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fingers and what the bass does to them

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tallicabassist0, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. tallicabassist0


    Feb 16, 2005
    alright so im in a band now with a good friend of mine

    one practice my finger tips right where the nail ends, turned purple like a bruise as if it were pushing against the finger nail

    that happened twice

    yesterday i had practice and my fingers swelled up like bubbles, the middle finger broke open as i was playing at the end, and then i left the index as is for a day but decided to pop it with a safety pin cause it was annoying me

    is there any way to play with my fingers without getting these odd marks on my finger tips? ive been playing over 5 years and this hasnt really happened to me, maybe because i dont play as often as i used to but am going to start.

    does this happen for most finger pickers? i pluck hard ive been told but thats my style
  2. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Plucking hand? If so, yea, it's because you don't play as much, you're just reforming the callouses.
    Zodion likes this.
  3. Fetusyolk


    Aug 7, 2008
    wow, almost exclusively play with my fingers (along with slapping and popping) and have never rexperienced anything even close to that.

    Maybe you should give it some time before you really get into the grind of your normal heavy playing.
  4. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Not even when you first started? My fingers blistered up like crazy, it sucked.
  5. tallicabassist0


    Feb 16, 2005
    yea idk this hasnt happened b4, like the fingertips fill up with some fluid like right after i was done playing

    im gonna play everyday now and see if that is the reason--lack of work on the fingers--
  6. In the immortal words of Ringo Starr (White Album): "I've got blisters on my fingers !" :atoz:
  7. ForestThump


    Jun 15, 2005
    Blisters can be normal when beginning especially with upright bass.
    I suggest playing softer with your fingers and let your amp do the rest.
    This will also give you a better tone.
  8. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Lots of seasoned players will tell you to turn up the volume on your bass and pluck gently. Doing so sounds better, results in greater sustain and dynamic control, and it's easier on your plucking fingers than plucking hard all of the time. Some ingrained habits, like plucking too hard, can be difficult to un-learn, but I've found it very much worthwhile to give it a try - you've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain. :)
  9. How are you feeling otherwise? I was doing alot of touring and started feeling like I had the flue. As the tour went on my finger tips started blistering and splitting. I had to use crazy glue on them to get through the rest of the shows. When I got back to town I went to see my Dr. He checked my blood sugar and diagnosed me with Diabetes and the extended high blood sugar was effecting my circulation and nerve endings. everythings fine now fortunately. I am not saying this is your problem but it seems unusual that this would be happening to you after years of playing. I guess if it persists you may want to see your doctor.
  10. Doug Hodges

    Doug Hodges

    Sep 12, 2008
    sounds like you just need to build up your callouses a bit
    try keeping your plucking hand a little further away from strings and keep your fingers a little straighter that will lessen the impact of the pluck
  11. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Yea dude, that's a blister.
  12. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    So you're saying you've never had blisters before? You never even got them as a little kid playing on the monkey bars?

    It's going to take a while, months and months, maybe all year, to build and develop the tough callouses on your fingers.
    Keep your hands as dry as possible, don't let your skin get soft.
  13. Fetusyolk


    Aug 7, 2008
    nope, my fingers never really blistered our calloused at all. my fingertips have become less sensitive, thiccker and stiffer, but no callouses like i've seen.

    I envy people with calloused hand, but i don't feel any pain so no biggie :smug:

    i'd like to think my softer fingers give me a warmer tone anyway :D
  14. tallicabassist0


    Feb 16, 2005
    well i mean to a degree like this

    usually my finger tips will just develop circles of white skin at the tips and get tougher, but this is the first time my finger tip enlarged twice its size
  15. Yeah, I learned real quick what the warning signs of blisters are. When I was at school I couldn't risk getting a blister and hindering my practice (I sucked bad enough as it was). I still develop small ones on my thumb every so often when I get a little too crazy with the thumping. For future reference, if your fingertips are starting to get red and feel raw, that's your queue to STOP for at least an hour. This'll let the skin on your hand calm down, so to speak. Just know when to put it down for a little while. A lighter finger plucking technique will improve your 'up time' by miles, just get an amp you can turn up louder than you need it to be and play softly (but make sure you have the self control to keep your own playing volume managed, don't get excited and hit too hard - you'll blow out someone's ears).
  16. Matt R.

    Matt R.

    Jul 18, 2007
    Huntsville AL
    You'll be fine, just keep on playing and it will go away. Best of luck:bassist:
  17. MurvintheWalrus


    Sep 21, 2007
    yeah man blisters suck
    i got a nasty one from playing upright lasts week in a jazz gig
    and then i picked it open so it carved up my middle finger, i deeply regret it now but when i last jammed i tried my fingers adn they bled on my strings so i had to use a pick.
    What ever you do dont pick your blister, pop it sure but dont pick. Use ointments band aid s neosporin whatever
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There always seems to be a week-long period once a year where I don't touch the bass, and I have to rebuild calluses. Sucks. Best reason to stay in practice.
  19. Same thing has happened to me.
  20. Wierd - when I first stated playing, i expected calluses and blisters, but I've never gotten any on my plucking hand at all, whether I'm playing hard or soft, a lot or a little.

    The only effect I've seen at all is hardening (not quite callus-level) on the first two fingers of my fretting hand.

    I guess I shouldn't complain...just wondering.:confused:

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