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

Toyworld employees 18 staff in eight weeks

EMPLOYED: Toyworld's Sandi Svendsen, owner Katrina Boyce and Kel Mulhall.

TOYWORLD Rockhampton is a true employment success story.

Man almost bashed with a cinder block

Rockhampton Court

An assault could have easily turned into a murder if not for a shout

Wowan grass fire extinguished

photo Lea Emery / Fraser Coast Chronicle

EMERGENCY crews are responding to a fire at Wowan.

Local Partners

Plans for Singapore in Shoalwater Bay topic of forum

A free forum next month will discuss how to prepare for business and defence with Singapore


OKTOBERFEST: Rachel Driemel, Tori Clayson, Naomi Clayson, Emily Garner and Proll at the Emu Park Oktoberfest last year which is on tomorrow at Bell Park.

LOOKING for something to do this weekend?

REVIEW: Teamwork makes this dream show truly magical

MAGICAL MUSICAL: Matthew Dennis and Catherine Schwarten star as Caractacus Potts and Truly Scrumptious in RMU's production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Don't miss this fantasmagorical musical in the Pilbeam this weekend

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Mariah Carey and James Packer discussing relationship

Mariah Carey and James Packer are discussing how to work things out

January Jones: Take time away from your phone

January Jones needs time away from her phone

Mel C won't return to Spice Girls for daughter

MEL C is adamant she won't reunite with the Spice Girls

60's British rock legends to return to Australia

The Troggs will play a string of dates across Australia in November.  Photo Contributed

We all remember 'Wild Thing' and now you can hear it live.

Depp jumps ship from agency of 25 years

Johnny Depp has signed to CAA after 25 years with the United

Orlando Bloom 'buried' Katy Perry in birthday flowers

Orlando Bloom "buried" Katy Perry in flowers for her birthday

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Coast biggest rental drop in Qld

Vacancy rates for the September quarter.

Vacancy rates on Coast a promising sign

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Low rent helps teen get ahead

Yeppoon Real Estate principal and owner Esme Coren at one of their rental properties in Yeppoon.

Low rent great for tenant, not for owner

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!