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On the subject of hands....

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ModmanQ6, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. Heavily calloused from playing

    7 vote(s)
  2. Heavily calloused from your occupation

    1 vote(s)
  3. Soft and supple

    5 vote(s)
  4. Somewhere in between

    18 vote(s)
  1. I once had an audition where the first request from the bandleader was to see my hands... Apparently, he was looking for the telltale calloused appearance of a seasoned and well practiced musician's hands. He got what he was looking for and I could play to boot.

    This started me thinking...
    Is this a meter by which a stringed instrument player's dedication can be measured? I know that some guys can practice and practice and practice, but just don't have the ear to really be an intuitive player. What if their profession is such that callouses are normal during the course of their work...I suppose they would be in different places, as the tools of their trade would not fit the same places a musician's would... If you work construction, does this make it easier to play since your hands have a tougher surface to start with (Bill?)? I know when I was playing a lot, I had serious callouses on the tips of my fingers that would peel every so often, and when I didn't play much, there was always a period of blisters and build up to suffer through. Does lotion help, or soften them so they tend to rip off?

    Can you tell musicianship from the hands, or is it a myth?

    I'll add a poll to this in the interest of seeing what the group's various hands are like...
  2. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I think its pretty primadonna-ish to ask to see your hands to tell if your a good musicican. I wouldnt have been inclined to show him.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You can't just see it from the hands. Some get large callouses, some not (I use a light touch and don't have any real callouses, just thicker skin at index and middle finger and side of the thumb). Some can rip with small hands, some have big hands and suck.

    Most application tests of that kind, even in the business world, are totally bogus.
  4. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I used to have some fairly thick, hard callouses on my fingers. But now, even though I play twice as much, all my callouses have almost disappeared since my touch has become so much lighter. I never get blisters anymore either. :bassist:
  5. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    This isn't a good gauge...

    A player who has a light touch, & prefers a low action,, won't have nearly the callouses as a player who really digs in hard,,,& has the strings riding half an inch off the fingerboard... NOW, add in the type of strings... Flats, Rounds, Nickle, Stainless... It ALL matters a great deal.
  6. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    look at it this way, it could have been worse. What if the guy was interviewing you for a porn star position?
  7. My hands aren't really that calloused. I don't get blisters as often as when I started but they definitely get a little blistery once in a while after playing hard for a long time. I don't think it's a good measure to check callouses, but it's just like anything else. People have their superstitions and beliefs, and some of the greatest musicians were much crazier.
  8. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Callouses only prove you have callouses.

    By that bandleader's logic, a mason who's a part time bassist would have an edge over someone like me with no callouses (heck, I'd give him the edge too... if he cut me a deal on some brick work for my house). That's the mark of an unseasoned bandleader;)

    It what you "do" with your hands that counts.
  9. Hmmmm...I just happen to be a mason who's a part time bassist. :cool:
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    I've got almost no callusing at all. I have a small one on my ring finger that's a remnent of the time when I played with rounds. Since I transferred to fretless and TI flats, I don't have any others at all. I play with a light touch and uber-low action.

    *sigh* Upright's gonna kick my butt.
  11. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Then the gig is yours.

  12. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Callouses on a few fingertips, just really tough skin on others.

    Somewhere inbetween.
  13. Thanks for the input guys! I knew he was full of it when it happened (17 years ago), but the memory popped back into my head and I thought it would make for an interesting poll and thread... It has... :cool:
  14. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I play pretty heavily (technique wise), and only have thicker skin on my fingertips, with no real callouses. Ever, really.
  15. :D