Instructables

how do i make prosthetic finger tips so i can play my guitar again?

i chopped off the tip of my finger with a mower....ouch, now im two months in and i still cant play chords on my guitar. if i super glue leather to it i can play my bass. i have also used banjo picks with band aids wraped around them but these get in the way when i play chords. i cut off about half an inch from my ring finger and nipped my middle finger on my fret hand. any help would be great thanks. D.J. ps the pics are from a week out of surgery

Picture of how do i make prosthetic finger tips so i can play my guitar again?
finger2.jpg
stringer531 year ago
I lost 1/4 inch off my middle finger & really missed playing my guitar. I got a list of materials from my dentist to make a mold of my finger & then use acrylic mix to make the extension. A lot of sanding but i am getting better at it. The lab tech helped me make the first one and it works fine. If anybody wants to try i would make one for nothing. I am trying to come up with a way to measure other people's fingers. Pictures would help but i need length & diameter. If anybody is interested let me know & i will do my best to help.

Stringer53,

Are you still making finger tips; like you I lost about 1/2 inch on my index finger on my left hand. I played in a band for many years when I was young and can't play the bar chords that well anymore.

Thanx,

MrWizard

Send me pics & measurements to dungbusted@gmail.com

I lost part of my index finger on my fret hand. If this really works please email instructions on how to make it mburelison89@gmailm.com

Hello there... I read your post with great interest. I have a similar injury to the poor guy in the photo. Ive lost around 1cm of my middle fretting finger. I tried the galaxyguitar ft-1.. it would work great but it doesnt fit unfortunately. I would be very grateful if you could help me. I would cover any cost to you, just let me know what you need. Ill do best to supply photos etc... Thank you

Hey, just a heads up.... I checked Galaxy's website, they now offer the FT-1 in a larger size. I still use their 5/8's, if your finger is larger you may want to check out their larger offering. Best of luck.

send pics and measurement to dungbusted@gmail.com

See above tropiclighting

bravo222@shaw.ca

Send pics & measurements to dungbusted@gmail.com
Send me all measurements, pics, of both the good, bad and ugly fingers.(sorry) length from first joint to tips, Circumference, diameter & anything else you have. email me: dungbusted@gmail.com
My name is Ron & i will do my best to help you. I don't charge but shipping costs would be appreciated because i suspect ur from the UK. & i am in Canada. Thanx Ron.
NoahS14 months ago

You might not like this answer, but it'll definately have you playing chords again though it might take a few years, if you're a righty, switch over to lefty and learn over again, do it the iommi way,

iommi already played lefty. thats why he made finger tips out of fairy liquid bottles because he couldnt switch to right handed playing. now i lost the tip of my middle finger fretting hand, i used some of that morphplast, plastic pellets you melt in hot water, not hot enough to burn your finger, so you can form it over your digit, let it run under cold water"quicker" then superglue a leather pad on the tip. if you have quite a bit missing from your finger you can build it up with wax then form the tip over that worked for me.

69geb695 years ago
I have the same problem. I whacked off the entire 1st digit of my left hand index finger. Here's how to fix your problem. Get on the phone and call up every prosthetic company in your area and find one who does fingers. They will make you a prosthectic finger that will stay on very tight without glue, and they will put a rubberized coating on it and you'll pay about $150 for it (your ring finger) and it will work just like you never lost the tip of your finger. Your middle finger should be fine. It just needs to heal for a couple of months. Or, if it's worse than it looks, get a prosthetic for it too. I have one and now I can play the guitar perfectly. Don't waste your time trying to make your own out of silicone. I tried that many times and you can't get the suction that you need. Let the pros do it and fork out a little cash. It'll get you back to playing again. I know, I've been there.
Dear 69,  I would like to know what company you are referring to.  I live in a very rural area.  We don't have any such companies around here.  However, I would really like to speak with someone from a recommended company.  I lost the end of my left index finger 3 years ago.  After playing my guitar for 35 years, I miss playing it.  It isn't my source of income, but I would like to get back to where I was as nearly as possible.   Thanks posting. 

