Hand Injury Update

Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they can.  This year has been a struggle for many reasons to say the least.  I feel I have been tested in every area of life to see how much I can withstand without succumbing to my past vices.   I don’t want to go into details but let’s just say it’s been hard.


Back in May I was almost to the point where my original EP was about to be finished, but God had a different plan in mind.  I really wanted to get these songs finished so I could start working on some new lessons that would come out in August of this year.

Well, that plan when right out the window when I noticed a numbness in my 3rd and 4th fingers as well as part of my palm that wouldn’t go away.  This came from leaning my elbow on my desk while working on the computer.  It’s not really painful, but it’s hard to play when you can’t feel half your hand!

Anyway, all guitar playing and typing which is what I do for a living would come to a complete halt.  When times are so hard and one of the good things I like to do in times of pain which is playing guitar and making videos has been taken away as well, it becomes very frustrating to say the least.

Now I’m left with just maintaining the site and doing some web tweaks that don’t require a lot of typing.  All that has really helped the site but it’s not the kind of work that people are interested in such as new lessons, tone videos, and blog posts.

During this time every aspect of Learning Guitar now has declined.  I’m not saying things are that bad, but every metric has fallen from where I was at 3 months ago.  That’s pretty frustrating as well when you can’t do much about it.


In Ecclesiastes this verse stands out to me more than any.

There is a time for everything,  and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time for war and a time for peace.


This has been my time of rest and transformation.  This year I’ve undergone a lot of healing from my past and it’s not easy to just continue on as normal after such a year of facing the greatest fears from your past.

I also ended a 2+ year relationship I was in due to her inability to move out of the past.  If you keep looking back, you’ll never see what’s ahead of you.

I know this has nothing to do with guitar lessons, but this site is different from many.  The lessons on my site are only from myself and only teach blues playing.  I like to talk about who I am as a person every now and again so you guys can get an idea of what I stand for as well as build some trust from you guys.

My story is not unique, everyone has a season of hardship and pain.  The key I believe is recognizing that YOU CAN move out of this with the right attitude and perseverance.  It may not be easy and there will probably be bumps in the road. I also recognize that there are many who have it much worse than me but that does not minimize how my problems feel to myself.

New Beginning

Right now I feel pretty good about the ideas and plans I have for the future in many different areas in life including Learning Guitar now.  My hand feels much better and while there is still some numbness, it is about 90% gone.

My EP will soon have drums and keys put on it from two friends of Taylor’s (the singer) who live in Nashville.  They’re on tour right now but will be back in August to put down some tracks for it.

Also, during this time I’ve done a lot of thinking about new lessons and guitar tones I want for the EP.  I’ve been on a guitar hunt for a couple months looking for a specific tone and feel of a guitar.  Let’s just say I’ve found the guitar that feels like an extension of my arm.  It is THE guitar for me to play non-slide with.

With August almost here, I feel a new sense of direction unlike I had before the injury.  I have many new ideas and plans for my future which start NOW.  Today I sit here writing this little story of mine wondering if I should really post this or not, but I believe it could be helpful to others who are feeling a little blue today.

During times of struggle I realize that lessons are here to be learned.  If these lessons can be found during hard times you can gain much insight into what lies ahead.

It could be said that without hard times, we won’t progress in life any further.  A stalemate. It is in these times that fuel the fire to create or be only what we uniquely have inside of us.

@ClintMCreative posted this on twitter yesterday which I think sums up my situation and everyone else’s as well.  Below is the quote.



Thanks for reading.

John W. Tuggle

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60 thoughts on “Hand Injury Update”

  1. John,

    Sorry to hear about the struggles but very happy to hear how you are handling them. Life would be way to boring if everything went as planned!

      1. Thanks John for sharing that with us your site is more than the others and yes like you said it does help to hear your story.

    1. michael connolly

      HI John,
      Glad to see you are on the mend.You have come out of this stronger I Reckon.LIfe is hard at times.Things just happen so suddenly and we can overwhelmed.You have a grounded faith and your story is an inspiration to me God Speed and I will continue to pray for your full recovery PS still enjoying your lessons.

