hand pain!

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by tinabass, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. tinabass


    Dec 8, 2003
    I wonder if anyone can help! I've been playing bass for about 4 years now, and obviously suffered the right-hand blisters that every finger-picker gets. However, in the last year I've developed 'contact dermatitis' on my hands. Aparrently I'm also allergic to various metals, so I changed to nylon strings thinking that would help. Unfortunately it hasn't, and as a result every time I play I end up ripping the skin of all my fingertips, right hand and left.

    Someone told me that you can buy finger protectors that are plastic, but still allow you to feel the strings. So far, plasters topped with gaffer (duck) tape is about the only solution I can come up with. As you can imagine, I can't feel the strings at all, and it tends to cut the circulation off! Does anyone know of these finger protectors and if so where you can buy them? I can't find them anywhere!

    Also, does anyone suffer from a similar problem themselves and know how to solve it? (By the way, I've already tried playing with cotton gloves - hands still bleed - and leather gloves - can't feel the strings!)

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks x
  2. tucker

    tucker Guest

    Jan 21, 2001
    North Carolina
    maybe you should play guitar. you dont have to touch metal at all just a plastic pick
  3. rob_d


    Jun 14, 2001
    Well, theoretically you do touch metal even if playing a guitar, because the frets are metal...same with the bass. Maybe that's why the change of strings didn't help. Besides, the guys a bass player looking for advice. I'm not sure telling him to play another instrument is what he's looking for.

    I can't help you with those finger protectors, but there's an African bass player by the name of Etienne M'Bappe that played with Joe Zawinuls band. He's a great player, and he wears these gloves that are a real light material. I was reading about them in a past Bass Player magazine where they talked to him about it, and can't for the life of me remember what exactly they were. But I know they were a real light material that allowed him to still feel the bass. Some web searches might shed some more light on this...or some others here may be more familiar.
  4. Etienne said that he wore silk gloves. This was a result of him sweating too much.
  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    jeez! how horrible! if i developed that, i would just freak out.

  6. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Guest

    Jul 13, 2003
    Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    first of all, i reckon tinabass is probably a female! also im confused cos the only nylon coated strings ive used were seriously soft on the old fingers. maybe try find some better ones
  7. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Have you tried (unscented) lotion on your fingers? The skin don't have to be dry to develop calouses. It probably sounds counter-intuitive, but the softer, moister skin will be more compliant, and less likely to tear. It's worth a try.

    Also, look for other allergens that may be contributing, including soaps, scented lotions, fabric softener, etc.

    Good luck!
  8. bplayerofdoom


    Aug 6, 2002
    my bass teacher taught me this and lets say it was 100% efficiant, next time you blister, dont wait for it to pop on its own. Pop it right away and remove all the excess hanging skin. the skin under there is super sensitive but it will calause like a rock.
  9. that is the technique i use for hardening my skin up when my fingers blister it hurts alot playing with the sensitive skin but once it goes hard its not to bad think im developing slight r.s.i now tho :meh: not gonna stop me playing tho kuz i jus got my new six string :D
  10. tinabass


    Dec 8, 2003
    Thanks for your advice everyone. Yes I am female by the way!

    Just to clarify, its not blisters that I'm having problems with, its a skin condition. Obviously I have suffered from them too, but this is dermatitis - similar to eczema, but caused by contact as well as allergies.

    Any more suggestions would be much appreciated. Can anyone tell me which the really soft nylon strings are please?

  11. there was a good article in this month's (December) Bass Player, the article was about blisters but I think it's relevant.

    They suggested (for blisters) using thin Kevlar motorcycling inner gloves, ($18 from www.pcracingusa.com)

    These could be worth a try for your dermatitis
  12. bassicgroove


    Dec 5, 2008
    I've been searching all over the web for a solution to a similar problem, although I keep on returning back to this thread.. I guess it's an uncommon problem. I'm a bass player as well in my fourth year at the Bard conservatory of music, I play upright and electric bass. I've had eczema my whole life, but it has never been as bad as it has in the last few months. The skin in the webs of my fingers is so dry that I can't even spread my fingers apart, and there is dryness underneath my fingernails which cracks and bleeds when I play. I've tried every moisturizer on the market, ointments, cortisone creams, light therapy, everything. I tried liquid bandages for my finger tips today, no luck, the bass strings take them right off. Anybody have any more advice on silk gloves or other solutions? It's like a bad nightmare.. bump bump bump
  13. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan. Supporting Member

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
    Umm, a dermitologist?
  14. I would try wearing a latex glove and a silk glove at the same time. The latex one would isolate the skin from strings and the silk one allow free movement of the fretting hand.
  15. M_P5


    Dec 25, 2011
    I just play with regular gloves in my homeland, not cause of blisters or allergies, it's just so freaking cold here =|, anyways, you can play with regular gloves, you sound will be a little more like flats though , trying flats might help?? 'cause they'r softer on the skin and stuff don't really know ...
  16. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    As a rule a Dermal problem will have two areas, the cause of the irritation, and the type of irritation. After that contributing factors can be looked at.

    Dermal problems can be from very simple isolation of the irritant to a type,to complicated hormonal and breakdown of any of the skin layers like say though stress.

    If you can I would suggest you try and isolate the type and the source then look an contributing factors. " Metals"? There are metal all around us, certain creams and lotion contain metals, food containers may contain metals. Metal is just not the solid form we usually associate it with.....you may even be in in contact with old paint that contains metals. This of course if it is indeed this type dermal infection, a contact one.

    Different countries have different medical care systems so maybe price could stop you from doing as much as you can. But for me you need to identify, as close as you can, the type and the cause, this will narrow down your focus to treatments that may cure or help.
    In the mean time as far as gloves go, drop Scot Devine a message, he is here on TB and is a gloves user, or find him at.

    Free Online Bass Lessons | ScottsBassLessons.com

    Best of luck.
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

    Feb 11, 2008
    So. Cal.
    What does your doctor say about this? Seems to me that if what you had was based on contact to metals, nylon strings should have cleared it up. I had a problem like that on the top on my index finger near the nail..skin kept flaking off...turns out to be some kinda fungal infection that I got by working doing some stucco work and water. Doc gave me some ointment to take care of it.

    I had skin break downs below the knee and dry skin on my hands. What helped me most is/was vitamin therapy. After being having lab work done on my vitamin levels, I increased B vitamins and D3 well above what one gets in a daily vitamin. I spend up to an hour a day in the sun. In addition, daily Omega 3 fish oil, Iron, C were included as well. I also reduced salt/carb intake.

    Seems that my immune system wasn't as good as it could have been. Only sick for a couple of days in the last 2 years. Skin has improved remarkably.

    Might be worth a try. No real downside as far as my experience goes. It took about 3 to 6 months to feel/notice the difference.

    Possibly cleaning the strings and your hands before playing may help.

    I also suggest you get a second opinion on your situation.
    Maybe speaking with an allergist may help. I also was tested for allergies and have been taking weekly injections for several years that have helped me as well.
  18. HertzWhenIPlay

    HertzWhenIPlay Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
  19. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Just in case no one noticed this thread was back in 2003, so I hope that Tina got her problems solved.
  20. Go buy some vitamin A&D cream. It is sold in the drug store in the baby section. It is used for diaper rash. It is also used and recommended at tattoo parlors to heal and protect new tattoos.
    Take a break from playing and apply the A&D cream to your hands several times a day.
    At night, put it on thick and wear a pair of clean cotton white gloves to sleep.
    Might take a month or so but it will probably clear up the condition.