The best company I found is Galaxy Guitar Products, Google them. I have been using their FT-1 Finger Protectors now for a few years. My last 2 were an investment of $110.00 each. I still have my first one. If you play any instrument and have a severe finger injury as I do, let the pro's make you one. It's your finger & worth the investment. Here is a link if needed. http://galaxyguitar.com I Hope this helps you & good luck.

zonie 69geb691 year ago
I have tips of all four fingers of left hand missing. I have phoned countless prosthesis firms and am told they are from $3,700 to $6,500 each with at least 4 visits & 2 months, plus plane fare & lodging. Plus, they only last for 2 to 5 years under normal usage. Plus, guitar strings will cut right through them. I have gone to hobby lobby & like places to no avail. Someone, somewhere has to have an answer. All I need is a little length with a narrow end that will let me hit just one string instead of two at a time. I would appreciate any help at all so much. Thank you

See tropiclighting above

bravo222@shaw.ca

Hi There, send pics & measurements to dungbusted@gmail.com. I make extensions using various dentistry materials. Made 1 for myself & other people.

msfox 69geb692 years ago
I am having the same problem...I lost the the first joint of my index and middle finger and miss playing both my bass and guitar. What company did you contact? I have very little insurance and maybe I can contact that same company to work something out. thanks
djloney (author)  msfox2 years ago
That's awesome 69geb69 I ended up making one that did the trick for me until it healed well enough to play without it. It was easy enough but I would have bought a prothisis had I known you could get one so cheap. I just used bondo and jb weld and it worked just fine for playing shows around town and practicing. A professionally made one would have been much nicer though. If someone dose want to make one I can explain how it's pretty easy but no substitute for the real thing I'm sure.
totally did the same thing. Left index finger just above the first joint. My problem now is the stiffness and swelling are still present. did you have the same issues? its only been 6 weeks since the accident. I really would like to know the name of the company you used to get the proshtetic digit.
Texas Starr9 months ago
(removed by author or community request)

Thanks for the offer, I prefer buying mine direct from Galaxy Guitar Products, especially with all diseases going around I need to be careful. If it has been handled at all, not for me. I just purchased another two of their new Ultra Flex finger protectors and after using their originals for years like the one you have, I really enjoy the upgrade. Thanks again for the offer.

I lost my finger tip with the help of my lawn mower....sigh....believe it or not, the best success I've had has been with PLASTI DIP tool dip. By shaping a piece of wooden dowell then inserting it into a disposable rubber glove then dipping it 2 or 3 times, let it dry and trim.

before that I hadn't touched my guitars for 6 years........takes some getting used to but better than never playing at all

lily5lace3 months ago

This thread has been unbelievably informative, but before I go out and try stuff for myself-- has anyone been successful using any of these methods/would be willing to give more detailed instructions? I haven't lost any fingers or pieces thereof, but I have extremely sensitive skin that doesn't form calluses or scar properly, so all attempts to learn guitar up to the present have failed epically. But as I prepare to go off to college, I'm facing the fact that I can't take my piano with me, and would love to have the more portable option of guitar.

Meliyasemy4 months ago

I am currently trying to learn how to play the guitar but it's extremely hard for just about the same reason I'm 15 and a couple years back was in a car accident and lost about a centimeter or so of my middle finger I would like to make the prosthetic finger tip myself though but don't know what to use to make it ..... PLEASE HELP me as well !

Due to health reasons i am no longer fabricating extensions, i can't keep up with the requests.
Cmcmillin7 months ago

Im having my first knuckle amputated on my left index finger on tuesday. I've been going over design options in my head as to what would work best. Im thinking something rigid I could slip over the next portion of my finger , with a slight bend to help with chords structure. Im not sure how that would affect bar chords. Did you ever find a way that works for you? THanks

1.purchase a bag of algenon

2. mix it up in a plastic cup

3. stick your finger in and let it get hard

4. pour in some plaster to make a cast of the finger

5. remove the algenon after it gets hard

6. drill a small hole in the base of the plaster finger

7. put a stick through it and attach it to a base so you can work on it

8. buy one of those rubber finger guards at staples that are used to count money

9. buy one of those foam numbers or letters at a craft store

10. sand and mold the foam to replace the size and dimension of the finger loss

11. glue it inside the rubber finger guard

12 trim the rubber finger guard to a comfortable size and put it on the mold

13. buy some deer skin leather..thinner the better..sand it down to make I thin

14. crazy glue the deer skin leather to the rubber finger guard while on the mold ( must use crazy glue so it will take the shape

it will fit your finger perfectly and stay on. The foam will allow you to feel the string of the guitar. It will be the tightest fit, never fall off and take the smallest amount or area between strings.

wence310 months ago
stringer53 what you are doing to help people out is a is a real good thing not to many people would be willing to help out for nothing. We need more people like you, I lost fingers on both of my hands due to a heart valve surgery at Audie Murphy VA hospital in San Antonio Texas gone wrong, which they refuse to admit fault. I used to play a little guitar and accordion but not anymore. Good luck to all you and Peace.
stringer53 wence310 months ago
I thank you !
stringer531 year ago
From stringer53; read my post. I might be able to help you out.
wrench4091 year ago
I am three weeks out from losing two fingertips (distal) on my right hand. The gentleman at spirittips is unable at this time to assist at this time due to his health issues. I have located a site that does excellent work and am in contact with them currently on my issue. They are http://alatheia.com/ and they have quite an array of services.

