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View Full Version : Just an observation. Build callouses before you can seriously practice



cyber3d
08-09-2017, 08:17 AM
Long ago I played the violin (which I still have). But, forgot about callouses. My advice to a beginner is to build them up slowly with practice before you get frustrated or discouraged with sore fingers. Don't be too concerned with your fingering. Once they build up then you can have longer more meaningful practice sessions.

ukantor
08-09-2017, 10:12 AM
That is sound advice, but it I am surprised to learn that some people have a problem with sore fingers from fretting the ukulele. I never had that kind of discomfort and do not have any callouses or thickening of the skin on my finger tips. It was not a problem when I first started to learn. I once had a period of a couple of years when I never played, and had no problem when I came back to the uke.

My mother had a quirky saying, "Where there's no sense, there's no feeling!". That might be what she meant.

cyber3d
08-09-2017, 11:12 AM
That is sound advice, but it I am surprised to learn that some people have a problem with sore fingers from fretting the ukulele. I never had that kind of discomfort and do not have any callouses or thickening of the skin on my finger tips. It was not a problem when I first started to learn. I once had a period of a couple of years when I never played, and had no problem when I came back to the uke.

My mother had a quirky saying, "Where there's no sense, there's no feeling!". That might be what she meant.

Really. No callouses? I wonder if most players fall into that category? I had them from the violin and now with the ukulele.

Purpleorchid
08-09-2017, 12:25 PM
LOL, maybe it's a violin thing. I played the violin for 14 years way back when, then stopped. I don't remember having callouses but then again, I was a kid/teenager. Then played the guitar for a couple years after a long string instrument hiatus, got callouses at first, and then stopped playing b/c the steel strings hurt. And now many years later, I'm picking up the ukulele and have little callouses forming on my fingertips.

ripock
08-09-2017, 12:32 PM
No callouses here, but my index finger gets sore if I practice whole-note bends for too long. Perhaps it is genetic. Or perhaps we need we need another word. I competitively lift kettlebells and I have callouses at the base of each finger on my palm. Those are hard, definite and sometimes I can even pull them off because they are so raised. Is that what you have on your fingertips? I assume not. However, before I removed them the steel strings of my baritone would put indentations in my fingers. I could see where maybe that would result in something closer to a callous. Perhaps my fingertips are a little rougher than the pads of my fingers; it is hard to say since the tips are bony and the pads are fleshy.

robinboyd
08-09-2017, 01:12 PM
I certainly got callouses when I started playing. They are nearly gone now, though.

cyber3d
08-09-2017, 03:15 PM
I certainly got callouses when I started playing. They are nearly gone now, though.

Why do you think that is? Has you finger technique improved? Lighter touch with better placement? or a uke with a proper setup?

robinboyd
08-09-2017, 03:29 PM
Why do you think that is? Has you finger technique improved? Lighter touch with better placement? or a uke with a proper setup?

All of the above... Also, a guitar player once told me that after you build up callouses they tend to soften as your fingers get used to chording. Don't know why, but it's been my experience... I still have callouses, but they are pretty soft now.

dhbailey
08-09-2017, 11:30 PM
I've played guitar for over 30 years and 4 years ago I took up the mandolin and then re-started learning violin and have been playing ukulele since February of this year. I've never had callouses -- not the thick build-up kind that start to peel or get caught on the strings. What my fingers have done is thickened the skin at the tips of my fretting hand, so they hold the strings down properly but without pain. Except for the ukulele -- I had finger pain when I started playing the ukulele. Mine is properly set-up, at least according to what I've learned on-line about string heights, it's easy to fret but there's something about ukulele strings which affect my fingertips differently from guitar, mandolin or violin strings. So when I lay off the ukulele for a week (like this past week when I was away on vacation) when I start up again I have some fingertip pain but after playing for a while it goes away. Very interesting how that is.

dinghy
08-12-2017, 02:24 PM
Ahoy

new at it
practicing about one hour a day
last six months
no callouses
no finger pain to speak of

except first finger
right hand
broke that in printing press
30 years ago
at times it will hurt
then use ring finger to strum

yours truly
mac

Rllink
08-14-2017, 03:32 AM
I certainly got callouses when I started playing. They are nearly gone now, though.


Why do you think that is? Has you finger technique improved? Lighter touch with better placement? or a uke with a proper setup?

I play every day, with few exceptions, and I have since the day I picked up my first ukulele. I started out and got callouses after a couple of weeks. Then I lost total feeling in the tips of my fingers because they go so thick. It was weird, because it was hard to pick up coins and such with my left hand because I couldn't feel them. So that lasted a long time, like maybe a year. Then I got feeling back in them. Then the callouses started peeling periodically and when the peeled they were tender. Then after two years of playing almost every day, they peeled and didn't come back, but there was no tenderness. Now, it has been more than three years, I have feeling in my fingers and no callouses. I can play minutes or hours with no problems. I don't think that it has anything to do with technique or setup. If anything, I am more aggressive and I slide chords up and down the neck, do hammer ons and such more than I did when I started. I think it is just how it goes.

cyber3d
08-14-2017, 07:25 PM
At this point, I also have (as you did) callouses thick enough I can't pick up a credit card on a table! Too thick for nerve endings to feel. Glad it will go back to normal someday!

TopDog
08-14-2017, 10:42 PM
Former guitarist,and ten year ukulele player,
never has callouses to speak of. A bit of
residual soreness when I first played guitar,
and similar (But not so bad) when I first took
up the uke. Everyone finds it different I guess?

Rllink
08-15-2017, 02:33 AM
At this point, I also have (as you did) callouses thick enough I can't pick up a credit card on a table! Too thick for nerve endings to feel. Glad it will go back to normal someday!

Sometimes I think that drives me to play every day. I don't want to condition my fingers again.

JackLuis
08-16-2017, 07:08 PM
This morning my Uke Buddy, Gary, came over and we played a mess of songs for about two hours. I might play that much over the course of a day, but seldom more than 15-30 minutes at a time. My fingers were sore and my callouses had all peeled off. I think the new EJ99's were part of the problem, they are a lot thinner that the Worth Browns they replaced. I am however learning to press less aggressively.

tinytaylor
08-24-2017, 10:43 AM
I have eczema real bad and so instead of callouses, my fingers just tend to peel and bleed a bit. I chug on though, nothing can make me put my uke down!

Jarmo_S
08-25-2017, 12:15 AM
I'm a long time guitar player and uke is imo no more easier thing than guitar regarding calluses.
With guitar as you play chords for accompaniment, many of them are barre chords. Less them with ukulele, so our fingertips get more used.

One advice that holds for all fretted instruments I can give is try avoid playing straight after washing hands, though when your skin is soft.

Also this I want to add, our ukuleles are not always optimised in nut height. The optimal would be that a credit card does not leave any gap at first fret, that height or maybe a little less.
My Kala KA-CEM uke does fit that that criteria on A-string, but on g-string the action is a bit higher, but not too much that I bother about it.