Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bryndog, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. HI,
    I have been playing for abut 10 years and something that has always happened to me no matter how much I play are blisters. Recently i have been away for a week and not played, and have had to come back and play a rehaersal and 3 shows in a row one niight after each other. I love this, but after playing the rehearsal, my fingers blister up on both my fretting hand and the playing hand. I therefore have to pop and play through the blisters at the following shows.

    I know there is now way of getting round having blisters but is there anyway to make it easier and whats the best thing to do if you blister up whilst on tour?
    Is there any old wives remedies that can toughen your fingers up?

  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually there IS a way around blisters. Don't take a week off. If you do that, no wonder you get blisters! I try to play every single day for that reason.

    But if you get them, there's really not a whole lot you can do. I've heard of people using NuSkin on them, but that's only good for popped blisters, and it wears off quick and stings when you first put it on. You could wear a BandAid or sports tape, but it might cause drag on the string.

    But your best is to play for at least a half hour every day and don't go more than a couple days without playing.
  3. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    In my experience, the times when I've suffered from blisters have been when I've been playing too hard. To get past that, you've either got to play hard a lot or learn to disassociate the energy of the performance from the amount of physical effort you put into your playing.

    It could also be that you're more susceptible to blisters than most people (do you get them in other situations apart from playing?). In that case, you'll have to adapt your playing techniques (a lighter touch and maybe experimenting with a plectrum). That's only a guess but I know that I've got relatively brittle fingernails when they get past a certain length, so I just keep them short on both hands rather than trying to explore the tones I can get from longer right hand nails - I'm content to play to my strengths rather than getting hung up on my weaknesses.

  4. Classical_Thump


    Jan 26, 2005
    I've always wondered about blisters and touring bassits. I have decent calluses so I can play a few housr without blistering up but I imagine if I was playing 2 or 3 hours a night for a few weeks I would have horrible blisters. Are thjey just so callused that they can play nonstop without any blistering?
  5. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    take a pin, pop a little hole, drain, dip in alchohol and bandage. Then keep on playing ;) just give it a few weeks to rip the skin off
  6. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I got a blood blister on the RH ring finger the other night. I was playing unsually hard though. I was a good gig.
  7. This may sound funny, but you can stick your blistered finger in pickle juice. It appears that it has worked (remedied) for many Major League Pitchers.

    Just google blister and pickle juice
  8. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    It's a few days after the blister formed, and it's starting to harden up into a calus! Perhaps there is some mad logic to playing until blisters form??
  9. Classical_Thump


    Jan 26, 2005
    I have a pretty big audiition coming up on Tuesday (its now sunday) and I have two overlapping blisters on my picking hand. I am planning on just practicing with a pick or practicing very lightly, however that is not as effective ias practicing normally. Should I practice lightly, completely stop practicing and try to heal, or practice normally and hope the blisters pop?
  10. Here's a soldier's trick, pickup 5 ozs of "Tincture of Benzione". ( Maybe Benzene? Ask the pharamcist tell him the application and you WILL have to ask a pharamcist for this stuff). Apply to the blister with Qtip. Go ahead and bite a bullet, it'll sting like the dickens, seals the blister immediately and callous it over in short order.( 24 hrs)

    I have NEVER tried this playing bass. The stuff is sticky until dry. It might indeed gum up the strings. Used by professional adventurers!

    Try it. Think it'll work fine for you.

    "Trust me. I'm from the government and here to help." :ninja:

    Dont "fret", I am fully retired from mil service.
  11. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    I just let my one heal, and I didn't pop it. Mine took about 2-3 days before it started harding up. also, I kept playing on it as normal, but just striking the strings lightly.
  12. BadB


    May 25, 2005
    Glendale, AZ
    You might try a coated string such as Elixer, etc. They are easier on the fingers. Smooth like a flatwound. Well, almost.
  13. Oh, cut the blistered skin off exposing the "fresh" skin below and then apply the tincture. That's why it stings like hell, even water stings on fresh skin. Nevertheless, a few moments of pain is well worth the ability to get back into action.

