Bad Calluses

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hayden Busch, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. hayden Busch

    hayden Busch

    Oct 4, 2018
    Been playing bass for over 6 years now and never seemed to have an issue with bad calluses and blisters but now I do. Playing around 3 gigs a week and at least one practice session. My index finger and middle finger are getting torn up. Im getting huge bloody puss blisters on the ends of them, and i have to pop them all the time but then my fingers become raw and it hurts to play. I play pretty aggressively with my right hand and am doing a lot of slap. Any solutions as to how I can minimize these blisters? is there anything I can put on my fingers while I play to keep them from coming back?
  2. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Super glue will work on blisters. I ocassionally use a fingernail file on my calluses.
    hintz, Farseer, fhm555 and 1 other person like this.
  3. 1. Be able to hear yourself
    2. Lower action.
    All I have.
    Cheez, Max Bogosity and MattZilla like this.
  4. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    learn to use a pick/plectrum like Mike Gordon?
    Kipp Harrington likes this.
  5. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    You’re playing too hard because you can’t hear yourself. And that’s all there is to it.
    hintz, Rip Van Dan, MrLenny1 and 6 others like this.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    There is no such thing as "bad calluses". Calluses are wonderful. Once you build them up you never have painful fingertips again.

    You don't have calluses. You have blisters.

    Blisters (even on beginners' fingers) can only come from two things.

    Playing to MUCH or playing too HARD (or both, of course).

    Either you need to play less, or you need to lighten your touch by coming up with ways to hear yourself better.
    DrThumpenstein, Mpike, hintz and 8 others like this.
  7. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Consider nylon tapewounds. Lots of color from the string (roundwound sound), but some cool smoothness, and no calluses.
    redwingxix and Rip Van Dan like this.
  8. I would agree with the posts that suggest that you may be playing extra hard because you can't hear yourself. I used to have an amp that was way too weak for the job and I'd get blisters under my calluses. The worrisome part about your post is the "bloody puss" blisters. Is it actually pus? Pus would be thick and yellowish white (unlike most blisters which are just filled with clear liquid). If it's pus, then there's an infection, which is a totally separate (and worse) issue than not being able to hear yourself.
  9. OogieWaWa


    Mar 17, 2013
    Oak Harbor, OH
    Any chance you changed strings to something that isn't working well for you? New stainless strings can be a bit "grabby" at first, especially flats. Got a louder new drummer or guitar player you have to keep up with?
  10. Kukulkan61

    Kukulkan61 Inactive

    Feb 8, 2011
    Northern Arizona
    Your playing too hard, relax, breathe, listen and groove...
    Liam Wald, 10cc and interp like this.
  11. I play guitar and bass and I still have never had a callus or a blister. Lighten up your attack and let the amp do the work for you!
    bolophonic and interp like this.
  12. interp


    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    I’ve posted this before, but here goes:

    Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
    Doctor: Don’t do that.
  13. JoeWPgh


    Dec 21, 2012
    I play too hard, and it's a hard habit to break. Try lighter gauge strings and turn up 'too loud'. Use your touch to bring your volume back down.
    Loring likes this.
  14. Loring

    Loring Supporting Member

    May 4, 2017
    Turn your amp up
    Liam Wald likes this.
  15. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    Though this could work, it doesn’t address the root cause.
    Loring likes this.
  16. staurosjohn

    staurosjohn Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2010
    Nottingham, MD
    I had *this* happen, a few months ago, cause I had a bit of a lull in gigs... lost my callous! :(
    all better now! :thumbsup: :smug:

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018
    MattZilla, bobdabilder and jackn1202 like this.
  17. You need to lighten up your attack. You seem to be plucking way too hard.:rollno: A lighter touch will help tremendously. Let the amp do the work. Not your fingers.:D You can always replace an amp. Not so with your fingers.:crying: You might also want to try D'Addario light gauge chromes. They are smooth as silk on your fingers yet still bright enough to slap/pop.:laugh: Good luck.:thumbsup:
    MattZilla likes this.
  18. FugaziBomb


    Jun 5, 2017
    You're playing too hard. It happens to me, too. Sometimes I find a sweet tone by really digging in, but my fingers hate me the next day because of it. I should add that I have calouses where it counts, but it's no help if I'm really being aggressive.
    WhenTheDrumsStops and 4dog like this.
  19. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    I agree with those who say you are probably plucking too hard because you can't hear yourself. And I wonder if that's because when you slap (especially if you do that aggressively too) you have to turn down your amp and/or bass to avoid being too loud -- and then you're not loud enough when you switch to fingerstyle. If so, maybe a volume pedal would be helpful to make it easier for you to adjust your level on the fly when you switch between techniques.
  20. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Same here... 30 years of playing bass and working hard fabrication jobs and my fingertips are baby smooth. If only my face was aging so nicely!
    B-Lo and el_Bajo_Verde like this.

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