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Advice for Sore Fingers and/or Blisters

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Al Garcia, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Al Garcia

    Al Garcia

    May 28, 2016
    I had a four hour gig last night playing strait ahead Jazz on my upright. I wound up with two sore right hand fingers and one right hand finger with a blister. Besides the obvious need to play the bass more, do TBers have any advice for avoiding and treating sore fingers and blisters?
  2. chilensko


    Sep 27, 2010
    Probably you won't believe me but is kind of magic, I used to have a lot of blister but one day they were gone.
    HateyMcAmp and Dan Waineo like this.
  3. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I'm from the other side of town, but have some experience with blisters and fingertip wounds that took over a year to heal.

    1st, don't use crazy glue. It works in extreme emergencies, but ultimately made things much worse for me.

    2nd, it ain't fun, and you can't play as articulately as without, but with a little practice and care in applying them - bass can be played with bandaids on your fingertips. You won't be at your best game, but if you have to play with busted up tips, its better than abusing them even more. You'll notice the difference in your playing. Nobody else will.

    3rd, until you're fully healed wear rubber gloves around the house for any dish washing, laundry, etc., and while this might not be necessary for you, I had to find the mildest, non allergenic soap available and use only that to wash my hands for a while.

    And finally... if you get a chance to just not play for a while, disregard all the above. They'll heal and eventually, if you keep doing what you're doing, turn into callouses.

    I'll go back home now. Hope that helped some.
  4. Al Garcia

    Al Garcia

    May 28, 2016
    Are there any ways to help the blisters go away faster like dipping them in some kind of warm solution or rubbing them gently, etc?
  5. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
  6. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Some strings are not for everyone. For me, anything roundwound and Velvets are no-no for this particular reason.
  7. DrewinHouston

    DrewinHouston Not currently practicing Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2009
    Houston Heights, Texas
    Disclosure: I am not a great bass player
    Moleskin works better than band-aids for protecting while playing, I think.
  8. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Duct tape loosely wrapped a few times over a small pad of sterile gauze centered over the blister or hot-spot. And remove it as soon as the playing is done so the injury can breathe and harden in the air.

    Avoid cyanoacrylates (superglue, etc.) if it's an open sore, it will crack inside the sore and further irritate it, may even cause an infection due to being un-sterile.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  9. rknea


    Jan 16, 2007
    Boise, ID
    All good suggestions but for me...I laid off playing for a few days and everything settled down a bit. I had a similar story over Valentines Day...5 hours of playing and it was painful! Hang in there man, it will get better!
  10. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    I am not super experienced but I can tell you what I do on the prevention side. I have been playing about 8 years now and have not yet had a blister.

    Blisters are caused by friction, right? Well, the solution to FRICTION is LUBRICATION.

    I use Chapstick on my pizzing fingers' contact areas. Never had a problem. Have nice sturdy calluses, no blisters, even after long playing sessions.
    longfinger and Povl Carstensen like this.
  11. Play non metal strings. I have gone from Spirocore, via Rotosound 4000, to Velvet Garbo light, to plain gut. I can not get blisters with the last three.
    longfinger likes this.
  12. Studiodawg


    Oct 25, 2007
    You can ice your fingers after the gig/jam session. If the blisters end up being bonified big, puffy ouch blisters, you can take a sewing needle and carefully lance the blister to relieve pressure. Smaller the hole, the better. Your finger will still be sensitive, but with the fluid drained, it will ease up quicker. Ibuprofen before the next gig starts and a well placed band-aid or two, then do it all over again...showtime!
    LBS-bass likes this.
  13. lurk


    Dec 2, 2009
    You might be repulsed by this, but if not, urinate on them and let it dry. Not kidding. A Google search will confirm this as an old remedy for laborers etc with blisters. I learned it from a conga player from Panama. Unless you've got an infection, urine is sterile.
  14. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    Urine is NOT sterile. It has a lot fewer bacteria than other bodily excretions, but it is NOT sterile.

    I still think that eliminating the cause of blisters is the best choice; blisters are caused by friction, so why not just reduce the friction?

    As I noted above, I do not have any issues with blisters no matter how long I play.
    dhergert likes this.
  15. Sambo


    May 27, 2005
    "... advice for avoiding and treating sore fingers and blisters?"
    turf3 shows us how to avoid and Studiodawg shows us how to treat blisters.
  16. Fat bob

    Fat bob Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2013
  17. Acoop


    Feb 21, 2012
    What, no blood? Was there a drummer involved? If the drummer likes Buddy Rich replace him, he probably plays louder than the band. Then I’m guessing you’ll have to start addressing you strings, your pickup and your amp. If you’re using strings that are good for bowing, stop they’re too tight for Piz and cause blisters. If you have pain in your shoulder, arm or hand, you’re playing too hard and need to address your sound.
  18. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ Emeritus (Certified Gear Junkie) Retired??? Supporting Member

  19. Jared Houseman

    Jared Houseman

    Jul 5, 2018
    Cloth medical tape always worked wonders for me. Just wrap a bit around your finger and your good to go. (Plus it will reduce the mess if you start to bleed)
  20. anightintunisia

    anightintunisia Supporting Member

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