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#377773 - 08/21/02 03:02 PM Fingers hurt  
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,263
Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Burnaby, BC, Canada
Hi guys,

New to this board. I play a lot, but after a few hours the fingers hurt, and I've built quite a callous over the years. However when I am not playing one finger still hurts if I press (even gently) on it. Anyone having the same problem? What do I do to alleviate the pain? I have used emery boards to file down the callous, but still no help.

#377774 - 08/21/02 06:46 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
Joined: Sep 2001
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songman Offline
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Sunland, Ca
Greetings Lagusaya, If you're actually playing for a few (as in maybe three) hours at a time, try reducing your playing time to say, half hour or 40 minute intervals. Take a break, and resume your studies. The late Howard Roberts, who was a great teacher as well as player recommended twenty minute intervals. Most foks concenteration span reaches a "saturation" point after that long anyway. He also had this method of realizing or visualising scales and such in your head without a guitar in your hand until you pick it up again. I've tried it with some success. As to filing your callouses down I wouldn't do that either. I've used cray glue to mend "Split Nails" back together before a show and such. Though not recommended by most, it does work. Try to concentreate on shorter intervals, each being devoted to a certain aspect of your playing. This works with songwriting as well. You also might take into consideration how much pressure you're applying to the fretboard. You could try a lighter touch!
Best Regards, TJ Sullivan, Sunland Ca. www.meatwhistles.com
P.S. Check the action on your guitar, If it's real high, you might consider lowering it to a more acceptable set-up, the only orther thing I can think of is your strings themselves, possibly a lighter set might soothe your pain.


TJ Sullivan
#377775 - 08/21/02 07:50 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Burnaby, BC, Canada
Thanks Songman,

Actually I may be older than you think. Left schooling some 40 years ago! Maybe 3 hours was a wrong estimate. And I don't mean continuous playing. When you write songs on a guitar, you're playing off and on for quite a few hours.

My nails are not cracking/splitting. Thanks to high intake of calcium-based drugs/vitamins, I've got strong nails. But the finger tips still hurt, even today when I've not touched the guitar. Actually I own 8 of them. The action on them are OK.

#377776 - 08/21/02 10:27 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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If your fingers are calloused and/or are hurting the major problem may be that you are pressing waaaaay to hard on the strings.

Put it this way: (free guitar lesson right here) on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is not touching the string and 10 is forcing the string to make contact with the wood of the neck, you should have a pressure of about 3, no more than 4. This is enough pressure to get the string against the fret without it buzzing under your finger.

But 3-4 is relative to having your finger right behind the fret (practically touching it), not halfway between two frets.

I play many hours a day and my fingers are not calloused. Callouses are caused by poor playing technique.

That'll be $20 please. :-)

Jody


Jody Whitesides
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#377777 - 08/22/02 03:46 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Sometimes you can get a metal splinter embedded in the tip of a finger. This happened to me many years ago and I had to make sure I got it out completely as it had been affecting my playing at times.

I'm not so sure I agree that poor technique causes callouses as much as the playing style one adopts. I've seen the callouses on pretty accomplished classical and flamenco guitarists (who have excellent technique) as well as heavy callouses on blues players and others who do a lot of string bends. If you do a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs, you'll easily develop calluses. If you use heavier strings, you're more likely to at least build up tougher skin on your fingertips, even if it isn't specifically something you could call a "callous".

One way to minimize the build-up of heavy callouses is to wash your hands after playing for a while (every hour or less); then wait about 5-10 minutes for the skin to completely dry before you start playing again. If you play right after washing (or swimming), you will often strip some of the calloused material off - this may or may not be what you want.



------------------
Larry
www.audibleresponse.com

#377778 - 08/22/02 09:10 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Nashville Tennessee
Lagusaya,

You said "one finger" stayed sore. I like Larry's idea about an imbedded sliver.

