Callouses are normal for violinists, and to some extent they are beneficial, otherwise we would have sore finger tips all the time! However, there is such thing as excessive callouses which actually can impede our playing.
Callouses are normal for string players, and to some extent they are beneficial, otherwise we would have sore finger tips all the time! They can help violinists avoid pain. However, there is such thing as excessive callouses which actually can impede our playing.
Excessive callouses can be from pressing too hard, or habitually “grinding” the string against the fingerboard, but sometimes the callouses aren’t our fault! They can be caused by equipment issues or by our own bodies.
Some individuals tend to build callouses very easily and to the extreme, while others keep that “baby’s bottom” soft skin no matter how much they play. We can’t change our bodies, so we learn how to cope with what we’ve got!
Suggestions for minimizing callouses, and COPING with them:
- Minimize your finger pressure on the strings. We only need about 2oz (56g) of pressure to get a good sound. Most people use 10x that much.
- MASSAGE your finger tips 1 minute every 30 minutes of playing. Plump up those squished down spots! Believe me, I have had callouses, and this helps immensely…probably by restoring circulation and fluids back into the fingertip and keeping the skin soft and pliant. This doesn’t take alot of time….15 seconds per finger, that’s it.
- Moisturize your fingertips at night with your best lotion or oils, and massage it in.
- In cases of thick, hard callouses, you can take an emery board and file them down. Don’t take them all off….just thin them out. THEN, moisturize and massage them.
- Check the thickness of your strings, and the height of your “action” (distance from string to fingerboard). It might be set too high, or your strings might be extra thick gauge for no reason.