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HELP: FINGERS NOT READY (soft tips) and have gig next week!


(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
Topic starter  

Well my old band needs me to play a gig next week so I figured no problem. :D I have the mechanics, theory, and all that stuff. Just a little brush up work and should be pretty easy since I used to play a couple hours daily for 6 years. But that was over a year ago.

I had forgotten how dog gone soft finger tips get when you are new at guitar! I was doing some barre chords and a few open and wondered why I sound rotten. This is incongruent with memories of my playing. Did I really used to sound this crappy and not know it? Part of it was misfingering and that I can accept and easy to rectify. But that is not the huge culprit standing in my way. At the moment it's...

My finger tips are soft! I fret my chords and my skin is so soft and they sink into the string so much. The tips wrap around the string and almost touch the fretboard (I have a Gibson SG so tall frets). Uggggg! Now I know I'm in some deep trouble.

How to harden fast? So I have basically a week to get my tips and the side of my index finger (barre chords) hardened up. I know most kids want calloused finger tips fast cuz, well, they are always in a hurry. I'm faced with a deadline here so I need your advice people!

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Dennis, the trick is to not stop playing :)

I've got a student who travels a lot, and when he's gone for a couple weeks he doesn't get in much practice time. When he gets back, he coats his fingertips with Crazy Glue, and he swears by it - but I've never tried it.

I've also seen this website, but don't know of anyone who's used it: Rock-Tips

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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 Crow
(@crow)
Honorable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 554
 

1) Get to playing. STAT! Play through the pain.

2) Go "kung fu" on your calluses: Get some plain table salt, pour a generous layer on a slab of wood, and dig into it hard with your fingertips like you're scouring off a stain. Salt dries the skin, which can accelerate the re-callusing process. Repeat as often as you can stand it.

3) Think about lower action and (ugh) lighter strings, just to help get you through this gig.

4) SuperGlue is nasty on the skin & can leave an uneven playing surface. Experiment with SkinShield or NuSkin liquid bandage -- available in half-ounce bottle at any pharmacy. (I'm doing this myself, tonight.)

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


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(@moonrider)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1309
 

Serves ya right for neglecting your poor guitar, who only wants to make you happy with music! Suck it up, and make it happen!

Seriously, most OTC liquid bandages might help, but may not be durable enough to last very long. Your best bet is Band-aid liquid bandage, which is acrylate based and should work quite well. The "Roc-Tips" are basically repackaged Dermabond, which is used quite often in place of sutures, and will likely be just the ticket. Regular superglue can work, but you have to be careful to get a smooth surface, or you'll wind up having to use emery board to smooth the surfaces out.

Playing guitar and never playing for others is like studying medicine and never working in a clinic.

Moondawgs on Reverbnation


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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5058
 

I often use "superglue" to repair fingertips -- it does indeed harden. if you use it, you should clean your fingers with alcohol or Purell first, let dry completely, coat one tip at a time lightly with the glue, then smooth with nylon or a piece of plastic to which superglue does not bond -- the cap for the tube will work. as Moonrider suggests, filing smooth works. it won't look pretty, and will easily discolor from anything on the strings.

-=tension & release=-


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 Ande
(@ande)
Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 659
 

If you superglue your fingertips, and get rough surface results, a fine nail file will shape/smooth the glue without taking too much off.

My experience, though, is that callouses build FAST most of the time, if they've been there before. IF you play hard throughout the week to get the songs down, and play through the pain, you may not need any help.

Best,
Ande


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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Dennis, the trick is to not stop playing :)

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Good luck, you can get them back in shape. Have fun too.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@rahul)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2764
 

Play on a bass guitar for few hours. Will get em' callouses very fast on both hands.


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(@katreich)
Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 689
 

Hey Dennis, no suggestions as to how to improve your callouses, but It's great to see you're out playing again!

Falling in love is like learning to play the guitar; first you learn to follow the rules, then you learn to play with your heart.

www.soundclick.com/kathyreichert


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 geoo
(@geoo)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2823
 

How did the gig go? How are your fingers? And more importantly.. Are you ever going to neglect your sweet guitar ever again? LOL

“The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn” - David Russell (Scottish classical Guitarist. b.1942)


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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
Topic starter  

Well, I've been waiting to post more on how my fingers did. Specifically, the product I used called Rock Tips. $15 buck a bottle seems kinda steep at first, but when you need it, that is cheap! To get my order out ASAP, the manufacturer even sent out another truck after first mail pickup. Got it in 2 business days from Maine to Illinois. Rock Tips is like super glue but seemingly more friendly. I put it on and it dried fast. I filed it a bit and it was GREAT! I'll be writing up a mini review of the product soon.

My fingers were not calloused like they used to be, but they did what was required. After getting back into guitar the first day, I had some SERIOUS concerns at first when my fingers were not fretting clean and the sounds were, uh, horrible. But I'm shocked at how fast my fingers/hands got right back into it.

The gig was great. The other guitar player was pleased with my playing and quite relieved to have a second guitar helping out. It really makes a huge difference in a band sound going from one to two guitars. I watched some videos when they played with one guitar and the guitarist had to keep switching from rhythm to lead and back. Could not do both at the same time. Problem solved by adding me.

I even got to do something I've seldom gotten to do over the years: I got to play the fills! Normally I'm the boring guy who just is expected to do the basic rhythm guitar. The other guitar player in this band plays lead and rhythm and had gotten so used to playing the rhythm parts in the songs. So that freed me up to add the missing fills and some embellishments. That's pretty satisfying even though I know I suck at it. He's one heck of a lot better at fills and vastly superior in lead guitar. I'm just happy they gave me a lot of room to do whatever I felt was appropriate for the songs. Life is good!

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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 cnev
(@cnev)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4478
 

Way to go Dennis!

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


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