Raw fingers

©2023 michael raven

My fingers are raw.

Yesterday I got it into my head I needed to do some music, but the day got away from me as I set to work getting caught up with work (I am still behind, but only about six hours instead of fifteen or twenty). Determined to have a break on Sunday and make it so I can try to keep up with treading water in terms of work, I sacrificed a day for the stress relief it gave.

When I was not working, I was playing cab-driver for the kids.

But… Today I sat down to do some music.

I cleared out all of the recording plugins I had gotten from a spamming service (I hope the device manufacturers sever their partnership with those folks), tried to use a drumming plugin that goes broken after about fifteen minutes each and every time, and has always been gimped because they didn’t want to profit-share with the storefront. Got tired of it breaking and started just horsing around with my guitar instead.

My damaged guitar… Long story told short: one of my cats knocked some of those silica dehydrating crystals off a shelf that landed on the guitar. Well, they we spent and full of water, and they are also impossible to remove in their slime form. It caused some water damage over time to the pickups and the electronics, as I found out today when I couldn’t get the 1/4″ plug to seat correctly due to the corrosion, causing my guitar to buzz and drop out until I took things apart and used some “steel wool” to clean the contacts. What a mess.

It mostly works now, save for the unsightly cosmetic rust (and I expect the pickups will eventually go).

I played for a few hours, discovering I still have my oddball sense of rhythm that drives other musicians bonkers when I play a guitar because I play a lot on the off-beats and less on the on-beats, if that makes sense. Not quite a reggae or ska, and not as consistently, but those give you a bit of an idea of what it ends up feeling like.

Nothing came out of it, but it was nice to lose myself in playing a whole lot of nothing in particular — at least until my fingers reminded me I no longer have calluses. Now? It feels as if I have been trying sand off my fingerprints all day. Ouch.

I’ve returned to fumble-finger mode again, and my playing is terrible. Hideous. But the arthritis didn’t flare up (it hasn’t, mostly, for a while) and I think I might just force myself to overcome that klutzy playing, as it felt good to get back into a physical activity that I could lose myself in the same way I have when I play open-world RPG games. In ways, it was more satisfying that electronic escapism, likely for the more visceral elements involved.

And, while the recording software might be on so I can play with modulating effects for the sound, I think I’ll focus less on getting something recorded and more on just play for the sake of play. If something comes up that seems like a winner, I can hit the record button and see if anything comes out of it, but I think I’ll just horse around once my fingers heal from today’s return to one of my former favorite pastimes — strumming for the sake of strumming.

Maybe I’ll see if the rainy-day fund has enough in the coffers to go towards an undamaged guitar…

6 thoughts on “Raw fingers

  1. Ha, I know where you’re coming from – I was always one for fiddling around with rhythm (adding a choppy chord or ignoring one at random) which can, I know, be a bit annoying. Always a rhythm player personally – I did play a solo once (which was crap) and didn’t enjoy it. Our son is a much better player than I. The band he plays with did a show with a compatriot of yours Mickelson in Birmingham the other night. Great gig, and I enjoyed Mickelson; not usually my thing but he was good.
    I picked up a lovely Hohner 12 string acoustic a few months back which I’m playing alot – great sound. Hope the fingers toughen up again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to check out Mickelson, not familiar with the sound.

      I’ve gotten better with soloing since I started playing around with it more on my own time (instead of in front of wincing band members). I’m still shite, but I can fake it at times as long as I don’t get too complex.

      I was always a rhythm-based guitarist, too. It started mostly with when I moved from bass to guitar (“You play your bass like a guitar…”) and did the whole standard up/down thing all beginners do when they play acoustics and move away from power chords. The guy loaning me his acoustic said: “Okay, great lyrics, but your strumming is… boring.”

      So I started to mix it up and went to the extreme, but not as far as some really strange rhythm guitarists will play. My “broken” technique adds wrist motions (a big no-no, they say) and mutes with an emphasis on upstrokes. Drives other folks bonkers when we play together and yet… when they count out the beats, they discover I am rock solid on the measure.

      I can’t imagine pulling out my Wechter 12-string; my tendons would scream trying to hold down the strings anymore. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Hohner has a lovely action and is, surprisingly, much easier to play than my Ibanez 6-string acoustic. Talking of which, the favourite guitar that I have owned (and, regrettably sold several years ago) was an Ibanez Musician MC-300 – looked absolutely
    beautiful, sounded gorgeous, weighed a ton and was a rhythm players delight. Regrets…I’ve had a few!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a few of those myself (regrets). I really loved my Jasmine (Takamine budget line) 6-string acoustic, but played it so much that the frets would have to be replaced to play again, and hope they could fix the neck (abuse and age = warping). But I think my arthritis will limit me to the string tension of electrics anymore. Or, tune down and capo up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “play for the sake of play”—I love this. I love that you can spend hours losing yourself in the music. My son does this and I love listening through the door at him work out whatever he’s feeling through the music.

    Liked by 1 person

Post a reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.