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"re-learning" to play guitar after stroke

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by soul-o, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    I couldn't think of giving you anything but my support and admiration. I have no experience base to try and give you advice. You got this...Bill
     
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  2. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    Double clutch...sorry
     
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  3. ComingApart

    ComingApart Tele-Meister

    264
    Aug 11, 2003
    Southern Arkansas
    what a strange bit of fortune, me finding this thread. I suffered a stroke 2 weeks ago myself. i've convinced myself that relearning how to play will be a crucial part of my reHAB. ITS A STRUGGLE AND CAUSE OF MUCH FRUSTRATION RIGHTNOW, BUT IT ALSO HELPS KEEP MY MIND OCCUPIED. AS YOU KNOW LIFE GETS CRAZY WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS.JUST KNOW THAT YOU'RE NOT STRUGGLING ALONE OUT THERE. i KNOW THE THOUGHT THAT PEOPLE HAVE, AND CONTINUE TO, OVERCOME THESE SETBACKS HELPS ME KEEP GOING.BEST WISHES TO YOU.
    ON A SIDE NOTE, A VERY DEAR FRIEND OF MINE HAS BEEN HELPING ME OUT AND WORKING WITH ME. i ACTUALLY TAUGHT HIM HIS FIRST FEW CHORDS 20+ years ago and just the other night, he spent several hours with me helping me remember how to make and play G, C, D & chords all over again. it was kinda surreal, but he's been invaluable to me.

    I apologize for the sloppy typing and horrible grammar,fine motor skills still need alot of improvement, but i'm working on it......
    my support and encouragement to all you out there struggling with similar issues right now. It's a gonna be a battle, but i'm convinced it's worth fighting.
     

  4. teleamp

    teleamp Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    59
    Oct 17, 2006
    Prairie Hill, Texas
    It will come back, give it time... Sleep is your friend.

    Regaining strength and endurance was the hardest part for me... (I've gone through this 3 times now... 1 time with a stroke, and 2 more times with flu/pneumonia).

    Learning to swallow again has been my biggest challenge.
     

  5. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009
    atlanta
    I havent said much but I'm reading this thread and I'm pulling for you.

    About ten years ago I had a wrist injury that prevented me from playing for several months. Our band had released a CD right before that, and I couldnt play, so the band died. Anyway, after the cast came off and the docs gave me the ok to start playing, I had to take it one baby step at a time.

    I had to buy all new necks for my partsacasters, big things with huge frets and use tiny little strings. Then I had to un-learn a bunch of bad habits, and learn a bunch of new ones, little tricks to avoid full barre chords, all kinds of things.

    I was nowhere near what you're having to go thru, however, if I can more or less get back from where I was (I still have issues and cannot practice every day like I used to) then I hope you can get back to a place where you can enjoy playing your guitar.

    If your journey is anything like mine was, prepare for days of frustration intermixed with days of small triumphs. Whatever you dont, dont give up. I almost packed it in a few times.
     
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  6. goport

    goport TDPRI Member

    Age:
    51
    11
    Jun 7, 2009
    uk
    Sorry to revive this thread but it's very motivating for me right now. Like the OP I too had a two minor strokes that affected my left arm and leg last month. I was lucky that it only affected my walking and the left arm jobs (I am a lefty) writing, typing, picking and strumming. I've had good physio advice: play guitar standing up for 60 minutes a day, get plenty of exercise and stop doing unhealthy things. Consequently I can walk 90% normally now, I still limp but if I concentrate I can even hide that.

    The arm is a little slower - it still doesn't feel like part of my body but I can just about write and hold a pick now. And I can get a tune out of a guitar just about. It's the picking and rhythm that needs all the work - and that is going to be the slow progress part. I have lost the funk! Luckily I have our sound tech depping for me in my band right now and I hope to return by the end of the year all being well.

    These strokes only affected me superficially compared to others that have lost their sight, hearing, power of speech or mobility. I have been so fortunate that if the guitar playing never comes back fully I can live with that. Though god knows what I will spend all my money on!

    As my doctor says "be well, look after yourself so this doesn't happen again"
     

  7. goport

    goport TDPRI Member

    Age:
    51
    11
    Jun 7, 2009
    uk
    Just a update/small progress report on my post above for any that may be interested.

    First a correction: My doctor informed me that my first stroke event was not minor although I have been remarkably lucky in that it hasn't affected me anywhere near as bad as it could have.

    In general terms I have full mobility, fitness and a normal life again. the only hangover is writing and my rhythm/picking. And that has really improved but just not to the point where I trust myself to go out and gig just yet. Its the things I used to be able to do that I forget that I am still not able that catch me off guard. Strumming 16ths - that's not happening yet lol!! Imagine playing, say, Pinball Wizard naturally and comfortably for the last 20 years, then one day you find yourself completely uncoordinated. And arpeggios and picking patterns - its like someone moved all the strings hahha. So its all about relearning guitar.

    I did one gig with my band but generally felt I came back far too soon. I am now taking another few months of practising before I return - they're amazing to be so patient and my dep (a far better player than I was before the stroke) is amazing.

    Its all about the (re)learning now. Its not so bad. I packed away all my tube amps and pedals and bought a Line 6 Helix to play through which keeps everything fresh and interesting. Who knows if I'll get back what I lost but its fun trying!!

