SPLINTS – to keep the curl and protect the volar plate
Unfortunately, I have spaghetti fingers. They have always collapsed and I’ve worked hard to maintain a good arch, especially for fast passage work. Gary Karr’s Bass Class Exercises include the one-fingered scale for 2 octaves along one string. I used this a lot, with and without devices – like scotch-taping, or using an actual splint (left over from a broken finger), or just holding that horrid 3rd finger with the thumb underneath and the little finger on top. Determination works really well, but silver ring splints work better.
I came across these through a hand therapist. The one pictured above is enormously expensive and engineered to precisely fit an individual finger. It was designed by a hand therapist who is also a cellist.
I’ve played for over 50 years with collapsing fingers and have not yet worn out a volar plate, but the therapist said this is the major reason for keeping the curl. Once the volar plate is gone, that’s it.
Fortunately, I found a cheap alternative. Plastic coated wire and a needle-nosed pliers to get it to the right shape.
Take a generous length of plastic coated steel wire – easily found in any hardware store
Make it into a figure 8 that will fit the offending finger. The overlapping ends should end up over the nail – for comfort.
Bend it the figure 8 into a V – as seen from the side. The x of 8 will be the bottom of the V
Insert the finger so that the palm-side of the troublesome knuckle touches the x in the figure 8 of the splint
Flatten the figure 8 enough to create a curl in the finger
Since the wire is flexible, it is more of a reminder than a deterrent. I found that using silver ring splints helped me to use my ARM differently, so that I could support the curl in my fingers.
I’ve had cellists and violinist come to me to try this, with good effect. It’s best used when doing warm-ups.
on the left, cut lengths of coated wire
on the right, a silver ring splint
on the bottom, a blank for a wire splint
this cellist is wearing a full set of splints