I just figured something out, and I want to go and test this theory. It’ll have to wait until the weekend, since I only have access to three guitars right now and I need several dozen of various makes and models.
Ever since I busted up my left hand, wrist, and shoulder in 2010, I have been aware that my chances of ever getting back up to scratch on my old guitar were minimal. Honestly, I’m just glad I got all the fingers back. I don’t think I’m ever going to forget what it was like to be completely unable to move them, or the months of physical therapy before I could do so much as grip a pencil. Still, it soon became obvious that my old guitar was going to be out of my life for good. It has a wide fingerboard. This was never a problem before, but now there are several bones in my wrist and hand which have a deciding vote on the matter. I can just barely make my fingers reach the A and low E strings, and I certainly can’t do anything useful once I’m there.
I was delighted to realize I can still get my wrist and fingers to bend far enough to play an electric guitar, with its narrower neck. Then, I won a Fender Stratocaster, basically because I guess I am better at whining and begging for free guitars than anybody else on the Internet. And it sounds so good. It’s a beautiful instrument. It’s so good that you could drop it off a roof and it would still make a more attractive noise when it landed than I’ve ever been able to produce by actually playing any other guitar I’ve owned.
But then tonight I noticed, for the first time, that even a tiny difference in fingerboard width and thickness is still significant. I hadn’t even noticed that there was a size difference between the Stratocaster and the BC Rich Warlock, because it was so minor compared to the huge difference between either of them and the acoustic.
I just couldn’t figure out why the Warlock still seemed slightly easier to play, although the Stratocaster sounds better and is a better guitar by every other standard. Then I took a really close look. And there it was. It’s maybe only half a centimetre of difference, but it’s there, and somehow it means I can get my fingers to stretch at least one additional fret.
So now I’m just dying to get to a guitar shop and find out what make and model of electric guitar has the thinnest, narrowest fingerboard, and see what it’s like to play it. A full-size guitar, mind you, which should rule out the appalling possibility that the thinnest, narrowest fingerboard will turn out to be on something that only comes in glitter pink with Hello Kitty decals.
But even if it does, I want to try it out anyway. This discovery is probably not of interest to anyone with a fully functional left wrist, but it’s very important to me.