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Dealing with blisters

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by J Vlaming, Nov 6, 2003.


  1. I just got my first double bass (An Eberle plywood) and had my fist jazz quarter practice with it last night. Now I am nursing a nasty blister on my index finger. A classical guitar friend told me to pop it (I haven't yet), but I am not sure if that would the best way to promote callus (sp?) development.

    I want be able to practice before the next rehearsal but don't want to screw-up my finger worse than it is. Any suggestions? Thanks!
     
  2. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    i recently had a pair of nice blisters on my first and second fingers. this is common for folks new to the bass (with sufficient enthusiasm/time devoted) or folks that play inconsistently.

    the way i deal with it is to leave them alone, except to keep playing on them. i find it really tempting to fool around with them, but that encourages popping, which can lead to infection. on the other hand, if you keep playing the bass (blisters and all) callouses will begin to form underneath them in the time it takes them to wear out and the dead skin to eventually come off.

    note 1: this might hurt. do it anyway! it is the most reliable way i know to develop callouses (from blisters you already have), which will keep the problem from returning.

    note 2: everybody's skin chemistry is a little different, so ymmv.

    best,
    sean p
     
  3. Perplexer

    Perplexer

    Sep 2, 2003
    keep your hands away from water as much as possible...

    as a new upright player, and a cook, I know that it is detrimental to callous development to be keeping your hands in water.

    I found a lot of good information here, searching for blisters.
     
  4. I've found the best thing to do is to lance it at the very edge, as cleanly as possible with a sterile needle. (a very small guage hypodermic needle is perfect, if you can get one.) Then clean it with some sort of antiseptic (I like tea treee oil), keep it clean, and play on it as soon as you can. If you realieve the fluid and continue to use it without tearing it, the skin will reattatch itself and go on to create a nice callous. Just be careful not to play so much tou rip it open, because then you'll be right back at square one with a really sore finger. :bawl:

    edit: and don't put a bandaid or anything on it, or any ointment. You want to keep the skin as dry as possible. If you do this, it will be fully functional in a few days.
     
  5. Also, if you lance it on the side of the blister which crosses the string last, not first, you may increase the length of time that the portion of skin over the blister remains. Eventually, though, it will have to come off. (At least that has been my experience.) You will then be left with tender, pink "new" skin. You must toughen this new skin gradually, by not playing too long or hard at first, but do play on it regularly. Little by little you increase the length of time and force with which you play, and a callous will develop.
     
  6. Josh McNutt

    Josh McNutt Guest

    Mar 10, 2003
    Denton, Texas (UNT)
    I used to just keep playing on my blisters, but recently I got one and did this and got a hematoma in my middle finger, i.e. a blood vessel burst. This has taken a week to heal now and it has hurt the whole time, so BE CAREFUL!
     
  7. BassMan2000

    BassMan2000

    Sep 27, 2000
    Canada
    I've encoutered this problem, my solution was just to leave them be. I played over them myself and my personal practice contains 3-4 hours a day, of course it changes from time to time depending on concerts/rehersals etc.


    What I would do is just practice more bowing until the fingers heal. Do all the stuff you do but instead of jazz or classical piz, use your bow.
     
  8. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    My formula is simple: blister develops, practice bowing or piano the next day until it heals - and leave the blister alone (no benzoin, etc). Also, be careful with the water. I wear gloves when I wash dishes.

    And.....play often...if you take a long break from playing, they soften up..
     
  9. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    NYC
    My formula is simple: blister develops, practice bowing or piano the next day until it heals - and leave the blister alone (no benzoin, etc). Also, be careful with the water. I wear gloves when I wash dishes.

    And.....play often...if you take a long break from playing, they soften up..
     
  10. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    I noticed not alot of people talked about hanging on to their blisters in the other threads. I just had one and my results are interesting.

    I hung on to the blister developed on my middle finger while jamming with friends. Blister bubbled up and had pressure... about half the size of a dime. I laid off of the middle finger (and worked on walking with my index) for two days. Felt less irritated every day. On the third day it turned kinda whiteish and didn't hurt or feel irritated. It stopped being puffy and is starting to toughen. I played for at least an hour on the third day with it and everything is hunky dory.
    I still have it now but imagine that a callous will develop soon, or at least hope so.

    Maybe this is an alternative to popping it. Just thought I'd offer an alternative experience.