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Blisters and Calluses

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by bostich36, Mar 15, 2013.


  1. bostich36

    bostich36

    Feb 13, 2013
    Hello all I'm a new bass player (been playing for a few months) and I'm constantly getting blisters on my strumming fingers. For some reason I still have yet to develop calluses on my fingers. Does anyone know why this is. I would like to note that I still play with fully developed blisters on my fingers. Is this bad. Should I not play when my fingers are blisters? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    -Thanks
     
  2. That used to happen to me all the time when I started on bass.
    I just kept playing even though it hurt like hell. There were a few
    times I put band-aids on the tips of my fingers when I couldn't
    deal with the hurt. It got better and my fingers toughened up
    after awhile. I'm sure some will tell you to try flats.
     
  3. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Try starting with flatwounds, coated strings, or nickel-plated steels until your callouses get built up well. I can play stainless strings now with no problem, but I've been playing for about 8 years. Give it time, you'll be bulletproof on it before you know it!
     
  4. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Are you studying with a teacher who can help you learn safe and effective technique?

    Beginner players often put way too much physical force into playing the bass, it is actually not a very physically demanding instrument. Try turning up your amp louder and playing with a lighter touch.

    It's normal to get some blisters/calluses at first. As long as they are not bleeding or infected, it is nothing to worry about. I recommend to practice consistently rather than marathons, for example practice 30 minutes per day instead of 4 hours once a week. And of course, use the safe, comfortable, effortless, and pain-free technique you have learned from your teacher. ;)
     
  5. KEENE

    KEENE

    Mar 14, 2013
    Denver, CO
    Yeah, me too. Even after 20+ years of playing, I'll sometimes blister up if I go after it too hard. That's how the calluses develop, though. Just don't hurt yourself so bad you decide to stop playing!

    Superglue might help. . . I use it to stabilize a loose flap to keep it from tearing back further. Also, so of my playing techniques, like fingernail down strokes for chords, cause the end of my index fingernail to peel back a little bit. That hurts, too. I superglue it down and it's all better. What do other bassist think about superglue? I don't profess to be an authority on this.

    Here's a tip I learned from an awesome old bass guitar blog from to early 2000s called bunnybass .com (now defunct, it appears.): Nose oil. Your natural (if you have it, I know I sure do) oil coming out of the pores of your oily stinkin' nose makes a great finger lubricant. Just rub your plucking fingers across your nose (not in, the outside) and you'll be able to go a little longer before your skin starts to tear off.

    But mainly, it'll just get batter with time.
     
  6. KEENE

    KEENE

    Mar 14, 2013
    Denver, CO
    +1 to that! That's the main reason I ever find myself blistering up anymore these days: I just have to tell the rest of the band to take it easy. Interestingly, even if I can hear the notes I'm playing and I know that they're loud enough, if they don't sound loud enough to me, I can't stop from digging in too hard, blistering and cramping.
     
  7. alfoders

    alfoders

    Nov 14, 2012
    Orlando, FL
    There is a product called "New-Skin Liquid Bandage" (Google it). It is super glue with an antiseptic. Apply it to the sore spots, let it dry, and keep practicing!
     
  8. sevdog

    sevdog

    Mar 2, 2008
    ATX
    You'll be fine, just fight through.

    You'll never build up the calluses if you back off so I don't recommend this....


    Unless you want it to take 8 years to build up calluses.
     
  9. bostich36

    bostich36

    Feb 13, 2013
     
  10. bostich36

    bostich36

    Feb 13, 2013
    Superglue might help. . . I use it to stabilize a loose flap to keep it from tearing back further. Also, so of my playing techniques, like fingernail down strokes for chords, cause the end of my index fingernail to peel back a little bit. That hurts, too. I superglue it down and it's all better. What do other bassist think about superglue? I don't profess to be an authority on this.


    I've heard about the superglue idea before and I plan on trying it soon. I've tried the fingernail technique. I really messed up my nail doing it, but I think I'll try it again. Thanks for all the advice!!
     
  11. Dredmahawkus

    Dredmahawkus

    Nov 4, 2012
    Boston
    I usually play an hour a day....yesterday I played like 6 hours and got blisters on my calluses!
     
  12. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    I got some blister when I worked on slap otherwise nah, never had a blister even during the time I played like 6h each day. The idea is to gradually play for a longer time and also I don't get how some people got so much blister and have super hard calouses, my skin is kind of thicker but that's about it. Maybe it is a technic thing.
     
  13. heynorm

    heynorm

    Oct 21, 2010
    Omaha, NE
    If you don't have a teacher, ask a bass player you know, or someone you've seen and heard and introduce yourself and ask.
     

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