yeah, sure, anybody can toss that word around. anyway. so after pissing away 2/3 of my life chasing women, money, and bogus religion, i sort of found myself in a situation where i could think about what really motivates me. i remember the time when i was in my early 20's and somebody showed me a blues riff (the easiest one -- 4^5 - b3). it made me feel so good that it scared me. and I stayed scared until...that middle third of my life was history. so, women can be fun and money's handy but nothing ever did to me what that riff did so...i put my toe in the water. i bought a squire from the dis' bin at Sam Ash for $25 -- a strat -- sorry, I guess I don't think i'm worthy of a tele (I liked the smokey, dark blue body, and I guess I don't believe in expensive guitars), and hammered away on my own for about a year. then i decided to take some lessons again. The neck pickup is broken and with my amp I'm afraid I don't miss it. The action is very nice. it's been a year since then. for a while i had two teachers. one would ask me, "what do you want to do?" and I'd say, "jam." So I went to some jams and found that I got lost sometimes and walked over alot. Plus, in NYC, they just don't play minor blues. And my solos started sounding the same to me. so I had a brain wave, which was actually initiated by my remaining teacher. I decided to learn a few songs -- to really get into them -- to commit to playing something the same way start to finish -- to begin to build a repertoire, a body of work, even if it is covers to start with. With a song, I can put my solos into context, and nobody's gonna step on me when I know what I want to play, when. yeah, so that's the plan. over the summer I played in the subways a little -- just noodling around like those cool looking "jazz" sax players only minor blues and some major mixed in when I learned that. but i popped a tendon one night doing some funky neck-bend (it was really dumb). that was the same night the police told me I couldn't use an amplifier...and so here I sit... ..trying to learn to hug those strings like Jimi with this messed up finger. it takes me hundreds of repetitions to learn phrases but what else can I do? I have to play. That's why I don't want to lay off however many weeks I'm going to have to lay off this finger: cause I want to play. All the time. I admire people who make it look easy. For me it's just plain hard work -- physical *and* mental. When I bend a note I swear it comes straight from my heart to my fingers. But the rest of the stuff, the music, theory, riffs, nuts, bolts and mortar of this incredible thing called electric guitar is just really so much blood, sweat and tears to me. Yeah, so, I guess I have a lot to learn, hunh? I hope nobody here recognizes this story, as it's a bit personal. Rock on. gear? i use ernie ball 011's and i bought a rolan micro cube for the tunnels.