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Fingertip calluses...how do you care for yours?


miroslav

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This may be a dumb topicbut it does effect all guitar players...

 

I havent been playing much the last couple of monthsso as usual, the last week or so, as I start getting back to itits that dreaded painful blister time, waiting for the finger calluses to form! :D

 

After playing regularly the last few daysIm almost there. I can feel the nice hard skin forming, and the blisters/pain is quickly vanishing.

 

SoIm curious how you guys maintain your calluses after they form?

YeahI know that as long as you keep playing, they kinda maintain themselvesbut, do you treat/care for them in any wayor do you just rip away, and leave it up the your body to do all the maintenance work?

 

As your skin renewslittle by little, it also will shed. Thing is, when you play a lotthere is always that possibility of ripping open a callousand then you get that crater on your finger tipor eve worse, if it is real badbleeding fingers! :eek:

 

Anywayover the yearsI found that if you take a nice semi-rough Emory board (all the ladies got em :) )and you gently sand down the callusesjust a tiny bitonly enough to keep them real smooth, so that they do not develop those deep pockets (which is what can lead to them getting ripped up by the strings)they seem to hold a lot better and longer.

 

Usually, after playing for awhileif I see and small layers of skin starting to get the light peelingIll take the Emory board and just give em a quick buff to prevent the peal/crack from getting worse.

 

If you play a lotthis occasional sanding/buffing will not remove your precious callusesit only makes em smoother/harderIMO.

 

 

Anyone have any other methods, rituals?

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Maybe I'm the odd man out, but I never get the sore finger syndrome and I don't have calluses on my fingertips. I play everyday almost without fail, sometimes for a couple hours, but that's about all I can get in. My fingers don't hurt afterwards at all. Maybe it's that I don't play acoustic or maybe it's that I've used my poor hands for manual labor an awful lot in life. I only know I have never experienced the sore finger-callous development thing. Maybe my nerve ends are dead. :eek:

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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If I haven't played for a long time...I only get painfull blisters if I REALLY dig in and play hard right from the gitgo.

 

But if I phase my playing back in over several days with shorter playing sessions...

...then the blisters/pain are not a bother and, the calluses will actually form much better that way...slowly over time. :thu:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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I will usually take an emery board to my finger tips if they get a little ragged. But I've been playing for so long that the tips of my fingers on my left hand are pretty much a callous.

 

If I go a few days (or even a few weeks) without playing nothing seems to change. My hand may get a little tired or cramp up a little at first (after a few weeks off) but that goes away within a couple of days.

 

I haven't had fingertip pain in probably 20 years. And I never had blisters. Just really sore (_very_ red) finger tips. The only reason I take an emery board to my fingertips, now, is because having ragged bits of skin there interferes with my playing.

 

I have lost some of my sense of touch on my finger tips on my left hand. I mainly just feel pressure and that's about it. I can touch my finger tip with a needle and I don't feel it at all.

Born on the Bayou

 

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Well we ALL play through it! :D

 

But...you can have ripped up finger tips, and keep on playin'...

...or you can maintain the calluses so they don't get ripped up. :thu:

 

Do you just leave all those hangin' chunks of skin on your fingers as you "play through it"...or do you ever perform any fingertip maintenance?

 

I tried using some protection on my right-hand fingers once...when I was playing bass. It just doesn't really work well.I lost all sensitivity.

When I do record/play bass...I'll try not to play the damn part over and over too many times...since my right hand fingertips are not developed like a regular bass player's would be.

 

Also, for bass...I like to rest my thumb on the body...so for my two bass guitars, I mounted small finger rest-bar on the body above the strings...works like a charm!

I can play bass better, longer faster with my thumb hangin there. :cool:

 

When my right hand fingertips get really chewed by the bass strings, and I have to keep on playing for a few more takes...well...I'll admit it...

...I reach for a felt pick!!! :D

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Maybe it's all the years, but I don't really have problems with mine. Indeed, if I go out and play acoustic for four hours tonight, my fingertips will be sore tomorrow. But there are no calluses involved int he traditional sense. There seems to have grown a 'pad' under the skin. My fingertips look pretty normal, with just a little flattening of the curve compared to the other hand, but no obvious callus. And I can play for a couple of hours at any time with no noticable results or pain the next day.

 

So I do nothing special.

 

Bill

"I believe that entertainment can aspire to be art, and can become art, but if you set out to make art you're an idiot."

 

Steve Martin

 

Show business: we're all here because we're not all there.

 

 

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I don't do anything. Never did.

 

However, I do keep my nails clipped very short so that the nail doesn't hit the fretboard. Sometimes the flesh at the end of my nail seperates. This can be a little painful when playing the guitar. In this case, I'll back off with that finger for a few days and wrap a band aid around it.

