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Blood Blisters!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Hickory420, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. Ok... I have been :bassist: playing bass for about 9 or 10 years now and I have always used .45 gauge roundwound strings; just recently changed to .50 because I was breaking way too many strings. now the .50's are holding strong and true.

    When I was first learning how to play, I got blood blisters left and right (fingers)... after a while I stopped getting them as often. now they're back!!! Several times already I have had blood blisters on top of blood blisters!!! recently I have been getting one blister not op of one other one. and more often than not I will get a blister on top of a blister on top of a blister! Yes 3 in 1. This is irritating the crap out of me since I play a lot and i don't really like using the pick. and it really suck because I give my finger time to heal, play and it comes back. Sometimes I will pop the blister straight away, but then it comes back!

    :confused: How do I stop getting blood blisters? :confused:
    Thanx in advance,
  2. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Get some Vitamin E oil and a pumice stone. Apply oil liberally to the fingertips and the pumice stone and rub away. After a couple days of doing this for about 10 minutes or so, your blood blisters will be gone. Then you can use the pumice stone dry, using light pressure only, to build up your callouses. That's the method I've used in the past, and it worked for me. Good luck, blood blisters suck!
  3. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Ah... just play through it!

    Seriously though, it seems weird that changing the guage of your strings on an EB would cause so much havoc!

    I had the same problem you describe when I was trying to learn to play DB in college - but that was DB! I would just tape 'em up with white medical tape and play until they went numb.

    Good luck with finding a solution to your problem!
  4. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    What I've done since they happened under my callouses is to using a real fine needle and punch a smallest possible hole to drain the liquid out. That left the skin so it wasn't as painful to play. It took a long time to heal, but the skin eventually wore off, but skin underneight was healed and didn't blister like the skin before. The hardest part was resisting the temptation to just rip off the loose skin after draining the blister.
  5. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    You're doing it wrong! :p

    Playing the bass shouldn't hurt. I think you need to lighten up your touch. Then you can probably go back to lighter strings too :)
    ii7-V7 likes this.
  6. Yeah, I try to play lightly and turn up the volume just a bit, but I don't get the same *umph* as I do when I play harder with a slightly less volume. I like playing harder because it gets me rockin'!

    I had a blood blister form 2 weeks ago, I let it sit, didn't pop it. the blister went from a big bump to a small bubble and it stayed like that for a while. so I did pop it and let what little liquid there was, drain out. I was able to play straight away no pain.
    I went to rehearsal for 3 hours yesterday...only yesterday, and by the end of rehersal, there was another full fledge Big Blob Blood Blister!!!:crying:
    ...so i pop it about 20 minutes ago and took the skin off... oops...:rollno:

    now I have a good hole about 1mm deep (or so)... very tender...:bawl:
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Blood blisters mean you're really good!
  8. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
    I have used a method like this one above before and it seems to work.

    I have in the past used a little super glue on a tender part of the finger or blister. Do not use another finger to spread the glue, you could stick you fingers together, use a Q-tip. Using the Super Glue method will change the feel of the string on your finger, but after a few minutes you get used to it.
  9. I have heard of that method before, but I have been a bit hesitant to try it as I don't know what to expect. I heard Flea from the Chili Peppers puts super glue on his fingers and the inside of his thumb to toughen it up a bit. Does it really help prevent blisters, and would I have to do that before I play every time?
    Thanx. I like to think so too :p
  10. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
    I do not use super glue everytime I play, only if I have suffered a blister or a real tender spot on a finger. I have also used it when I had a paper cut on my finger. It will put a hard coating on your finger which will wear off after a couple of days, but it does feel a little different. It feels similiar to how the dead skin that is left after a blister pops. It is not real sensitive to touch.
  11. fhbandy


    May 22, 2007
    Boston, MA
    i play out every night, which really dampens the possibility of letting popped blisters heal. superglue + medical tape do the trick alright.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    I agree. Lighten up on your touch and let the amp do the work. If the strings are causing problems, change back to the next lighter gauge string.

    Or simply learn to tape your fingertips. Upright bass players do it all the time - I did it when I playd URB, and wouldn't hesitate to do so now if needed. Good old Johnson & Johnson waterproof adhesive tape is every bass player's friend. Been using it as needed for 30+ years.