I'd highly recommend that you see a doctor.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
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Mike Dunbar Music

#377779 - 08/22/02 03:08 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
Joined: Aug 2002
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Burnaby, BC, Canada
Hi Jodi, Larry and Mike,

Yep, only one finger - the middle one - hurts. Yikes, I am not in favour of an imbedded sliver. Jodi may be right, I do press hard on the keyboard. I never realized it, but now I know that I am putting too much impact on the strings. I will try lessen the impact to see if this improves. Mike's suggestion may contribute to the healing. I will try that too.

Thanks for your advice guys. Will report if I have an improvement.

#377780 - 08/22/02 05:12 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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Park City, UT, USA
Larry, I'm gonna have to disagree with you. Callouses are caused by poor technique, meaning you press too hard on the strings.

I play many hours a day. I play both acoustic and electric. I use 11 through 66 on my electrics (7 strings) and 13's on my acoustic. I play lots of hammer on's, pull off's, bend's, what have you. My fingers are not calloused.

And like another poster it could also be a sliver of something in your finger, especially since it's only one finger. I've had that happen before myself. It does suck.

Jody


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
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#377781 - 08/22/02 07:51 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Santa Clarita, CA USA
Maybe you're Superman, (or is that Clark Kent), Jody? [Linked Image]

...or maybe it's a matter of interpretation. Is pressing hard enough to form callouses "poor technique"? If that's your definition, then we actually agree. However, I consider that poor technique is when you play sloppily, or can't play something because of either inadequate or excessive motion. Anything else that works is fair game. You can have a light touch or a heavy hand and still play really well.

The classical and flamenco players I've both known and learned from must be pressing too hard as they all have callouses on BOTH sets of fingers (and a very thick one on the side of the right thumb).

I just see callouses on 99% of the pro players I've ever met. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable saying that 99% of all those players have poor technique. At the several music schools I've attended, we used to brag about how thick our callouses were...piano players practicing 6-8 hours a day also used to get them. Sax players would get them under their thumbs. It was actually a status symbol at the time to have really hard callouses. I graduated from M.I. with Frank Gambale and he certainly had callouses. I don't think you'd call his technique poor. I've checked out Billy Sheehan's fingertips, too: yep...he's got callouses.

I just don't want 99% of the players to think they're playing the guitar WRONG if they have callouses. Maybe that's not what you were implying, and if so, then I misunderstood you and apologize. Fingering lightly will certainly get the job done for many styles, but there's a certain inherent vibrato and control in pressing more firmly that also has it's own sound (remember scalloped frets?). There are WAY too many examples of great players that have callouses to think that there's only one way to play well and if you do it differently, then you have poor technique.

You sound like you have an excellent, light touch. From my experience, that's pretty rare, but it's also pretty cool for you - it certainly saves on fret jobs. [Linked Image]


------------------
Larry
www.audibleresponse.com

#377782 - 08/23/02 03:07 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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Yikes, superman. Nah. I won't think that. However, I'm not about to go out and say that 99% of pro players with callouses are playing wrong either. But I will say that yes, I mean pressing too hard is why people develop callouses.

I will say that the way a person sounds is based on the soul in their fingers. Some people probably just prefer to play very hard, but that may be due to the fact that noone explained how you get a great sound without pressing hard. I happened to figure it out one day when someone asked how I got such a great sound with so little effort. from then on I realized that most teachers are passing bad info to their students (most, not all), telling them they have to press hard, get callouses, etc...

Yep, I'm quite happy with the fact I've never had to have a guitar refretted and only the occassional dressing.

Jody


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#377783 - 08/23/02 11:19 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
Well, this is the first time, I have ever heard of anyone that plays a lot, not having callouses. Even trumpet players and flautists get callouses on their lips where the instrument touches frequently.
Perhaps we are just defining a callous differently.

A callous is a hardening of the skin. Everyone's skin is different so the callous buildup will be different. My skin is sensitive and blisters easily. I even have a callous on the heel of my hand from using the mouse of my computer. And I don't press down hard, I just move it against the table frequently.

I do have a hard time believing that the skin on the fingertips that press against the strings is as soft as the fingertips that don't. If the skin is harder, it is still calloused whether or not it is an obvious one.

