How to avoid calluses

Edited: October 7, 2017, 5:38 PM · I haven't been practicing for a while and all my calluses went away. I started playing again and I noticed that my fingers are a lot more flexible. Now I don't want the calluses to come back. What can I do? I know about applying less pressure and I still need to work on that. Are there any other tips and tricks I can do? Thanks in advance :-)

Replies (12)

October 7, 2017, 5:48 PM · I'm just curious, what do calluses have to do with flexibility? Calluses are on your fingertips; flexibility has more to do with your hand's internal anatomy.
Edited: October 7, 2017, 6:45 PM · I just feel more flexible when doing vibrato. Maybe I've been doing it wrong the whole time then.
Edited: October 7, 2017, 6:59 PM · You're not going to avoid a callus forming eventually. If you think the dryness of the callus or numbness is causing you to lose your vibrato get an emery board fingernail file and sand down the callus, but dont take it down so far to where you take off the skin under it.
October 7, 2017, 7:12 PM · Why avoid Calluses? I would rather have them than not. It would seem to be part of the attributes of a string player.
October 7, 2017, 8:54 PM · Not all string players have calluses, and there's lots of variables here, including skin properties. Calluses are not a bad thing. If they come, they come. If they don't, they don't.
October 7, 2017, 11:04 PM · You shouldn't get calluses at all. A thickening in the fatty layer of the fingertips, yes, but not the hard epidermis. Don't press harder than needed. and release pressure while shifting. The practice of leaving fingers down, recommended in so many technical books and etude editors, is part of the problem. jq
October 8, 2017, 4:47 AM · Leaving fingers down is situational; there are times when it's best to do so and other times when it's best avoided.

I suspect the OP has vibrato issues that have to do with technique, not calluses. But it's impossible to say for sure without seeing/hearing her.

October 8, 2017, 5:27 AM · When you resume playing after a layoff like this, keep your practice sessions short for a while. I hold mine at about 20 minutes the first 3-4 days, then lengthen them incrementally till I'm back to 3 hours a day after about 2 weeks. The rebuild process varies, time-wise, from one player to the next. Bottom line: You want to avoid inflammation or injury to subcutaneous tissues.

Be sure to do some left-hand stretches in your warm-ups. This can help offset the tendency to press too hard into the string. I find a suitable toughening of the fingertips desirable; but you don't want to develop the kind of calluses that interfere with your playing -- or lead to infections.

October 8, 2017, 9:39 AM · Also, take breaks when you mentally need them.
October 8, 2017, 10:49 AM · Of course I have vibrato issues I'm still a very beginner so I'm still practicing. I just feel I practice better overall without calluses. Since I'm getting mixed opinions about them I just see what happens I guess. Thank you all for your responses.
October 12, 2017, 12:52 PM · So now I'm starting to get those calluses again. They make those grooves on my fingertips I don't know how to describe them. My fingertips are no longer round. Without the calluses my vibrato sounded very good for the first time (I recorded it) and now I get these grooves again and flattened fingertips it starts to sound awful again I can't roll my fingers anymore. That's why I don't want them. I want round fingertips like normal.
October 13, 2017, 2:42 PM · I sense a deeper issue - how your hands look to others.

There are some people who cannot make callus tissue and if they try playing string instruments they will eventually bleed for their art.

A long-long time ago when I first started playing I had the kind of finger tip you dislike. As I played more and more the callus tissues rounded out but they are still hard. Your problem is probably that your calluses are not fully developed.


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