Ok, I get asked this a lot… why do you wear gloves while you play?
Unfortunately in 2009 I was diagnosed with a disease called Focal Dystonia. This disease is a neurological condition that affects a muscle or group of muscles in a part of the body and causes involuntary muscular contractions or twisting due to misfiring neurons in the brain. Unfortunately my hands were affected by this condition and by late 2009 I could barely play a major scale. I was then told by a top neurologist that I would have to retrain as my life as a performing musician was over.
As you can see… I’m still playing and performing! How…
I took a few months off and in that time researched many different methods of treatment. This took me all over europe seeing different doctors but unfortunately each different treatment seemed to make my condition worse rather than better. By chance one of the doctors mentioned a violinist who had the same condition but managed to play by wearing latex gloves. The gloves act as a sensory trick. Luckily, after I tried wearing latex gloves I could feel there was a definite change within my hands while playing, the problem was the latex would stick to the strings. I had seen Ettiene Mbappe (a great French bass player) wearing tight silk gloves while he played due to his acidic sweat rotting his strings so decided to give those a try.
Do I still have the condition?
Yes, I still suffer from Focal Dystonia on a day to day basis and unfortunately as yet there seems to be no cure for a lot of sufferers out there. But, I feel so lucky that I have found a way to keep playing even if the condition may worsen at anytime. Strangely, it was the Focal Dystonia that drove me to start this educational resource. I figured… if the day comes where I can’t perform, I can still pass on all the information I have learned through my years of studying and performing.
So on that note, pick up your bass and get in the shed ;-)