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painful fretting fingers

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by xcental34x, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. xcental34x


    Feb 28, 2003
    Memphrica, TN
    After 2 hours of band practice today my fretting finger (mostly index and middle finger) were hurting like hell. Well that was twelve hours ago and my finger is still tender. Anyone got any advice as too relieve the pain?

  2. Joe Turski

    Joe Turski

    Jul 29, 2003
    Don't think about it! The more you play, the bigger the callous. There really is no cure, or quick way to heal your finger. Time! :)
  3. Lower your action a bit and/or use some lighter gauge strings.
    I did that and it hardly hurts when I play anymore.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The advice given by tutors at the Jazz summer school I attend, was to dip your fingers in white spirit (like paint thinners, but purer) - soak them for a few minutes. This has the effect of toughening them up and maybe even anaesthetising a bit!! ;)
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Just to say that I have never needed to do that myself, as I generally play with low action and light touch and have been playing for many years - but it seemed to help the 14 or 15 other bass players on the school - many of whom got blisters and very sore fingers, as they weren't used to playing so much - i.e. all week!! ;)
  6. FallstoLifeBass


    Feb 16, 2004
    Again, watch your language here! I do not want to edit another one of your posts! Consider yourself warned!
  7. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Joe is right on, you have to build up the calluses.

    For the time being here are some tips:

    - Chill on the slides until you develop your calluses. Those cool sounding slides up or down the neck is a killer on the fingers. Take the edge of a pick and scrape it up and down the E-string. See the groove that the string puts into the pick? That's what the string is doing to your fingers.

    - Don't play after your hands are wet. So if you take a shower, or wash hands, or whatever, let them dry before playing. If your hands are sweaty, wipe em down. Moisture softens your calluses and make them more likely to rip while you are playing.

    - Play with your fingertips, not the pads of your fingers. The tips of your fingers are firmer than the pads. Plus, this is an element of good technique.

    One thing you can do if you have a gig, and you rip a callus is what Stevie Ray Vaughan did. Put some glue on your bad finger, and while the glue is still wet, press the afflicted finger against some part of flesh on your other arm. Let the glue set for a few seconds, and then pull it off quickly. Basically, you are gluing the skin from your arm to your sore finger to replace a callus.
  8. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003

  9. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Yes! It's much easier than a superglue skin graft.
  10. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    This may have nothing to do with the skin on those fingers - thus, the advice about building callouses may be irrelevant.

    In the past, I occassionally experienced some serious pain in the tips of my fretting fingers. I think I had somehow pinched or irritated a nerve because the pain was "inside" the finger - not on the surface of the tip - and was sensitive to pressure.

    I think I pinched the nerve by repeatedly pressing too hard when fretting.

    Play with a light touch and press down (with the fingertips) directly on top of the fret - perhaps a bit closer to the nut than the bridge. Pressing down on the fret requires less effort than pressing down between the frets.

    Good luck.
  11. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I don't know if you can pinch a nerve in your fingertip. Don't pinched nerves happen mostly in the spine, as in a nerve pinched between bone? I don't doubt that you can make your inner finger hurt from fretting too hard though, one should always be mindful of how to play the bass with less physical effort.
  12. LoveThatBass


    Jun 28, 2004
    Carpal tunnel (wrist nerve pinched)can cause this.
    You pinch a nerve and it can effect anything down the line.
    When my disk in my lower back was ruptured...pain radiated down my legs. Sometimes in the calves...sometimes the whole leg, sometimes just the foot. Then it got to where it would go numb..then finally started loosing control of my left leg.
    My wife has what looks like your same condition. It sometimes effects the finger..sometimes the whole arm.
    Have you seen a doctor? What do you do for it?

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