I've Got Blisters on my Fingers!

drumb

Junior Member
I've got blisters on my fingers.

Well, new blisters anyway.

I've recently gotten back into it after a long hiatus.

Concerned about volume and neighbors, while my Mapex Pro M sits stacked in the preverbial corner, I've been playing my Yamaha DTXpress IV Special v2. Those old calluses have slowly been returning...even if not as wide spread or as thick as they once were.

I paticipated in an open jam the other day. I guess I played for about and hour broken up into two sittings. The Jam was mostly classic rock/blues...Allmans, Hendrix, even some Who. The folks that I jammed with were quite good and versitile.

Despite the room being quite comfortable, I still worked up a sweat. Rolling around an accoustic kit, for a change, the way I do, and bouncing on a 20" Sabian AAX (surprisingly pingy btw), my hands, particularly my right, had started to blister.

No big deal, really. For drummers, new blisters is old news. Despite any discomfort, just focus on the music and keeping everything together and don't consider or even realise the pain.

Although I did notice the blistering, It wasn't until I got home and started play my DTXpress that I felt the pain. New blisters across my fingers near the middle knuckles beneath already existing and growing calluses and a new (and painful) one near the tip of my right thumb. I put the sticks down. My new blisters will heal and callus and I'll no longer concern myself with them.

So, my point, if not really a question, is about blisters and calluses.
I am curious as to your thoughts and how you deal with them.
 

cp84

Senior Member
i never get them. if i did get them then i'd re-assess my technique. but i think that this has been debated many times and i think that many people have a different opinion on the matter.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
Pop em, drain em, and wrap some tape around it. Make sure all the dead skin is gone too so it heals faster.
 

Boom

Silver Member
I find that the opposite of what Andy advocates works best...just wrap them with a flexible fabric band aid...or use tape...something...but leave them alone. What I have found is that when you pop them, the skin underneath dries out and cracks leading to a longer healing process.

If you leave the separated skin where it is and tape it, sometimes it reattaches. It doesn't reattach as well as it would have originally, but that skin is an added protective layer for you. Think of it is tape that is completely sterile. If the blister hasn't popped, just try to keep it from popping.

Either way, you will end up with a callus. The blister that didn't pop will eventually pull away, but it might take a week or so. At that point, the skin underneath would have healed (grown out) more and you will just develop a callus.

Again, either way you go, you are going to get a callus. Some of it can be avoided with technique. If you create enough friction on the surface of your skin, it will blister and eventually callus.

No big deal. Part of doing most anything physical with your hands.

The technique part is that if you are clenching on the sticks too hard, your hands and skin absorb too much of the energy from the impacts from the stick. If you develop better technique, your hands won't absorb that much energy lowering the friction and therefore the blistering. I had to learn the hard way on all of this. I blistered so badly for 15 years of playing as hard as I could at shows that I even bled from my hands. It was extremely painful. Which is why I can tell you, if you can prevent the blister from popping, it will heal faster. I know from experience of 100's of blisters.

Then I learned better finger and hand technique and allow the stick to do what it wants to do...or at least close to it. And now I don't blister hardly at all, yet I'm still hitting very hard. Good luck!
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Since I've changed my grip, I don't get blisters anymore. But when I did, I found that a regular old Band-Aid, with the gauze part of the strip positioned over the blister, did the trick.
 

tard

Gold Member
Anytime I take a break from playing long enough for the callus's to go away I always get blisters when I start playing again but only on the inside edge of both my pinky fingers. The only time I have got blisters anywhere else on my hands was from using grip tap or the rubber coated sticks. As long as I use unvarnished, unpainted or uncoated sticks I am blister free.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Since I've changed my grip, I don't get blisters anymore. But when I did, I found that a regular old Band-Aid, with the gauze part of the strip positioned over the blister, did the trick.
That's what I do too and I don't pop them. If they pop by themselves, oh well. I don't really get them either since I started using the Grip tape. I love that stuff. I was surprised to get a small blister after a long hiatus away from the kit, but it was just that first time. I've got farmer's hands even though I work in an office now. I grew up doing hard labor outside.

Tard: that's weird how we have opposite experiences and opinions of grip tape....go figure.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
I'm giving a bit on unsoclicited advice here, but this shouldn't really happen. I recommend getting some guidance on your technique.

I easily play 6-8 hour a day, challenging my technical abilities quite a bit. Never had an issue except for sore muscles.

“If they say no pain no gain, shoot them.” - Jim Chapin
 

Arky

Platinum Member
i never get them. if i did get them then i'd re-assess my technique. but i think that this has been debated many times and i think that many people have a different opinion on the matter.
+1. Never had them, too (although not long into drumming) - I'm taking this as a good sign. Not a hard hitter here and just practicing on pads (and a borrowed e-kit) so I might get some blisters in the future when "playing real".