I lost the tip of my finger in a construction accident, after trying those gimmick type finger cots I got from a guitar store which did not work for me, my friend googled Tony Iommi finger protectors. That is how we found Galaxy Guitar Products USA FT-1 Finger Protector @ www.galaxyguitar.com/ft1.html
It is the only product that works for me. I currently am on my 4th Galaxy FT-1 Finger Prosthetic. I still have the 1st one from years ago but wanted to have spares. Once your brain gets use to having it on, it becomes second nature. Hope this help you & good luck.
joyburton1 year ago
This post really has touched me deeply. Right after I had my twins, I was scrambling to help my husband repair an unsafe deck at our new house. I heard one of the newborn babies cry, and instinctively looked up to where I had them in the doorway, safely about 40 feet away from where I was working with a chop saw. In my exhaustion of those no-sleep days, I shouldn't have been anywhere near power tools.... I chopped off my left thumb at the first joint. I couldn't even nurse them, much less put on the one baby's oxygen hose and heart monitor. I had to trust in the help of complete strangers to come to my home and care for the little ones and me while my hubby had to work. At the time, five years ago, my only thought was gaining functionality to take care of my babies. I was too busy to even remember that I used to play the cello...and I was actually pretty good! I couldn't stop crying when it finally hit me, the realization that I might not ever be able to play again. I have a good deal of tissue and a tiny bit of fingernail that was able to be transplanted off the chunk of finger we found in the yard, and built up about 1/2 inch above where the cut happened, but all the bone had been chewed up by the saw so it's an extraordinarily painful but numb doughy stump above the knuckle, quite wide and squishy. And I won't even go into the lack of attractiveness usually expected of the female hand.

The stories I am reading here have offered me courage and hope that there might be some affordable options for a prosthetic. Playing cello requires the thumb of the left hand to exert a good amount of pressure straight down on the tip as well as to slide along the strings at the side of the thumb, and both of those now are very painful not to mention the lack of appropriate length. But perhaps the leather thimble idea would be a place to start. Right now any extra money has to go to the kids, not unnecessary things like hobbies, but this has given me the courage to start trying and to make a plan so that eventually I can play again. Thank you to all for the creative ideas and support.
I remember seeing your pictures of fingers 4 years ago. My heart was broken as I had just lost my tip as well. I've been playing guitar for 42 years at the time. I thought my career and life were over. I went to some prostheses makers, (all who were wanting to make something) but they didn't have a clue. Immediately I started working on my own with great but limited success and now after 4 years, I've finally perfected it. On the first day, I wore it for 8 hours straight. 3 hours were playing my guitar. On day 2, I wore it for 5 hours of hard core picking. No sleepy finger or slippage.
valkgurl1 year ago
Hope this posts and helps readers--

As a BK (Below Knee) leg amp there is a "technique" that prosthetics guys use to shape the end of the limb to ensure it will fit a prosthetic properly. This was done for me starting at about 4 weeks post op (non trauma caused amputation). Now depending on the shape you have on the "left over" portion of the finger this might or might not help so please consider that before hand.

What they do is apply a SHRINKER. In a leg case this is a semi stretchy "tube sock" with a small plastic rigid "O" ring threaded on. The way this is used is to have the whole thing layed out flat; roll the end that has a somewhat tighter knit "hem" on it like a condom and then roll THAT end over the limb end and THEN bring the OTHER end of the sock--the section that is CLOSEST to the ring--over the already on part. Try this it is much easier to DO it than EXPLAIN it! Just take a tube of some sort (cut an old sock) and use any sort of a ring to make a "Model" and try it over a solid tube.

Now the OBJECT in "shrinking" an amputation stump is to get it SHAPED to a narrower end than the rest of the limb. This way you can fit the socket part better and not have to make a cylinder of it; it will taper. Which I suspect is what you gittar men are looking for!

You could probably look around at fabric stores or hobby places for a semi stretchy material to duplicate this. And I am assured that even after TIME these can be of MUCH help in re-shaping limbs so this might be able to help older damages. You DO have to USE it tho--use it when you go to bed is the advice of my "Leg Guy".