There is a difference too between playing plugged in or straight acoustic. You do have to press harder when you aren't on an electric. How hard you strum and the string gauge is also a factor. The harder you strum, the more firmly you may need to hold down the chord. Someone who plays an unplugged 12 string may also have firmer callouses.

There may also be a difference in the callouses of someone who plays rhythm instead of lead. If your fingers are moving around a lot there is less pressure and callous build than if you are constantly playing chords and holding them down for a long time. The size of your hands may also make a difference. My hands are very small and don't curve around the neck as easily as larger hands do and some of the fingers have to press harder because of that .

I do agree with Jody, that often we are pressing harder than we need to. I had to press a lot harder on my classical guitar than on my acoustic electric and I have never gotten out of the death grip habit on some of the chords (again the hand size factor may come into play.)

Also there may be a difference in callouses if you play the same chord positions a lot. If you play most of them regularly, the build up of callous will be more even than if you play the same chords all the time. If you play alternate tunings a lot ie. the strings tuned to an open E chord, there will be a difference as well because the side of the index finger is frequently used.

No callouses at all, Jody? I can't wait until the roadshow out here this winter. This I want to see and feel for myself. You may be blessed with a tougher skin than most.

We need a certain amount of callous to protect the skin. I accompany my students on my guitar when I teach music at the school I work at. I often play in two hour sets with only a half hour or so between them, from 8AM to 3PM, four days a week . On Sundays I play an hour in the morning and two and a half hours in the evening. When I don't have callouses (because of school vacations) my fingertips are screaming from the pain. Likewise when my hands are in water a lot, the callouses peel off. I have also noticed in humid weather that the callouses soften up, another source of pain for me. My problem is not getting callouses but keeping them, LOL.

Re: the sore middle finger.
The middle finger is often the longest finger of the hand. In some people, it is very long, which may account for an uneven pressure when playing chords a lot.

There are some other medical factors that may be coming into play here as well.
It could be the splinter mentioned or you may have a small plantar type wart buried under the callous which is pressing on a nerve and that would cause pain. It could be arthritis too. But if it is only the skin, then it wouldn't be that.

Anyway, good luck to you. I am interested in hearing what your doctor says about it.

JeanB


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#377784 - 08/23/02 03:36 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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songman Offline
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Sunland, Ca
Jody, All Guitar players have callouses' and if you've never had to have a guitar re-fretted, you really just never played it long enough. I'm not saying this as any kind of "put-down!" It's just caused by normal wear. All guitars will eventually need a Re-Fret due to use. Why are there so few "Vintage" axes that haven't been Refretted? It's simply because they haven't been played. This holds true for acoustics as well as electrics. It doesn't matter how hard you press, it's the physical nature of the beast. Frets wear out. Players' techniques vary, but show me one guitar that's been made to be a "Famous" piece. ie. Clapton's "Blackie," Larry Carltons' 335, Willie's Beat to [naughty word removed] old Martin. They've all been seriously played instruments and have needed Re-Frets over the years. You can dress the frets only so long until there's no more fret to dress! So I must disagree with your advice in this matter, "let the dude keep his twenty bucks!"

Sincerely, TJ Sullivan, Sunland, Ca.


TJ Sullivan
#377785 - 08/23/02 04:34 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Hi all,

Looks like I've started a subject that has some controversy.

It is likely tht I am pressing hardest with my middle finger. I am classically trained on the violin, but because the stings are cat gut, I did not have a problem with the violin. I don't have a problem with the classical guitar either. And BTW I am a strummer, so I may have pressed too hard. This week has been hectic for me, so I haven't played much. Perhaps this weekend I will try pressing at 40-50 percent hardness to see if the sound improves and my fingers hurt less.

------------------
Having Fun!!!!

#377786 - 08/23/02 05:24 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Nashville Tennessee
I'm glad everyone kept this civil. If anyone were to press too hard with their opinion, people might think JPFer's were callous.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#377787 - 08/23/02 06:13 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Shandy Offline
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Shandy  Offline
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Ouch.

