I made a fundamental mistake when I was “learning” how to play guitars: I learned with my ears and my hands, and I never used my brain to figure out what was actually happening. For me it was all ear-training and muscle memory.
Go ahead, ask me, what are the chords to “Looking for the Heart of Saturday Night.” How the fuck to I know? I think I play it in “D.” Whenever I wanted to play it, I’d take twenty or thirty seconds to figure it out all over again, or, remember it, if you will. Then I’d turn it over to my fingers, and it was music, and it came out fine. I could play fifty songs, no problem. I couldn’t tell you shit about them, especially the ones with 6th’s and 9th’s and major 7th’s and like that, but I could play them.
So after I stupidly cut the business end of my left middle finger off, cleaning out an ice chest in preparation for a party, my life is all about the love, bringing happiness to other people, after I had so mutilated myself I couldn’t play shit. How could I play the songs? I never knew shit about the songs! My fingers could play the songs, and now the most important one was gone!
When I pick up a guitar now it’s almost like starting all over again. Worse than that, I must un-learn over forty years of muscle memory. There are worse fates in the scheme of things, but it’s certainly annoying.