Rush fan's plan to aid Lifeson arthritis struggle

The owner of a firm that makes specially-adapted musical instruments has offered to create a guitar for Rush star Alex Lifeson.

Lifeson is suffering from arthritis in his hands – a condition his bandmate Geddy Lee feels will eventually spell the end of the band’s touring life.

But now instrument maker – and Rush fan – Jody Michael thinks he can help extend Lifeson’s playing career with one of his specially-built guitars, which he claims can overcome some of the problems experienced by musicians with conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

His firm, Artisan Bass Works (ABW), uses patented ANSIR technology in its products. Put simply, it’s an angled neck design which takes away much of the strain caused by having to keep the guitar in a playing position and makes the fretboard easier to navigate.

Mr Michael hopes his designs will see his Rush journey come full circle. He’s from Cleveland, Ohio, where the Canadian band first came to the attention of the world thanks to the support of local radio station WMMS.

He tells TeamRock: “In 1973, a group of friends and I sent cassette recordings of Rush to the radio station and called repeatedly requesting Rush songs. We’re not claiming we had a hand in their success, but deep inside, in some way, I hope we helped.

“How cool would it be, if by chance, I may have helped start Rush’s career and possibly extended it more than 40 years later. We’d love to build Alex an instrument or co-design an instrument with him.

“We have clients that have rejuvenated their careers because of our instruments.”

In May, Lifeson told Classic Rock he’d been battling arthritis for a decade. He said: “I’ve had it for 10 years – and this is the first time I’m really feeling it in my hands and my feet. That’s the way it goes.”

Scott Heath, ABW’s head of operations, believes the firm can build a guitar that will meet Lifeson’s requirements.

He adds: “Independent testing, as well as our experience, has shown those with medical conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and arthritis get immediate relief from our instruments. Eliminating the need to hold up the instrument, in conjunction with a more anatomically correct position, has helped many of our customers with such issues play longer, feel less pain, and extend their careers.

“We have every reason to believe the Mr Lifeson would receive the same benefits, extending a career millions across the world would love to see extended.”

Rush are currently touring in celebration of their 40th anniversary – a trip they’ve stopped short of calling their farewell.


Jun 29: New York Madison Square Garden, NY

Jul 09: Kansas City Sprint Center, MO

Jul 11: Denver Pepsi Center, CO

Jul 13: Salt Lake City Maverik Center, UT

Jul 15: Calgary Scotiabank Saddledome, AB

Jul 17: Vancouver Rogers Arena, BC

Jul 19: Seattle Key Arena, WA

Jul 21: Portland MODA Center, OR

Jul 23: San Jose SAP Center, CA

Jul 25: Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, NV

Jul 27: Phoenix US Airways Centre, AZ

Jul 30: Irvine Meadows Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, XA

Aug 01: Los Angeles Forum, CA

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.