Making one small enough --altho you could use anything that would compress into that tapered shape ---would be the challenge.
Maxfac guy2 years ago
Hi guys and gals,
just read this post after a bit of surfing the web and thought I'd drop a note in for anyone looking for help in this area.
I am in the UK and work for the NHS and have a few patients who have come to me looking for help in this area already.
I work as a Consultant Maxillofacial Prosthetist, known in the USA and Europe as an Anaplastologist.
We make finger prostheses for traumatic and congenital defects and I have seen professional musicians and amatures alike and can confirm that in the UK you should be able to be seen for free.
Sorry for the USA you will have to ask and see what different clinics would charge.
How to be seen is to go to your GP and ask for a referral to a local clinic, in the UK, see here for your nearest - http://www.impt.co.uk/clinics.php.
USA and Europe - http://www.anaplastology.org/
From my experience to-date I have made aesthetic fingers to restore the look of the missing digit, but a more custom thinner curved prosthesis suitable for purpose seems to actually 'work' better.
Hope this helps , take care.
econtreras3 years ago
i am recovering from a table saw accident.. i cut my middle and ring finger close to the palm.. they were able to re attatch my fingers but they said they might not work the same..to be honest i would have rather lost a leg. i have pictures on facebook. feel free to look at them.. i really hope i can play guitar again.. it sucks not being able to
tinker2343 years ago
my brother did steel he is in a band and he is iron fingers
You can buy a casting kit at a crafts store, usually for parents that want to make castings of their newborns feet or hands. You can probably cast in plastic or epoxy like JB Weld. Cut up a rubber glove and use that to micmic skin.
colinf3 years ago
greetings gentlemen, I've just lost my middle finger at the first joint in the last couple of days and am already trying to get my head round how i'll get back to the guitar. I think I shall be trying fabricate some sort of prosthetic attachment as soon as the dressings are off. Hats off to you boy's who are getting on with it, never thought I'd be in this position, but I am so I'm thinking positive. best of luck
David973 years ago
1. Coat fingers in (malten warm) wax.
2. peal off
3. fill wax molds with BOG.
4. peal wax off BOG and coat BOG in sillicon glue.
5.peal silicon off and your done.
Spirittips3 years ago

I had the same type of injury- and made my own tips!
I can make them for you also.


http://spirittips.yolasite.com/
Spirittips3 years ago

Yes, I had the same type of problem, with my chord hand ring finger- her is THE answer, I made my own and a website to health others.

The link

http://spirittips.yolasite.com/
gatsbyscot5 years ago
Not sure if you are still checking these posts, but I submitted one a couple of monts ago, way down near the end. Like you I damged my ring finger and middle finer in table saw accident. After about 3 months my ring finger only about 1/8 inch shorter has healed and hardened and I can use. My middle finger, lost about 5/8 inch is still too tender to use (even after much work on toughening it up. So I am using a tip from company that someone suggested below. It works very weel after using for a month or so to get used to. I also use a leather thimble called nimble thimble, it is leather with firm end. I use a size large and put a little expoxy inside on the end so it emulates a firm finger end. You can get the prof. finger cap from Galaxy for $70 bucks, well worth it fro me and the nimble thimble for $5 at Hobby lobby store on google and buy online. Mostly i use the galaxy FT1 but sometimes need to use the nimble thimble for a break as after a set or two, that gives my some relief. Either way, I'm back to gigging after 3 months, most important to getting back was doing finger exercises using clay, putty, tennis balls, chinnesse (baluad balls, i think they call them), and exercises from a prof Occup Therapist, plus as much playing as I could do, very boring stuff like scales and pinky exercise from you tube.  My middle, ring and pinky were effected greatly, very weak for some reason and had to be strengthened, that was prob. more critical than the prpotectors. Anyway, good luck and hope you are reading these posts and back ont he road to playing. You look like a young due and I'm in my late fifities, so betting your recovery will be faster. Good luck to all and thanks for the advice and encouragment, it helped me greatly. As for the smart alec comments, get some humanity, for a true guitar player this is a terrible tragedy.

keep the faith
-Brian

PS for Kev. Find a good hand reconstruction surgeon, not many around but they can do amazing things with pins and skin transplants that may give you partial use of that finger.

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Have a look at this product http://www.galaxyguitar.com/ click on 'FT1 Finger protector' tab. It could well be the answer for you. Not sure if it would help me as my finger is shortened to below the knuckle, but for yours it may well be helpful. I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Kev
when and/or if you get your hand reconstructed i sugguest you stay away from mowers...
LOL...the mower went to the tip as soon as I was able to drive !!

