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What the hell is wrong with me?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by iplaybass, Sep 23, 2000.

  1. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Ive been playing bass for a year now, and as i play more difficult songs, the wear on my hands increases. My fingers are peeling(so much so i have to tape them up to play sometimes), ive developed heavy calouses(i have no idea how to spell that) at the base and on the sides of my fingers. My thumb and pinky fingers are completely raw. My hands look pretty messed up, is there any lotions, creams, anything that will make my hands look semi-normal again?
  2. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I hear other players talk about getting blisters and tearing up their hands. But I have never had even one blister from playing. I did work at a job for 30 years in which I used my hands a lot. So, do I just have tuff skin on my fingers....or what???
  3. Keep your hands dry. Beer, peanut butter, french fries hairspray and other things that are sticky or wet can cause damage to your hands.
  4. iplaybass


    Feb 13, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Oh yea, forgot to add that i sweat like some kind of mutant.
  5. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    To IPlayBass, the problem you describe is one that I have had for years. I have seen a dermatologist and have been told the condition is "dermatitis" and is caused by exposure to substances your skin, probably sensitive skin like mine, is allergic to. Anything from shampoo, to soap, to cleaning solutions, to some handcreams, especially scented handcreams can cause the peeling and splitting of the fingertips. My fingertips can start peeling even if all I do is wash them in water with no soap! Also, this problem can be caused by nickle. Do you play nickle strings, perhaps?

    Oddly enough I never had the problem until I started playing bass guitar, but it continued to bother me even during a three year layoff. Playing with a pick helped the right hand, but not the left (of course. :))

    I tried many things, but what has worked best is always wearing rubber gloves to work with any chemical (like washing the car) and to use Nutragena Norwegian Creme which seems to be the most protective. It comes in a white tube with the Norwegian flag on it and it is the most soothing and helps the quickest. It was developed by Norwegian doctors who were trying to help fisherman with the endless and painful hand chapping from constant exposure to salt water. Also, if you wash your hands with soap, use the very gentlest soaps...only those for very sensitive skin.

    Maybe you will be luckier than I have been and be able to cure your skin condition once and for all, but I can't get lazy for a day, because if I just let down my guard once and, say, help wash the dishes to be nice, but don't wear rubber gloves, boom, my fingers chap right away and it's back to using the Norwegian cream again. You can find it in any drug store and most supermarkets, Targets, Wal-Marts and K-Marts and it really isn't very expensive.

  6. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Turn up your amp and use a lighter touch. I've never had this problem, and I like to "dig in" a fair amount. Let the amp do more of your work.
  7. rojo412

    rojo412 Walnut is fun! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.

    :) J/K. Jason may have the best actual response to your question, but I know that when I was playing with my band a lot, at first I rubbed my fingers raw. But as time went on, they grew stronger. If we didn't practice for a while, they got weak again. I knew it was because I dig in too deep and hard and I should have let the amp do the work (except it SUCKS, but that's beside the point).
    And for hole patching in the fingers, I keep that second skin stuff in my gig bag and use it as needed. The sweating may be something that would destroy it, but the stuff is cheap, give it a shot.
  8. JohnL


    Sep 20, 2000
    Grayson, GA
    I was going to mention the nickel thing, but someone beat me to it. You didn't mention your action; is it professionally set up or "off the rack"? It may be way to high! Sweatbands may help your sweatty hands, although you might be mistaken fo some 80's hair-band refugee. Also, gross story of the day, Stevie Ray Vaughn played so hard that his fingertips split open and bled. No prob---He just super-glued them back together and kept playing!
  9. Yeah, and look where Stevie is today, he is dead right? ;) Oh well bad joke.. I know THAT glue didnt kill him. ;)
  10. jfsjbb


    Aug 29, 2000
    I guess he's jamming with Jimi, Jaco and John Bonham. That must be a hell (or heaven) of a band!


    there are three people who might help you:

    1. A repair tech should check the setup of your bass, maybe it's far too high.
    2. A bass teacher should check your playing technique, maybe it's too self-destructive
    3. A dermatologist should check your skin. I had a kind of fungus some years ago, when I started to play double bass. It literally caused blood, sweat and tears in my hands. After seeing a doctor I treated with some fungicidal creme. It disappeared and never came back.

    Don't suffer and dont' try to DIY! If you want to keep your hands in par condition, get professional help.

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