    2. John,

      I appreciated hearing your thoughts about what you have been through. I had a herniated disk in my neck causing numbness in my left hand index finger and pain in my forearm. They operated and I am fine, that was 10 years ago. My finger is still numb now and then in varying degrees but it doesn’t get in the way of my guitar playing.
      Women and relationships are another story. You will move on beyond that, you did the right thing.
      I love your videos and have learned a lot and hope and wish you the best in the future, I can tell you are a good guy. Stay positve, don’t think about the past (or the future too much) just live in the now and be happy for what you have. As we get older, I am 59, I know just to appreciate every day like it could be my last. Not easy but I try to have fun every day and do something that is meaningful in even the slightest way. You will be fine, can’t wait for your new stuff when you are ready.

      Mike Driscoll guitar

  2. I’m glad you decided to post this. This spoke to me because this past year has been a really challenging one and continues to be for many different reasons.

    Thanks for the shout out for the image of the quote, but technically I pulled that from the comments section of your blog post about “The Dip” that you recently reposted on Twitter. It really hit me where I am so I quickly pulled together that little graphic. Keep up the good work and I hope your hand fully recovers soon, and hopefully one of these days I can actually afford some of your lessons. Thanks for the free ones in the meantime!

  3. John – I’ll be praying for continued physical and spiritural healing and growth. Take care brother.

    Jeff McLeod
    Madison, GA

  4. George Spilich

    John: have you looked into Dragon Speak or any other word recognition software for your typing? Dragon Speak is very good and inexpensive. Maybe that could be a help to you. Your lessons are terrific and the production quality is first rate. Your many fans and customers with you a speedy recovery as well as happiness and good health.

    1. I’ve looked into it but I haven’t spent much time with it. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Good thoughts coming your way, John. Hang in there. Looks like the roughest waters are behind you.

  6. DEar John, you rock! Thank you, thank you, I’m going through a very difficult moment and let me tell you that your open E slide lessons are the only thing that puts my mind out of the problems for an our or two every day. So, you must be very proud of what you’ve done. It’s not just lessons. It’s energy, good vibes!
    Warmest Wishes and just accept what’s going on. You are Learning Life Now!
    PD: Check my website, you’ll find a very nice place if one day you decide to go and rest in the Brazilian sun

  7. Sometimes the struggles are meant to shake the trees a bit and find out exactly what you are made of. It happened to me, as well. I may not ever be the same, but that is a good thing. In the short or long run you are likely to come out way ahead. Keep the faith, brother.

  8. Hang in there John! You are a better person because of the crosses given you to bear.

    I really enjoy your stuff! I am going to buy another DVD today…. Hmmm BB or Wayne?

    I pray for your recovery.

  9. Thanks for sharing your music and your life. Sounds like you carried the Weight, but are free now to go forward.

    Remember, the greatest thing one can do is bring something new to the world. Sounds like now is the time.

    Good luck and be well.

  10. Hang in there, John. I believe we choose our own challenges, and while the mechanism and reasons may be obscured, the growth will be apparent. Keep looking for the positive, and keep soaking in good music. Peace!

  11. John

    Thanks for sharing. I know it can be painful. Just remember, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”

    Alexander Graham Bell

    I wish you the best. Keep strong: I know things will get even better for you.

  12. Keep your head up John for this too shall pass. Keep plugging along as much ad you can and try to enjoy a little downtime when you can.( I know that downtime for musicians and people like US that have vices isn’t always a good thing. )

    Keep positive.
    You have a friend in Chicago if you need to talk about anything

  13. Hi John,
    Thanks for your honesty and passion. I used to get the same numbness as well and have rigged my puter so that now I stand when working and dont rest my elbow. Pain and numbness is gone AND helps keep you nice and alert!
    Let me know if you would like me to send a pic of the setup.
    Thanks for all the lessons and your love of Duane Allman and helping me to try and play some of his stuff!
    Best Wishes bro,

    1. Sure that would be cool. I’ve thought about using a standing computer sometimes. Send me a pic.

  14. John,

    So sorry to hear about your injury and relationship trouble. I can relate, ran a router
    through my finger tip a few years ago and it took a long time to get back to playing.

