News

Missing fingers haven't stopped this guitarist

DO you notice anything missing in this picture?

Neither do a lot of people.

Michael Shanks is not that conscious of the missing fingers on his left hand, either.

"I war born this way," he said with a degree of nonchalance.

Despite having only a thumb on his left hand, Mr Shanks, 30, of Buderim has learned to play the guitar. And it is not the first instrument he had picked up, either.

"My mum was really musical. I learned the ukulele at seven and when I was 10, I learnt the trumpet," he said.

Mr Shanks gets around his digital challenge by playing left-handed, even though he is naturally right-handed, and wearing a pick on his thumb which he mainly uses to strum chords.

"I can do picking stuff as well but I'm limited in my ability what I can do a bit, but I usually do figure out a way to do stuff, to emulate what others are doing," he said.

Like many left-handed guitarists, Mr Shanks played for many years with an ordinary right-hand guitar simply switched over, and rated learning to play a left-handed guitar at 20 as his greatest challenge.

"It's like a leftie struggling. It was really hard and frustrating for a while because you're so used to doing what you're doing a different way. But guitarists are pretty adaptive," he said.

Missing four fingers did not stop Mr Shanks from completing a Bachelor of Music at Central Queensland University.

He is also in a band, Chasing the Jeffrey, a commercial rock outfit which has recorded two albums but is now in semi-hiatus with members scattered between Cairns, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

 

Some people notice Michael Shanks' missing fingers, others do not.
Some people notice Michael Shanks' missing fingers, others do not. Warren Lynam

Mr Shanks includes Jeff Buckley, KT Tunstall and progressive '70s rock groups such as Pink Floyd and Genesis among his influences.

Although he has co-written songs with band members, he prefers to play.

"I think you've got to write dozens of terrible songs before you write a good one. I think I gave up after two," he said.

Mr Shanks was busking at the Fisherman Road markets on the weekend, enjoying the opportunity to play in front of people again for the first time in months.

Now close to completing a chef's apprenticeship, he said music was a hard business to make money out of but he would always play.

"It's just fun to play. It feels good."

Topics:  buderim guitar guitarist hand left-hand


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Give the next gen a chance: Men's Shed founder

IDEA: Les McKenzie has a plan to help youths stay off benefits.

Les McKenzie has proposed an idea to help young people

Give a gift for dogs and cats in shelters

RAISING HOPE: Alice Thorn, with help from her rescue dog Penny, is leading a fundraiser to buy a Christmas present for every shelter animal on the Coast.

Student aims to buy every shelter pet a pressie

Grateful council says thanks for giving heaps

MIGHTY EFFORT: Cr Jess Glasgow, Noosa volunteers Robyn and Paul Jenkinson with Cr Joe Jurisevic at the special brunch.

Noosa volunteers day in the sun

Local Partners

Facebook solves stolen car mystery

THE social media site might get a bad wrap from time to time but this week it's proven to be a crime-solving wonder.

9 reasons to take the kids to Woodford Folk Festival

FAMILY FREINDLY: Woodford Folk Festival has something for everyone.

If you're thinking about leaving the kids at home, think again

130,000 music lovers get set for folk festival

Getting into the music at Woodford Folk Festival.

Pre-festival ticket sales up 15%

Market-goers are gobbling up the Christmas puddings

Puddling Lane Queensland Christmas puddings.

Christmas wouldn't complete without a traditional Christmas pudding.

9 reasons to take the kids to Woodford Folk Festival

FAMILY FREINDLY: Woodford Folk Festival has something for everyone.

If you're thinking about leaving the kids at home, think again

Jennifer Lawrence apologises to the people of Hawaii

Jennifer Lawrence sorry for 'offensive' story

130,000 music lovers get set for folk festival

Getting into the music at Woodford Folk Festival.

Pre-festival ticket sales up 15%

Cruz Beckham's single a 'one-off'

He is not planning to launch a full-time music career yet.

Louis Tomlinson's mother dies aged 42

Louis Tomlinson's mother has died.

Star Wars spin off gets green light grom Lucas

Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen star in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Lucas said to have enjoyed the latest Star Wars spin-off

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

BREAKING: Residents win battle of Buderim

PLAN: Previous plans for the aged care facility that was proposed to have a main entrance on Burnett St and staff and emergency access onto Pine St which sparked community outrage.

Serenity saved as residents score win in legal appeal

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!