So back in May I wrote about learning the guitar. I had set myself a challenge; could I learn at least one song in time to play with the company band in June?
The answer is Yes!
One song only, but here I am, playing JJ Cales’ Cocaine with The Responders.
Don’t look too closely now, I’ve now got to work on my guitar playing face. Ha!
Thanks to all my colleagues and the audience for their support and encouragement.
So a few months ago I said I was feeling inspired to learn to play the guitar. I actually went and bought myself a lefty acoustic guitar and started playing around with the beginner’s lesson book.
Trying to make it work with the split hook
It got frustrating quite quickly. The split hook isn’t all that useful for strumming – it was even making dents in the guitar body. I kept at it for a little while, but thought that it could be better, somehow.
After seeing the videos of other limbless players, I had a hack at making other attachments. Let’s just said they all failed miserably.
I really wanted to play the guitar. My company has a band and there’s an event coming up that I wanted to at least play one song in. I contacted the local prosthetics company and , once we got to meet, the design came together for a prosthetic that allows me to strum and pick easily and with strength. It also allows for a bit of rotation, which I wasn’t getting with the split hook.
Now I’m practicing my beginner lessons all over again. I still think I suck and am amazed at how easy all the guitarists make it look to play. Practice makes perfect I guess!? Strumming is the easy bit, learning finger placement and chords is the hard part (the c chord still eludes me!). I have to keeping working at it, but also be careful not to do so much that I injure my good hand and wrist.
The ‘guitar arm’ and the wrist cramping c chord!
The countdown is on now – can I learn at least one song in time to play with the company band in June?
Thanks to Barry Leech and his team at Barry Leech Prosthetics for my ‘guitar arm’. I’ve promised to play them a real tune next time we meet – I’m hoping the next appointment is a little while away!
The award winning Super Prosthetics Project is about exploring armwear as an object of empowerment, choice and identity. The purpose is to conduct a series of creative experiments to challenge current ideas of prosthetics and explore what a wearer might choose to create in that space if he/she could have any functionality or aesthetic. It is hoped that the project will culminate in a series of exciting objects that will allow a wearer to do or experience something extra-ordinary.
The project is being conducted at the Royal College of Art in London by Becky Pilditch and with the help of Holly Franklin. It has developed in conversation with individuals who wear and make prosthetics limbs and the blog has been created to make the process visible for those who wish to share ideas and continue dialogue on the subject.
Check out the blog and feel free to comment on the material. Becky and I would love to hear your thoughts.