Splints

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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.  

SPLINT CONSTRUCTION
    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.

 

 

 

 

 

The volar plate can be stretched beyond use.
The volar plate can be stretched beyond use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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on the left,  cut lengths of coated wire

on the right, a silver ring splint

on the bottom, a blank for a wire splint

 

 

 

here you can see the x of the 8 underneath the knuckle
here you can see the x of the 8 underneath the knuckle

 

 

 

 

 

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this cellist is wearing a full set of splints