Blisters without calluses?
Let me start this off by saying I'm brand new to TB... If I make any total noob mistakes please forgive me :)
Anyways, I've been playing bass for a bit less than a year now, practicing almost every day. I thought my fingers were nice and calloused but one day I was playing a lot of glissandos and I ended up with a nice blister on my finger... No big deal, I thought, it'll heal and end up as tougher skin. Well, after about a day the blister went away, but the next day it was back (I held off from playing these couple of days as well). After about a week, the blister showed no sign of improvement. A day or two later, it popped on it's own, to reveal nice, fresh, soft skin, leaving the tough blistered skin to peel off. After this, the callusing process had to repeat.
I've gone through this a few times and I can't seem to get my fingers quite tough enough. I can't really find much online about this happening to people, they all say your fingers get tougher with blisters (not in my case). Anybody gone through this and have any tricks to keep the calluses and get rid of blisters?
i've never had callouses or blisters on my fingers from playing the bass. it's not like the guitar where you have to build up callouses.
maybe you press down on the strings too hard?
+1 on both counts.
OP, first, welcome to Talk Bass. :) Perhaps kilgoja is right about pressing down too hard. Maybe lowering your action could be considered too. The type of strings can make a difference. Stainless steel strings are harder on the fingers than nickel, which in turn are harder than flatwounds.
Maybe you are playing for to long at one go ? Try cutting back on the practice time for a week or so, then gradually build it up.
Never had blisters, and I don't know if my slightly harder skin in some spots can be considered actual calluses. Definitely the outside corder of my fretting hand pinky is harder from some sliding, and both my indexes' and middle fingers' tips are a bit harder than the rest.
I would +1 on checking the action, plus suggest you take it easy on the slides. I can't even imagine what you've been playing to blister your finger multiple times ! Perhaps you can alternate your sliding finger, if the glissandos are unavoidable ?
Have been playing bass for over 20 yrs now. Every once in a while, a new exercise or technique I haven't practised for a while gives me a blister. As of late, a somewhat intense pinky-pull-offs part I had to play for several hours.
My action is stupid low, but the mere repetition gets my finger skin all amused and watery.
I always go through the same routing if this happens:
- Stop doing the same things for a week or so & let it breathe
- Start back gradually and do not go with a full burst of repetitions of the same thing, but structure your playing intervals of that very glissando/pull-off/painful part (i.e., play 10 mins, go back to other stuff until next day. Next day increase to 15 minutes, so on).
It will get your skin tougher in time. Important is not to dance around the same skin spot to let it heal and build up some strength. Remember everybody will need a different approach when healing skin, but it will help.
Hope it does. :-)
I've never had calluses from playing bass. I gave myself a few blisters when I was starting; now, I'd associate my fingers hurting with playing too hard with my action too high.
Lower your action, lighten your touch, and turn the volume on your bass and amp up.
Don't really have much to offer aside from ignore it and it'll get better.
Wanna share a recent blister experience though. :). Last gig. My car overheated en route to the gig. I removed my radiator cap with a thin rag. I will never do that again. Needless to say I had play the gig with a painful blister/burn. Tried to cover it with a bandaid, but realized its ridiculous trying to play with a bandaid on the tip of the pointer of your right hand. Quickly ditched the bandaid, and played the gig. It got numb pretty quickly, and I survived.
Welcome to talkbass.
Its part of the gig honestly, especially if you're a finger-style player. Just keep on playing. With that said, there is a little trick you can do. I wouldn't do this all the time, and I don't know if this is healthy or not but superglue helps if your fingers are hurting.
One time I had a really bad burn on the index, and middle finger of my right hand (i worked in a pizza joint and picked up a tray that was still scorching) I had a gig the next day and i didn't know what to do. And then to make things worse, a part of my amp broke. Its the day of the gig, my two main fingers are out of commission and my amps broken.
I fixed the amp with superglue, and in a twist of faith i got some of the superglue on my fingers. played a great show that night. my fingers didnt hurt at all. now i know this doesnt address the issue you brought up, however i figured id share my story in case you have a gig coming up and your blisters are bugging you.
Ok, thanks for the responses... Seems like I'll just have to wait it out... My action is already very low, so it's likely not that. I think I just might have gone a bit crazy with the glissandos (a lot more than I normally play, there were some new songs) for what my fingers are up to. If I really need to play I'll try the superglue trick for sure...
I've been the same ever since i started playing.
In my youth, i had that problem playing metal.
During the last years, i played mostly reggae,
where a light touch on the strings is required and
i had no problem. then i joined a rocktrio and
started digging deeper with my right hand and
the soft skin would callus first and blister shortly after.
Two things helped me:
1st: Buying a big enough amp. One that shakes your eyeballs without running out of headroom. One to blast the other musicians against the far wall, or, if i choose to, through that wall.
With that, i can play super soft, but still loud enough.
I have a bottle of this stuff in my gigbag. Whenever i feel a blister approaching, i apply that stuff and i'm good for the rest of the gig.
Don't play long enough or hard enough to cause a blister. Also, be wary of getting a "stone bruise." It's like a blister, even under a callous. Takes a long time to heal. I'd say lighten your touch and watch your time.
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