[Linked Image]


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#377788 - 08/23/02 09:52 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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Park City, UT, USA
Ok, it seems the definition of callous is different for everyone. To me a callous is a build-up of tough skin that can be peeled off, or a real hardening of skin. Jean, you can check my fingers, I'll gladly let you. The ones on my fretting hand are only ever so slightly tougher than those on my strumming hand, but I wouldn't even call them calloused.

Songman, as far as a refret goes... I've got guitars that I've owned for 14+ years, with a large amount of playing on them, i.e. 8 hour days of practice and playing. Not one has been refretted, none are even close to needing it. Is that enough playing time, or should it be like 25 years?

I'll have to stick by my thought that finger pressure is the cause of finger pain (from playing, not slivers) and a major cause of fret wear.

I understand where everyone is coming from with their opinions. You know callouses might also be do to a persons skin type and it's moisture content. But it seems that my thoughts on too much pressure are hard to grasp and apply.

On a side note, I've had players take a lesson or two from me who have been playing longer than I've been alive and when they learn about the pressure thing it's like a huge sigh of relief to them every single time (100%). Then guess what... they start to enjoy playing more. This is just an observation. So there it is and I'll gladly bow out now. The $20 was a joke by the way.

Jody

[This message has been edited by Whitesides (edited 08-23-2002).]


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#377789 - 08/24/02 01:18 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
LOL, Jody. I hope you noticed I did back you on the statement that some of us do press harder than we need to. I am going to work on that soon. I actually need to get the first 3 frets on my Taylor replaced, so I am going to be using a Fender strat for awhile. Maybe after I play on that for a while, I will learn to lighten up.

JeanB

PS: I still want to see your fingers though. You are an excellent guitarist and I enjoy being amazed.


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#377790 - 08/24/02 03:38 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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I am glad Jody has attempted to define what was meant as a callous. I tell you, I must be pressing too hard because everyone of my gingers including the little one has a peelable hardened layer.

------------------
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#377791 - 08/24/02 09:09 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Santa Clarita, CA USA
I think Jody may have hit on something in his last post that rings very true - at least with me: I wonder if it's possible that drier skin will be less likely to form callouses. Skin that is moister or perspires a lot could actually develop callouses easier. I'm no medical doctor, but that seems to be a plausible explanation here.

My hands sweat profusely when I play (mostly when doing a gig or practicing hard) and I've always had callouses that could practically pound nails - but they aren't necessarily something that would peel off. It's just a hardening of the skin most of the time. I also play harder than the minimal amount of pressure required to "fret" the note - but that's my style, as I learned blues and bending very early on. I've also studied classical guitar where you learn the difference in nuance and tone produced by pressing extremely lightly vs hard enough to control a quarter-tone vibrato. Both amounts of pressure are considered "proper" technique in that style. It just depends on the emotion you're trying to convey whether it requires a light or heavy touch.

At the end of most live sets, my hands are always very damp and I have always had to watch the stage clothes I've worn or I look like I just came off a 45 minute treadmill!

...well, maybe it's because I also jump up and down (and run around when there's room) a bit...and have a right foot tapping away that seems to have a mind of it's own. [Linked Image]

Anyways, the "dry skin" vs "moist skin" concept does seem to offer an explanation for the various amounts of callouses on different people - as well as how hard or lightly they touch the strings.

What do you think?


------------------
Larry
www.audibleresponse.com

[This message has been edited by Lwilliam (edited 08-24-2002).]

