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He also used to travel in a separate van

Steve Morse, Ottawa Bluesfest, July 18 2015; photo: © Nick Soveiko cc-by-nc-sa

Steve Morse spoke to the Guitar World and (we think) it was the first time he went on record in such detail about his arthritis and how it affected his technique:

For about 50 years, I played with my thumb and two fingers on the pick. It really helped me play with exceptional clarity and muting. There are a lot of advantages with it. The only disadvantage is it wears out your wrist after 50 years. But I was doing 10,000 notes a day… most people should be fine! Now I’ve had to switch to one finger and the thumb because I have arthritis in my right wrist. It’s very painful to flex my wrist, so I save that for gigs.

I prepare with topical painkillers and other things too. I’ve switched to playing from the elbow. Certain string-skipping patterns and direction changes need the wrist to ensure you don’t hit adjacent strings… So now I have to practice longer and think it through. I’ve even changed how I play certain things, choosing a more laborious left-hand fingering to avoid skips with the right. It’s far from ideal, but I have to keep my chops up and finish strong!

Read more in Guitar World.

Thanks to Gary Poronovich for the info.

3 Comments to “He also used to travel in a separate van”:

  1. 1
    Lukasz Slowinski says:

    The way he completely changed his picking approach is mind-blowing. Such a pro.

  2. 2
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Old age sucks but never gave up.
    I think he is playing now better than ever before so it’s not all dome and gloom Mr Morse. We love you as a person even more.
    Love and Peace and corona free to you all.

  3. 3
    uwe hornung says:

    I already noticed maybe 10 years ago – before Steve came out with his arthritis – that he wasn’t as spectacularly fluid anymore as he was on, say, the Purpendicular tour. He’s still a brilliant technician, but you can see and hear he has to work harder at it today than he used to.

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