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Playing with blisters

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by mnadelin, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. mnadelin


    Apr 6, 2003
    Kalamazoo, MI
    This morning I was playing in church and I really got into it and was playing hard. As a result, I have a pretty substantial blister on my right index finger. My mother told me I should just let it heal, but should I stay away from playing bass (with that finger anyway) until it heals or does it even matter?

  2. You probably want to stay away from it until it heals, or it won't heal and will cause considerable pain.
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    And could cause deeper blisters.

    Don't play with that finger until it heals.
  4. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Pop it, and cover it with super glue. Let it heal by using your middle and ring fingers while playing.
  5. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I've never gotten a blister.. Ever.. I play all day every day.. Never a blister :p.. I guess I've got man hands.
  6. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    :eek: That sounds like a good recipe for infection.
  7. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL
    I've only gotten blisters once from BG... when I first started. I get blisters from my jazz gigs on DB all the time and I just play on top of them. It's very painful, but I do think it's worth it.

    I haven't touched a DB in a while, the sides of my fingers are soft again
  8. danshee

    danshee Banned

    May 28, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    When I was first starting out, to help develop my calouses I would first pop them, and then give them a few hours to dry up. Then, I'd go and jam a set. You get great calouses really fast by doing that. Like the guys said above though, be careful of infections. Those can suck.
  9. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    Pop em. It seems to heal faster.

  10. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    Hi folks,
    As a double bass player, I wouldn't recommend popping blisters unless they are really bad. If you can play through them, they will actually callous up more if you let them settle back into your skin. They'll also heal faster with the callous intact. All that fluid is your body defending itself. Why stop it unless you have to? I would say that you should take it easy if possible when you get one, and let it heal.

    Everyone has a different opinion, but I think that getting callouses early on just means that you're trying to pull a good tone out of the strings. It hurts now, but it pays off later. I know, I know...spoken like an upright guy who avoids amps like the plague;)

  11. Let it heal and develop natural callous material.

    If you can't wait:

    Super Glue!
  12. Jazzin'

    Jazzin' ...Bluesin' and Funkin'

    when i jam with my friends (we do jazz and improv mainly), we can go on for like 10 hours in a day, i can get serious blisters, but i continue to play. if they get too big and painful, ill switch to the thumb, but then ill get one in my thumb. its really annoying. i currently have a pocket of dried blood under my index finger.
  13. bigyellowhead76


    Jul 14, 2004
    blisters lead to callauses which leads to better playing. and you should work on using your index finger trust me you will be able to play sixteenth notes if you work on them. as for me i spider walk ( using all four of my fingers ) should give it a try.
  14. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Blisters do not lead to calluses. Calluses are developed entirely separately. Blisters in no way leads to better playing, it just means your playing to hard or too long. "No pain no gain" should NOT be in a musician's vocabulary -- saying a blister leads to better playing in any way is kind of like saying wrist pain leads to more flexibility and speed. I have noticeable calluses on all the fingers on my left and and the first two on my right hand, and, hey -- guess what? Never had a blister in my life.

    Play lighter, and let the amp do the work. Or if you're a DBer...well, I guess y'all are doomed to a life of blisters.
  15. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Back in the mid-90's, I took a 4-year break from playing bass to finish college at night. When I finished and got back into a band, it was like starting all over (physically, anyway). Many blisters, ouch ouch.

    My solution was to play with a pick when my fingertips were in bad shape.

    I believe every versatile pro bassist should know fingerstyle, slapstyle, *and* pickstyle. I stopped playing with a pick once my fingertips toughened. I was stupid for doing that, but then I'm only semi-pro and semi-versatile. :meh:
  16. bill_banwell

    bill_banwell Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2002
    someone explain the super glue thing to me? im interested.
  17. You put it on your fingers. I wouldn't bother. In fact, I don't bother. No blisters here.
  18. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC
    If you get a blister, it really hurts to play at all with the exposed skin once the blister breaks (if it breaks). Super glue holds the blister together for longer while the skin underneath toughens up.

    However, it also dries out your skin and can cause the blister to crack prematurely. I only use it when I have a show to play, and I just can't get around it.

    Oh, I play DB mostly, so I do ocassionally get blisters.

  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Use a pick?
  20. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL

    I pop mine. It's always more painful to play DB on watery fingers than dry ones. I need to practice more so this doesn't happen again at the next gig.