    I really appreciate you and your willingness to share your life a bit with us.

    You have inspired me to continue on with the slide guitar, your lessons are awesome
    and very insightful.

    Yours in Christ



    p.s. Here is link to a favorite artist of mine’s you tube video. I hope you enjoy.

  15. Thank you John…I needed to read this…I’m so thankful that you are my brother…together we will rise from the ashes…

  16. Hi John- I think your attitude is very positive and I totally feel for what you are going thru- I deal with a trigger finger in my fret hand that has been very painful and challenging – Rest , moist heat and gentle hand stretching has helped greatly as well as trying different hand positions- Like you, guitar is my life, and I wish you a speedy recovery – I know you will get thru this difficult time with positive faith and prayer from you, and from all of us – we all value your playing and your instruction greatly – Regards, Paul

  17. John,

    I have been battling an overuse injury in my left forearm for the past nine months. Your Open E Slide lessons have gotten me through this very difficult and frustrating year. Hang in there and we’ll all look forward to your wonderful lessons when you are healthy once again.


  18. Hey John.
    Great blog and thanks for being open and honest about your life and guitar playing. As musicians I believe our physical, emotional and spiritual health are important. I, too, would like to affirm you in your pursuit of getting healing. It’s hard to rest or make changes. But for some of us older musicians, it works. Looking forward to seeing you teach and play again. Blessings!

  19. Hi John,

    Glad to hear that your hand is improving. I know that you will come out of this stronger than before. Thanks for sharing and letting us get to know the person behind these great lessons.

    Keep the faith – time heals.


  20. Marcel (marcellives)

    You were absolutely right to put this out on your blog. It’s what makes you a real person to me. And although I live on the other side of this globe it gives me the feeling that my online guitar teacher is a person from flesh and blood who could have lived somewhere in the neighborhood and could easily have been a close friend. Stay strong and keep sharing!

  21. John, I just wanted to share a quick story with you. I love the guitar but seem to have no self confidence when it comes to playing out. I have been struggling with this for awhile now. Anyways I worked thru many of your DVDs …. I finally worked up the courage to Audition for a band and we just played our first gig. To my surprise, I received many compliments about my playing and tone. I was just applying concepts I learned from your site and DVDs. Thank you for your lessons as they have had a huge impact on me.

  22. Hi John, really have enjoyed your blues lessons, have learned so much! Things will get better for you, time is a great healer. Remain positive but never forget as your soul woll become stronger,you never know what tomorrow will bring!

  23. Hey John,
    As a 62 yr. old with chronic numbness (spinal stenosis) problems, let me just suggest you really watch your posture when at the keyboard and when playing – shoulders back, abs tight, butt tucked (it’s not funny to laugh at an old man!). I’m retiring Wed., July 31st and would love to catch you live when you get back in the groove. What’s the name of your band? Times of trouble usually separate the wheat from the chaff – carry on my man! The lessons are the best, I’m a big fan.

    1. Thanks Patrick. I’ve invested a new chair and a better ergonomic keyboard position. Since this has happened my back feels much better!

      I don’t have a band right now though.

  24. John

    When you’re able to get back at it, you will do it with a new set of eyes. You’ve had some time to reflect so you have a new outlook and appreciation for some of these thing we simply take for granted.


