[NEWBIE] I (26M) have a rare genetic condition: Congenital Radioulnar Synostosis. Since birth, I can’t rotate my left palm from face-down to 180° face-up because my radius and ulna bone joints are fused together. This has affected my lifetime of playing guitar and I’m desperately asking for advice.

Link to a description of my genetic condition + an image of my twisted left arm.

Congenital = since birth, Radioulnar = the radius and ulna, Synostosis = lack of rotation.

TLDR at the bottom. Growing up through my teens, I was a passionate right-handed guitar player. I loved writing and playing with all my friends – started a bunch of shitty bands, loved Foo Fighters covers, made videos, all that. Because of this condition I have in my left arm, I had to hold my guitar in a really weird way – whether sitting or standing – and made the best of it, strumming with my right hand, and trying to fret with my left. I could sort of bend my shoulder and elbow in different ways to compensate and reach a bare minimum level of playing. This was me and my guitar: #1 and #2. I used to make videos like this. (You can see the struggle holding my guitar.)

Over the years, it started to really get old, realizing that my skill level was quite literally capped – I could not reach down the neck so much and fret, let alone play comfortably. My arm started to ache after years of pushing it. I missed the boat as a toddler for any shot at corrective surgery, and even if I got it, it’s not always successful. There are blood vessels, nerves, muscle, and tendons to consider, and sometimes the condition fuses back together afterwards.

Slowly, I had to grow to accept my fate, and moved on in my life down a sort of indifferent waft to build a career in other life interests. As I’ve grown up, I realize that even if I’ll never play professionally, I get deeply depressed thinking about not playing guitar ever again. Every day I stupidly pretend to air guitar all my favorite songs. I really, really fucking want to play guitar as my #1 hobby – I love music. It was a creative outlet that set me free.

I tried learning lefty back in the day – it was way too hard to strum with my left hand. My right hand can reach every single fret down the neck as normal. Now, at 26, I want to try again and give it a real go. I bought a beginner electric left-handed guitar and want to teach myself to build the strength and gain the motor skills needed in my left wrist to have a controlled strum, and play. I want to learn how to play guitar again. I’m aching for some “Smoke on the Water” vibes.

The very last hurdle after all this, is palm muting; I won’t ever be able to turn my left wrist enough to press my palm naturally at the bridge of the strings to mute and strum. My wrist’s range does not twist/press that far for this essential technique.

I’m desperately asking any community out here – is there hope? Is there a solution anyone knows of like a special glove or some sort of gear, custom or sold, that I can wear or install on my instrument to help me cover the centimeters between my left palm and the bridge of the strings? Any other solutions you can think of to my playing in general? Thanks for reading this far and I’m super appreciative of any help anyone can be. If I could just freely play, I’d cry.

TL;DR – A rare genetic condition in my left arm has prevented me from ever playing right-handed guitar successfully across my entire lifetime, as my reach is limited down the neck and therefore my skill level is capped. I want to switch it up to learn lefty now in my adult life (since my right hand can fret just fine), but now my condition won’t allow me to palm mute – my left palm cannot twist and reach the bridge for the essential technique. Any ideas on custom gear or solutions to something like this? Thanks.

submitted by /u/micro-wav
[link] [comments]