June 29, 2010 at 4:03 am #108015
What do you all find you have to do to keep your fingers supple yet protected from the pounding of the strings? Soak them? File them? Moisturize them? Something else?
Have any of you heard of anyone doing something extreme or weird to maintain their perfect fingers?
~SamJune 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm #108016
None of you do anything to keep your fingers healthy? Really? Surely you MUST do something.
~SamJune 29, 2010 at 7:11 pm #108017kay-listerMember
Let those calluses form – you need them.June 30, 2010 at 2:16 am #108018kathy-chanikParticipant
I find my fingertips make a harsh scraping sound while plucking unless I keep them well polished with an emery board every day, and it also keeps those fingertip splits atJune 30, 2010 at 2:43 am #108019
Yes! Same here, Kathy! I file my fingers too. It doesn’t seem right though. (the natural harsh scraping noise that my hands make) I’ve been playing the harp for nearly 9 years and I’ve almost never had a callus! Instead I just get hard “plates” of skin. Do you find the same thing? Does anyone know if this is an indication of something wrong?
~SamJune 30, 2010 at 1:20 pm #108020Christian FrederickParticipant
I know exactly what you are talking about. It’s almost like layers of skin forming. Try this…. dab some Nair or equivalent hair remover on your hands. Let it stay on for no more than ten minutes, then rinse throughly. Wow, your finger tips will remain smooth for many weeks / months…..July 1, 2010 at 1:05 am #108021kathy-chanikParticipant
Wow, Christian!July 1, 2010 at 1:52 am #108022
I’ve always wondered that myself. My teacher has a sizeable callus on her thumb – itsJuly 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm #108023
I recommend filing the fingertips with very fine sandpaper once a week if you are playing more than two hours a day, and when not playing, moisturizing with moisture balm, wildroot, or pond’s dry skin cream. Ideally, you want something with lanolin in it. When you are going to play, your fingers should be clean and dry. Wildroot is a hair cream. There are different types of skin. The harder your skin gets, the more often you need to abrade it, but the fine paper is much better than an emery board, which can tear your skin.July 1, 2010 at 4:42 pm #108024
Suppleness of the fingers is an entirely different matter. To me, that comes from good finger movement, closing all the way, natural hand position, and maximal releasing of pressure or tension. The best way to develop it is with about 30 minutes of daily exercises, such as LaRiviere.July 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm #108025Christian FrederickParticipant
Hi Kathy… I discovered this by accident. So, us guys with Eastern European decent tend to loose hair on top in our 30s and grow hair on our neck and shoulders. So rather than waxing (tried that once), I bought some Nair and used it on my shoulders and put it on with my hands. Then I discovered that my hands became very smooth, and the squeaking / harsh contact with the harp strings cleared up. So now, about every month or two, I apply Nair to my hands for about 8-10 minutes.July 2, 2010 at 2:18 am #108026
Supple was the wrong word… I suppose lush? Because ones fingers might not be producing a harsh tone, but might not make a lush tone either. Of course, this is partly due to technique (and suppleness!) but the finger texture also has so much to do with it. I wonder if anyone has done a study on how finger texture effects timbre…
~SamJuly 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm #108027Jessica AParticipant
Previous comments:July 4, 2010 at 3:39 am #108028
Lushness, from what I hear, comes from having fat or broad, fleshy pads on your fingers. Men have an advantage there, but some women have these kinds of fingers as well. But there are ways to compensate if you have thin, bony fingers.July 4, 2010 at 4:04 am #108029
Saul, I definitely agree with you there – that lushness stems from broad, fleshy pads, (my wise teacher is constantly telling me this!) but the presence of hardened skin is going to work directly against you on that,
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