I have spoken to the London prosthetic centre and they can make a finger designed for playing guitar. Either a lifelike one or a cheaper 'functional' one. Not sure what it'll look like but I will keep you informed.  I am gigging again and managing ok, but some chords are a bit out of  reach  lol

Kev
Just an update. I had a prosthetic finger made for me mid 2010. It is very lifelike and fits very well. Unfortunately I could never get on with it playing the guitar. Just didn't have enough angle on it. However , I am now having one made under the NHS who are taking a lot more time to get it right for me. I have had one at home now since just before Christmas and it works just fine. Had to have it made with a 45 degree angle on it. I look forward to trying it for a whole gig in a couple of weeks. To be honest though, even without one I seem to manage well enough. It is amazing how quickly you manage to adapt your playing style.
good for you, i'm glad you're managing...
Not sure if this would work, but you could maybe try molding some sugru over your fingers into the desired shape. Since playing guitar is hard on the fingers, maybe you could put a little epoxy on the outside to make it stiff.
gonzoman734 years ago
i dont have an actual answer, other than prosthectics professionally done. it may be a bit of an investment though. i just wanted to say that i'm really sorry and i feel for you. i couldnt imagine nit being able to play my guitar D: my father is a tattoo artist and he cut off 1 1/2 fingers...luckily on his left hand. (he's a righty). i cant image how hard it is for you to do other task, much more simple than guitar... good luck to you.
lbuffy44 years ago
I really appreciate you all taking about this, I lost the end of one of my fingers about a year ago to a lawn mower attack. It's nice to hear other peoples stories and the suggestions on possible prosthetics.
Ranie-K4 years ago
Dr.Paj4 years ago
Since this was recently bumped, I decided to post what I remember seeing on the news a while back. Apparently, a man was able to regrow a fingertip with the help of a powder derived from a pigs bladder... Here is some more of the story

Also, here is a video I also found.

Then again, since the comments start in August of 09' I am assuming you have had some developments since then.
iamtoats5 years ago
 I would relearn left-handed.

That really sucks! I feel so bad! I know how it would feel consittering i either play guitar or come here in my free time... (I have a lot)

You could play bass, or learn to sing....

Good luck.......
Probably the best idea.
dabolin4 years ago

I really understand the frustration that you are feeling. I n 1984 I had a lid to a machine I was operating fall and it severed my left index finger at the first joint , the left middle finger in between the 1st and 2nd joint. and the left ring finger was only being held on by the skin on the inside of my hand. All of the fingers were repaired (somehow) and I was able retain all of my fingers.  Although they were not the same fingers I had before the incident, I have been able to play my guitar.  As a matter of fact< I think that if I had not continued attempting to play after ther acident, I would not have advanced as far as I have.

Your tips will be senitive from now on. Try to put a product called " new skin "on them after they heal, it might help. Just don't stop.  My left hand would be useless if I had not continued to try to use it after the acident.  After 1 year of my acident, I joined The United Staes Marine Corps, and I haven't stoped working since then.

Good Luck
 

iamtoats5 years ago
If all else fails, you could take up brutal metal, and just use your index finger, and pinky...... and do all the power chords with your index finger and palm mutes.... that would work quite nicely.
Ps2playa5 years ago
Well i would try using thick wax that is easy to peel off but hard to rip
yeehacmh5 years ago
Almost 50 years after his death, the amazing flatpicked acoustic guitar music of Django Reinhardt still captivates audiences and inspires musicians worldwide. The world's first true jazz guitar hero. Known for his great artistry with only two fingers.<br />Your desire will help you get through this.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.fgmrecords.com/gypsy%20jazz/django_reinhardt.html">http://www.fgmrecords.com/gypsy%20jazz/django_reinhardt.html</a>
django.jpg
Everytime I hear of Django Rieinhardt I think of the Movie with Sean Penn. It is a Woody Allen spoof "Sweet and Low Down".  Gotta rent it it will uplift you to the reality only your person and mind will hold you back.

The issue is lost limb at any point is traumatic. No one understands it as much as you. I receintly lost my middle finger at the "C" joint. Being a 40 year guitarist / performer , money loss, lengthy rehab and job uncertanty brings on a range of emotions.
 
Find a prosthisis person that is interested in you and your needs. iIm in Chicago and there is a ton of people here. Keep up the search.

