May 2011 29

fingertip callusHello all and welcome back to FretNoobs.com!!

Ever tried to play a song or do some guitar practicing and your fingers, especially fingertips, started to hurt..?…A lot? You need a nice set of fingertip calluses!

First of all, a callus is a layer of dead skin that covers and protects the healthy layers of skin from repeated stress like extensive guitar practicing and playing.

To build calluses is a goal for most guitarists. But what calluses are needed for, someone might ask. Well, calluses are protecting the fingertip from the action of the guitar strings and actually make it a lot easier to fret a note.

The only way to get calluses is by actually playing a lot. This can be a painful process so once your fingertips start to ache you should stop playing, giving them a chance to recover.Once you got them though, in order to maintain them you have to keep playing guitar. As long as you practice or playing (at least for 40 minutes a day) your calluses will stay thick. Over a period of time, a layer will flake off, which is perfectly normal and you shouldn’t worry if this happens.

It is important though to limit the time you soak your hands in the water. After you had a shower, or washed your car, or dishes or whatever action might involve your hands in the water, make sure NOT to play the guitar until your fingers are completely dried (aprox. 1 hour) .

But one could ask, what can I do to maintain my calluses while I’m not playing? Most of us don’t have the luxury of playing the guitar for at least 40 minutes per day because either we have our daily jobs, classes or whatever. A good way of maintaining your calluses then is to rub some alcohol in your fingertips, once a week. For the most adventurous among you sandpaper is a good solution. BUT be careful don’t overdo it!! Just make a simple 1-2 passes over your fingers like every 2 days. DON’T start scratching your fingers against the sandpaper like a madman…you could hurt yourself! You have been warned :)

And as a wise man said once, No Pain…No Gain!! :)

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