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Right-Handed Metal Guitarist Relearns as Lefty After Car Accident

todayApril 6, 2021 23

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Philippe Drouin, guitarist for Canadian technical death metal band Obvurt, spent three years relearning guitar as a left-handed player after a car accident rendered him unable to continue playing as a right-hand-dominant musician.

For any musician, losing the ability to perform your instrument is life-changing. Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi nearly gave up playing guitar after accidentally severing the tips of the fingers on his right hand in a factory accident at the age of 17. But, through an iron will and remarkable perseverance, he adapted by melting plastic to form makeshift thimbles, which he wrapped in leather to aid his grip on the strings.

After a 2016 car accident left Drouin unable to use his picking hand (his right hand) to regain the skill level he reached as a guitar player after 15 years, he exercised a similar level of determination and taught himself to play as a lefty, instead using his left hand to pick and the right to maneuver around the fretboard.

To simply play chords and simple melodies presents a difficult enough task, nevermind returning to the level of advanced musicianship required to play technical death metal. Oh, and he’s the vocalist, too, another hurdle that was overcome in this story of triumph.

In a statement provided to MetalSucks, Drouin said he found inspiration to embrace the challenge after speaking with jazz guitarist Pat Martino, who experienced a near-fatal seizure in 1980 that left him with absolutely no working memory or knowledge of how to play guitar. He then learned how to play the instrument all over again.

After a year of practice, Drouin sought lessons from ambidextrous axeman Michael Angelo Batio, who famously plays a double neck guitar outfitted to be played simultaneously using the left and right hands on the fretboard, as seen below.

Michael Angelo Batio

Total Guitar Magazine, Future / Getty Images

“Since then, I’ve taken lessons with him, online or on YouTube. He is the best! He knew how to drive me, and I listened to him, even if it was difficult. Since that day, I’ve practiced over four hours every day after day job time,” said Drouin.

Now, Drouin has just dropped The Beginning, a new EP that features bassist Oliver Pinead (Cattle Decapitation, Cryptopsy, Neuraxis) and drummer Samuel Santiago (ex-Gorod, ex-Black Crown Initiate, ex-Melechesh).

Watch a guitar playthrough of the Obvurt song “Scars of War” below and Obvurt on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify.

Obvurt’s Philippe Drouin Relearns Guitar as a Lefty — “Scars of War” Playthrough

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