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Avoid developing calluses when playing bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by DrkOn, May 10, 2011.

  1. DrkOn


    Feb 2, 2011
    I have been planing on getting a bass. I have never owned one, and, to be honest, I am a little worried. You see, due to the nature of what I do, I cannot allow myself to grow calluses, so I was wondering if there is a way I can avoid them. I know calluses are caused by friction, and a good way to prevent them is by wearing gloves, but wouldn't that affect my bass playing? Any recommendation you have would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Now that's an interesting question. I know some bass players wear gloves or wrap tpe around the fingers of their plucking hand. I guess you could do that for both hands? Or you could play with a pick and tape up the fingering hand?
  3. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I've been playing for over 20 years...and have no calluses. If you do, you're probably playing too hard.
  4. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    I have been playing for 20+ years and have never developed calluses. I lotion daily but I also have a very light touch.
  5. fourstringburn


    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    I'm no expert on this but I thought you had to give up some skin to get some tone.

    Bass players shouldn't get the same type of callouses like guitar players because those small guitar strings literally cut into your finger tips. I can't imagine everybody in the beginning practicing their bass didn't have sore finger tips at first. Then over time your finger tips harden up some and the soreness fades. Wouldn't these be callouses even though your finger tips look reasonably healthy
  6. Doubtful, it's a pretty natural thing to develop calluses playing bass. They don't have to super thick layers of skin but I know more bass players with them than without them, many with a far lighter touch than I.
    viper4000 likes this.
  7. cg123


    Aug 10, 2010
    When I switched to flatwounds for two months, my calluses disappeared entirely. I generally play with a gentle touch anyway, but if you absolutely can't have any calluses I would try lightly tickling some flats.
  8. Need2KnowBasses


    Aug 30, 2010
    I think using a pick will be your best option. If you don't like the tone of a standard pick try Wedgie rubber picks. To me the tone I get from a rubber pick is almost like a perfect medium between a normal pick and using my fingers.
  9. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007
    no calluses for me after a year of playing bass

    it only happens when you are starting, stop too soon, and then start again. if you play regularly, it won't appear anymore, at least in my experience
  10. Pick, flatwound strings, and a light touch = no callouses.
    Also, don't play too long at one sitting or every day, to give your fingertips a rest and a chance to stay "normal".
  11. vivifiction


    Jan 22, 2011
    Use flatwound strings. they are considerably less rough on your fingertips
  12. cataract

    cataract Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    I'm kinda curious- why can't you have any calluses?
  13. Aspidites


    Oct 20, 2009
    Berkeley CA
    Possibly a massage therapist.
  14. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    Simple solution: Don't play.

    But why???????

    Do you have any idea what bass callouses can do to a G-spot?????
    Remyd likes this.
  15. mdogs

    mdogs Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Constant state of flux
    Just when you think you have heard everything...no callouses = no playing!!!!
  16. TwinBass


    Oct 5, 2007
    Spokane, WA
    What he said.
  17. wave rider

    wave rider

    Jan 5, 2005
    Safe cracker?

    I've got a little bit of callus on the "hook" plucking finger and a touch on my left finger tips from fretting/fretlessing.

    Shovels, digging bars, picks (the real kind...), and other manual tools gave me "honest to goodness" calluses... I worked with a rancher in west New Mexico whose calluses were so thick that he could string barb wire fences without gloves.

    Basses are lightweights in the callus world.

  18. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    Could be a surgeon of some type. Maybe brain or neuro. They have to keep a soft touch.

    To the OP, use Palmolive to wash your dishes. Keeps the skin soft, it really does.
  19. fourstringburn


    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    Brilliant! :D:D:D
  20. Swin


    May 25, 2008
    Ibanez Freakazoid
    wrap your strings with this....


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