INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Getting those calluses


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Getting those calluses Oct 24, 2003 11:55 a.m.

As some of you know, I took a fall a couple of weeks ago and sprained a couple fingers and thumb on my left hand, as well as popping my shoulder out of joint. I walk with a cane, and the cane slipped out under me on a wet floor (which had warning signs I stupidly chose to ignore.)

Anyway, I had a little splint on my hand that was just taken off. Wanting to help speed recovery of strength in my fingers, a few days ago I ordered a "Gripmaster" finger exerciser from Musicians Friend (I had one that my son borrowed and never returned a long time ago, so rather than hassle him about it, I just ordered a new one.) While ordering, I noticed they had "Ruff Rider Ruff Grip Callus Builder Caps" that go onto the finger presses on the Gripmaster.

These are simple little plastic thingys that just snap right on. Each of these caps have three lines that somewhat simulates guitar strings. I've started using these a couple of days ago, several times a day for just a few minutes, and I can tell I'm already developing that pre-callus rough skin. I figure in a few days I'll be back to where I was before my accident, and in a week or so I may be quite callused.

I do try to work the excerciser so that the groves his different parts of my fingers to develop the calluses all over, as well as holding the back part of it not just in my palm, but by my thumb as well, since I not only want to redevelop the strength of my thumb, but also because between the thumb and the first couple of fingers is where most of the power I need for sitar.

There's also a little self contained Ruff Rider Callus Builder, looks like a hunk of rubber with similar surfaces as the Gripmaster snap-ons, but I would think its not near as beneficial.

Does anyone else use the Gripmaster exerciser? If so, what strength do you use. I use medium, but am thinking of ordering a stronger one.if I can find one. At Musician's Friend they only carry up to mediums, but I think I saw some stronger ones at a rock climbing store. I just wonder if working with the stronger ones is worth it, or should I simply stick to mediums for sitar work.

Billy Godfrey
Re:Getting those calluses Oct 24, 2003 02:14 p.m.

Hi Billy: I use the gripmaster to warm up my fingers while I'm driving to the gig. (drummer) I have the blue one, I haven't seen any other strength model. Interesting concept about the rough rider. Because of the unusual callous that we develope, with the lines/grooves, I'm not sure if the rough rider thing would help or hinder progress. I guess it's worth a try, you can always just stop using it, eh?
Re:Getting those calluses Oct 24, 2003 09:24 p.m.

Hi Billy, Tune your sitar up to D and then play 2-3 or 4 note meends in the lower register. Do it till the skin is raw. You'll have keratin like callouses in no time.

(Much quicker in developing callouses than simply playing scales or tans up and down the fret board.)

Good luck my friend.

Re:Getting those calluses Oct 24, 2003 10:11 p.m.

Yeah thanks, we've had the topic of building calluses before. I was just mentioning a discovery I hadn't known about as another option. As I think I mentioned in my post, I move it around so there won't be "grooves" from the "strings" on my fingers, just hopefully a general callus. I had used Gripmasters before for building strength in my fingers after an operation some time ago, knew how handy they are, and thought the addition of the "Ruff Rider" was a cool idea.
Billy Godfrey
Re:Getting those calluses Oct 27, 2003 10:15 a.m.

I had lunch with a guitar friend and he asked how the sitar was going, so I tapped the table with my callous to show that I had some good callous growing (sounds like a finger nail).

He said that with guitar, in time, the callous gets soft outside but is hard inside so it doesn't make that noise. Is this what will happen with sitar? Or is my friend full of it (again ).

AJ (Oct 24, 2003 03:49 p.m.):
If you don't feel you're building up callus fast enough Billy, playing w/o oil is an option, as well...........

I had a 2 week lapse here not too long ago and the outer layer I had to "rebuild"
The good part was, it seemed that what was underneath that upper layer was still intact, and when I went back to work, I only had 2 small blisters to deal with, which the henna paste took care of quickly, within a few days I was back on track
Play every single day, that's the best way to build your callus

Good luck

Re:Getting those calluses Oct 27, 2003 11:26 a.m.

Oh yeah, I forgot one most important point: the Gripmaster fits in my pocket so I can carry it around much easier than my sitar.
Billy Godfrey
Re:Getting those calluses Oct 27, 2003 05:30 p.m.

Hey pb

All my guitar callus' have always been hard on the outside, too.......the only time that's disappeared has been when I haven't played in a long time......but they seem to come back rapidly, simply because I think they go so deep in the skin......not as difficult to rebuild them

Never heard of anything like you mentioned, tho
Who knows though?


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