The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  1. #1

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    So after a bad fall down some ancient stone stairs in beautiful Varenna, Italy, and a flight home to Florida, I am recovering from reversible shoulder replacement surgery. Any advice or ideas on how to get back to practicing. I'm in a sling for awhile which complicates things. Thanks guys...


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  3. #2

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    I'd spend the down time listening. Just my 2 cents.

  4. #3

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    Sorry to hear it. My mom fell and broke her shoulder about 6 months ago. It resulted in her having to move out of her house and into assisted living. (Which she is loving, btw—lots of people to socialize with.)

    Unfortunately after her surgery she couldn’t play guitar at all.

    Don’t feel too bad, she couldn’t play guitar before her surgery, either.

    I would just say follow your doctor’s/PT’s advice, and let your body be your guide. A little discomfort is usually necessary to improve function. A lot of discomfort probably means you’re doing something wrong.

  5. #4

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    My wife had a shoulder replaced. Doc said it would feel like her shoulder to the point where she didn't have to think about it in 4 months. It was a little longer than that, maybe 6 months, but at that point it worked fine.

    My advice would be to bring a guitar to your next appointment with the surgeon, demonstrate or explain what you want to do and get advice.

    Iirc, and I might not, the big issue is to avoid certain motions like pushing or pulling. I'm guessing a slim solid body might be more appropriate than a fat archtop. Maybe a Yamaha Silent without the top rail installed.

  6. #5

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    Shoulder Replacement Surgery

    Ouch. Sorry about that.

  7. #6

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    I broke my back little over a year ago. The operation for the fracture was not very successful and I have taken on somewhat the shape of a hunchback. Thus it is difficult for me to sit with my archtop guitars. My partscaster is a little better because it's smaller but still not comfortable. To compensate I dug out my old clarinet, which I hadn't played for almost 30 years, had it repadded and adjusted. It can be played even when sitting in an armchair though I have had to adjust my playing style (smaller mouthpiece tip opening and softer reeds) as compared to what it was back then. Its quite a challenge but the learning and experience from playing guitar has not been wasted. I know a lot more about music (harmony, music notation reading etc.) and know a lot more tunes than I did when I put the clarinet aside all those years ago. At present the clarinet keeps me busy so I don't touch the guitars much.

    Now, Les Paul learned to play - and play well - after his accident which left him with a stiff right arm. There no reason to believe you can't find a way to play guitar again. Just give it time. And if it should prove too difficult, consider playing another instrument. After all the chosen instrument is just a vehicle for what it's about at the end of day: The music.

  8. #7

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    Sorry to hear about your mishap!
    While you're wearing a sling, you're allowed to do only gentle range of motion exercises. After that, a physical therapy program should follow - and that's the point when you ask your orthopedic surgeon or PT whether you can start guitar playing. In most cases, no contraindication will exist to do so. The (replaced) shoulder joint is not really stressed at all by playing guitar (well, that is, playing in a reasonable way). It's the pain and (initial) functional deficits that will allow how long and intense you'll be able to practise - your body will tell you!

    << Any advice or ideas on how to get back to practicing >>

    So the answer is: just do it! You should be able to do it without problems after shoulder replacement, if your fingers and arms do work. Don't be afraid of playing guitar if that is what you still whish for, don't let your body rule over your mind - and it's ok, if our bodies ask for a little break now and then!
    Please, be careful to stop taking opioids after a short while. And, certainly I wouldn't schlepp anymore heavy though great amps, like a Fender Twin or Hohner Orgaphon 60 etc.

    The Do's and Don'ts after surgery (from
    Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement - OrthoInfo - AAOS ):
    • Do follow the home exercise program prescribed by your doctor.
    • Do avoid extreme arm positions, such as behind your body or your arm straight out to the side, for the first 6 weeks.
    • Don't overdo it.
    • Don't lift anything heavier than 5 lbs. for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
    • Don't push yourself up out of a chair or bed, as this requires forceful muscle contractions.
    • Don't participate in repetitive heavy lifting after shoulder replacement

    There is a number of informative great American websites about total shoulder replacement and recovery, like Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement | Johns Hopkins Medicine , and others. And, please, let's stick to that operative procedure as 'reverse' (vs. 'reversible') total shoulder replacement.
    I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery, many enjoyable years to come with guitar playing - and a more enjoyable next trip to beautiful Italy!

  9. #8

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    I am posting on behalf of my husband who is currently recovering from reverse shoulder replacement surgery. He is only 3 days post op. He has played a 12 string acoustic guitar for 50 years professionally as a solo and with a full band. This has been his primary source of income. It's been hard to find any information on guitar players who have been able to resume normal playing after this surgery. I know this is an older thread but I was hoping for an update on how you are doing including regaining the strength to play a four hour show. He is not a jazz musician he plays classic rock, blues, and country. He has a very demanding repertoire. He is 72 years old and could do 3 hours straight with no break out playing other musicians half his age. I'm looking for any positive experiences that I can share with him right now as he is in a lot of pain and really struggling.