Also remeber there are great strides in transplants. Believe it or not toe's to hands.
Ghobian5 years ago
My friend blew off the tips of his pointer, ring, and middle finger (and maybe a bit of thumb?) playing with homemade fireworks...with a bit of healing and practice he got them toughened up and playing guitar again. I wish you the best. Sorry that wasn't too helpful. You know, there's an entire culture of people who cut off appendages on purpose for a variety of reasons. Not sure why I thought you should know that but I know that talking about it in depth with my buddy made him feel better.
From Wikipedia
Tony Iommi

In an industrial accident at the age of 17 on his last day of work in a sheet metal factory, he lost the tips of the middle and ring finger of his right hand. Iommi considered abandoning music, but his boss (who knew of Iommi's "night job" as a pub band guitar player) encouraged him to reconsider by playing a record by jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, who earned wide acclaim despite limited use of his fretting hand following an injury.

After attempting to learn to play right-handed, Iommi strung his guitars with extra-light strings (using banjo strings, which were a lighter gauge than even the lightest guitar-strings of the time) and wore plastic covers over the two damaged fingers. He fashioned the latter himself, by melting plastic liquid-soap bottles into a ball and then using a soldering iron to make holes into this ball, putting his fingers in while the plastic was still soft enough to be shaped. He then trimmed and sanded away the excess plastic to leave himself with two thimbles, which he then covered with leather, to provide better grip on the strings. Subsequent tips have been custom-made.
hey man, im sorry about that. it cant feel good as for a solution, you should definately do what Iommi did and make yourself some fake fingertips. rock on -Alec
You read my mind. As soon as I saw this post, I instantly thought of Tony. Along with the prosthetic fingers you can also get a LOT of inspiration from this master.
innkeepper5 years ago
Try banjo picks. place them on each finger backwards.
chibiwind5 years ago
will that grow back...?
No, he's not piccolo.
Kevkahuna5 years ago
Have a look at this product http://www.galaxyguitar.com/ click on 'FT1 Finger protector' tab. It could well be the answer for you. Not sure if it would help me as my finger is shortened to below the knuckle, but for yours it may well be helpful. I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Kev
I am interested as to your solution as well. Lost the tip of my middle finger when I was a small child, but still have (recently) taken up the guitar and would like to find a way to avoid the sensitivity that occurs with playing from time to time (and also overcome some of the awkwardness of certain chords). There was a forum I stumbled across that had various solutions, including the Galaxy finger tip:

