Joe Satriani shares brutal photo of his fingers post-show – and seeks advice for the problem he's had ever since he started playing guitar

Joe Satriani performs onstage in Berlin, Germany on April 20, 2023
(Image credit: Frank Hoensch/Redferns)

Electric guitar hero Joe Satriani is currently on the road, touring Europe in support of his 2022 LP, The Elephants of Mars.

It's easy to assume that at this point, Satriani has everything down pat – he's been at it for decades, and has inspired countless players with his virtuosity. As he recently shared, though, the same physical wear and tear that affects us mere mortals affects him as well. 

Soon after a recent performance, Satch took to Instagram to share a photo of the fingers on his fretting hand and... oof... We can feel those bends.

We advise you to perhaps look away if you're on the squeamish side...

"Getting worse," Satriani writes of the wear and tear on his fretting hand, "but making me look for new ways to play. 

"Ever since I started playing guitar I’ve had a problem maintaining fingertip calluses. Superglue is awesome when things get ugly but it doesn’t last very long. And, the show must go on! Are there other products that could help?" 

The crowdsourced recommendations were, as you might expect, numerous and varied – coconut oil before bed, a collagen supplement and extra vitamin C and A, and, of course, changing the gauges of his electric guitar strings

Satriani, for his part, has been open about struggling with pain in his fretting hand in the past, telling Guitarist in a 2022 interview that he had been struggling with tension in his left pinky, and that the title track to his 2015 album, Shockwave Supernova, was the culprit.

"When I was writing it [Shockwave Supernova]," Satriani said, "I figured out all the different places to play it and came up with one version that sounded unique – but my hand didn’t want to do it live. It started to really hurt. 

"That tour, I had to rewrite so many fingerings. I’d sit down before a show and figure out, like, which notes had to be legato or could I pick three of them instead?"

As Satriani said, though, "the show must go on," and indeed, the guitarist has a number of live shows in Europe – plus a smattering of dates in America – scheduled for the rest of May, June, and early July.

For more info on – and tickets to – Satriani's forthcoming shows, visit the guitarist's website.

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.