Q#127: How can you effectively create calluses for guitar practice when you constantly have to wash your hands?

Thanks to Coronavirus and my workplace, I’m washing my hands far more often than ever before. I can’t even use the fingerprint scanner on my phone anymore because it can’t read it (unless I re-calibrate, but I’m debating on that).

The one thing I heard when I first started guitar practice was the need to let your fingers get some calluses or it was gonna be damned hard playing. Well, I started to get some, and I could feel the difference in my practicing. Then when I got my fish tanks and had to change out water, or clean the tank… let’s just say any time I had to touch that water or fish-food, I was washing my hands.

But now with these viral precautions, I’ve easily tripled my hand-washing tendencies. This has worn down my calluses as if I’ve never had any, and it’s hurting to play again.

Even yardwork calluses are going away faster, even after all the wood-handled tools, brush to clear, etc. It’s crazy.

Honestly, those strings feel sharp after a bit, and I feel bummed that I’ve backslid in the little progress I’ve made the past few weeks because of it.

Not that there was much because I wasn’t an efficient student, I admit, but it was enough to notice and make me annoyed this time around.

I just am concerned about what water keeps doing to my fingers, or worse, hand sanitizer. The one-two punch of sanitizer to kill the germs and mixed with the aloe has really softened the hell out of my fingers. They used to only get moisturizer on them because I’d be applying it to skin that needed it elsewhere–now they’re moisturized all the time.

While that might be a good thing for most women, I’d rather have fingers that can handle playing instruments more than 10 minutes at a time without me shaking out the fingers or blotting them on my shorts to create some friction and get excess moisture off.

I know, I know, it’s a matter of patience and maybe breaking practice down into small parts several times a day. Today that wouldn’t be a problem because I’m home all day and can do some practice in between cleaning jobs. Otherwise, it’s a pain, because when I get back to work and wash my hands with soap and water, and put the gloves on to do the interpersonal part of my job, and hand sanitizer on top of the gloves, and repeating this at least half a dozen times in the course of a morning, I can only wonder how long it’ll take those calluses to really keep going.

Now, I DID find a very helpful resource on wikihow: How to Make Your Fingers Hard for Guitar. It has a lot of tips I’m going to try out this week, and if you were wondering yourself how to keep your playing going (if you play any stringed instrument), then here ya go.

I’m sure I’m not the only one suddenly washing their hands a lot more!

Anyhoo, anybody have other tips for keeping their calluses when they know they have to get their hands wet a lot? Or re-growing them after a while?

Floor’s yours…

2 thoughts on “Q#127: How can you effectively create calluses for guitar practice when you constantly have to wash your hands?

  1. rothpoetry says:

    Keep playing for short stints. five to ten minutes… Spread it out over the day. Sing along and you will forget the pain!! Maybe! If worse come to worse, put a little super glue on your callouses to keep them hard!! Have fun… don’t give up it gets better!

    Liked by 1 person

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