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I never have taken more than a few days off from playing in 30 years. So my callouses are always there. When I play more electric than nylon string it does tend to be a bit more abusive to the callous. The only thing that will rip mine are if I do alot of SRv type bends. If I feel that the callouses are going to come loose, I'll just back off of bending for a day or two. Two nights in a row of 3 hour gigs used to leave me a little sore but again, just be smart and try and save your fingers. Since I just this week started paying more attention to lessening my finger pressure, I bet almost all my problems will go away, except again for when I really aggresively bend strings.
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I don't play as much guitar as I used to do, I play more bass nowadays, nut I don't seem to have a problem with this, so I'll look at it from the bass point of view: when I started out, I got blisters really fast on my plucking fingers. What I noticed was this: when it hurts, just keep on playing. When it feels unbearable, just keep on playing. In a while it'll go away, and when the blisters are gone, you won't have a problem with it anymore. I had blisters on blisters on blisters sometimes.

Now I only have a slight problem with my first finger on the left hand, and that's since I've started playing the upright bass, which is a monster for your fingers. No problem with the right hand though, so I seem to do something right.. ;)

- Bob Freebird

 

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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Originally posted by KPB:

Sometimes the flesh at the end of my nail seperates. This can be a little painful when playing the guitar. In this case, I'll back off with that finger for a few days and wrap a band aid around it.

The quicker/better fix...Crazy Glue! :thu"

 

Whenever my nail rips away a bit from the flesh...I just drip some Crazy Glue in between the nail and finger...and then I pinch it closed for a minute 'til the glue sets.

 

It will help the healing, and you don't get that burn whenever hot water or other liquids hit the split.

Also...you can play again...but if you play hard, it will break the glue bond...

...then you just apply more Crazy Glue.

 

Works like a charm! :cool:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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If I get an occasional raggy-edge or hard ridge, I'll carefully trim it close with nail-clippers, and smooth it out with a fine nail-file.

 

I clip my fretting-hand fingernails quite short, so I know what you mean about soreness from the nail being strained from the nail-bed. If it's too bad, I'll put a little Neosporin "Plus" (Pain Reliever) antibacterial cream under the nail, squeezing it in underneath via the tube's little nozzle. Soothes the soreness and usually heals up more quickly.

 

I've tried Superglue to repair nails before, and it usually doesn't work very well. If much gets in there between the nail and the skin, it can not only irritate it and cause further soreness, it can make the nail pull on the skin there as it grows- not good! It can even promote infection.

 

Otherwise, concerning calluses, it's just earn 'em the old-fashioned way (playing), or lose 'em with disuse. (They're embarrassingly thin and easily made sore 'n' tender nowadays, I've gotta get playing a flat-top acoustic again, I guess!)

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Someone (not a guitarplayer) once suggested to me that I could harden my fingers by soaking them in a little bowl of petrol. It'd certainly toughen the skin, but I've never tried it.

 

I've never really bothered with looking after my callouses, they rip, they peel, they form again and so on.

 

But you can't really see them, they're probably a bit like Bill's, where all you see is a small flattening of the LH fingertips.

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i have no problems with soreness, even if i avoid playing for a long time. i don't have a very gentle fret hand either. i must be a mutant, my finger tips have lots of skin to wear away. my problem is that when i cut my finger nails i need to then cut the dead skin from my tips. if i get crazy i can wear skin away but it never seems to hit tender skin.

i like my nails very short. after cutting them and trimming that dead skin my fingers feel "fresh" and nice. it is like a shower for my fingers.

i do work around natural rubber and the oils in that can dry out your skin if you don't wear gloves.

but i don't seem to get hard calluses. my hand stays fairly soft with the exception of the skin next to my finger nail edge.

after a trim the dead skin away i do a quick buff from a 3m pad. smooths out the edges from my trimming. also smooths the nail edge.

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Originally posted by miroslav:

Originally posted by KPB:

Sometimes the flesh at the end of my nail seperates. This can be a little painful when playing the guitar. In this case, I'll back off with that finger for a few days and wrap a band aid around it.

The quicker/better fix...Crazy Glue! :thu"

 

Whenever my nail rips away a bit from the flesh...I just drip some Crazy Glue in between the nail and finger...and then I pinch it closed for a minute 'til the glue sets.

 

It will help the healing, and you don't get that burn whenever hot water or other liquids hit the split.

Also...you can play again...but if you play hard, it will break the glue bond...

...then you just apply more Crazy Glue.

 

Works like a charm! :cool:

Yea that. I use the same method. Actually, liquid bandaid is about the same stuff only more expensive.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Playing with very light strings may be my saving grace. I don't really have calluses to speak of, and I very seldom miss more than a day or two playing. The only time I get sore is from playing someone elses guitar with 11s or worse.
Never a DUH! moment! Well, almost never. OK, OK! Sometimes never!
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crazy glue in the gig bag is a must, right up there with an extra pair of strings.

 

i usually have to use it on my strumming hand since i hold the pick so that only a tiny point sticks out from the forefinger and thumb and after a heavy bout of strumming, the skin seperates from the nail on the forefinger

yeah... but these go to eleven!
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