Calluses and Trills

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Phil McKelliget
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Location: Goodrich, UK

Calluses and Trills

Post by Phil McKelliget » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:23 pm

I have a problem when playing trills inasmuch as the calluses on the tips of my left hand fingers tend to catch the strings and generate a scratchy tone. I sometimes rub them down a bit with coarse emery paper but this is only partially effective. Does anybody have any hot tips? What do the professionals do?

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eno
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by eno » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:50 pm

Yes, that's always a problem if you don't do anything about it. I file them thin and even (but not too thin so that they still protect the fingertips) with coarse diamond files. I'm not a professional but I learnt it from a professional player at a mastercalss. Some people use crèmes and I assume it helps but I don't bother, filing works just fine for me.
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lucy
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by lucy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:48 pm

Hi Phil

Nice to see you here! :)

I have the same problem. It's called practising too much!! I can't even do a pull-off slur sometimes.

My glass nail file simply didn't work, (probably because it had been left too long and the skin was "fragmenting"!)

I don't want to file my calluses too much, because I want to keep them thick, so I went out and bought a thing to take hard skin off feet. I didn't put the handle on, so I could put it in my little pencil case, that contains other bits and pieces.

It looks quite coarse and I haven't tried it yet, but I hope if I rub the offending callus very gently, it might do the trick. Might finish off with a nail file.

Lucy (aka Nina Rideout)
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

Laudiesdad69
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:17 am

I sand mine, and put a little bag balm on my fingertips at night when I go to bed. Helps with string squeaks too. Of course if I play my electric guitar for any amount of time it just chews up the calluses, and I have to sand them some more. Just don't take too much off.

Phil McKelliget
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Location: Goodrich, UK

Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by Phil McKelliget » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:18 am

Thanks everyone. There’s some good tips there that I’ll experiment with. Hi Nina, nice to hear from you.

Annette
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by Annette » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:49 pm

I have the same problem. It's called practising too much!!
Hi, my teacher told me, that the reason for too much calluses is playing with too much pressure.
I regularly practice to reduce the pressure of the fingers of my left hand as much as possible and now this problem is solved, I' ve got just the right amount of calluses on my fingertips without doing anything else.

Yours Annette

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lucy
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by lucy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:18 pm

Annette wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:49 pm
I have the same problem. It's called practising too much!!
Hi, my teacher told me, that the reason for too much calluses is playing with too much pressure.
I regularly practice to reduce the pressure of the fingers of my left hand as much as possible and now this problem is solved, I' ve got just the right amount of calluses on my fingertips without doing anything else.
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with your teacher Annette. I'm sure practising with too much pressure will have an impact, but I just can't believe that playing with less pressure will always solve the problem.

I have played for many, many years and I still get this problem, periodically. Though in my case, I also have very dry skin, which probably contributes to the problem.

Anyway, I just wanted to report that I used that device I mentioned earlier, for the very first time, the other day. I rubbed the calluses very gently, just enough to do the job and it was fine.

In fact, it's going to have another benefit. Because that device only takes off the offending bits, it leaves more of the callus in place, so I'll have even thicker "pads" than before!
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. Theodore Roosevelt

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cedartop
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by cedartop » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:27 pm

Annette wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:49 pm
I have the same problem. It's called practising too much!!
Hi, my teacher told me, that the reason for too much calluses is playing with too much pressure.
I regularly practice to reduce the pressure of the fingers of my left hand as much as possible and now this problem is solved, I' ve got just the right amount of calluses on my fingertips without doing anything else.

Yours Annette
I agree with Annette. If I've had to lay off for a while, when I first get going again, the callous can built up more than I'd like. You have to use too much pressure when you place your left hand fingers inaccurately. As the precision increases, the need for more pressure does as well and the callouses respond. See how much pressure it takes to make a clean sound the further away from the fret you place your fingers (or if the string isn't on the right spot on the tip of your finger).
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SteveL123
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Re: Calluses and Trills

Post by SteveL123 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:57 pm

After not playing for 14 years and starting again a year ago, my fingers hurt and calluses started to build which squeaked a lot on the strings so I would have to file them down with a fine nail file. I also have very dry skin and would constantly moisturize my fingertips. From this forum, I learned that the action on my guitar was on the high side (5 mm 12th low E). I brought the action down, converted it to a 12 hole bridge which made the guitar much easier to play and sound better. I remember 14 years ago my left hand would get really tired after a bit of playing. Now, a year later, my left hand does not get tired anymore and I have no more calluses on my fingertips and do not have to file them anymore. I think that is due to a combination of a guitar with lower action, better technique and moisturizing the fingers.

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