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Old December 6th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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About calluses

I used to have the best calluses. They were smooth and even pliable, with no dead skin coming off. I was playing a lot of guitar back then. When I started playing again, my general technique had changed a little: more bends, bend vibratos, slurs, slides, and trills. One reason for this emphasis on the left hand, was that tendonitis in my right hand was severe enough in the old days to make me hang up my axe. Even now, if I over-do it on my right hand, I will feel that particular kind of pain start to return.

If I am doing a lot of left hand stuff, as mentioned above, my finger tips get sore beneath the surface. The surface appears fine. I have tried any and every type of treatment on my calluses, which all help a little. Super Glue, liquid bandages, and the like are good for spur of the moment problems. On a more long-term basis, I have tried salt water, witch hazel, and rubbing alcohol. The alcohol has been the most effective.

Snooping around Amazon the other day, I found a product for dogs called Tuf-Foot. This toughens up the pads on their feet for dogs who are very active and are used in hunting. I bought a bottle, and saw in a small brochure that came with it that it was OK for human use. Nowhere was there any mention that humans should not use it. Some Amazon reviewers use it for long hikes and similar activities.

I put mine on before bed. It is not the best smell, but not too bad. The biggest problem with the smell is that it is so close to the face. In the morning, the calluses were quite noticeably tougher, yet still smooth. I put some on again last night, and, again, the calluses are tougher than the first time I applied it.

The skin feels completely natural and are as sensitive to the nuances of touch as they have ever been. I'll keep experimenting with this, and will see if it is something that I can only occasionally, or if there are specific times when I should apply it.

Some of my posts here are about my playing and the great advice that I get, while at other times, I just want to pass along something that is working for me, in case there are others in the boat. I won't include a link, but it should be easy to find on Amazon.

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Old December 6th, 2013, 12:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My wife asks about the nail hardener on my right fingers and using her emery boards.
So this will complete the picture.
Come to bed with my mouth guard (grinding) and my left hand smelling like the Jersey Turnpike mid summer.
What a catch.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 01:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Interesting... seems like this would be a good way to keep calluses in good shape. When I was doing more outside work as an IC, I'd lose a LOT of build-up due to repeatedly grabbing asphault shingles with my fretting hand, especially if it was really hot outside. I've also noticed that sometimes after a hot shower I lose skin off of calluses, just kind of peels off. That's kind of gross, but I'm sure it happens to other players.

Using a product meant for a dog's foot pads makes perfect sense, so long as it's approved for human use what could be the harm? It does kind of seem like cheating, but there's worse things a person can do.
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Old December 6th, 2013, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Man,,,you over think stuff. Woof!

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Old December 7th, 2013, 05:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tonemaster View Post
Man,,,you over think stuff.
Guilty as charged. My basic premise in life is to play well enough that my peers can be moved by my music. Once I accepted that at age 15, I tried to make every moment on Earth count in music. There is nothing legal that I wouldn't try to improve in my hands.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 06:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This thread got me thinking. I cant remember the last time I had calluses. My kids have been playing guitar for about 3 to 4 years now and they don't have calluses either. However we all have pads built up under the skin on our finger tips.

Last edited by Edwin; December 7th, 2013 at 07:43 AM.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 07:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There is a "Tuf-Foot Human Formula", it may not stink as bad.
Only the dog formula is distributed in Britain, for Greyhounds.

They also say, "TUF-FOOT works by toughening skin tissue. This is accomplished by the unique blend of ingredients in our formula. It is actually based on herbs and balsams that aboriginal tribes used on their feet to withstand injury in the harsh outback."
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Old December 7th, 2013, 07:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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bad joke ...retraction.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 10:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As long as it works and you don't start to develop a desire to chew on rawhide...
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Old December 7th, 2013, 12:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't use it nor does it necessarily follow that toughening your skin that will reduce the pain beneath your fingertips. I get that pain too after hours of playing but it fades quickly.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 12:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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That is one of the by-products of knowing you were jammin' hard the night before.

Especially with acoustic guitarss.. Sometimes after a marathon jam session, let's say 7pm til 3am, that next morning, those fingers are just throbbing...

The good kind of hurt.

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Old December 7th, 2013, 01:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by stealyerface View Post
That is one of the by-products of knowing you were jammin' hard the night before.

Especially with acoustic guitarss.. Sometimes after a marathon jam session, let's say 7pm til 3am, that next morning, those fingers are just throbbing...
Back in the 70s, a friend and I were playing around and decided to make a recording of If I Were a Carpenter. It was an enhanced situation that we were working in. Which explains all that follows:

From 8:00 PM to 2:00 PM the next day, I played that song over and over. My friend had split around midnight, but I kept going, trying to get it just so. I then went to teach guitar lessons until 7:00 or so. Somehow, I worked into each lesson, that song. Finally, I get home and go straight to bed. Not. The tune was still alive inside. I get up and start recording, ending at dawn. That was it for me. My fingers were definitely sore, but nothing severe, as I was playing a lot in those days. When I read stories about bands of yore doing a hundred takes of a song, I know the feeling. And it is not a good feeling. Not at all.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 01:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm just a weekend warrior so 3 to 10 hours is not my experience. In a 1 to 2 hour rehearsal or set I worry more about hand cramps than sore fingers. I don't use the death grip I used when I was first starting. It could be the reason for no calluses.
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Old December 7th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Sounds pretty cool if it helps. My fingers have been cracking and bleeding since the temp has dropped here in Seattle over the past week. I have found if I cover my fingertips with Neosporin and really get it under the nails it helps. Cracked and bleeding keep me from practicing so it's been helpful.
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Old December 8th, 2013, 04:39 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Boy, it's cold outside. I've been barking at and chasing cars all night, and I'm packing it in.
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Old December 8th, 2013, 06:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I am curious about this stuff as I am not able to form calluses on 3 of my left hand fingers due to damage to my median nerve (accident). I wonder if this would work for me and if there are side effects.
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Old December 8th, 2013, 06:56 PM   #17 (permalink)
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About to order a bottle from a gun dog supply company for $9.95. It's an 8 oz bottle which should last quite awhile. I will let you know how well it works.
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Old December 8th, 2013, 07:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I can't really tell you how to treat calluses because I don't have them any more.

My fingertips are thickened and leathery but pliable.

I did have calluses and they were very thick and hard at one time and they did occasionally split off, rather nasty that. Taking the callus down with a pumice stone would keep it pliable and stop it peeling away, haven't had to do that in years.
I do however keep my hand clean with proper soap, nothing special but a good quality hand soap bar that contains fats that moisturise and keep skin soft and stop it splitting. I have hand skin that will get sore and hardened if dirt gets ingrained. Nail brush.

Cause and effect. I don't know whether I have lost the calluses because I have simply outgrown them or because I started keeping my hands thoroughly cleaned. Sounds a bit like OCD but no, some stuff I do for a living you really, really want to make absolutely sure is washed off.
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