Have not played in a month, long gig tonight, help with blisters

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by PB+J, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. PB+J


    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    So we were on vacation for a month, out of the country, and I have not touched the double bass in a month. We get back and I find out I have a loong gypsy jazz gig tonight. And just got word that we were offered nice money to play an extra hour. GREAT!

    So yeah blisters. Painful blisters. Going to be inevitable

    Any suggestions on avoiding this?

    I'm thinking

    1. play light as possible. use an amp
    2. Tape my fingers. I don't like doing this, but I don't like bleeding on the bass either. Thinking white cloth athletic tape
    3. maybe some kind of lubricant as well, to lessen friction? That sounds like a recipe for bad tone/bad time

    Suggestions eagerly sought!
  2. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    I find blisters are worse when it's really humid and hot. The sweat seems to make it worse so I would take a hand towel to keep your hands dry.
    I'm not a fan of tape, but I know that some players use it. I think you're absolutely right to focus on playing lightly to help with the long sets.
    Good luck and enjoy the gig. :)
    Chris Fitzgerald, Seanto and PB+J like this.
  3. JohnDavisNYC


    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    well... yeah, will likely end up with blisters, but maybe not if you play lightly, lower your adjusters a bit maybe, and lean on the amp. i usually find that when I get into an upright gig after a period of not playing much, I usually give myself a blister or two, but it's almost always because at some point I just start digging in too hard... I find it hard to remember that I'm out of shape mid-gig.

  4. Bobby Scharmann

    Bobby Scharmann

    Oct 14, 2013
    Omaha, NE
    If you can, try to play a couple times today for like 15 minutes at a time. It should get your fingers to remember what it's like to play bass without fatiguing/blistering them.

    Power through the gig tonight (you should be fine), but you might have to deal with the aftermath tomorrow.
  5. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Tape didn't work at all for me when I tried it. More amp, lighter touch for sure. Stay in two as much as your bandmates will accept. And, as mentioned above, try to play for short periods before the gig. Good luck!

    Edit. In case you have access to more than one bass, synthetic strings, like EP's or Zyex, will be way easier on your hands than steels.
  6. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    I always run an amp of some sort or at least PA help and try not to overplay (playing too hard) don't dig in too hard and try to avoid rubbing your right fingers across the fingerboard when plucking I feel like too much friction on the wood does more to make blisters than the strings
  7. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    +1 to keeping fingers dry. Also i would try to avoid taping, it will ruin your pizz tone(IMO).
  8. rickwolff

    rickwolff ‘Leave the clams in, let ’em know we're human,' Supporting Member

    OK, I'll play devil's advocate: I definately think you should at least bring some tape along. And probably tape up either at the beginning or at least before your fingers start to hurt - then it's too late.

    I have used cloth and paper tapes you can get in the bandaging department of the pharmacy. I'm not a fan of blisters. They take way too long to heal.

    As to your tone, if you don't tape too heavily and use your amp you won't notice much difference.

    Good luck!
    Groove Doctor likes this.