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bleeding fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by wotnwhy, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. i've been working on my improv and slapping recently, and yesterday, it all clicked, i understood everything, and i could play what i wanted with good technique.

    so as you can guess i haven't stoped playing, and thats where the problem is,

    every now and then when i go to pop a string my nail will rub along the sting above the one i'm popping and then the skin will catch on it, causing the skin to break and bleed. it also tends to happen when i get really "energetic" at gigs.

    the result is a very messy bass and strings, and also very messed up fingers, to the point where i can't play for a few days, which is very frustrating.

    so, anyone got any tips? cos i don't know how much longer i can put up with this...


  2. bump

    please help, surly someone else has thins problem too


  3. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Obviously, at least one of the following factors has to change;

    1. Your technique
    2. Your bass

    If you seriously tried out a bass with wider spacing without spilling any blood, the solution is obvious.

    As someone with longer than normal fingers, I know one of the first things I had to set a goal for slapping was to get the slop out of my technique. And that meant it all started with my wrist, not my fingers.

    Like most things, the solution may be a bit of both - wider spacing and better technique.

    For the meantime, all I can suggest is to apply coats of a super glue to the area that normally breaks. I know hard-thumping upright bassists who use it regularly to keep their skin from breaking. I imagine using flatwound strings isn't an option.

    Personally, I think a bloodied-up bass must be a real crowd pleaser, (now THAT's "stage presence!!!") .
  4. my bass is a 5-string and its has the widest spacing that i have seen on a 5 (it's as wide, sometimes wider than most 4s), so thats not a problem

    but what i'm asking for isn't how to prevent it, 'cos i know i can't. if i play steadily for half an hour, i'll only catch my finger once or twice during a lapse of concentration or just when i slip up, and thats all it takes,

    i'll give the superglue thing a try though, but what i was really hoping for was some sort of ring style protector (something like a Slap Ring for fingers or a thimble style thing), u know of anything?


  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I've never heard of a product that would help you the way you want it to, and I doubt there will ever be one, because whatever you use to guard the skin above your nail would wrap around to the front part of your finger, which would hinder your popping.

    I've had occasional problems with bleeding in the same spot (very narrow spacing on a couple of my basses). Trim the loose hangnaily skin off your fingers so they don't get caught, and eventually you'll build a bit of a calloused area at the base of your nail as well. But being careful with my technique is the best way I avoid having it happen again.

    I think the problem you really have is that you are unwilling/don't believe that your technique can be altered to aid you in your problem. Unless you have gigantic hands, and I'm talkin' Andre the Giant-sized hands, then you shouldn't have a problem not bleeding if your string spacing isn't that narrow. Think of all the guys who play 6, 7, and 8-string basses. The spacing tends to get more narrow as the numbers of strings increase, and I've never seen Alain Caron or Oteil Burbridge covering their six-strings in blood. They aren't using "Super No-Bleed Slap Protectors" either. They have just gotten their technique down so it doesn't happen on a regular basis, if at all.
  6. Slapping is not a technique I use ... I wished I could but have never put the time into practicing it.

    Anyway, it's just an idea, but as a temporary measure until you've hardened up the right bits, how about using tape? My plucking fingers have bled before when we've had a couple of long gigs on consecutive nights and my fingers weren't used to it. It didn't feel great, but it got me through when I taped them up. I also tried to turn up the volume and play a little more lightly.
  7. RyKnoz


    Dec 22, 2001
    I think it's your technique. I never had any problems in that area. I've bleed in other areas, but thats after playing for a long time in one sitting.
  8. i'm not denying (sp?) that my technique could be inproved, it's far from perfect, but even if i improve my technique a LOT i can still see myself ocationly catching my finger whilst bouncing around at a gig or something, and i have very soft skin in that area which is why it bleeds.

    but i'll give all your suggestions a try while i try to harden the skin and see what happens

    thanks for all the tips


  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I guess that's what your strings would say to you too, Tom.
  10. You gotta tough it out man, eventually after bleeding several times your fingers heal stronger and become more tolerant.

    You gotta take the pain! Look at it this way.......it makes for some great stage faces! :D

    "Look at that guy! oh my god!"

    The same thing happened to me with my fingering technique. I have a weird struming type thing going on and I play in a fast death metal band. Know I can go for hours on end and not make my bass a mess.

    You may want to take a look at your bass as well. I think that was a good suggestion. Try maybe a slightly lighter gauge but only slight........like .05 lighter..........

    best of luck
  11. :confused: ...................:eek:



  12. ZZMorgan


    Sep 6, 2002
    Los Angeles
    When I was first learing to play electric and upright, my fingers would bleed a lot.

    My grandfather taught me a technique that had been shown to him when he apprenticed as a blacksmith. That was to soak the hands in hot salt water.

    It is hard on the hands as they really dry out, but it worked for me. That was in '71 and I have never had any problems with bleeding since then.

    Might be worth a try.

  13. punkfunkfreak


    Dec 16, 2001
    the new technique is simply putting more strain on your fingers than you are used to.

    I dont think u need to change your technique *apart from just being careful*.
    The skin will harden with time. And then you wont have a problem.

    *Rimshot* bu-dum...pah!

  14. hey. Well my fingers have never bleed slapping but they bleed when i was learning fear of the dark my maiden and i just wrapped my fingers in that really strong brown plasters.

    And. My mum used to dip her fingers in sergical (sp?) spirts which hardens them. She plays clasical guitar though so i dont know if that would help
  15. I once had that bleeding fingers problem.. but It wasn't caused completely because of slapping. I had a skin infection and the skin on my hands was very dry and weak. I used to bleed over the nail on my right middle finger.

    What I did was to put epoxic (spelling?:( ) glue on the hurt as soon as it had healed, so that it wouldn't open again. A friend of mine said its very dangerous cause its toxic, but it didn't hurt me any more..

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