http://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=133610

I like the idea raised by the dental tech below...I might have to explore that.
mhkabir5 years ago
That must have hurt!
seandogue5 years ago
Man...I'm so sorry that happened. I often worry about losing a finger (after I've sliced it with a razor or chisel or something else)...Had a similar though not as sever injury back when I was a teen and lopped off about a 1/3 inch of the outside tip of my thumb on a table saw, but I was fortunate that I didn't hit bone and surprised when it grew back, although it took a decade and still, 35 years later show a slight flat in the thumbnail I suppose you were not so fortunately and it got bone? Yes...now that I look at the photo more closely I can see it clipped it off. Oh, so sorry man...that just plain sucks. If this is how you make a living, then it's a serious enough matter that a graft can be done using one of your toes as a doner, although I can't say for sure, and it will undoubtedly cost a bit for such a surgery. If it is your living, consider talking to a doctor about grafts. A prosthetic of this size will require some sort of "sock" to keep it on your finger.As others have suggested, a filled platex glove finger or similar might do the job, but in order to keep control and avoid it sliding to the side or just flopping around, you'll probably have to apply an adhesive to keep it in place like actors glue (can't think of the real name, but I hope you get my drift) regarding the construction, it might be good to try using a leather tip for contacting the strings that has a silicon backer...seems that might give the most "natural" feel, but you'll still need the sock to keep it on. Hmm..now that I think of it, there are already finger rubbers out there...not sure where to get them, but as I recall, they use them for detailed mfg where dexterity is an issue. The trick with making this prosthetic will be in creating a surface that mimics your fingertip, with the right sponginess but while maintaining the firmness that a guitarist's fingertip achieves over the years. People who don't play might not realize it, but our fretting fingers get to be tough as nails. The cells actually flatten rather than simply becoming dead callous tissue. And having played Bass in a couple of bands (primarily an accoustic guitarist these days), I imagine your fingertips are even tougher than mine. let us know what happens. Who knows, I might need that info some day (nearly cut my middle finger off a couple of weeks ago while slicing some veggies when I was too tired to be prepping food, lol, dinner should be eaten at 6 or 7, not 1AM). (As it is, I'm still recovering from another accident before I can play again...smashed my index finger about a week ago while seating a ballustrade with a mallet. Best of luck
Spint seandogue5 years ago
Actors Glue = Spirit Gum Adhesive. Get it at any special effects/Halloween store/website.
seandogue Spint5 years ago
Doh! that's right...words um......um...um...escape me somtimes. ty
Spint seandogue5 years ago
Always glad to help lol.
duh, so I read the one below me and it says...finger cot... ha...sometimes I can be as dumb as a rock
Kevkahuna5 years ago
Here's how mine started and finished. Kev
stumpy 003.JPGkevs fingers 004.JPG
Kevkahuna5 years ago
Hi..this is really interesting topic for me. I had a similar accident with a mower which resulted in the amputation of the end of my middle finger/ left hand to just below the knuckle. I am now 3 months after the accident and two months after the amputation. This wasn't done immediately as they tried to save the end of the finger first by pinning it all together. Unfortunately it got infected so there was no choice. It has healed remarkably quickly and I actually had my first gig out with my band last night. Whilst I am sure I will adapt in time , my biggest frustration is that the fingering of some chords is very awkward. What is now the end of my finger is much larger than the end of a normal finger. Holding chords without a selection of wrong notes or dead strings is proving very difficult, so I want to look into the idea of a prosthetic finger. As I have no knuckle anymore , I would probably need one with a bit of an angle on it. I'll be very interested in your progress DJ....I understand your plight completely. I am sure in time you will be playing again. I don't have any pain in my finger when I play, I have no feeling in the very end but I do around the edges which is very strange. My ring finger was badly cut but healed very well too, however where it is just scar tissue it gets very tender when I play, particularly when bending strings. All the best for a speedy recovery.
shedboy5 years ago
I took the skin off the end of my 3rd. finger left hand when a VW valve spring I was compressing with my home made compressor fired off. Not as bad as yours but I do play two or three gigs a week, including one that night. I got a box of those blue non-latex rubber gloves, put a glove on over the dressing, then superglued layers of extra fingers over that. You cut the extra fingers off the donor gloves, slip them onto a good finger and roll them up like a condom. Coat the glove on the damaged finger with superglue then unroll the li'l finger condom over it. I found four to five layers was perfect. You then just cut the reinforced bit off with scissors and carefully trim it so it's long enough to stay on by itself, but short enough so you can get the natural bend in your finger. I could play without pain, although the natural "feel" was not there of course, but had very little interference with the other strings. They last about 2-3 hours of solid playing before they start to go soft, but they're cheap n' easy to make. I just made a half dozen or so and had no problems at all. You've done more damage than I did, but it might give you an idea or two that could work for you, perhaps with some sort of packing to make up the length.
gatsbyscot5 years ago
First, I feel your pain, there are no words I or anyone can say that can cover the way you feel - but guitarist and not just the famous ones we hear about do recover, unfortunately it takes times (sometyime a year before you will see decent results) and from what I hear frustratuon and time are your worst enimie, but you look pretty young, giving up are the biggest reasons, people stop . I cut off 1/2 inch from middle fretting finger (cpuldn't get enough o tip tp put bak on so I'm also sqaure, knobby, fat ended, and I mangled a bit my ring finger about 1 and 1/2 month ago. They are just now healing pretty well, oddly enough the ring finger was sort of cut sideways and is a bit thinner and so far doing the best in terms of healing and looking like it will play, functioning and less sensitive, and I say functioning in the most rudimetary way, kind if kike I played when I was 13 and had been trying for about 6 months (I'm using real lose strings, prob 8 full tone flat, nylon anf jjust trying to get my fingers to reach to the chord structures and shaking likea 90 yr old. I'm using leather sewing thimbles that I modifed, not good but at least exercise, you can get htem at any sewing shop, take them apart and try to glue them back more to fit your fingers and have a more finger like end and they will not be right for fitting between the strings but will get you back to placing your fingeers close on the strings with less pain, don't be freaked out when all your fretting fingers dwon from the injured are week and shaky, it gets better with exercise. Anyway, your post was a good kick in the @ss for me as I've been to 3 docs and all very casually say, oh mybe you'll get back but not at the level you were. Pretty disheartening. I'm 54 and have been playing since 16 - steely dan chords, and other pretty complicated jazz stuff, and now that it is gone i really miss being able to do all that so effortlessly and beautifully, not tp mention my loss of gigs, had pleanty and also finally have lots og guitars i love just wasting away. - it was my heroin. Sorry to go on but this group is my only outlet, I have a good day job in Info Tech so everyone says oh you'll be fine and at your age how important was guitar. Anyway back to your topic - all the stuff here is really good advice and Im going to try - dont waste your time on Drs that won't at least listen to your problem and goal for free consult, I've spent enough to hear the wors - no or wai and see. start your exercises right after you heal maybe 3 weeks, even if pain but don't go nuts. stuff like make a fist and if you have to use that self stick but not to wound tape to tape fingers in bend, go for it, try to hold even with yoiur other hands the other fingers straight as you can as you bend each finger toward palm. Then without tape or holding try to do on your own, even a little ability to get one finger to bend in while others are straight will help, and soon I bet you will not need tape or other hand. As others have said see a good phy therapist, and if possible one who is also a musician, they get it Drs don't. Since you are still healing, I had good luck with putting Vit E on my wound and keeping it clean and protected but don't keep it bandanged all the time, give it some air. I know you are considering gettting your length and loss of pain back with civers and I am too, but once you heal, swelling down, etc, and see the shape, you might want to consider adpating to length and trying things that will still give you the feel you need to hit the strings without viewing but not make you grimace in pain. Some folks (tough ones I guess) go through a process of starting with rubbing, handling soft stuff like powder, sand, moving on to pebbles, rocks, etc. and say that they build up a sort of roughness but still feel where they are. For me, I may try that if I can not find something to extend (my middle finger was real long and I depended on it a lot). If you consider that route ia can send you a medical powerpoint that we presented as a method for construction type workers to adapt. It has medical terms thjat you have to look up, but seems to make sense. I'm only up to small rough rocks now. Good luck and I'm gloing to keep checking in on this and everyone seems so helpful and bright on the topic. Thanks all. Gatsbyscot
daulef5 years ago
I'm a dental technician by trade ( we make prosthetic appliances for the mouth), and I rekkon some of the new soft acrylic polymers would replicate a finger tip extremely well as they are firm yet extremely durable (against the wear of teeth and guitar strings), you'd probably need to find a technician who could do this for you though (we're mostly friendly, helpful people!), itll'd be a strait-forward process of taking an alginate impression of your finger, making a wax replica then replacing the wax with the acrylic, curing etc.., I'm not too sure how you'd attatch this to your finger, maybe glue would have to do? you could even get the technician to make a bunch of spares! oh and the acrylic id imagine would be the most suitable for this application can be found here. There are many degrees of hard / softness, so id guess youd have to experiment to find the right textured material.
hope this helps!
Spint5 years ago
I recall hearing about a two-part formula for rubber you can buy that you can make molds with by mixing the two parts together (duh lol). Well while I can't name the product here is my idea. Make a mold of your other ring finger or something the same size like said before but with enough material wrapping it (above the second finger joint but below where the missing finger would be) to allow an area to pour more rubber in. Get the prosthetic finger tip made (but not dry i.e. still in liquid form) in the bottom of the mold with a piece of missing bone sized wood or metal if necessary. Put the de-tipped finger in the mold and pour more rubber into the space around it. Let everything dry and you should have a form-fitted suction-cupped prosthetic. I can't see why it shouldn't work, can anyone else?
Spint Spint5 years ago
I just saw this stuff called Zubber on an infomercial, possibly could be useful.
frag_bomb5 years ago
there is chemicals for this kinda thing not sure if hospitals just give them out or not. see http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2007-02-18-regrowing-fingers_x.htm

