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3 hour gig, 2 hours of blister.

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by T_Bone_TL, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    We played the farmer's market (winter indoor version) today to generally positive reviews, despite missing a few of our regular members.

    Our reduced line-up was 2 fiddles, a mandola, a guitar, and me on the Lidl upright. Pure wood, no amps. Our drummer (generally playing a bodhrán, lately) also had something else to do so I was being the whole rhythm section, probably going at it a bit harder. I felt some wear on my tolerably well-callused middle finger plucking, so I was doing more with the index, and by the time we took an osmotic regulation break an hour and 15 in I had a pretty good blister on it.

    Working around that added some extra mental gymnastics to my mediocre playing for the rest of the time. I managed not to break it, and am now trying to wait for the darn thing to shrink and start a plucking callus for that finger, though at the moment its quite annoying, despite having iced it for a while when we got home. I'm considering sacrilege like using a pick on the upright, as well as more socially acceptable things like trying the bow (I've had it only since August, and it's been "in on the deep end" with it so I've been totally pitzing/plucking so far.) Presumably this will be less of an issue if that callus gets built, though the middle finger one is definitely also sore, and I should probably figure out what to do with that hairy stick thing anyway.

    Mediocrity was all around the group at various points, probably as a result of several influences, but evidently (per comments) we still managed to be better than some of the others they've had. It's been a while since we actually played a gig, that one was without our usual guitar guy (who was here for this one, so it's been a long, long time for him) and we normally only get an hour and a half or so of actual playing in when we either host a session or have a "closed" rehearsal which typically means we are preparing for a gig. We are not a particularly serious band being more of a weekly session (Irish/Celtic sense) with a core group that occasionally manages to play out - I think our next one is an hour at a nursing home in March.

    I bought a scone for lunch but I'm terrible at photo-documenting things, and I also bought some apples and was presented with a hefty musical discount (unasked) as I handed the nice lady a 5 and requested as many Braeburns as that would buy, and the scale showed something north of $7. Darn good apples, too.
  2. Jmilitsc

    Jmilitsc Supporting Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    Fairfield County, CT
    Ha, Noooooo!

    But seriously that sucks.

    I always carry liquid bandaid and moleskin for those blister and winter-finger-splitting-moments. I also use this stuff daily to help firm up calluses over the long haul: Hiking Salve

    Reminds me of My last farmers market gig over the summer in 1000 degree heat and 500% humidity. Hands and fingerboard got too sticky to play, hate when that happens. Our choice of apples was not darn good, but they gave us water, and that was good.
    Jimmy4string and T_Bone_TL like this.
  3. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    I have found that draining the blister with a pin and then wrapping it can help it heal faster and turn into a callous without peeling off. That comes from having given myself a lot of blisters a lot of ways over the years. It may not work too well for everyone. Superglue works pretty well sometimes if the rockabilly hook comes off of my right middle finger. Playing the upright can be a bit of a challenge when you can't hear too well. It's a whole lot louder out front than it is where you are standing. There's been more than one situation playing unamplified where I was digging in thinking nobody could hear me, an then getting told to pipe down!
    Hahaha, Sore Thumb and T_Bone_TL like this.
  4. Is that a real thing?
  5. Gaolee

    Gaolee Official leathers tester and crash dummy

    On the end of my finger? Yeah. That's what I call it anyway. It's the callous I get from yanking the strings to get the double slap sound and part of the triplet slap sound.
    Remyd likes this.
  6. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Carefull lance and drain the blister. Wrap it. I've been playing all week with a bandaid on my left index fingertip - went through a lot of bandaids.

    You have four fingers and a thumb. Even on an upright, I would go through all of them before using a pick.
    Gaolee likes this.
  7. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    Oh, I was using all the fingers and the thumb.

    Huh. I find when I drain them it's quick relief, but then it always sloughs off. If I can stand to leave the dang thing it seems to do a better job of starting a callus, rather than having to build up from new skin under the blister. As of today it's shrunk back almost to normal, with a bit of dark staining (blood in there) so I'll see what it does - best I recall the middle finger callus got going more or less this way.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Another option if you have a gig is to :eek: use a bass guitarand pick. Not exactly authentic, but less painful.
  9. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    NW Mass/SW VT
    Might be _more_ painful with this group. I have the bass with tapewounds, I suspect I can actually get the sound close, but they are kinda hyper-absurd with the anti-electric bias.

    I think they (or perhaps that's more "some of them") think I'd turn into Opus the Penguin (on sousaphone) channeling Gene Simmons in Bill the Cat's band. Which I think is absurd.
    Gaolee likes this.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Don't get me wrong - I'm all for Deathtongue, but tell them otherwise you will bleed all over them. I've used a BG for bluegrass. No one died...
  11. primusfan1989


    Jan 17, 2005
    new jersey

    Just keep practicing, blisters are painful fact of life for an upright player. Just keep practicing and one day you'll have calluses. Ive been playing for over 10yrs and i still get blisters on my right hand (plucking/pizz), The more practiced on upright that i am, the less problems i have, usually its after a long gig where i haven't much practiced much upright that the blisters will occur. If I'm on a gig and blisters start becoming an issue Ill put crazy glue on the affected fingers, added layer between skin and string for protection and not as cumbersome as a bandaid etc....
    * this is my experience, i wouldn't go as far as recommending anybody else does this or do it at your own risk*
    But crazy glue or nu-skin are essential for gigging upright for myself. Ive had blisters form, pop, and become open wounds during a gig...I just dump crazy glue into the wound, let it dry and get back to work
    Jmilitsc likes this.
  12. Hahaha


    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    I can't remember what it's called, but I've seen people use a pick on that European fretted upright bass. A pick was used on an upright on Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys.

    The only practical solution is to keep your fingers in shape. If I don't have time to practice upright each day, I still take the time to pluck each open string 100 times with both my index and middle finger. That's 800 plucks. It only takes about five minutes, and keeps my fingers in shape for gigs.
    T_Bone_TL likes this.

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