Fingers, fingers, all the fingers, doing all the things!

Here’s a question I get asked a lot about my own fingers.

Can you read braille and play a stringed instrument at the same time?

Sheri's left hand on her Kamaka fretboard
Sheri’s left hand on her Kamaka fretboard

… Not at the “same time” same time, of course: I don’t have enough hands for that, and although I have heard a person can learn to read braille with toe tips, I have not invested the necessary time for that one. It’d be handy though, right? I mean, I can imagine lounging around the fire, ice cold can of adult beverage in one hand, enormous, cheese bedecked veggie burger in the other, reading my science fiction novel with one unshod foot… Or, maybe, wearing something slinky and black, sitting at a table draped in grey silk: both hands busy making mysterious passes over the candle flame: scamming unsuspecting tourists by operating a wireless braille device under the table with my toes, telling their fortunes … But, I digress.

Back to the point, the question isn’t about hands and feet really, it’s about calluses.

You will get calluses even from the gentle ukulele, but these will appear right at the ends of your fingers rather than on the pads. And, it’s the pads that you use to read braille.

The ukulele fretting part of your finger is the very end, the part that contacts first if you poke a friend in the belly! That’s also why your fretting hand needs short nails: the nail should not make contact before the fingertip.

The braille reading part of your finger is further back: the part you’d use to beep your friend’s nose.

One finger: two awesome uses! *

* The rest of the GRUBS would certainly want me to add that we, as a band, endorse neither belly-poking nor nose-beeping as a regular thing.