Callous=good player?

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by kawaeegirl, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Im an intermediate player and sometimes I get callouses but they go away after a while... It seems like all of the good players have extreme callouses? Do they help your playing? *they sound really painful....
  2. ArenW


    Jan 14, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    Actually it seems to be the exact opposite to me. I have met and shook the hands a lot of bass players and it seems like the best players usually have soft, well cared for hands. With good technique, and a properly set up instrument, you dont need to beat your hands to death to sound good.
  3. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    Callouses are not always evident but just about everyone gets them to some extent. Genetics plays a part, as does humidity, hand care, time of day, etc. If your callouses are huge gnarly peeling things, you may have a problem.

    Callous does not = good player. Nor does no callous at all.
  4. spacecanoe


    Aug 6, 2002
    :ninja: yea ive been playing electric for 18 years and ive never had really any callouses. though since ive switched to upright and the increased surface area on the flat strings as well as the action etc... ive noticed my fingers getting a lil leathery.. its a good thing so long as there not big knobs on your fingertips..another thing i noticed about the upright switch is my hand strength.. holy 1 week into it and i already can feel my hands getting waaaay stronger . i could crush a billiard ball now haha. :ninja:
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    At some point, it ceases being a callous, and it's just thick, tough skin, I think. I haven't really had anything resembling a "callous" in many, many years. Rufus Reid discusses it in "The Evolving Bassist" as I recall. Callouses are hard and create a hard sound, whereas tough, well-used fingertips may well have a more warm, organic sound.
  6. Here we go...Back in the old days, before the advent of amps, jazz players would get huge callouses especially on their right pluckers. People who play incorrect with flat fingers would get big balls on the finger tips.
  7. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Uh oh.

    I have this sort of perpetual knobby callous on my right pointy finger. It is like a bump right around the knuckle closest to my fingertip. It isn't rough, it's actually pretty smooth, it's just like a super-thick chunk of skin that sticks out visibly.

    Does that mean I'm playing incorrectly all these years?
  8. NO! That's known as the Ray Brown Perpetual Knobby Knuckle Callous. I, and all jazz bassists who watched alot of Ray Brown playing have it .I would go in record stores and look for pictures of him playing.
    It's from the other fingers that you have tucked up while playing with your index finger. It has kind of a bracing effect on your plucker. I remember building this one when I was in Junior High. The girls had never heard of the RBPKKC....can you imagine? They thought it was GROSS. Can you imagine that. I told Ray that story once. It cracked him up.
  9. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Or it could be just a wart.
  10. I have huge callouses on the outsides of my first and fourth left hand fingers. They are so large that my first finger now resembles my big toe. The middle two fingers are smooth and hard on the tips. My thumb has an ugly lump where it makes contact with the string in thumb position. I make every attempt to use proper Simandl hand position and I have always had these since about 3 Months after I started playing. I do nothing to them. If they peel, I pick off the part that hanging off. That's it. The body devolopes these as protection so why mess with them. Oh, I also have a weird ridge all the way from my right fingertip to the large knuckle from Jazz pizz.

  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Left hand callouses help give you a clear pitch. Right callouses give you a clear attack.
  12. Jon, since you live in Ca., it's no biggie, but here in Denver where it's very dry, I keep my callouses emery boarded down so I (as they say in skiing) don't catch an edge and have things start breaking down.
  13. Hi Paul

    Yes, I see your point. When the Santa Annas blow, mine get kind of flakey too, but I'm too lazy to mess with them. Sometimes big pieces of mine will spontaneously peel off, but I can always grow new ones.

  14. By catching an edge, I mean if you have a rough edge on a callous and it gets caught on a string, it can tear away, exposing that inside sensitive meat ( i'm getting excited ) where a new blister can start. Then you have a blister under a callous, and that can be real bad!!
    I've had to cancel more than one gig because of that.
    That's a good reason to keep them nice and smooth.
  15. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    There, there, man... calm down.

    After having this happen a couple of times, I started sanding and smoothing all of the calloused surfaces on both my hands with products that were originally intended for women's feet: Pedicure block, pumice stone, steroidal emory board, etc. I get some interesting looks when I go to purchase these items, but they work wonders. I also think that shaping the callouses - especially on the first two right hand plucking fingers - can have a really positive effect on the attack of the note. At this point, I almost always saw away at them on breaks of gigs until they feel right.

    ALFRED E. - I've got the same giant TP callous as you described...looks like someone surgically implanted a wax worm under the skin of the side of my thumb. When people notice it, they generally get kind of [​IMG]
  16. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
    someone should start a "show your callouses pictures" thread

    that would be fun!

    I have now an injury inside the callous of my bowing hand index finger(german bow) it kind of hurts, but i'm using a little sponge over the wood so i do the pressure into that, and then my finger can rest for some weeks. :hyper:
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    You have callouses from using the German bow? How'd you do dat?
  18. FractalUniverse

    FractalUniverse Guest

    Jan 26, 2002
    Valparaíso, Chile
    i'm not sure,
    i assume that maybe in a beggining i did too much pressure on the bow, i have been playing for only 7 or 8 months...
    the other factor i think that might help this is the fact that my hands are always cold(i mean they actually get more warm when i play, but they tend to be cold).... uhm.. not sure how it relates, but it gets suspicious to me... aside from that, i hope i recover soon from this, to play with a little sponge over the bow sucks. you get a bit distracted sometimes, and your teacher laughs at ya while he puts a funny face! :meh: :rollno: :crying:
  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Maybe playing without the sponge will get you using arm weight (instead of the death grip on the bow), and also letting to bow do the work it's supposed to? I find with German bow it's taken me a lot of training to lighten up on the thing and let it do its job. You have so much extra leverage with German that you have to learn to use the power sparingly to get a good tone, and also to avoid injury...
  20. When Don Thomson was with Shearing, he would come over to my house and hang. Nobody spends more time in the thumb positions than guys should see his left thumb. Holy ****!
    I said something about it once and he said: " I made a whole career outta playin' in the thumb position"
    Then he'd get up and play the piano.......