top of page

Hyper-flexibility in the thumb

A few of us noticed the extremely excellent "thumb-under technique" that David Lee displayed in his playing in this week's Musicale. I even kidded that maybe he had had surgery to dislocate his thumb! Just how different can our thumbs all be, and does that determine our ability to play scale passages smoothly? I decided to do a bit of research on thumb flexibility. It's frequently a topic in my household - my husband does not have flexibility at all, and bemoans the fact, as it hinders his guitar playing.


So on Youtube, I discovered a demonstration of the tests for diagnosing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder where hypermobility in various joints occurs.



One can have hypermobility in various joints without having this syndrome, so don't worry if you can do some of the flexibility tests!


Also interesting were the images displayed when I Googled "Steinberg sign thumb". People who are positive for this sign are able to fold their thumb completely under the rest of their fingers to the point that it protrudes beyond their hand - wow! I kinda think that would be an advantage in playing scales smoothly....


Further Googling images, I tried looking for what MY thumb looks like, so I Googled "meaty thumb". I did find a diagram of the hand that identifies this part as the "Thenor". The opposite side of the hand - for me, also meaty - is the "Hypothenor". But most of the images had something to do with testing the doneness of a steak....so, before I really go down a rabbit hole, I'll end this here - although I'd love to hear your thoughts and observations.

25 views6 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Music and Mind

I just finished reading the new book (2024) "Music and Mind: Harnessing the Arts for Health and Wellness" edited by Renée Fleming, the famous opera singer. At 558 pages, it is a bit long on anecdotal

6 Comments


Gail Ravin Starr
Gail Ravin Starr
Aug 20, 2021


Like

This link https://youtu.be/NTtULRQakj4 shows what Carol is talking. David Lee was a guest pianist at GMG Virtual Musicale on 8/18.

Like

Gail Ravin Starr
Gail Ravin Starr
Aug 20, 2021

So interesting! Folks with Ehlers-Dahnos can have varying degrees of concerns.

A mild case, though, really might help with piano. My right thumb DOES bend easily across my entire hand, and my left used to until I dislocated it playing volleyball as a kid….

Like

James Baskerville
James Baskerville
Aug 20, 2021

Very interesting!


Like

Although, I'm not sure about the link itself...

Like
bottom of page