Terrible fingers!

Posted In: How To Play

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    Chloe C-K on #185834

    I’ve been playing the harp for 11 years and my fingers still are very soft, blister very easily and often start bleed. I practise regularly, normally around two hours per day at least 5 days per week. I’ve tried using surgical spirit to no avail and was hoping someone might have a solution?

    Angela Biggs on #185836

    Have you tried myrrh? I’ve heard it can be used to help your fingers, though I’ve only used it once, so I can’t tell you how effective it really is.

    balfour-knight on #185837

    Chloe, I always use Aloe Vera, either from the live plant, or from a bottled source. Check at your local health-food store for the gel. It is natural and amazing!

    Angela Biggs on #185838

    If you want to try aloe gel, you can make your own to get 100% natural ingredients. Add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum to 1 c. pure aloe juice or aloe water (aloe comes from the plant as a gel but quickly becomes a liquid; if you buy gel at the store it will always have additives).

    balfour-knight on #185839

    Angela, that sounds good, and also the myrrh. I just cut off thin slices of an Aloe leaf as I need it, to apply the REAL THING directly to my fingers. I keep scissors handy and just take it off the plant in small “chunks” which I open up to get to the gel. It is also great for bruises, sun-burn, and all sorts of “ailments.” Thanks, Balfour

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #186087

    Aloe will soften your skin. She needs to toughen it. Ammonia, acids, harsh things will do that. You need to increase the amount of oil in your skin, too. Lanolin products will do that. But I suspect there is more to this. Are you doing a lot of dishes? What time of day do you practice, and what have you been doing with your hands before that? If your skin is wet, just washed too thoroughly, then you will have more problems. Using a very fine sandpaper might help in some way. If none of that helps, then perhaps it is in how you play. Do you place your fingertips on the strings in the same place all the time, or does it vary? Maybe you are putting too much flesh on the string. The thickest part of the finger might never callous. You should be playing toward the edge of the finger, on a diagonal across the edge of the fingertip. Look more closely at how you play the strings. If all else fails, ask a dermatologist.

    balfour-knight on #186211

    Thanks, Saul–all very good ideas. I do not use Aloe to soften my skin/callouses, but to help heal them. Straight from the live plant, the gel gets down in there and forms a nice firm coating over the skin, that actually is more like a light bandage. It helps me to play better after it has dried thoroughly and become tough. I fear that the bottled Aloe would not do this–like Angela said, it has too many additives.

    Cindy Cripps-Prawak on #189070

    As a new player I have resorted to liquid band-aid. I can take it off easily at the end of the day, and it protects my finger tips after I have finished playing and they are red and sore

    balfour-knight on #189071

    I had forgotten about this thread–thanks for reviving it, CCPRAWAK. Chloe, how are your fingers doing? Hope they have improved. I could not do without my Aloe Vera gel. I have had a busy summer of harp playing, with practicing at least an hour every day and some three-hour gigs, plus weddings most weekends. All this takes a toll on the fingers!

    My best to all of you,

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