  25. Hi John, Even though I have never met you. I can till your a good quality guy. I asked for some info on raking or amp settings or something. You response was right away. In todays business world. Not many people do that. Soon the economy here will be better, and I can puchace a dvd or two. I would love to here your album. Is there any songs that are available to here now? There is probally some good songs that will come out of what you have been though. Life is hard, My best freinds wife died a few weeks ago, only 51, he is 60. Married 24 years. Every day is a new journey for him. As it is for you. Keep us informed on your progress. Sincerely, Scott

  26. Karl McMichael

    great words John – and I can tell you are speaking from the heart. The same place the blues come from. You are correct, you can’t have good without bad, happy without sad, day without night, wrong without right. Kep the faith brother, and let us know what that new ax is gonna be! All the best,

  27. John, what a testimony and your willingness to bare your struggles is moving to say the least. You obviously know the Lord and lean on His Word for strength. As a believer, we don’t get spared the trials and valley of life (James 1) but it is through those / these times that our faith when tested gives those who doubt the full understanding of just how great God is, and through Him, all is possible. These past 5 weeks were my biggest challenge, winding up on the floor in shear agony from back spasms and constant unrelenting pain. A trip to the ER and still seeing a Chiropractor. How did it happen, Good question as I don’t know!. Following week, due to meds I guess, I lost my balance, rolled over an ankle, face first into the floor. God spared my back from damage, my face only a cut bottom lip, and the ankle which looked like a hand ball was inserted into it, turned out not to be broken, fractured, torn. MANY BLESSING! The enemy tried to steal my joy, but I saw the 1/2 full glass, my wonderful 30 yrs to a wife who gave me 3 outstanding children, a very good retirement, and the ability to still play guitar even if I have to sit for now. When your EP comes out, I will look forward to making purchase to help. Doubters will question, but a believer knows this life is not forever, and it’s not Heaven. Let our walk in Him speak for itself and He will bless and light your path. He did Job, David, and others. Blessings

    1. Thanks for the comments and sharing your story Art. It really helps me to share with others what I have been through and am currently going through.

      God Bless

  28. John,

    I just want to say that you are the reason why I start playing again, please hang up there a cheer up, this hard times that you are going thru, soon will become inspiration to put it in your guitar playing and will make you even more sucecesfull, You are very talented and I have no doubt in my heart that soon you will rise higher and higher. Get well soon.

    God bless you

  29. John,

    I admire the way you’re handling a difficult situation. You are correct that everyone will face challenges, regardless of their station in life. I can attest to that from my own experience. In fact, music has been a great therapy for me during such times. I want to encourage you with the impact you’re having on others. I wanted to learn slide when I was a teenager in the 60s but didn’t know where to start, so I gave up until, about 40 years later, I found Learning Guitar Now. I’ve been a student of yours for several years. Here is a YouTube clip from a gig at the Cleburne, TX Farmers Market in which I use the techniques you taught me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywtoZh3AROQ. I’ll probably never challenge Derek Trucks or Warren Haynes, but I’m having fun. In the words of Rev. Palma Chandler of Moss Point, MS, “Keep the faith and the faith WILL keep you.” Keep the faith, my friend, and Roll Tide! (It’s almost football season, too!)

  30. I am recovering 7 years now from a broken right wrist and several operations that led to RSD. Two things have helped. First and foremost is my intense belief in God and the power that only God can and will make my life . Second is the love and passion I have for my guitars. The training courses I purchased have helped me retrain myself. I am by no means fast . I am 61 years old and I got a lot of playin time left. God bless, John. You are in my prayers. Michael Jay

  31. All the best to you John and I hope for a speedy recovery. Your lessons are second to none and can’t wait for you to get back on the horse! ;)

    Graham from Oz

  32. Les from Wales

    Hi John, thanks for being so open and honest. I think that when we go through tough times we can either give in to them or come out the other end a stronger and better person. “All things work together for those who love God” and have found their life in Christ Jesus. Will be praying for you.

    God bless,


  33. George Gaitanos

    John, i am glad to hear, that everything is going better now…

    I wish you – deep from my heart – all the best!!!


  34. Michael Fisher

    John, glad to hear you are making progress with the hand. Some times it takes a thing like this to force you see the youre reality. I think you’re doing fine…blog when you have to clear your head…I think we are all behind you. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other, we’ll be here when you are ready.

