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Playing with Blisters.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by pdusen, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. pdusen


    Aug 18, 2004
    So we got together today for some rigorous practice for a show we're playing on Saturday. After going through our whole set twice and practicing more on certain extra songs, we feel more than prepared. However, the practice left me with a blister on my middle picking finger, which I use extensively.

    Yes, I understand that this is a technique problem, and I probably shouldn't hit the strings so hard. My question is, has anyone ever played a show with a blistered picking finger, and how did you do it without pain or breakage?

    Also, is there any quick, effective way to get rid of blisters? I don't want to pop it, as that may leave the skin on my fingertip bare.

    Can anyone help me? :(
  2. mactac

    mactac Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    i've had that happen a few times... especiually when not playing for a couple of weeks & then playing for a few hours

    i find that if you play while you have the blister, it's annoying & eventually breaks... leaving you with a newly broken blister in the middle of your set & no way to do anything about it. bad news.

    so, i've done a few things:

    1. break blister, make sure it's clean, and put some hockey tape around it...which gives it a similar 'sound' to regular skin. problem is, it someimes falls apart if you're playing for a while, or even worse it falls off leaving sticky crap all over your finger


    2. break blister, cover it in krazy glue. sounds krazy (!), but it works pretty well, and it's hygenic. in fact doctors often use crazy glue to close wounds. anyways, i put it on in layers.... 10-15 layers or so build up a good surface. lasts for quite a while, and you can always throw some more on if it all falls apart.

    I find that if you use #2 as a PREVENTATIVE measure (ie haven't played in a long time) it works really well

    good luck !
  3. I always just played through my blisters and then if they broke they broke, and kept playing, then u learn to utilize difernt fingers if its too painful, ie thumb
  4. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    +1. I carry super glue in my bag. I've been doing a lot of slap lately, and I need it for the cuticles on my right index and middle fingers. Just a coupla weeks ago, I hooked my geetar player up when he split his finger mid-set--otherwise he couldn't have continued. It's mission essential, in my book. :bassist:
  5. I don't really get blisters - once I got them whilst playing my main bass (wierd - its the best one I've got to play...but the blisters only come up if I've been playing my seldom used 5-string - then only AFTER switching back...?!)

    Anyway yeah, I just played with them then one broke and splattered itself all over my pickguard mid-song - straight after that song I just cursed "F**king blister juice!" and all me mates started laughing...didn't have any pain after, but I did stick a plaster on it when I got home...

    I know this may seem a dumb question but (forgive me, I'm English) what is "Crazy Glue"? is it just regular super-glue or is it special stuff?
  6. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    I have used the super glue trick for years. It works pretty good.
  7. I just suffered through a gig with a massive blister. The first 2 songs were downright painful and I avoided using my middle finger ~ then it got numb (and exploded) and I was able to resume my normal methods. The end of the night wasn't pretty but I made it through!

    Wish I would have remembered the super glue trick!!
  8. Sippy


    Aug 1, 2005
    yea it's just superglue basically. I think "Crazy Glue" is a company that makes "Super Glue" and it is copyrighted.. so everybody else uses the term "Super Glue" and only 1 company uses "Crazy Glue". Kinda like "White out" the paper correcting substance. Well White out is the original company,.. even though other companies have the same stuff on the market and call it something else.

    Yea I had a gig one time with a blister. Super glue worked wonders! Pop it.. then put alcohol on it (HURTS!) then put it under some water, dry it, then add a couple of layers of super glue on it. Then play for about 10-15 minutes and get used to the feel, because you won't be able to feel the strings under your finger so much. The glue forms kinda like a Super calous. :bassist:
  9. I get blisters all the time from playing, I have one (now a callous) on my middle finger currently. Since I'm only 13, I haven't done or don't do gigs, but, I do try to practice at least 5 times a week and blisters can get in the way of that. I normally just use some sports tape until it unravels then get by with my ring and index finger! I'm surprised to see the not many people here get blisters!!! I would think that most bassists would have blisters, that turn into callouses, on their fingers. Q: Are blisters bad (if they eventually turn to callouses) ???!!! Are there other less painful methods of forming callouses just as quickly???!!! :confused:

    Thanks guys. :D

    Jay-J :)
  10. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Boo blisters.

    Solution one: Crank up your amp and use compression. That way you can play softly and still rattle the windows. It's easier on your fingers that way, thus no blister.

    Solution two: Become competent with a pick. I once played with a band that did an extended version of "Proud Mary" which left me playing fast paced eighth notes for a good 8-12 minutes. Not only would my fingers stop responding after the sixth chorus, if we hadn't played much lately, I'd find my fingertips starting to ache. The solution? Pick those strings. Even if you don't like the tone of a picked bass, it's a nice trick to have in your arsenal.

    Solution three: Well, the superglue trick has been covered. I usuallly just switch to another finger until that one blisters...
  11. Tingly


    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    Skin Shield is a good product. You paint it on and it gives you enough "feel" and friction to play, but it protects your finger, too. Like paint, after it dries, you can apply more than one "coat" for additional protection.

    You can use it to prevent, or relieve (it burns at first, though), or cover blisters.
  12. jimbob


    Dec 26, 2001
    Charlotte NC
    Endorsing Artist: Acoustica Mixcraft; Endorsing Artist: DR Strings
    Blisters...the reason to be good with a Pick.
  13. McHack


    Jul 29, 2003
    Central Ohio!
    It's been a while since I've gotten blisters, but I've been learning a couple of diff songs lately, that have required me to use a technique, which gave me a blister.

    IMHO, do what you can to protect it, (glue, whatever) but dont pop it... let it callous over.
  14. JJBluegrasser

    JJBluegrasser Wannabe Snazzy Dresser

    Apr 17, 2003
    USA, Raleigh, NC

    As someone who plays predominately upright bass, I've had my share of blisters during shows. They hurt, a lot. I usually cut the blister nearest the tip of my finger (so that I'm not playing in such a way as to pull the blister off) and then super glue it. It's only good for one show. Your finger will look horrible, and you'll need to take time off to let it heal after that. That's just the way it is. But you'll get through the show and you'll live...

    The good news is that every blister brings you closer to never having them anymore. I haven't had one in close to a year, and I play all the time.

  15. I found that if you pierce it only just with a pin (side closest to fingernail so it's less likely to get caught), let all the fluid out, and then force the skin back together for a while. Lay off playing for half a day or so (or as long as possible) and I found it healed rather nicely and it callused. There have been times I've considered superglue.
  16. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    There's a pharmasutical Tape its caled ELASTOPLAST.

    Get this stuff it works. I get blisters on my middle finger as well if I'm out of shape then have to play alot.

  17. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass

    Get the one inch stuff put it in the bag leave it there.

    The best part is that now I know its there I'm aware of when I have the potential for getting a blister, I monitor it then put this on when I feel it getting hot and I don't get one, problem avoided!

    PS I've also saved more than one drummers butt on gigs with it!

  18. Collin.A


    Jun 22, 2005
    Two words..super glue. It's saved my neck more than a few times.

  19. BillytheBassist


    Aug 18, 2005
    It's been awhile since i had any blisters but when i did get them, I always used tape and if it got too bad I just flat gave myself a few days to heal, or used a pick for a few days.
  20. Aj*


    Jun 14, 2005
    West Yorkshire, UK
    My prefered method, still gives quite a bit of feel. Having said that, I have good callouses on my fingers now so they don't blister. I managed to blister my thumb yesterday trying some Wooten style thumb sweeping. Just left it to die down, didn't take long fortunatley.