way cool
OBar5 years ago
Just play minor chords?
ve2vfd5 years ago
As skittles said, make a plaster cast of the oposite hands same finger. Then try various kinds of silicone (from the hardware stores caulking section) to make a new finger tip. Hold it in place with a finger-cot (looks like a mini condom) or make the mold finger lenght and fashion the cot yourself. Or just let time do it's job. My father lost a finger tip to a snowblower and with time the end of his finger became a hard nub.
Re-design5 years ago
I can't say anything about how to help you, but this sure made me think about how important it is to be CAREFUL in the wood shop.
armourkris5 years ago
steveastrouk beat me to it. I vote making some Tony Iommi style.
psymansays5 years ago
Hey, man, you are hard-core! What I might do is put some epoxy or JB Weld into the fingertips of a latex dishwashing glove, and let it dry with your fingers in there. Let a lot of the epoxy squish around your fingers so that the tips don't wiggle around when you play. Anyway, once dried, take off the other three fingers of the glove, and trim down the wrist portion so that the glove is less in the way when you play.
iambrad5 years ago
i've heard prosthetics are being made using 3d printing. can't say how much it would cost though, or where .
djloney (author) 5 years ago
thanks guys! that should get me thinking in the right direction!
One idea could be to make a plaster cast from your other fingers and fill the mold with silicone or a similar material. Not sure on how you would connect them, but this could be a start.
Putzer5 years ago
Sand inside of a latex glove's fingertips? Plasti-Dip your fingers?