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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Feb 2016 > Fretbuzz


Your letters. This month: A remarkable recovery, Acoustic amps, Micro-Frets, heavy relicing and buying local


The road to recovery

Hi Chris and the team, interesting issue [G&B January] and the Richard Hawley feature in particular, which having partly recovered from a total neck-down paralysis myself, I found very interesting. I sustained a spinal cord injury after falling headlong down just four stairs carrying a small bass bin nearly three years ago (after a Boxing Day gig). I ended up in hospital unable to move anything but my head, and with excruciating pain everywhere else. I couldn’t even tell where the electric shock-like pain was – it was just ‘everywhere’. I had no idea where my arms or feet were. It was not fun. After this, four months in hospital, learning to stand again, feed myself again… pretty much everything, as my movement returned – to a degree anyway.

I still don’t walk well, take a lot of painkillers, and can’t reach above my head. Lifting a guitar from a stand is still di– cult and requires my own ‘special’ method! I had to sell nearly all of my gear, just to keep myself and my partner going. She had a 60-mile round trip to visit me daily, she was brilliant. On one occasion, she brought my uke in for me, to see if I could start to play again. I was experiencing a lot of hypersensitivity in my hands and fingers – brushing against a bedsheet, or even the feel of wind on my arms, was very painful. The uke was just about OK, although my coordination had gone – as had my calluses and vibrato, which over the years I’d worked so hard to obtain. Next, she brought in my remaining guitar, an Ibanez AS70. I couldn’t bear the touch of the strings on my fingertips – and was devastated. I have to say that was the low point; when the consultant had asked me what I most hoped to regain in my recovery, with no hesitation I’d replied “to play guitar again”. Not to walk, not to perform live again, just to play, and now it seemed I wouldn’t be able to…

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About Guitar Magazine

The February issue of Guitar & Bass magazine is available in print and digital forms from Friday 8 January. Join us as we take a trip to Guitar Town, tracing the history of the Nashville music scene and profiling a who’s who of the city’s galaxy of guitar stars. We go guitar shopping in Tennessee's neon-lit state capital and talk to two of the world’s leading fretted instrument experts, George Gruhn and Walter Carter, about the state of the vintage market today and we also stop by at the Gibson Custom Shop to see the company’s True Historic Les Pauls roll off the production line and find out what makes them the company’s best guitars since its golden era. Elsewhere in the mag, our DIY Workshop shows you how to ID a genuine 1950s Stratocaster, we talk guitar with Aerosmith legend Brad Whitford and we review a stack of great new gear from PRS, Dr Z, Orange, TC Electronic, Louis Electric, Fulltone, Hartke, Smorg Pedalboards, Pigtronix and more. If that’s not enough for you, how about the chance to win one of three PRS guitars for a year and become a roving reporter for G&B in the process? Buy the February issue of Guitar & Bass magazine in print and digital forms from Friday 8 January.