#377792 - 08/25/02 09:19 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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songman Offline
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Jody, You just can't play that much to get the results you're claiming to have achieved. I'm sorry man, I've been playing the guitar for over thirty years and have been involved in R&D and design with the guitar and such with various companies and builders and for someone to play a guitar for fourteen years without a re-fret means you have a very light touch! I guess I could see it with a gut string type of guitar, but not for any serious electric. I have about thirty some odd axes that cover many different styles of playing and the one's that are "The Ones'" have all needed re-frets from time to time . My main Tele has been re-fretted three times in the last twenty years. Hmmmm, yeah, I guess some players just bare down a little bit more. Maybe they play them a little bit more. Point of fact, I think you should still refund the guy his twenty bucks!! Seriously, the beauty of it all is that we're all so different. Without that it would be such a drag. I do not mean this in any ill spirited way. Sometimes my humor goes completely unnoticed, could be 'cause I'm not funny, but the guitar players I've grown up with all know that a set of frets lasts only so long. It's actually like you get your guitar playing perfect and wish it could stay that way forever. NOT! They wear out and need to be replaced or else the guitar buzzes and plays out of tune. Be cool Jody and enjoy your frets for as long as you can. Best Regards, TJ Sullivan, Sunland, Ca
PS Are you playing Slide? Just Kiddding!


TJ Sullivan
#377793 - 08/25/02 11:25 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Nashville Tennessee
OK, I've got to break down and say it!

They're calluses. A callus is a callous area on the skin.

There, I feel better.

P.S. Feel free to ask me about more speling.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#377794 - 08/25/02 11:51 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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"P.S. Feel free to ask me about more speling."


OK. I'll bite. What about speling?


PS:

You are correct about the callus though. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by JeanB (edited 08-25-2002).]


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#377795 - 08/26/02 01:38 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Oooops!!!! You are right Mike Dunbar.

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#377796 - 08/26/02 01:49 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Nashville Tennessee
Jean B,

You can ask my about speling any word, because I won a speling be and I spel gud.


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#377797 - 08/26/02 06:10 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL sigh LOL

JeanB


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#377798 - 08/27/02 02:02 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Larry Williams Offline
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Santa Clarita, CA USA
OK this is all a bit tongue and cheek, but I can say I've personally witnessed it: Jody and I had a "touchy/feely" (FINGERTIPS!) encounter at the LA JPF meeting last night and I can confirm that his left fingertips are only slightly tougher than his right. There were no obvious callouses. My left hand fingertips aren't quite as tough as they are most of the time, but they're definitely way more calloused than his.

...back to pounding nails... [Linked Image]



------------------
Larry
www.audibleresponse.com

#377799 - 08/27/02 05:28 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Burnaby, BC, Canada
Hi Larry, Jody,

Glad you guys didn't come to finger blows!!! LOL!

------------------
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#377800 - 08/27/02 11:15 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Patrick Bryant Offline
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Glendale, CA, USA
Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Lwilliam:
...Jody and I had a "touchy/feely" (FINGERTIPS!) encounter at the LA JPF meeting last night...</font>


MAN! The things that happen at chapter meetings when I'm not looking! [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

#377801 - 08/31/02 06:00 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
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dwrudder Offline
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phx,AZ. U.S.A.
Man,I'm late as usuall!I learned to play clasical guitar at a young age,had to learn to play by proper method,as well as using proper technique at the same time.You maynot be able to tell by sight,but I've had people remark on the leather type feel of my fingers and how hard my finger tips are.My daughter likes to sqweeze my finger tips into different shapes,I guess she thinks their playdo.I can't comment on wrong stylings,techneques,or pressure,I can say that my fingers are tougher,harder,and have a build up on them,and nylon strings require very little pressure.I am happy to have read through this post,even if late,becuase I have developed the same painfull fingertip problem and never thought much more of it than it being part of things that happen as you get older and play more.Boy was I wrong,and now I have a few more options to solving this highly annoying problem.

#377802 - 08/31/02 02:22 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Hah! I knew there were more people with my problem. Now I know I'm not alone.

Actually, I think I am now unconsciously pressing less hard, and my middle finger hurts less. Thanks guys.

