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The Anatomy of the Callous?


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I'm frustrated. And more importantly, my fingers are frustrated.


My fretting fingers are nice and tough, but my pointer finger of the plucking hand is so weird. I always get these white, soft callouses on it, and then they rip and I have to start again. Why can't I just get a nice lair of tough skin?


So, I'm coming for you for advice on this. How have to found to be the best way to develope callouses and keep them?


Tonight, I'm going to try digging in really hard on my strings for about 30 minutes until it hurts and hope a new callous developes before the concert next week, should this work?



In Skynyrd We Trust
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It may work.


On the other hand , it may not , and you may incur some damage to your finger(s) that may take longer to heal than the callous's you seek.


Be patient.

Callous's develop differently for different people.

The best way to keep callous's from going away or peeling is to keep playing.

You should never play when injured , and always allow time to rest.



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Surgical spirit (not sure if it's called this in USA) is good for hardening the skin and would be better than trying to get calluses. I would ask a Doctor.


Do you play everyday or are you sporadic in your playing? Playing everyday helps for sure.



"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Definetly play as often as possible and pay attention to your callous'. If you insist on digging hard (like I do) stop when your finger tips start to burn and give it a day or so to heal/harden up.


Keep 'em tough. There is no worse suprise then developing blisters halfway through a gig.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76


I have nothing nice to say so . . .


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I would continue playing everyday and the callouses will come. I wouldn't even think about it, just keep playing.


And if there is a gig coming up don't stress about it. Just keep doing what you are doing and a if the performance happens to come on a day when your skin is torn or healing or whatever; then simply take some crazy glue and put it on your finger tip and let it dry.


When the crazy glue dries, it will leave you with a fake callous that will get you through the gig with no real pain.


Not a very scientific way to go about things but it works.


One thing you don't want to do it go into a gig with pain in your fingers to begin with. You will be in a lot of pain during the performance and I think it somehow comes accross to your audience.

Rob Robitaille


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My understanding is that the callous have the same anatomy as everyone else. It's just that they tend to be thoughtless, inconsiderate, and cold. It's more to do with personality than anatomy.


Calluses are another matter.

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Crazy glue does work if you need temporary protection (also part of what "liquid bandage" is made of) and simple nail polish remover is the solvent for that. Also keeps you from biting your fingernails as the stuff is poisonous when taken internally.


A job involving 6-8 hours of typing also helps. I'm surprised no one here's advocated typing as a way to develop better hand-mind coordination, but it does. (so keep posting on this forum, people, and your calluses will harden quicker. :D )


After 35 years, you can't see the calluses on my fingers but they're they're. I can put out lit matches with my fingers and not feel them, but I don't do that very often. It'll happen to you.



dcr: not all of your anatomy gets callused with repeated use. (That's as close as I'm getting to that topic.) :D

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a thin layer of super glue on your finger...



"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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Just keep playin' man. That is about the only advice I can give you. Play until your fingers burn, back off for a day, then play again. I'd suggest playing with a lighter touch the day before the gig to give your fingers a bit of time to heal.


I've had a bit of trouble with my right (plucking) hand in the past. I would get a small blister on the tip of my index finger from digging in too hard. I lightened up my touch considerably and haven't had any trouble since.

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I used to have this problem a lot and it is extremely frustrating.


I agree with what others have advised - play every day (once you're healed), and play with a lighter touch. Let your amp do more of the work.


I read an interview with Stanley Clarke where he mentioned that he regularly files his fingertips (yes, the tips) with a very fine emery board. He explained that when your fingertips are smooth, they don't catch on the strings and form fissures. I was sceptical, but I tried it and it worked for me.


Good luck.

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