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.

Smooth sailing for bush charity

THIS IS THE LIFE: Katy Grant enjoys the water with the help of Sailability volunteers at Callide Dam.

Sailability helps clients navigate a joyful life.

Overcrowded car no clowning matter to magistrate

DRINK DRIVING: The man was fined $1000 and had his licence suspended for 3 months.

$1000 fine for meatworker after birthday bungle.

Panthers come out on top in 9-a-side competition

BREAK THROUGH: The Panthers combinations came through on the night to win the competition.

Biloela exacts sweet revenge against Woorabinda.

Local Partners

Woman injured in hidden razor blade horror at hospital

Police are appealing to the public to come forward with information relating to a "despicable act” that caused injuries to a woman's hand.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

Bride and Prejudice: Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

Steve Price has threatened to quit the jungle.

Will camp ration clash with Keira cause Steve to call it quits?

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!