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Beginners and Building Calluses

GuitarFool's picture

I just picked up the guitar. I've been playing for about a week or so, and my fingers hurt. Your supposed to grow calluses so my questions are.

-How long does it take to grow calluses depending on if you practice 30 minutes a day.

-Does swabbing rubbing alcohol on your fingers help making calluses?

-Is there any other way to get calluses other than just playing?

Average: 5 (1 vote)
Spidercents's picture

I cant really remember its

I cant really remember its been so long however it shouldn't take to long to toughen finger could probably toughen finger tips by taking a guitar string and lying it on a table and push on it with tips...or maybe have the string in hand and do something similar without the table... E,A or D string would work I would think.

Treat people the way you would want to be treated.

GuitarFool's picture

I'll get started on that

I'll get started on that

spare_time's picture

You can try this stuff, my

You can try this stuff, my buddy told me about it the other day:

Supposedly it helps build calluses faster. I haven't tried it yet, but it might be worth a shot.

Also: practice.

GuitarinaNutshell's picture

I think you should expect it

I think you should expect it to take around 3-4 weeks to start building up tougher skin on the tips of your fingers given your practice time, once that happens it should make playing guitar easier. It would also depend on whether you are playing a nylon or steel string guitar. In the future should you stop playing every day it only takes about 2 weeks of not playing for calluses to start to disappear again and you'll have to build them back.

jbmuso's picture

Yeah, every time I stop

Yeah, every time I stop playing for a couple of months and then get back into I get calluses after about 2 weeks. The idea is to play until they hurt, then let them heal and play again. Calluses are formed as part of the healing process.

DANN's picture

Do Not over play cause you

Do Not over play cause you keep re-injuring your fingers and not enough time to develop calluses. So maybe every other day play until discomfort starts. Also, and eventually...learn not to squeeze to hard when fretting notes...a bad habit I started, resulting in fret wire dents.

When you start to play great hard driving songs, whether its notes, or just AC/DC chords and stuff, it's hard not to squeeze hard. Look real closely at any good guitarist on video, & you will see a light touch.

Don't give up. The calluses really harder thicker skin will develop, & you wont notice it. Look closely where you get your soreness and blisters. They should be on the tips of your fingers, which indicates proper fretting of notes.

You should not get blisters on your finger print area of your fingers. This is a sign the new guy is struggling with proper hand/finger positioning when learning individual notes and scales, or especially seen, when learning chords. We all go threw this. Injury causes grow, and in this case, it is the laying down of tougher skin. Keep Going!

brian's picture

You can always do what Eric

You can always do what Eric Clapton recommends. Apply rubbing alcohol on your fingertips a couple tips a day until your finger tips start to toughen up. This will speed this process up in other words.

DANN's picture

What does alcohol do other

What does alcohol do other than evaporate? Did EC use alcohol for cuts on his fingers?
I don't see anything better than playing the guitar & watching closely WHERE the blisters develop, as I said above.

I believe the key is being patient & not over doing it. Some things take time and careful persistence.

What I need is some kind of hand cream to prevent winter time cracks & splits on my hands & fingers. Any advice guys?

brian's picture

Alcohol simply drys the

Alcohol simply drys the skin.

I agree nothing is better then just playing to develop calluses.

DANN's picture

Yes, and you know I was

Yes, and you know I was thinking about that last night during the Super Bowl.....that alcohol acts as an astringent....which draws, or tightens the skin.

I guess alcohol may help, but it is hard playing guitar with dried alcohol on your fingers, cause you don't get the smooth sliding, but instead, your finger stick & feel tacky.