    Checked the medicine cabiniet, it is TINCTURE OF BENZOIN and you only need 1-2 ozs. 5 ozs will keep a small platoon on continuous patrols.

    Try it,stuffs cheap. Works mint.,
  14. just coat your finger tips in super glue and dont touch anything for a few minutes. although it may junk up your strings you will still be able to play
  15. I have this problem from time to time, last weekend I ripped up my index finger just about down to the dermis. It hurt like hell. I've had permenant blood blisters under my callous' forever. I play gig's every weekend and I HATE using a pick. I can't hang onto the damn thing after half a set (sweat) and I get hand cramps.
    I probably dig in too hard but that's how I like it.

    Has anyone tried applying a silicone spray to their fingers to decrease the friction? or a talc of some sort? I may experiment with this.

    Where can one find this Nu-Skin?

    I've thought about trying to make a "glove" of sorts similar to what archers use. They use a device that covers their ring and index fingers with leather and is held in place on their wrist with connecting leather strips. If the tension was right it might just work.... probably would grip and drag though.
  16. AGCurry


    Jun 29, 2005
    Kansas City

    The only time I've ever had blisters was from playing UPRIGHT bass too hard and long when my fingers were out of shape.

    IMO blistering from playing bass guitar means you are simply playing too damned hard.

    It's not supposed to hurt, folks.
  17. ii7-V7


    Aug 4, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I agree.....though I still end up doing it anyway. I could play everyday but when I practice I just don't get as excited as when I play out, especially when I play with a drummer. When I play with a band I get siked and over play! Then I end up with blisters. I do find that the more I play out the tougher my fingers get, and I'm less likely to overplay. Its usually when I haven't played out for a while that I tend to over do it.
  18. This may sound dumb but you know what I did to stop getting blisters?? I got a bigger amp. I was playing with a big band and the amp I had just wasnt cutting it (I'm talking double bass, but applies to both). I had to pluck WAY harder than needed to get the volume I wanted.

    So, I bought a bigger amp and havent had any blister since.

    Sorry, I dont have any "medical" therapies to keep someone from getting blisters. I will say though I've always been told to not pop blisters because they'll get infected. Well, I left the blister for about a week and it still didnt go down. So I said screw it, I'm going to drain it. I did so and made sure it was as dry as possible. It healed up in probably a day and a half and was ready to play in then.
  19. Hey guys. Instead of making a whole new thread about blisters, I decided to just post in an existing one..

    Anyway, I had a band practice Friday night, and I decided to warm up before practice, and got distracted and played a bunch of tunes before heading out to practice. My LH index and middle fingers (fretting hand) were started to get a bit sore. I thought nothing of, and went to practice. After about 30 minutes of playing, it hurt so much to play anything with those fingers. I toughed it up, and went through practice with it that way.

    What I'm wondering is, should I use tape on my fingers when it gets like that. There were no blisters, my fingers just felt beat up. They were really red on the tip with a white line where the string usually is. lol. I used some drum tape, but that fell off pretty quickly. It didn't really hurt much when I had that on. What do you guys suggest? Thanks!
  20. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    +1 on the bigger amp. When I know that my fingertips have really been beat up (like coming off of 12+ hours of playing over 2 or 3 days), I'll crank my amp way louder than I usually do. That way I can just touch the strings and still punch through the band. Since I don't do this a lot, I do almost always hit at least one note WAY too hard. I guess a compressor or limiter could really help here, and would help to keep sound levels consistent, regardless of how loud your playing becomes.

    My progression:

    My RH index is my main plucking finger. If I get a blister on my fingertip, I'll switch to middle finger. If that blisters, I'll roll my index finger to the side, upright style, and pluck between 1st and 2nd knuckle. In the rare eventuality that I get a blister THERE (by then, I've usually cranked my amp), I'll switch to a pick, although I'm not as agile with a pick (but I am faster for repeated 8th notes).

    My LH index finger blisters occasionally on the tip. I'll just rotate the finger as necessary. I like to slide to notes a lot on bass, so my LH ring and middle fingers occasionally blister. In those cases, I simply stop sliding to pitch.

    I just let my blisters heal normally. Usually by the time I blister a second spot, my first spot is ok again.