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finger callluses (calli?)

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Active Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 8
Topic starter  

I was wondering about developing toughened finger tips. Will they become insenstive or numb permanently or does that feeling (lack of) go away in time.

There is no real pain anymore, after about 1 week but my fingertips to feel completely numb pretty much all the time. I practiced about 30 mins to 1 hour per night this week. doing mainly chords, power chords, hammeron/pulloff excercises and scale exercise.

The last couple of nights the lack of sensitivity has actually made it harder to make clear notes without muting or altering adjacent strings.

So while I'm seeing daily improvement, I am also backsliding on some things.


Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 493

hang on in there......calluses take time.... they will soon become your badge of honour :D

what did the drummer get on his I.Q. test?....


Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348

calli, that's a good one. callouses grow and shed and grow all the time. underneath the skin hardens. that will happen over time. your pain will diminish. the sensitivity does not go away. I am meaning the sense of touch. that stays. the sore tenderness comes and goes depending on how hard you have been playing. the recovery time turns into hours instead of days.

Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 827

When I first started playing I developed these large visible surface calluses that would peel sometimes or get these upturned edges that would catch on strings. I needed to use a nail file to keep them from becoming a problem. Over time the calluses seem to have deepened so that there is little that is really visible. These don't peel in the same way. That's taken a while for that to happen.

As for sensitivity, yes it has decreased on my left hand fingertips. If I run my fingertips on my left and right hands across a table top there are things I can feel with the right and not the left. The fine grain doesn't come through on the left hand and the slight coolness of the tabletop takes longer for the left hand to register. It's not a loss that affects any of my everyday activities. I suppose if I needed very fine dexterity in my hands on a regular basis it would - e.g. if I was a watchmaker/jeweler or maybe a safecracker.

Pop music is about stealing pocket money from children. - Ian Anderson

Famed Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4459

I've developed calluses over the past few years but I played extra long this weekend and my fingers hurt!

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 652

Funny question- I was playing with a few friends recently, all of whom are better, and have been playing longer, than I have.

We talked about development of callouses, and each one had a different "trick" that is supposed to help your callouses develop faster- ranging from the obviously opportunistic (drinking single malt whiskey helps your callouses grow) to the weird (orange soda?) to the truly masochistic. (Putting out ciggies on the ends of your fingers.)

This seemed weird to me- I'd always figured that the way to grow callouses was to play until your fingers hurt, often. any thoughts?


Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 271

Surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol is it called in the USA?) does help. It basically draws the oils out of the surface of the skin allowing it to harden. This I think is a short term fix though as it's only (if you'll excuse the pun) "skin deep". Real callouses take a lot of time to develop.

I was thinking about this the other day, my callouses are not really visible unless I hold my fingers of my right hand next to those of my left (fretting) hand, I doubt anyone could tell the difference. However, I am obviously aware of the difference myself. I have noticed a friend of mine who plays though has huge great wads of yellow dried skin on his fingertips which isn't particularly pleasant to look at . . . not sure why his are so different, I play more than he does.

I was away this weekend and took along a guitar magazine (with a backing CD) and my acoustic. I ended up playing through a lot of stuff, including attempting some very optimistic tone bends on my acoustic (the track was designed for an electric but I only had my acoustic with me so I thought I may as well give it a go!!). That hurt my fingers after a while! I am also playing a few 2 tone bends on my electric which is also testing my finger sensitivity to pain! I have to take frequent breaks. :oops:


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