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Thread: Finger Ease

  1. #1
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Finger Ease

    After only an hour of playing, my fingertips are really tender. Does anyone know if Finger Ease helps with this issue? Or are there other suggestions for relief?
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Eric Clapton used to put rubbing alcohol on his fingertips, seems to have worked for him. I just kept playing and eventually built up my callouses.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Finger Ease

    I suggest resting as soon as your fingers start to hurt. It can really wreck your ability to play well if your fingers hurt, so just stop. Don't let people make you feel bad about stopping.

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    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    This is a rite of passage for all stringed instrument players. Only playing through it will make it end. Most attempts to relieve it will just prolong the process, but it will pass in time.
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Are you playing an hour each day?

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    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    And no, I don't notice a difference with Finger Ease. But Whiskey, that helps

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  10. #7

    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    After only an hour of playing, my fingertips are really tender. Does anyone know if Finger Ease helps with this issue? Or are there other suggestions for relief?
    How long have you been playing? If you are just starting then I agree it is normal and will pass. If not, is this a different type of pain? Just want to be thorough and make sure we are all on the same page.

  11. #8
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    I've played 3 years and typically practice an hour each day. I've had my setup adjusted and afterward a couple of players have said it's fine. I'm preparing for my first music camp so am mostly playing melody and chords an hour each day.
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  13. #9
    Registered User Sherry Cadenhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Brian, so whiskey won't hurt my mandolin?
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  14. #10

    Default Re: Finger Ease

    I played guitar for years - although not well - (which hurt me more than mandolin ever did). I remember I took a few years off once, the feeling never fully came back in my fingertips, I am convinced both callouses and slight permanent partial numbness are involved, the price we pay for making music. Picking things back up was nowhere near as painful as the first time.

    The pain can be caused by a combination of nerves, soft tissue injury, and even a bone bruise, so pain is a good reason to take it easy until things recover and you build endurance.

    Beware of joint pain, that is not a no-pain-no-gain kind of thing, it is a pain leading to permanent injury kind of thing.

    I find mandolin less stressful in every way compared to guitar, the finger position, the wrist position, and even though it's 8 strings instead of 6, somehow fretting bar (and chop) chords is noticeably easier from a strength/endurance standpoint. One reason may be that when chopping you release the grip frequently, not like the death grip needed on a guitar. The angles are better too, the Mando way of palming the neck (instead of thumbing it like on a guitar) gives the fingers a lot more leverage which adds to endurance and reduces fatigue, but that doesn't help fingertips.

    I am also somewhat experienced in setting up an instrument, and started with an already excellent setup from themandolinstore. I put on the lightest strings I could find, and lowered the action slightly to where buzz barely begins. Their nut setup was perfect, nothing changed there, but I moved the bridge to get the intonation correct with the lighter strings. None of that required any tools other than a tuner. Buying a string height gauge helped my setups too. I write down my string heights at the 1st and 12th fret now, so if I have to cut a new nut or reposition the bridge I know exactly where it was.

    All that made my main mando pretty nice to play on, but it needs one more thing, which is taller frets - which also reduces fretting effort, therefore less pain (especially when going from really low frets like on an Eastman) - I just haven't gotten around to it.

    So in summary:
    - don;t ignore pain, that can lead to permanent injury.
    - setup is king
    - technique will also help, advanced players are very good at using the minimum fretting pressure needed.
    - lighter strings can help, but reduce acoustic power and require a bridge adjustment for intonation (all you need is a tuner and some time), and you can go back whenever you like.
    - taller frets can help (a little) too.
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  16. #11
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Brian, so whiskey won't hurt my mandolin?

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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Is it only one finger that is tender or is three or four? Are you pressing the strings harder than necessary?
    When my fingers become tender, I rest them but sometimes it isn't convenient for me to stop and I play more gingerly.
    Since I play a lot, I protect my calluses by rubbing them nightly with "Climb On", an ointment formulated to preserve rock climbers calluses. I haven't lost a callous since I began using it a year ago
    It also softens and protects my cuticles.

