Finger callouses ...
This is a topic I haven't see discussed here much, if at all. But, it's certainly an important issue for everyone who plays guitar. Especially steel string acoustic.
We all know that developing callouses takes time and perserverance. Pain is probably one of the chief culprits in causing beginners to give up and quit trying to learn guitar.
My question though, is once you have developed nice calloused fingertips, what is the best way to maintain them ??
I play 1-2 hours per night and my callouses are thick and tough. Almost too tough, if that's possible. They're kind of rough and have string "grooves" worn into them.
Subsequently, I find that the callouses are so rough and uneven, that they tend to drag and hang up on strings during chord changes.
Should I "sand them down" ?? Is there any sort of lotion or anything of the sort to smooth them out ??
What (if anything) do you folks do to care for and maintain your hard-earned callouses ??
Yep ain't that the truth, file them down and you'll find also that eventually they kind of stop building later in life and it also helps to not press so hard. That will help those callouses from building to thickly but if they do a nice older emery board that your wife/girlfriend is getting reay to throw out works wonders.
As for a Rosin bag well thats suppose to help the pitcher to hold onto the ball maybe be not to great for guitars and the strings as they also have some stickyness to them??????? ouch .ship
My only observation is this: The emory board and pumice tool certainly are a help. THe only time I have gotten concerned is that occassional time when blisters form under the callous. The last time was a while ago though. I mention it for those who perhaps have not been playing as long as I and many of your have. I suggest that finger callous be treated like foot callous or fingernails. Regular care and some pampering in the early days will lead most of to the later days. I found that when the callous got too thinck that I had more trouble "feeling" the strings not to froget mentioning that my Lady has made some comments over the years about..well "roughness" is just a word until we forget to do something about it. "Keep on pickin,' Time is tickin."
So ... your answer is actually that you "bite" them ... right? When callouses get too thick and start to flake or peel, I file them down, you bite them. But, we're both sorta addressing the same issue. :-)
I don't really know. It's not something I've really thought about much. Sometimes when I've had one rip open, its a bummer, cause then you get a more sore finger tip for a day or two.
I keep a pumice stone in the shower to use on my calloused finger tips . After the skin has softened from showering the stone smoothes the callouses and removes the thickened skin safely . This is the best way I have found to care for rough fingertips . However , I have also chewed .emery boarded , sanded or even pocket knifed some callouses off when needed .
Over time my hard rough callouses turned into a softer tougher fingertip. I haven't had hard rough callouses in 40 years. I don't use anything on them it just works. Also I use heavy strings 13-56 and a fairly high action. I just got back from a week at Ashokan Western & Swing camp I had the guitar in my hands playing at least 5 hours a day no pain. Could be the nerves in my fingertips are now really dull.
I use some quality hand moisturizer on my hands and tips of the fingers, which not only softens them up a bit but makes the finger tips feel better and play better on the strings.
Once upon a time, I repurposed a rock climbing balm that helps in the recovery of worn skin without sacrificing consistency. The product didn't do well at all, but then again, I'm not a good marketer. Anyway, if you want to try manufacturing it yourself, here's the basic recipe I used. It works phenomenally well.
Ingredients: Grapeseed oil
apricot kernel oil
tocopherol (Vit. E.)
essential oils (for fragrance!)
grapeseed oil: 75ml
Instead of apricot kernel oil or butter: 50g/ 50ml
Yellow Beeswax: 50g
Wheatgerm oil: 75ml
Vitamin E oil (tocopherol is a type of high vit e): 20ml
I'm not an alchemist, so if you are and the lack of detail irks you, I apologize.
Total 150 ml Oil; 50ml of each if you have 3 oils etc
Total 150 g butter; I had 3 so 50g of each
Total 50 g Wax
Total 10-12 drops of your essential oils
And the way you make it is simple:
Put everything in a bowl, ideally glass that you don't plan on using again. It's difficult to clean out and the process does get messy.
Float that bowl in a saucepan of water
Put that on the medium and heat until everything melts fully together
Once you're happy its all melted take it off the heat.
Put 8-10 drops of your essential oils in and stir.
Pour it in to pots to cool and set; I just used 2 little round tupperware pots.
That's all there is to it. If you want more of a salve, add oil.
If you want something akin to a bar of soap that applies minimally, increase wax.