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Thoughts on restoring skin sensitivity on fingertips?

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Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 339
Topic starter  

After playing guitar for several years the skin on my fingertips pretty much has no feeling left in it (a pain I'm sure you all know too well :D ). Anyways, working as a jewler this can be a bit of a pain, especially when doing repairs. Any thoughts on how to restore skin sensitivty? Thanks.

Guitarin' isn't a job, so don't make it one.

Honorable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 493 guess is the only way...not good....would be to stop playing :cry: :cry: 8)

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


Trusted Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 47

I've heard that putting super glue on your fingertips and letting it dry before you play is like having instant calouses.
I couldn't say for sure. I've never tried it. But If this is right, and you don't have calloused tips, then after the super glue is gone, your fingers will be normal fingers, and not hard, numb fingers.

Though...This is all guesswork for me really. I've never tried the superglue deal.
I'd wait for a comfirmation on my suggestion before actually trying it though.

I guess an alternate method would be, if yours are surface calouses, then soak them in water til your fingers become all pruny, then play guitar for a few minutes. They'd all come off pretty quick, and sensitivity should be at it's maximum.

Not a great way to go about restoring your sensitivity, but it might work. I think.
I once took a pair of nail clippers and just slowly clipped the calloused skin away.
I didn't really think about what I was doing, but once I picked up my guitar later that day, it felt like I'd just started all over again.

I'm sure someone else has better methods than these though *chuckle*

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

I have been making my callouses for forty years now. they are quite nice. being an artist .I never had problems with sensitivity. even with years of ceramic work the heat of the kiln nor the abrasiveness of clay has ruined them. nor do I sense a lack of touch.

in a way it is no different when using a tweezers. one still has the touch.

Reputable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 225

Seems like for the most part it's a trade-off that you have to live with....

You might try using a nail buffing file (the finishing grade kind, extra light or whatever they call it, "the pink ones" are what I call them) to take a little off the surface of your fingertips. Sometimes when I'm working on my nails I'll do this a little, not to improve sensitivity but just to take down little ragged spots in the calous so that they don't hang up on stuff and tear, and it works well. You have good control of how much you take down and exactly where.

Seems like what you're wanting to do is to just take a little calous off the top, and this might be a way to do it. Maybe shoot for giving yourself some sensitivity just off center, somewhere where your finger doesn't touch the strings much, maybe on just one or two fingers....

Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454


I guess it's always going to be a balancing act between the sensitivity you want for work, and the calus that's useful for guitar. But there are solutions to manage thickened skin.

It's probably not so usual with fingers, but it's extremely common with feet. Podiatrists have a variety of ways of dealing with it - so that might be a place to look for answers? Either locally, or on the net.

My wife used to have a problem with the calus on her heels getting uncomfortable in the hot dry Australian summer. So she uses a cream that helps remove the top dry layer and generally make it a bit more flexible and manageable. She found it very effective and easy to apply.



Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709

I've been playing for 30 years and are my arms tired ... :? Seriously, I don't have sensitivity problems. I have calusses, but normal skin has grown over them. My fingers are tough and still sensitive. Probably from playing those 9's. :P I could see where being a jeweler that would be a problem.

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

Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 259

After I first started playing guitar, the callouses built pretty quick and my skin was a little ragged on my finger tips, but as the new skin came in the calouses were smoother but at that point my finger tips felt numb, it was weird, eventually I got used to the difference in sensitivity.

Some kind of moisturizer on your fingers may help but I don't know, and it'd make your fingers feel greasy too I'd think.

Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 554

Callouses can probably be lessened with the use of a pumice stone, but unless you stop playing guitar I think they'll just come back. Maybe after removing them you could try the superglue idea, just don't let the fingers touch while its still wet.