Need to borrow some fingers...

Damnit. What the hell is wrong with my fingers? It's like I have some super duper healing ability. My friggin calluses fall off every time I take a shower. I gotta stop using that chick soap I guess.

I absolutely love heavy strings but damnit they hurt. Then every time I start to grow some nice calluses...they just dissappear unless I play for hours 7 days a week. This limits my playing time to like 2 hours at a pop which sucks!

I'm tempted to take a cheese grater to my frickin hands. That'll teach em.

Really though, I'm thinking of wearing rubber gloves in the shower. I'm so sick of this. Anyone else have this problem?

Slackmaster 2000
The same thing happens to me. Just take the advice of one of my beer-bellied, copenhagen-dipping, BIKE short-wearin', paddle-wielding, wife-beating, statuatory raping, always-yellin' coaches from high school and play through the pain.

I think in one post S8-N had mentioned pizza grease....that works too.

A few shots of jagermeister may do the trick as well, but your playing would probably suffer.

It's not the kind of pain you can play through though. That's what sucks. If I keep going then I can't play for at least a day after. It's like excercising every day until you can't stand it...and still being a big fatass.

I remember once jamming with some friends. It was one of those all night drunkin type things and towards the end my fingers were just raw as hell. Every ten minutes or so I'd run and stick them in the freezer for a couple minutes until I couldn't feel them. That helped a bit. Then towards the end I wrapped them up in packing tape which also helped but made playing pretty strange. Of course everyone else had a good time picking on the guy with tape over his frozen fingers.

It's like my fingers are real proud of themselves. "Look Slack, we healed up perfectly! Good as new!" Oh, great.

If it looked cool I might not complain so much. I do have a tendancy to slice my right pinky and/or ring finger on the strings. Of course that's never intentional nor desirable, but people always say, "whoa, that dude's jammin so hard he's bleeding on his strings!" Dipshits.

Slackmaster 2000
If you're playing with heavy strings anyway, then try out some 11 or 12 gauge flatwounds. The bottom four strings are smoother, so there won't be as much friction, and thus your fingers shouldn't get as raw as quick. Plus they sound cool 'cause they don't make that high-pitched squeak when you slide up and down the strings.

Well, I wasn't really expecting that I would actually find a solution to this problem...other than constant playing for days on end so that my fingers don't have a chance to heal over (which seems to happen in a 24 period!).

However, might be onto something with the larger strings. It's the smaller strings that really hurt after a while. But what about tone and bending? 16s are pretty frickin heavy strings on an electric. I think SRV used custom 13s(or 14s?) and people thought that was insane. I'm using 11s now and I can't seem to find a decent set of 12s. Anyone? I really like Ernie Ball strings cause they don't break on me...but the heaviest they make are the Power far as I know.

I AM going to try the rubber glove thing in the shower though to see if that helps...regardless it'll be fun. :)

Slackmaster 2000
Hey Slack

The rubber glover thing in the shower will probably work. Before we built our new house I did alot of dishes because my wife and I worked out. I wore the gloves then for the same reason and it helped. Now we have a dish washer, thank god.

I was just thinking how weird it is taking a piss with a golf glove on. But showering with rubber gloves on would be really weird.

The solution is this:
Get the heaviest damn strings you can find... I use Gibson cause they have thickest core:

They are so thick they won't cut into your fingers unless you let 'em get rusty like I do... I just get a tetnus shot after I play.
Finger Ease works well, too.

Personally I like pizza grease better than that Finger Ease crap; at least I'm not afraid to ingest it. Both will cut down on string oxidation (rust). And the guage adjustment only reduces slicing injuries. The pain from applying continuous pressure to suspension bridge cables to avoid horrible buzzing can be worse than the mess of blood all over your fretboard.
My callouses are permanent now, I think my trade might have something to do with it because I don't really play guitar that much anymore...
Heat can toughen skin. I can grab chicken wings out of fryers and steaks off of a grill barehanded. TRy touching your fingertips to the red-hot burner of your stove. Just for a millisecond at first, then work your way up to a half a second... Eventually your fingertips will get so tough that you can... ugh... do things that require tough fingertips.
Try super glue or PVC glue. Ever got that stuff on your hands? It makes a layer of thick plastic which doesn't easily come off.
I spent a year with only an acoustic to my name once.. and being a metal head all I knew were thrash songs. So I played them acoustic. It made my fingers like bricks!

S8-N's comment about heat is right on. I used to maintain my calluses for weeks when I wasn't playing by pressing my finger tips on a hot griddle several times a day. You can also amaze your friends with this trick. Have a bowl of ice water nearby in case you get them puppies a little too hot.

Also, I've heard that some players (Clapton, for one)dip their finger tips in Isopropyl alcohol several times a day to dry them out and promote calluses.

Also, I press the sharp edge of a finger nail on my right hand into the flesh of my left hand finger tips--kind of a nervous habit--this keeps my calluses deep and tuff.

Anytime I've used rubber gloves (painting, etc.) they've made my hands sweat. This would seem to be counter productive to callus growth.