Is there anything in one's setup that can cause excessive calluses on left-hand fingers? One of my students is having some trouble with this -- she does practice quite a lot, but it's never been a problem before. I'm wondering if a switch of strings, or even string height, could help. Right now she has a Dominants, but the E is not wound. Is a wound E more gentle on the fingers?
Does she play any other instrument? My calluses aren't nearly as pronounced as they were when I was playing guitar and mandolin.
Hi Dear Laurie,
About E string maybe Pirastro Eudoxa.... I tried once this E string...
I had my string height lowered when I bought my violin, which helped. Too much can feel mushy though.
There are many factors: string height, string hardness, how hard she presses, and past and present activities outside of violin.
She does not play any other instrumenat, but I second the observation about mandolin -- during my brief experiments on that instrument, my calluses grew at least twice as thick, and all in about a week!
I don't have calluses from playing a musical instrument of any kind, though I have some on the edges of my palms close to the base of my fingers from intensive monkey bar work when I was younger. They are not going to go away anytime soon, as I like to hang on the rings at home. Doesn't affect violin playing or anything.
Two things come to mind:
While reading your post Laurie the first thing that came to mind is the strings are probably too high, requiring excessive pressure to create a good tone. In my experience excessive callouses are caused by either too narrow strings (unavoidable on a violin) and too much pressure.
Is your student doing a lot of shifting exercises... the kind where you slide up and down the string to the proper pitch? I've noticed that I start getting calluses when I practice a lot of shifting.
The one new thing she has been doing is two-octave double stop scales in thirds...it sort of doubles the shifts for your fingers!
She could try applying Pirastro finger protect everytime before playing
I think it's okay to slide and shift at once, as long as you don't press too hard.
On the positive side, it may help her for L.H. Pizzicati in the future.
No callouses needed for LH pizz, though.
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