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#377803 - 08/31/02 06:26 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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DavidVanKleeck Offline
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Glendale, Arizona, USA
Greetings: You are a funy guy! lolouder :-D I would like to say this about the callous issue; I am amazed at anyone who could play guitars for as many hours as Jody has, and had no re-fretting's done, not to mention callouses that sound like non-existent epidermal layer hardenings (cute phrase, huh?) I have been playing Rock, and Blues Rock for over 30 years. My fingers do not show callouses in the widely accepted definition of same. However, I know they are there, because if I go without playing for a week or two (on vacation, man!), and come back to a full schedule of recording/gigging, within the first 2 hours the skin will start peeling off the tips of all 4 fingers. Then, after being "back in the action" for a week or two, the "obvious" callouses are gone, replaced again by slightly tougher skin than my right hand's fingertips, but smooth to the touch just like the right hand. As for Jody's statement of improper technique by pressing too hard; ABSOLUTELY CORRECT!!! However, I never get those complaints about "sore fingers" from fellow players or my students, only sore finger "tips" from beginners or players not playing consistently. Cramping hands most definitely is caused by the amount of presure used. Only use your thumb and palm to cradle the neck, to support the neck. If you are "trigger-fingering" the fret hand, or over-doing the old "squeeze-play" approach to chording with your fret hand, you WILL be in pain. As for the man with ONE finger hurting, that can be anything from a foreign object lodged in the tip to a nerve problem eminating from anywhere between the finger and the spinal chord (cee, i kan speel reel gud two). Sorry for my long winded reply. C ya n th' phuny paperz, all :-)
Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Mike Dunbar:
Jean B,

You can ask my about speling any word, because I won a speling be and I spel gud.
</font>




------------------
David Van Kleeck
davidvankleeck@vankleeck.com
http://www.vankleeck.com/VK_Music.htm

#377804 - 09/01/02 10:24 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Burnaby, BC, Canada
Hi guys,

Played for about 4 hours, off and on today (writing songs). When I remembered, I pressed less hard, and it looks it may cure the problem. The middle finger tip hurts less. Thanks guys.



------------------
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#377805 - 09/12/02 11:26 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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nanette Offline
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nanette  Offline
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duluth, ga, usa
I'm not trying to beat a dead horse, but... I want to know how to not develop calluses and "dents" on my fingers. I'm just a beginner with a steel string acoustic and 3 out of the 4 fingers on my left hand hurt when I play. I would love to be able to play for hours and complain about it, but I'm lucky if I can last 45 minutes. I've read the whole conversation here, had lots of laughs, but I'm still left with the peel off calluses and sore fingers. If I try to press more lightly, than the strings just buzz.

Rockin' the boat a little more...

------------------
Nanette
wordsofpassion.com

#377806 - 09/13/02 05:45 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
Nanette,
Maybe the action on your guitar is too high. You would have to press down harder if it were high. Just a thought.

JeanB
PS: I think everyone's skin is different really, although many do press too hard. Some chord positions hurt my fingers more than others. If the weather gets too humid, the skin can soften and offer less protection. If your skin gets calluses easily, you may not be able to avoid it. No easy answer, I think. Try and play more lightly but get the action checked on your guitar as well, because you can't hold down the strings lightly enough if the action is too high.



[This message has been edited by JeanB (edited 09-14-2002).]


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#377807 - 09/22/02 12:58 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Burnaby, BC, Canada
I wonder a little skin lotion on the morning and night would help.

Habits die hard, I think I am pressing hard again. Duh!!!

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#377808 - 09/23/02 06:06 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Melissa Offline
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Melissa  Offline
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Cumberland County, South Jerse...
Lagusaya,
I have been playing for the last 4 years. I have low action on the neck and at times my finger tips hurt too. I think JeanB may have an idea there about skin reacting differently. There are times when mine don't hurt and I can go for hours, and then there are times when just an hour or two will make them sting. I try to remember to use hand lotion everyday, and I also, believe it or not, try to play after I have washed dishes. The skin softens up a bit but I try to keep a nice skin on those callouses. I look at it this way, if I didn't play they wouldn't hurt, I am thankful they hurt!

Take care and keep on playing!

#377809 - 09/26/02 11:08 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
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BB Wilbur Offline
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BB Wilbur  Offline
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Birmingham, Alabama
I'm with the "skin reacts differently" camp. I lived and gigged (six nighters) for eight years in a city on the ocean with a cold, damp climate. My calluses were so thick that my fingers would click like sewing needles.

