgically, I am afraid. Then, as mentioned, you’d have to live with it and develop a technique that still lets you do (most of) what you want to do.

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I’m not sure how I could do it and hold the camera at the same time without it being at a bad angle that doesn’t really show what’s going on. It’s the top joint, mostly happens in my last two fingers on my left hand, I try to keep my fingers curved but the top joints keep going flat.

My bad, indeed grab :smirk:

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LIke this?

Yeah sort of

but only when I’m pressing down

I don’t think we’ll be able to diagnose this here, but I don’t think it sounds normal. You should probably consult a doctor or physiotherapist. (For example you mentioned that this only happens with your pinky and ring fingers. This may or may not suggest that your symptoms are related to an issue with the ulnar nerve, which is responsible for those two fingers.)

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I have the mallet issue in some of my fingers, less of an issue on my fretting hand and more of a challenge plucking. Is this what you have?


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Mr. C.,
While I can understand you wanting to share your experiences, I think it unwise to ask the members of this forum for opinions as to whether or not you have medical problem.
Go see a Doctor.

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I don’t think it hurts to ask if anyone experiences something similar and I think it is understood we cannot provide a diagnosis. Agree, you need to go see a doc for a definitive way forward, but if others have somethings they have dealt with, it’s no harm.


I don’t think it’s a medical problem. I can’t see a doctor right now. I think it’s unwise for you to make assumptions.

Totally agree here.
It’s always helpful to hear about shared experiences. I did the same thing when I set up this forum thread for people experiencing hand and arm or shoulder pain - it’s pretty helpful too:

For the problem of joints collapsing when you apply pressure - I’ve seen similar things in many many students. It seems common in beginning students as you’re asking these tiny parts of your fingers to do very labor-intensive work.
I’d try every and any technique alternative to try and find something that’s more comfortable for your hand. The classic perfect technique of one-finger-per-fret, bent last joint landing perfectly like an eagle claw on the string doesn’t work for everyone.
Having said that - keep coming back to it.

I had this experience on the upright - collapsing joints.
I kept practicing, and it got better. Just took a long long time.