    Thanks for all you have done for me! I am a cancer survivor…lost my ability to play guitar…after playing for over fourty years…lost my ability to sing. I just stumbled upon one of your lessons one day, and because of that chance meeting, you gave me the inspiration I needed to work through the pain in my hands…and my throat…and return to my passion of playing my guitars and the blues I have loved for so many years. Keep on truck in’ John!


  35. Per.Michael Agunte

    Hi John,
    thank you for your honest,
    I `ll try to help you healing the rest 10 % with telehealing,
    hope it works. (With some friends it did, let´s watch out).
    Very best wishes and thanks again for your entire work.

  36. John,

    Having read your post above and the comments that immediately followed, I think a few things are very clear:

    (1)You have a legion of friends and followers who not only are interested in what they can learn from you about playing the blues but also care about you as a human being;

    (2) Others have or are dealing with difficult times as well and your story serves as a good reminder to all that through faith, perseverance, and determination one can heal, change, emerge and move forward,

    (3) your teaching skills and style really connects with your students. When you combine these with your depth of knowledge and skills playing the guitar, it understandable how you got (1) above.

    On a personal level, I tried to learn to play the guitar about 10 years ago. I took private lessons for a year or so from a very good guitarist here in Houston. For whatever reason it just never clicked for me, I made no real progress and quit. My gear sat idle for almost 8 years

    Just a year or so ago I came across you website and some of your free lessons. The music you teach is the music that I love and so I was motivated to try again. I purchased the “Everything Bundle” and have been practicing almost daily since then. Through your teaching I have progressed to the point where playing is fun and I look forward to playing every night. I have a long way to go but I know the journey is half the fun.

    Thank you for your website (and the personal and human touch you bring to it) and your DVD’s. I’m pretty sure I would not be learning to play right now had it not been for you.

    Best Regards,


  37. Hi John,

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s just a reminder that we all have dark clouds in life. As for me, I’m 62 and for the past 5 years have been the primary caregiver for my Mom who is 90 and has Alzheimer’s Disease. To say the road has been tough and is getting tougher is an understatement. I stumbled upon your lessons on Youtube and it has helped me greatly in playing the style of my all time favorite guitarists- Duane and Dickey and more recently, Warren and Derek. I also purchased the Dickey Betts and Warren Haynes style DVD’s and they are great! This has helped me to “get away” at times from the situation I am in and I have you to thank for that. It was a great surprise to have found your website as of all of them out there not many feature the playing of The Allman Brothers if any outside of yours.

    Hang in there John, I’m sure your hand will heal soon and you will be back on the horse in short time! Once again, all the best to you and looking forward to seeing that new axe of yours!

    all the best,


  38. Good on you for writing about your challenging times. Obviously you have a lot of fans out here. People do care and find your lessons and words inspiring.

    We’ve all experienced hard times to varying degrees. I’ve found that there’s certain songs I put on heavy rotate when the times are dark. ‘Dreams’ is one of them. Takes me away. ‘Whipping Post’ seems to sum it up pretty well so I’ll that a good thrashing (whipping?!).

    Anyway, all the best John. I’ll see if I can spring for some more lessons.

  39. John.
    I am so happy you are on the mend – I tell guitar players about you on a regular basis
    and I produce videos also I can relate to wrist and elbow pain mousing. I have a track ball now also I trade around Just up graded my windows system to adobe creative suite.
    Also the relationships we have are so important to our creative process I know you will be stronger in the long run but it does not mean it is easy to keep going with the tasks at hand. You have been a big help to me and many others What you do is a unique contribution to us all out here tuning in. Thank You and thanks for sharing.

    a friend, and a fan
    Adrian from Chico – Northern California

  40. John

    I have so much respect for you not only as a great musician but as a man as well

    We are to learn from our mistakes to grow and move forward

    God has provided forgiveness through HIs Son for all past, present & future transgressions

    If he can forgive us who are we not to forgive each other

    God Bless You My friend


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