Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by BenBL, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. BenBL


    Jun 25, 2012
    I've been playing for close to three years now and i haven't really developed the types of calluses that my friends who play guitar have. I play my bass almost everyday yet only a few times have I really started to develop calluses on any of my fingers, such as when I've put on new strings or started to play on higher gauge strings, but they do not stay for longer than a few days. The fact that I have not developed them does not seem to hinder my playing at all, I'm just wondering if this is a problem with my technique or do I just have really tough skin?

    Oh, and I'm using round wound strings, not flat wounds.
  2. phii


    Dec 20, 2012
    Hanoi, Vietnam
    In my opinion, bassists don't develop serious calluses like guitarists do. There would be some calluses after a long playing process, but not as visible as guitarist's.

    Bass strings are really thick, contrary to the thin and sharp guitar strings. Try bending the high E string on a guitar then you'll understand ;)
  3. Sni77


    Aug 23, 2012
    Vienna, Austria
    Same, my calluses aren't that pronounced and thick, but they are there. Play some banjo or mandolin, that should take care of it :cool:
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

    Then don't worry about it. :)

    Your body only creates calluses when needed. :eek:
  5. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I do have bass callouses, but they are different than my guitar callouses. More off of the tip under the pad and a bit off-center toward the heel of my hand. They are most pronounced on my first and pinky fingers because I play 124 a lot. My second finger oddly seems to hav no bass callous, but I use it all the time. If you have a nice light touch you may never see any callouses at all. I have no callouses on my plucking fingers, but I use a little fingernail and just a little of the meat of my fingers. Kinda like I don't have callouses from fingerpicking guitar either.

    The main thing---don't worry about it.
  6. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    I as beginning to wonder if I was unique for not having any callouses at all, as the vast majority of players seem to have them. :D

    I do play with a light touch.
  7. play upright. you will get calluses.
  8. I've played guitar my entire adult life, and I never had calluses. However, the skin on the left hand fingertips are definitely thicker than on my right hand fingertips, and since I switched to bass I now have calluses on my index and middle fingers, on the side opposite my thumb. My ring and pinky don't have calluses, despite the fact that I use them, although not nearly as much as my other two fingers.
  9. bassdude51

    bassdude51 Supporting Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    Central Ohio
    A guitarist uses the tippy tip of the fingers for chords and notes and thus makes and needs calluses.

    An electric bassist normally lays the whole finger print area over the strings for noting. Thus, we don't usually develop calluses.

    Ain't nothing wrong with your fingers, BenBL.

    Actually, a bassist with calluses is the "rare bird".
  10. I'm another one who plays both, so I have noticed a difference myself. I have the typical guitar calluses on all four finger tips. Those tiny little guitar strings really can bite, compared to bass strings.

    Due to the longer scale and wider fret spacing, I tend to land on bass strings in a different spot on my fingers, a bit off the tip. And those spots have built no calluses.

    Calluses are a defense, built by your body, and, as already stated, your body won't build them if there's no need.
  11. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I think the reason I have some callouses at all is due to pressing the strings down too hard sometimes. Plus, I play a lot.
  12. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    Yeah, I concur. My calluses are from playing guitar. They are on the tips, which I don't use as often on bass. And get really bad when I play lead on my 12 string acoustic!!

    I do get bass calluses though after a string of long gigs. Like pulling a Thursday, Friday, Saturday run. I'll get callus build up on my fret hand, and on my first two fingers on my fingering hand.

    A soft touch is the way to go for soooo many reasons.
  13. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    Been playing 30 years now, im touch heavy , i got callouses on both left and right hand, chicks dig em, but im married so that dont really matter.
  14. hotsauce n eggs

    hotsauce n eggs

    Jan 20, 2013
    I think a lot depends on playing style. If you use slides a lot, you are probably more likely to develop callouses. Also, having higher action on your bass can require a harsher attack(especially for slapping and popping) which would wear your picking fingers out more.