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas etc.
     
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  8. drmmrr55

    drmmrr55 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    220
    Aug 20, 2017
    Federal Way, Washington
    I definitely feel your anguish, and celebrate your drive and ambition. I know of what you speak, I had a stroke 8 yrs ago and stopped playing for about 6 months after. Like you I was determined to play again, and after a long learning process, (still ongoing) I am playing again 8 years later, but learning was much harder than the first time around. There are still things I just can't get my left hand to do, and at this juncture, probably never will. You do adapt tho, and start using techniques that your affected hand/fingers can do and find other ways around your limitations. I will never be the guitarist I was before the stroke, but I'm good enough that I've been playing in bands and enjoying it probably more than I did before the stroke. Though technically, I'm not as good as I once was. The best physical therapy was re-learning to play guitar again. Your story is indeed inspiring! BRAVO.
     
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  9. goport

    goport TDPRI Member

    Age:
    51
    11
    Jun 7, 2009
    uk
    Drmmrr55 - thank you and so sorry to hear about your stroke too. You too seem to have a very pragmatic approach and that's the best way of keeping some levity about what we have gone through to get to where we are. More importantly you have learned to accept where you are and also how to move forward and progress without giving up so that's a big inspiration to me! Bravo to you too, sir!

    Last weekend I did my first gig with the band and it was a solid 6/10. I played competently but thankfully the stand in guitarist is now permanent which is very helpful as there is stuff that's clearly beyond me right now. I am still not sure if I am enjoying it or enduring it but its early days. I did okay though and managed the whole 2 hours and only faded on the last song - which is really promising.

    I read earlier on this thread that relearning is a chance to unlearn. That's true to a large extent but as you state, we'll possibly never regain full use of our hands like before and therefore its more about learning to live with the change. That doesn't stop me trying though! I have a grueling practice regime that I have started about 7 weeks ago which is paying off slowly. Its painful stuff but fun in a odd way - I have included techniques that I have never done before so that really feels like progress. At 51 years old I suddenly find myself learning economy picking and sweeping!!

    Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!
     

  10. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars TDPRI Member

    Age:
    62
    67
    Apr 15, 2017
    ...playing in traffic
    In 2006, I had a left cerebellar infarct (I am right hand dominant). I am now back to work and I am still able to play some however, I am still having an issue keeping time/meter(among several neuro deficits still here). I am writing again. I am trying to record again.

    I queried Pat Martino(Jazz Great) as to what he did while he recovered from his deficits. He told me to treat the instrument as a toy. That way it would not be played (for the sake of technical performance) like a musician would play, and would be treated as distraction. I highly recommend the approach.
     

  11. Solrac Kai

    Solrac Kai Tele-Meister

    490
    Dec 14, 2011
    california
    This Friday will be 8 years since my wife suffered her stroke. If anything it taught us the brain is amazingly adaptable. Keep plugging away, your brain will develop new connections and pathways to support your efforts the more you repeat your actions. She still has some side effects that she will have to live with for rest of her life, but she has recovered through hard work and rehab to the point where she is a body builder and accountant for a billion dollar company. So keep it up! We will be pulling for you
     

  12. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    Bakersfield
    I can only salute you for having the courage to battle with your own self! I am deeply impressed by the progress you've made. MANY would have given up. Again, I salute you.
     

  13. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    68
    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Hi soul-o. I'm impressed and amazed by your progress. I've seen the devastation from stroke in my family and friends. Getting fine motor control back is hard work, as is getting strength back. I'm in awe of what you've been able to accomplish is such a short period of time. As I was reading your post, a thought crossed my mind. I've picked up a slide a few times and given up because of different tunings and not having taught my brain to control it, but I've always wanted to be able to play slide guitar or Dobro. Believe me, I'm not trying to be intrusive or insensitive, but I wonder if you might not enjoy it. I'm thinking it may require less brute strength in your fingers.

    My best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep us posted. You're in my prayers.
     

  14. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    57
    Jan 4, 2017
    Wales
    I'm lost for words to try and say how much I'm impressed/inspired etc etc... so I'll leave it to Clint...

    [​IMG]
     

  15. elihu

    elihu Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 24, 2009
    Texas
    Thanks for this Corin, you've made my day. And I'm sorry I missed this earlier.

    More and more I'm convinced that behavior is the measure of a man-not words. The mundane stuff that people do everyday, not because they want to but because they have to in order to achieve a worthy goal, surely this is the foundation for success. Ronnie Lane saw it in his dad, who after working a long day would come home to take care of his wife and two brothers who all had Multiple Sclerosis. Here's hoping that your son sees it in you. I'm betting he will.
     

  16. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    May 5, 2015
    Alaska
    Your attitude is inspiring. You had a stroke, but it's not got you. Not by a long shot.
     

  17. vkinetic

    vkinetic Tele-Meister

    Age:
    65
    116
    Nov 22, 2017
    Bundeena, Sydney, Australia
    Fantastic Soulo and others. Keep rockin' and never give up. Rock until your drop I say! And never let anyone point the bone at you. They've tried to do that to me too many times but I refuse to acknowledge. The power of the mind, the power of music. Congratulations on your true grit and determination. You're all winners and legends.
     

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