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Thread: Clarinet Thumb!

  1. #1
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    Post Clarinet Thumb!

    I have been playing clarinet for about 4 1/2 years and am taking Grade 7 next term, but i have a problem with my thumb. I has a big deformed 'lump' on the joint, which doesn't stop me playing and dosen't hurt but is just a bit worrying. It is on my right thumb only.
    I was considering going to my doctor but surely he'll just say stop playing for a while, which i cant do with an exam coming up.
    Has anyone got any advice or has any deformities of their own!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    This is one of those difficult situations. Advice is out of the question because I'm neither doctor nor clarinettist.

    Are there signs of it getting worse?

    I think it's worth consulting your doctor, explaining the exam situation and you really can't afford to stop playing now and, as it doesn't hurt, it would be totally inconvenient. 1) He/she may be able to treat it without you having to stop. 2) You aren't obliged to accept his/her advice anyway and can offer to come back later. It's a question of negotiation in a way. And you can always ask for a second opinion if your surgery has another doctor. 3) If you're in the UK you'd be waiting a couple of months to see a specialist anyway so just keep going.

    Were it me, as long as it isn't getting worse I'd see the doc after the exam.

    Hope it sorts itself out.
    best of luck.

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    Senior Member zlya's Avatar
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    It's the price you'll pay for playing clarinet, I'm afraid. I remember my very first clarinet lesson in elementary school. My band teacher, a clarinetist himself, showed me his deformed right thumb and said, "This is what you'll get if you get good enough!" He seemed rather proud.

    The lump is basically a thick callous from where the thumbrest rests on the thumb. If you're really concerned about it, you could try getting a padded covering for the thumbrest. (If you have a padded covering, you could try getting a different one). Alternatively, you could wrap your thumb in a small piece of bandage when you play.

    Out of curiousity, how's your right wrist? That can also take some damage from extensive clarinet practice.

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    Senior Member zlya's Avatar
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    PS: It's not permanent. If you stop playing clarinet for a few months, it will go away, just like the callouses on your feet go away if you stop going barefoot for a few months.

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    My wrist is fine thankfully, because i play piano aswell which is really my first instrument,
    thanks for the advice, ill go to the doc after exams

  6. #6
    Senior Member Saturnus's Avatar
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    Well, oboe players get this also, there is nothing bad about it actually. It only looks strange...

  7. #7
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    the thumb rest should rest between the knuckle and tip of the thumb. thumb pads are cheap and effective.

    dj

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