The I moved to a desert city with an extremely dry climate and the fingers on my left hand are now soft as a baby's bottom. So maybe climate does have something to do with it. I've also noticed that I don't have to change strings as often in the desert.

As for fret wear, I've had mixed results. I've played the same Les Paul nightly for 23 years and it's never been refreted. Ditto my stage acoustic - which I play far less than the Gibson. But my campfire guitar -- a cheap Ibanez that is only 5 years old -- is showing lots of fret wear.

No question that playing technique has something to do with it, but I think skin condition is the biggest factor. Some people get sunburned faster than others. Some people have little cuts and scratches that heal faster than others. Chalk it up to the differences in every individual.

What I really want to know is if any of you have experienced SHOE Wear? I swear my right shoe wears out faster than my left because I tend to stomp and tap with my right.

BB

------------------
Who says I can't play the banjo?

[This message has been edited by BB Wilbur (edited 09-26-2002).]


Who says I can't play the banjo?
#377810 - 09/27/02 06:32 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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songman Offline
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songman  Offline
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Sunland, Ca
Soak em' in Pickle juice! It worked for Nolan Ryan! Tj


TJ Sullivan
#377811 - 10/06/02 09:49 AM Re: Fingers hurt  
Joined: Nov 2001
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Softkrome Offline
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Softkrome  Offline
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Lancaster, NY, U.S.A.
Hi, I've been playing and teaching guitar for more than 40 years and I have always had callouses on my fret fingers. In fact it is very difficult to get the proper tone out of you strings without some major toughening of your finger tips because the string will actually embed in your finger tip somewhat rather than being pressed down to the fret.
The degree of callousing depends also on whether you lift you fingers between strums to deaden the strings such as used by many swing and blues guitarists. I usually play that style and still have very significant callouses. Consider that fret wear might actually INCREASE if you use a light touch as a result of the movement of the string beneath your finger on the fret. Frank V.


Softkrome
#377812 - 10/07/02 03:03 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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Dear Frank V,

Yes I do what you are suggesting already.

Anyway, played off and on for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday - writing a song. Didn't hurt this weekend. I must be doing something right.

Thanks guys.

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#377813 - 10/10/02 08:30 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Z - man Offline
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Z - man  Offline
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Camden, South Carolina U.S.A.
Lagusaya,

What gauge strings are you using?

Chris

[This message has been edited by Z - man (edited 10-10-2002).]

#377814 - 10/11/02 04:29 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Stan Loh Offline
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Stan Loh  Offline
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I have several guitars - some have medium and some lite.



------------------
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#377815 - 10/13/02 10:40 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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Park City, UT, USA
Frank, that's a real strange observation you have, especially after 40 years of playing and teaching. I can't imagine how having a lighter touch would increase fret-wear.

I'm not going to rehash that yes there are many players in many styles with very tough skin on their fingers. But I will say that I believe that good tone isn't from pressing hard or having hard skin.

In fact, I think the majority of "tone" comes from how you attack the string. If you pick down and into the direction of the next string rather than out-and-away like a large majority of players, you will get a much "phatter" sound out of the string. When you pick out-and-away from the other strings it produces a much "thinner" sound.

I think a great example of huge tone is Stevie Ray Vaughn (yes, I know he had callouses from hell). But if you've ever watched him play, he does not pick out-and-away except on rare occassions for the effect. He usually slammed in towards all the strings and got huge sounds.

I've been asked how I get a big phat tone, and I have a lack of fretwear from the light touch in my playing.

These are merely my observations. Take them for what they're worth to you.

Jody
www.jodywhitesides.com


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#377816 - 10/24/02 12:24 PM Re: Fingers hurt  
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36
tm Offline
Casual Observer
tm  Offline
Casual Observer

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 36
switzerland then austin
nanette,

Calluses and finger dents are completely normal, if you don't have them your fingers will hurt(unless you are like Jody). Some people like Jody have lesser finger calluses, but normal humans(or at least every guitar, bass, mando, banjo player I ever met) has them.

The more you play, the easier it will become...

Cheers,
tm


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