When I get blisters (meaning they aren't drum-related) I used to pop them but have switched to simply ignoring them - in some cases they will simply go away without any traces or I'd pop them when it's time to.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I haven't gotten blisters in a long time. When I was younger I would wear this think white golfing gloves when I played (put them on before you start to play hard). But over the years I've had less and less need for them.
 

tard

Gold Member
That's what I do too and I don't pop them. If they pop by themselves, oh well. I don't really get them either since I started using the Grip tape. I love that stuff. I was surprised to get a small blister after a long hiatus away from the kit, but it was just that first time. I've got farmer's hands even though I work in an office now. I grew up doing hard labor outside.

Tard: that's weird how we have opposite experiences and opinions of grip tape....go figure.
I find the plain wood stick will slide in my hands a bit but the grip tape or rubber coated sticks will grip and pull on the skin causing it to blister.
 

evolving_machine

Silver Member
I started playing again about 4 years ago.

I too had a long absence and when I started playing again I got blisters. I studied drums with some very good instructors way back and learned good techniques.

My problem was injuries and the time not playing ruined the technique I once had. After putting in some time working out on the practice pads, and the drum set, my technique started improve. I do have callus' from the playing, and that helps when playing hand drums.

When I play on the practice pads I use thick marching drum sticks. This is an older way that I am not sure is done anymore. The pads have a greater bounce, and a heavier stick makes you work harder with that bounce. I think the heavier sticks would also give you more indurance when working out on the electronic kit.
 

jafo

Member
So, my point, if not really a question, is about blisters and calluses.
I am curious as to your thoughts and how you deal with them.
I am curious if you use dipped sticks. The ones with rubber coating. If so, this might be some of the trouble. I went through this myself. I got rid of the rubber coated sticks an went with natural finish. I did rugh them up alittle with coarse sand paper until I got used to holding on to them again, but thats all I play with now. One thing you can do if you just got to have some type of grip on your sticks is use Vater's stick wrap. I've also used this with good results and no blistering. They outlast the sticks sometimes and I've transefered the used wrap over to new sticks, so the wrap is pretty durable.
 

HipshotPercussion

Senior Member
No blisters here.

Permanent calluses because I lead what I thought was a normal life, which this thread has exposed as unusually active instead.
 

Mark_S

Silver Member
I agree with the others - I play in 2 bands, 1 of them a rock band which involves lots of rim shots and fairly loud playing - no blisters or callouses here. I played at a festival last weekend and really went for it for an hour and no blisters. It could be I've got used to it - years ago I used to get blisters but then again I used to dent drum heads back then too. Definitely get a teacher check out your technique. I think it boils down to only needing enough contact with the stick to control it, which is not a lot. I just made that up but its probably not far off ;-)
Having said that, I'm sure I've seen some really top players with blisters, perhaps from touring and playing hours every night *shrugs*.
Best of luck.
 

cp84

Senior Member
if your getting blisters then you're absorbing un-necessary shock. i'm not a doctor but i'd imagine that long term this could do other sorts of damage.

also, if you're absorbing shock then you're absorbing energy. energy that could be used in your playing!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
if your getting blisters then you're absorbing un-necessary shock. i'm not a doctor but i'd imagine that long term this could do other sorts of damage.

also, if you're absorbing shock then you're absorbing energy. energy that could be used in your playing!
Yes, blisters are a hallmark of too much resistance on the stick. I don't even have callouses. I was lucky to hook up with a teacher who taught me about the fingers. He taught me that if the fingers are mashing the stick against the palm....that is considered....not proper technique. If the fingers suspend the stick, they will absorb the (considerable) energy like a shock absorber. That's the goal. Your fingers should not transfer the energy to the rest of your hand. Can we all agree on that?

Much harder than it sounds.

If you grab your stick like a hammer, and bend from the elbow....with a stiff wrist...tight hand....brother the further away from that motion you are, the better. IMO.

The easiest way to describe, over the internet, one way to use finger technique is....do a one handed clap. With a stick in your hand.
 
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AndyMC

Senior Member
I also agree blisters shouldn't be happening very often, I used to get some when I used sticks that were too big while playing live but no longer do. I happen to use coated sticks atm, though I personally dislike the stuff the model I like has it. Haven't had problems yet with them causing blisters though I believe my finger technique has improved a lot since I used the big sticks. In any event just ignore the blisters as much as possible, but I prefer to pop them once they get too painful to play well on, then I believe I actually tape them with the dead skin left on then remove it after the show, been awhile so I forget exactly. Once your technique is good enough and ingrained so completely that adrenaline doesn't mess you up at all (not there yet) then you should never get blisters, cramps or hand pain again.
 

bigiainw

Gold Member
I don't get blisters now, but I had a period of about 6 months when I did. I had surgery for bi lateral carpal tunnel, and as a result of the nerve damage from having played for too long before this, my hands no longer sweat at all. I know some people struggle with excessive sweat on their hands, but without any moisture at all and without the gloves I struggle to hold on to the sticks, so I think I try to grip them too tightly, which leads to the blisters. The gloves, although I would rather not wear them, are a necessary evil and they enable me to play in a much more relaxed way..

The gloves also stop me accidentally throwing sticks at the lead singer. the ones I throw at him now are all deliberate!
 
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