Callous On The Side Of My Thumb

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Toast, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Lately I've been squeezing the neck of my guitar in order to mute certain strings. (I think that's what I'm doing :)). I suspect I'm often rolling my thumb along the back of the neck. Anyway, I've long ago developed callouses on the tips of my fretting hand fingers, but now I'm developing one on the side of my fretting hand thumb. In most cases I let the quality of the music I produce dictate my technique, but this latest callous has me wondering if my fretting technique might be less efficient. I've also been wondering about whether I'd prefer a smaller neck width/girth to make string muting easier. Anyway, I'm curious if a callous on the side of the thumb is common among guitar players. Can you veteran guitar players shed any light on this?

    Edited: smaller neck width/girth
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  2. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    Do you mean a smaller neck width, rather than the radius?

    Callouses can happen.

    “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” ~ J. Lennon
     
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  3. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    Yep, still drinking my morning coffee :).
     
  4. gwjensen

    gwjensen Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Common to this player :)
     
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  5. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Callouses form from repeated contact and pressure ... so it's a product of your playing style ... I am self taught, but have adopted a classical style approach ... I have found that my thumb stays low and exerts little pressure which allows more freedom for my other fingers ... a tradeoff...
     
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  6. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I think classical technique is great, but I often play standing up with a strap and that requires a different form of leverage on the guitar compared to a footstool and sitting position.
     
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  7. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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  8. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree that playing standing and sitting are two different worlds ... a n acquired skill.. I'm more Segovia than Jimmy Page, but can do either if you pay me ...
     
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  9. rough eye

    rough eye TDPRI Member

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    playing standing the guitar should be much in the same relationship to the upper body as when sitting classical style. the neck angled up roughly 45º; the headstock about at eye level. This allows the hand to operate more naturally. The thumb should be roughly opposite the middle finger so that if you pinch with thumb tip and tip of middle finger you could lift the guitar that way. to clarify, when fretting it's not the tip of thumb that's used, it's actually the pad on the end-most digit of the thumb, if that makes sense.

    Try using the side of the thumb where you're getting a callous, and using the middle finger opposite it, to pinch the neck of the guitar and lift it that way and you'll understand how inefficient it is. Hope i'm not sounding like an ass.
     
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  10. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I do try to do that, but I think the callous is telling me that I'm failing at it :). Playing certain songs successfully is kind of pulling me out of my intended playing technique. Nevertheless, I'm going to try and be more conscious about keeping my thumb pad pinched to the neck rather than rolling it to the side. I can move faster along the neck when my thumb is perpendicular to it and the neck isn't jammed into the curve of my hand between my index finger and thumb.
     
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  11. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Try being a full time fine woodworker and playing guitar and see where strange callouses show up! LOL

    Between sanding, planing, chisels, carving and making guitars howl like sick cats, I have a thick layer of skin all over. Practically, from my wrists down to the tips of my fingers. My wife is always complaining when she has to pull splinters out of my hands. The skin is so thick, she can't always get to the splinter.

    I gave up trying to figure out how to avoid them years ago.

    Interestingly, though, the callouses on my finger tips left years ago, now they are just thick pads. They don't grow out and peel like callouses. That might actually be a little improvement in technique (I focused really, really focused on lightening up my pressure a few years ago). There was a time when they would peel and I would glue them back in place. But, not any more... But, I still have callouses on the inside of the first knuckle of both thumbs? Go figure that one! LOL


    The thing I worry about mostly these days is cracks from dry skin all around my nails... especially on the ends of my thumbs. Moisturizer and super glue have become constant companions.
     
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  12. Toast

    Toast Tele-Holic

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    I'm sure woodworking gives you a lot of calluses (just realized I've been spelling it wrong in this thread :)). Those are the ones I like to have. I love the smell and feel of wood so I imagine working with it a lot would be pleasurable. Anyway, I'd pull out the splinters if it's possible, but the nice thing about skin is that it's always adding layers to the bottom and shedding on top. So most splinters will eventually get worked to the top and shed out, unless one is causing an infection in the skin. I asked my doctor about that the other day. So there's a useless piece of skin trivia.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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  13. strat56

    strat56 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I've had a callous on my fretting hand thumb for as long as I can remember. If you're playing well why worry about it?
     
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