Large blisters on my plucking hand.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by thecapm, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. thecapm


    Dec 27, 2007
    Los Angeles

    I've been playing bass for about four days. Yesterday, I developed these on my plucking fingers:


    I've been playing with a pick in the meantime, but I don't like it nearly as much and constantly get the urge to use my blistered fingers. This has lead them to get bigger and bigger.

    My question: How long till I stop getting blisters and/or how do I keep from getting them besides using a pick?

  2. RBradley


    May 20, 2007
    Napa, CA
    you will get them a few times, then it all just Calluses over. Maybe a few weeks before it smooths out.


    Welcome To TB, and Welcome To Bass!
  3. Rufus


    Feb 6, 2007
    I told someone else about this in another thread and I don't know if they tried it or not but it does work. If you will apply Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) to the blisters as often as every hour or two it will cause the skin to get tough in that area and also take the soreness out. Just rub the alcohol on your fingers as often as you can for a day or two. Note:this is on blisters that have not broken open. This remedy comes from a military veteran who told me about how to keep on walking when you had blisters on your feet, but I have found that it works on fingers as well.
  4. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    After a long period of not playing (5 years!), I got ferocious blisters. I popped them with a needle, on the side, and squeezed the fluid out. Next, I got a fine pumice stone and a bottle of vitamin E oil and thoroughly wet the stone, then buffed for about ten minutes- gently!!! Re-wet with oil as needed. After that was done, I let the blisters air dry, then did it again. The second time, the blister skin actually disintegrated. I kept buffing every day for about three or four days, and the new skin got really tough. It hurt some after the protective blister skin first came off, but that went away quite fast. When the new skin was in, the callous that built up was nice and pliable, not hard. That alone is worth it- better tactile feel, plus they won't crack or peel on you.
  5. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    2 options. You can wait for them to burst, and then deal with the agony. Or you can burst them now, and deal with the agony.

    The agony is non-negotiable. It's the admission price your soul pays for being a bass player.

    Sorry about that. But we all hadda do it.
  6. thecapm


    Dec 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Similar to how all great blues players have to sell part of their soul to the devil =P
  7. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    Not sure there is a way to avoid them. As others have said it's the price of admission.

    I generally have a light touch but started getting them again this year after years of playing because I was digging in too hard with the new band I'm playing in (sometimes I get too excited).

    I have popped them and not popped them, to similar effect. The one thing I find helps when I have them is to tape my fingers. That way I can play and not make them worse. Hopefully I've rebuilt my calluoses and I'm paying more attention to relaxing when I play. Haven't heard of the isopropyl alcohol technique before, but it makes sense.
  8. Stradavus


    Oct 21, 2005
    If you wait for them to heal on their own you'll have some excellent calluses on your fingertips. Promise. :cool:
  9. Tapout73


    Nov 30, 2007
    How many hours each day have you been playing? I have just started about 1 month ago na dpractise for 1 hour every day and have no blisters whatsoever, The tips of my fingers feel different but thats about it, with all this talk of blisters when you start out, I;m wondering if I'm doing something wrong?
  10. thecapm


    Dec 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    You're not doing something wrong, you're just sane. I've been playing for 3-5 hours every day. Just over-zealous, I guess =P
  11. Tapout73


    Nov 30, 2007
    Wow, 3-5 hrs! If I had the time, I would probably be doing that too.

    Right now I'm just working on a couple scales and learning how to read music. Still having trouble with the 4 finger fret thing but my instructor says I'll get used to it. May take me a year though :)
  12. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    A friend of mine who's probably the next Ray Brown turned me on to his approach. After your session, prick the blisters in a place that doesn't make contact with strings, drain the fluid (ALL of it, or else it won't work, the skin will peel off, and you start all over), and apply pressure for a bit, pressing the fingers on your jeans every now and then to soak up fluid. Just make sure you get the skin flat and dry, try not to get the fingertips wet for a few days. After a while you'll have some good calluses.
  13. thecapm


    Dec 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Heh, well I'm on break right now so I've got quite a bit of extra time on my hands.
  14. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    Huh. I've played for 25 years. I have stopped and started and stopped playing again more times than I can count. Sometimes for months or years at a time. But when I first got the blisters they hurt like hell, I let them pop, and they turned into calluses. Now when I start playing again my fingers get sore for a few days and callus over, but I don't ever have to go through the blister phase agian. My right middle finger gets one that goes halfway down the pad (it's the one I attack with when I play).

    But I know from getting burn blisters on my fingers that popping them is *ultra* painful. It's been so long since I had actual guitar/bass blisters that I can't remember if it was like that with them.
  15. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    When I get a blister which is pretty rare these days I will puncture the side of the blister with as small a needle as I can and then gentle squeeze out the fluid. When not playing to don't cover it so air will get to it and help it heal. If playing then I will put a band-aid on tight, it helps with playing on the band-aid. After done playing I take off the band-aid and wash my hands with warm water. I've used this with both BG and DB and works for me. I know some will do the superglue thing but I tried that and never worked for me.

    Sometime you have to alter what part of your finger you fret with, what I call playing flat-fingered. So I start fingering a bit lower of the finger. Actually good to get to know how to do for emergencies like this and also if you move to 5-6 string bass you tend to play more flat-fingered due to width of the neck.