How to Create Guitar Calluses (Myths and Truths)


‘Arrggh the pain!’ you scream as you bravely struggle through that solo when the burning in your fingers is impolitely telling you to stop.

You wonder how anyone got through it to ever become a guitar great. Your own trajectory needs a boost to give you the practice time you crave.

You’ve heard of wild solutions; some of them border on degrading yourself to the point you’d rather give up learning the guitar. We have a pick of the myths and truths to develop strong guitar calluses fast.

Sandpaper

You practice and then file down the skin on your fingers: MYTH.

Tearing down the entire surface of your current callus just destroys what you have and doesn’t create the pressure needed to make them grow faster. It is also madness.

Salt and water

Mix together a saline solution and dip your fingers in it three-times a day: TRUTH…ish

You’re on the right lines but the key is to get a good amount of salt in the solution. Salt draws moisture from the skin, explaining why a mixture of saltwater and pulling on a lot of rope makes fisherman the greatest guitar players on earth.

Urine

Well, you can try this however you like but it’s probably best to use a pot of some kind. Keep them submerged three times a day: MYTH.

Your older brother is playing a poor practical joke on you. If you believed this, also be wary of people who ask you to buy them a tin of tartan paint.

Rubbing Alcohol

Swab the solution on your fingertips with a cotton bud three times a day: TRUTH.

The highly concentrated fluid will help to reduce moisture around the fingertip, which usually causes them to soften. Buy a bottle today!

Superglue

Apply the glue to your fingertips: MYTH.

This is a radical approach, which could cause you unnecessary additional pain. It will provide a helmet over your fingertips when you play but will not result in the faster growth of calluses.

Just play

Play your guitar: TRUTH.

Just play man, you know? As simple as it sounds, this is the most effective way. It takes perseverance and determination but your calluses will be won gracefully. Practice 20 to 30 minutes every day or until they really start to hurt; this ‘natural’ pressure will build them exactly where you need them because of where you repeatedly place your fingers on the frets.

Additionally, try bending the G or B string in standard tuning up towards you. Hold it there as long as you can until it really starts to burn. Try this with each of your fingers.

Press on with your guitar music lessons and you’ll be pressing on the plank more often; play and they will come. Oh and for more guitar what not, check out our new guitar playing tips page.

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Guest Post: Tom Siddle is singer/songwriter who blogs on behalf of www.bimm.co.uk.’