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That is the beginning line of one of jimi Hendrix’s songs off Jimi’s ‘Blues’ album. I don’t recall the song, maybe “Jellybean Blues”. Unquestionably the best compilation of blues ever assembled. Jimi probably had the blues for a different reason than myself.
Here is my story. I was washing the dishes two weeks ago today on the 17th of September. Yes, I do dishes, floors and laundry. Ha. Ha. Anyway I stabbed my right (picking) thumb between the nail and the nail bed with a fork. Ouch, it hurt. It got sore, but looked normal for a couple of days. It started hurting like a toothache by Friday. It throbbed all the time and I couldn’t sleep for 4 nights. Finally I went to the doctor on Monday the 21st of September for help.
The doc gave me four giant shots of penicillin in my butt and some other stuff, and some antibiotics to take. She told me to hold on to the chair (the one bolted to the floor) while she squeezed the puss out of it, man can I take a lot of pain. I left my finger grip imprints on the chair! By then it did not even resemble a thumb. I was worried big time. I could not play the guitar or do much of anything with one thumb.
That is enough gross stuff. Here is the bright side of this. The first thing is that after being a transmission rebuilder for 30 plus years, bleeding and getting cut is part of the vibe, so I’m no stranger to an infection periodically. About three years ago I poked the same thumb with a guitar string and it got infected. It turned out very cool. My excellent and versatile electric guitar teacher taught me how to tap for the 6-8 weeks it took my thumb to heal. I never missed a lesson and found that tapping is a great exercise to learn, and better understand your scales. I keep up to date on tapping, but that is not my vibe really. The other cool thing is that I have been playing with my fingers only in a classical style. As you may know by now I was originally classically trained.
My point is that versatility as a guitar player is a major benefit if you have a similar injury to mine. I started to strum again about 5 or 6 days ago, I love to play Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan much more that a concerto in c minor. I don’t quite have Eddie Van Halen’s chops either, but these alternative methods are serving their purpose right now. I am greatful to Richard Mac for teaching me other methods of play. I have no idea why he did. We are the best of friends anyway, and we will be brothers forever. I love the guy to death. Check Richard’s MySpace site out, he may be the greatest player ever you have not heard of. I no joke either.
Tho old thumb is getting better now, although it is still gross to look at and somewhat sore. I expect to be able to use a pick soon again. Guitar Players Center does not recommend damaging your thumb on purpose, but we wholeheartedly recommend learning some alternative picking and playing styles. It’s a cool vibe even if you are not hurt.