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Julius Lester came in with a music caravan. Bob Dylan was there, Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel. But what they forgot about was that for about 100 miles around, [they] had some of the best traditional music ever. And we didn't have the consciousness then to pull that together, you know, to pull in those living legends of blues men and women who were right there - Worth Long, organizer for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, talking about a movement festival in Greenwood, Mississippi in 1960s

Author Topic: Finger soreness  (Read 485 times)

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Offline Jersey Jack

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Finger soreness
« on: April 13, 2022, 08:48:10 AM »
A quick question about fingerpicking.  I'm fairly proficient, but I often go long periods without playing in this style.  I'm back to it again, and starting to experience soreness on my picking fingers.  I suppose at some point callouses will form and everything will be fine, but right now it's pretty tough going.  I've never bonded well with fingerpicks, which cause their own kind of discomfort for me, so I'd like to know if there's anything I can put on my right hand finger tips to keep me playing until the callouses form.  I thought of a mild glue, but I suspect this may affect the strings.  Any ideas?  I can gut through it, of course, but I really want to keep playing, and unless I find some way to mitigate the soreness I don't believe I'll be able to devote more than a half hour per day to fingerpicking at this point.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2022, 10:50:17 AM »
Hi Jersey Jack: Over the decades I've gotten paints and adhesives like glues, etc. on my fingers that wouldn't come off easily and I wouldn't recommended it. They are chemicals that pass through the skin. I can't recall trying to fingerpick while the stuff was still on my fingers.

To state the obvious, I'd simply play a little bit every day or every other day until the calluses begin to build up and then gradually increase the time and frequency spent playing until you're back where you want to be. I had a similar experience last summer when I was asked to play at an event. I hadn't played for quite a while and it took about a month before the calluses returned to where I could play without discomfort. It was a slow and somewhat frustrating process. Based on my experience, patience is required and don't get ahead of yourself. I did and the resulting blisters were counterproductive and slowed things down. --Just my 2 cents.


Offline Jersey Jack

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2022, 01:50:20 PM »
Thanks, I figured as much.  What I need to do is stay more consistent with fingerpicking—and not go running off into Bluegrass flatpicking for an entire year, which is what got me into this mess!

Offline Stuart

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2022, 02:57:32 PM »
I think perhaps scheduled routine maintenance to keep your calluses where there's no soreness when you play might be in order. Playing fingerstyle several times a week for short periods would probably do it. My doc once told me that calluses form to protect what's underneath from something on the outside. Once you get them back it shouldn't be too hard to settle into what works for you. With everything that seems to come up in life, the trick will probably be sticking with the schedule.  Where's the day with unlimited hours when we really need it?

Offline Gmaj7

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2022, 06:09:49 PM »
I keep nails on my right hand and hit the strings with my nails. I am not a classical guitarist but this is what I've settled on doing. Is this especially unusual in Blues fingerpicking? Are there disadvantages? Obviously there is a difference in tone; it's easier to make the treble melody sound "brighter".

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2022, 12:18:04 PM »
I keep nails on my right hand and hit the strings with my nails. I am not a classical guitarist but this is what I've settled on doing. Is this especially unusual in Blues fingerpicking? Are there disadvantages? Obviously there is a difference in tone; it's easier to make the treble melody sound "brighter".
Same here. I cannot use fingerpicks or flatpicks (for strumming I hold my first finger between my thumb and second finger, then use it like a flatpick). Unorthodox maybe, but it's the technique I fell into years ago and the one I use to this day.
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
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Offline Gmaj7

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2022, 02:58:02 PM »
I keep nails on my right hand and hit the strings with my nails. I am not a classical guitarist but this is what I've settled on doing. Is this especially unusual in Blues fingerpicking? Are there disadvantages? Obviously there is a difference in tone; it's easier to make the treble melody sound "brighter".
Same here. I cannot use fingerpicks or flatpicks (for strumming I hold my first finger between my thumb and second finger, then use it like a flatpick). Unorthodox maybe, but it's the technique I fell into years ago and the one I use to this day.

Yes, I fear I'm "stuck" now. It does lead to another question - how unorthodox is it? I maybe once read that Skip James played with nails, did anyone else? If so, why did they?
I don't need any special upkeep or special diet to maintain the nails, and they're not "that" long. They seem just naturally strong. There are disadvantages in daily life (e.g. gardening, eating with hands) but I'm curious about disadvantages in playing.

Offline ThatGuyWithThe12Stringer

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2022, 08:35:39 PM »
I keep nails on my right hand and hit the strings with my nails. I am not a classical guitarist but this is what I've settled on doing. Is this especially unusual in Blues fingerpicking? Are there disadvantages? Obviously there is a difference in tone; it's easier to make the treble melody sound "brighter".
Same here. I cannot use fingerpicks or flatpicks (for strumming I hold my first finger between my thumb and second finger, then use it like a flatpick). Unorthodox maybe, but it's the technique I fell into years ago and the one I use to this day.

He's not generally known for "Blues", but I've heard Riley Puckett did this, and his playing seemed to be in no way handicapped by it.
"Oh the coffee that they give you, they says it was mighty fine! It's good for cuts and bruises, and it tastes like iodine!"

Offline jed

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2022, 03:51:49 PM »
Having used (and tried to maintain) nails since forever, my go-to whining fingertip remedy has always been pure super glue.  It lso works on fretting fingertips and doesn't harm guitars when flaking off - which it will do off after a day or so (or after a shower or swim - cyanoacrylate is water-soluble).

Super glue is a plentiful resource, and is also used in surgery.  Its only downside in my experience has been the frustration felt when seeing the amount that ages out in the vial before having a chance to do my bidding. 

Of course, having enough nail to make that "click" really helps with hearing the sound.  Keeping nails in shape through thick and thin is an art all its own (involving nail files, super glue, silk, pieces of ping pong balls, picking adjustments and, sometimes, sheer patience). 
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline waxwing

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2022, 07:47:44 PM »
Hey Jed

See my post about using UV resin instead of acrylic for nail support: https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=12137.msg109377#msg109377

Wax
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Offline davidbeinct

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Re: Finger soreness
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2022, 04:11:51 AM »
I keep nails on my right hand and hit the strings with my nails. I am not a classical guitarist but this is what I've settled on doing. Is this especially unusual in Blues fingerpicking? Are there disadvantages? Obviously there is a difference in tone; it's easier to make the treble melody sound "brighter".
I once heard a friend of a friend playing blues and ragtime with nails. It was years ago and everyone else in my circle of friends was playing typical sixties and seventies rock stuff but this guy was killing the old timey music. Looking back I wish I had asked him to teach me. I’m jealous of people who can play with nails as psoriasis makes mine brittle.

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