    Here's a post I submitted yesterday about how to tape your fingertips.
  13. ariwax

    ariwax Insonating the acoustic window

    Apr 3, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm a doctor, and what I did recently for a friend of mine with that problem is first, to WAIT a few days to let the base of the blister get epithelialized (so it's not just raw tissue under there, but develops a layer of regenerating skin underlying the blood). Then, after a few days have gone by, clean the finger with alcohol or chlorhexidine, then use a sterile needle (preferably but not necessarily with syringe), punch in through the skin of the fingertip at a point a few millimeters away from the margins of the blister, and advance the needle to the middle of the collection of blood. Then, aspirate from the syringe, or just pull the needle out and apply pressure. There should be a spurt of blood under pressure. Then clean the puncture site with some more alcohol, slap a bandaid on there overnight, and you can play on it in a day or so. This method typically leads to stronger, thicker calluses in my experience, but as always, YMMV.
  14. I play pretty hard and have never had a bilster

    but then again I dont play non-stop for more than 20min.
  15. BassBitch


    Jun 13, 2007
    i have been playing double bass now for nearly 3 years, and i constantly get blisters. i think its because i have girl hands, but they never seem to harden up.

    i have tried EVERYTHING!!. tape, glue, superglue, liquid plasters, turning my amp right up. i dont know what to do.

    the skin falls off then i end up with big craters in my fingers that go really hard but then just blister again!

    i play slap bass for a rock and roll band, and i only play nylon strings ...so whats going on!!!

    when i tape up my fingers i find the glue gets to the strings and makes them sticky.

    is it true that rubbing your hands in stone and sand will toughen them up??

    im so fed up!!!!

    one big blood blister
  16. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer
    I saw a girl playing double bass one time and noticed she had a white dress glove on her fretting hand. I guess maybe she was experiencing the same problem and the glove cut down on friction.

    With nylon strings, there is actually more surface tension then you experience with round wounds or flats which does create more friction believe it or not (engineers correct me if I am wrong here). With flats and rounds you have a surface tension relief in the small space between each wrap. With full nylon strings the fiber runs north to south which does not provide as much relief. If you have a tendency to slide into each note then that adds to the wear and tear on your fingers.
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Then you're making one of two mistakes in taping (both of which I had to make before learning how to correct them): you're either using the wrong kind of tape or winding the tape in the wrong direction. My bet is that you're using the wrong kind of tape, because the problem with winding in the wrong direction becomes obvious after a few minutes of playing.

    Check my thread on the topic, noting the recommended tape brand and the direction of winding: How to tape your fingertips

    This worked great for me when playing upright on multi-hour dance jobs. No adhesive should come off the tape.
  18. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    I didn't start getting those until I started learning how to play Double Bass. I didn't do anything to treat it, I just didn't use the blistered finger for a whole week while it healed. Probably the worst thing to do with a blister is to pop it too early, you have to let it break on it's own. I think it's about time you worked on your picking.

    I did completely gross out the drummer I was playing with at the time of the blood blister forming. Heh, luckily he still plays with me.
  19. I'll have to try the glue technique, I've tried a few different tapes and things, but hadn't thought of superglue for some reason, even though thats essentially what it was invented for. One technique I've started to get used to after playing pretty much all the time is to use all four fingers equally, I'm forever getting blisters on my index finger on my right hand (i play righty) and I play a lot of disco lines, and running 16th note lines and T.O.P. kinda stuff, so I've learnt to play with all my fingers so if I get a blister I can let that finger take a break and play wit the others. It gets a bit interesting when you've got more more than one finger out of action, expecially if your having to play with your pinky and ring finger, it's a bit more difficult then. Always a good technique to learn though.
  20. BassBitch


    Jun 13, 2007
    iv looked high and low for that johnson and johnson tape and cant find it anywhere.

    however thanks for the correct taping procedure.....that definatly helps.

    haha did a gig last night and one of the blisters burst while i was playing. i went for a run up the G and slid off in my blood.


    i then played the rest of the set with my little finger, as i have now run out of fingers that arent blistered.

    the thing is too, we gig almost every other couple of days, so my fingers never get a proper chance to heal. maybe i should take a break, let them get back to normal, then start taping them good and proper.