Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects over 20 million people worldwide - and some of those are people who play guitar. Could a Tenor Guitar make things a bit easier for them?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 23 million people live with RA worldwide - about 1.3 million in America alone. In the United States, around 41 out of 100.000 people are affected each year.
Given the popularity of guitars, it's easy to assume many guitarists are or will be affected by the disease - especially considering we live in a culture with an aging population who grew up with rock'n'roll and where playing guitar is a widely spread hobby or professional occupation.
If you're a guitarist affected by this autoimmune disease, you might be pleased to know playing guitar doesn't cause and in fact might relieve arthritic pain. Also, there are affordable tools that can help easing the pain, such as arthritis gloves and hand exercising tools.
Having said that - these might still not be enough to help you having a satisfying guitar playing experience, if you suffer from RA.
It's a well-known tip to play using barre chords, or even better, open tunings, which will be easier to play than the usual chord shapes, but even that might not be enough.
If you're playing acoustic guitar, maybe it'll work better than electrics, because then you'll have another issue - the weight itself of an electric guitar might be an inconvenience. A tenor guitar, however, might provide the ideal instrument for players with arthritis.
A tenor solution?
In recent months, we've received feedback from customers who suffer from RA and who found playing a tenor was the ideal solution for helping them to keep enjoying playing guitar.
Tenor guitars are short-scale instruments and slightly lighter than your usual electrics, also only featuring four-strings - usually in open tunings. All of these factors make them a much easier instrument to play, whether if you're a beginner or, as in the case we're talking about here, suffering from RA.
Take Grant Walker, for instance - one of our customers, who suffers from the disease, and who recently reached out to tell us:
"[I'm] very pleased with the Waren Ellis 2P, which I purchased from you. After playing for 50+ years it's very hard to quit. I mentioned this before, [tenors are] helpful for arthritic hands. it has helped me keep at it, even for short periods."
We've heard similar comments before, and if you also suffer from RA and plays a tenor, feel free to share your thoughts with us and your fellow customers.