A Calus Question about Caluses.

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Bin Son of Bin, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Hi all. Good afternoon.

    My question today is on Caluses. In the Orchestral world, do we want serious caluses or not?

    I was noticing as I was practicing that my caluses were building up and thought of it as a good thing. I'm sure it helps with stopping strings of course but do Profesional Orchestral DB'ers want caluses or soft finger tips (or medium caluses?) for one reason or another?

  2. Although I'm in no way a professional, I would say "medium" is kind of what ends up happening...When I started playing seriously my fingers got really hard, almost like fingernails even. They were extremely difficult to maintain and had a lot of trouble with cracking. As I've continued to play, I've found that the caluses have almost integrated into my fingers; instead of having rock hard sections of dead skin, its almost like the pads on those fingers are just a little bit more durable than the others.

    I wouldn't worry about it too much, just take care of any problems you're having to make sure you don't get hurt!
  3. You say tomayto, I say tomarto. You say calus, I say callous. No matter, we still need some. The hardening and thickening comes from pressing and shifting yet without it there is pain from pressing strings down (especially in 1/2 Position) and shifting feels like you have the brakes locked on (made even worse if the neck is varnished and dirty!). No callous might also effect pitch, tone and vibrato because of the softness of the skin and pad. Too much may effect sensitivity of touch.

    So, I go with the idea of medium (or some) callousing. I have never had a lot of problems with callouses splitting and usually only get some splits at the corners of the nails. We don't have tough cold dry winters here. It is easy to control the degree of callousing with moisturizer applied after washing and only lightly drying your hands.

    A tip from one of my old stand partners. If your fingers pads are soft and you have trouble with shifting freely, risking tearing the ends off your fingers, then reach up and touch your temple. There is a little bit of oil on your skin from perspiration that will instantly make shifting easier. Oh, the downside is that you do have to wipe down the fingerboard more often! Yuk!!

  4. ekspain


    Feb 22, 2008
    If you're still playing 20 years from now, you won't think twice about it. I thank God for those "Caluses" every day. One thing that's trippy is to see the difference in the length of the fingers on the right vs left hand. They seem so much longer on my left hand! Thanks to them Callous!
  5. I recall times when my calused fingers sort of became plastic-like. I couldn't operate one of those light switches that you're only supposed to touch. Oh, also a lamp with the same touch function.
  6. It depends on your skin... mine has gotten to the point where it feels more or less the same on each hand, except for the lack of fingerprints on my left hand, but I don't get blisters or pain any more. Some people get big thick callouses, I don't.
  7. chicagodoubler


    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    It varies from person to person, and also depends on how much you are practicing.
  8. VegasGutPlucker


    Oct 14, 2008
    I knew a guy who never washed his hands and maintained thick, tree bark-like callouses. It worked for him, but I enjoy a woman's company, so I agree with the medium approach. Keeping the skin moisturized but appropriately stressed by playing causes the callouses to settle into the skin, creating a pad within it, instead of a crust without it.