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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Making the assumption you haven't been playing long...when I first started, I was given the advice that new players should get in the habit of playing in short time increments ( for me, it's like 15 to 20 minutes) and then taking breaks versus sitting down with the instrument and practicing for two hours straight. I took this advice and it was something that really worked for me. Even now, this is still basically how I practice; not because of finger pain but just because I believe it's more effective.
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    Front Porch & Sweet Tea NursingDaBlues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    This article has a couple of thoughts that may be helpful if they're applicable.

    https://www.guitartricks.com/blog/Ho...our-Fingertips

    My biggest concern is that after three years and roughly an hour of practice a day, you're experiencing tenderness. You may want to visit a good, knowledgeable instructor or luthier and discuss the strings you're using or your mandolin's setup. Or it could be as simple as changing your practice time if you play after washing dishes or bathing. Good luck.

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  22. #15
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Quote Originally Posted by Sherry Cadenhead View Post
    Brian, so whiskey won't hurt my mandolin?


    Mine prefers a good Amontillado.
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
    Me, I'm just a lawnmower - you can tell me by the way I walk.

  23. #16
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    I started using FingerEase (the spray product) in the 70's and use it to this day on all metal stringed instruments I play (guitar, bass, mandolin - not ukulele) and I have hardly any callouses, just thicker fingertips and the side of my index finger (barre chords). Lowers the dreaded *squeek* and helps the strings last longer. Just a light spritz so a can lasts a long time.

    Not sure if you were referring to the product or the ease of playing.

  24. #17
    Jim1Hays
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Sherry, It might be the action is set too high off the strings. I recommend you take it to a repair person and have them lower the action for you. I too started out with an old ACER mandolin and it ate my fingers until I had the action lowered. Also I recommend practicing without picking to lighten your finger pressure on the frets. This has 2 purposes. 1- it relieves the pain of pressing too hard and 2-it will help you later on with speed and accuracy of the left hand. Eventually you will be able to barely press the strings to make the note ring clearly. Practice, practice, practice!!! And as a direct answer to your question, Finger Ease has never helped me. A shot of morphine just might be the ticket if Whiskey is out of the question!

  25. #18
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    I've been playing so long that I no longer have problems with callouses/finger pain. Nowadays, I seldom ride a bike so I do suffer with pain from that but I don't think we want to go there!

  26. #19
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Sherry, there's a lot of good suggestions here. I haven't had any problems with finger pain while playing the mandolin but acoustic guitar was another story. You've been playing quite a while so it's probably not the callouses. Moisture was my biggest problem - either fingers get too dry (normally in winter) or too moist due to perspiration or just being around water before playing. I found out that the best thing to do was to treat the symptoms and let my fingers heal and not play for a while. It's killer to not be able to play but worth the wait so it doesn't get worse.
    "If your memories exceed your dreams, you have begun to die." - Anonymous

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  28. #20
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Fingertip pain may not be just about callouses ...

    Bone bruise does occasionally happen, and it's exactly as it sounds: The bone becomes bruised, and thus painful, from too much repetitive pressure. Unfortunately, the only solution is LOTS of rest, like taking a month off before resuming playing, to let the bone heal itself. (My biologist wife would note that bone has less blood flow and slower growth than does soft tissue & muscle, so recovery is slower).

    I learned about bone bruises the hard way back in high school: Running hurdles with less-than-wonderful form did a job on my heels. Fortunately, that pre-warned me when too-extensive fretting, always while striving to learn something new & difficult, reared its ugly head!

    As kurth83 noted above relative to joints, bone pain is something you can't just "play through".
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  30. #21

    Default Re: Finger Ease

    O'Keeffe's Working Hands hand cream is the best stuff for this. My hands get dried out and cracked depending on the weather, and this cream provides so much relief after just one or two uses.

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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    To each their own, but I find Fingerease the spray product to be downright nasty stuff. It has a very chemical-based odor and feel it's bad for lungs and the environment; it also imparts a too-slick feel to the strings. I see folks use it, though. Not sure how it would alleviate finger pain.

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  33. #23
    Registered User Roger Moss's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanN View Post
    To each their own, but I find Fingerease the spray product to be downright nasty stuff. It has a very chemical-based odor and feel it's bad for lungs and the environment; it also imparts a too-slick feel to the strings. I see folks use it, though. Not sure how it would alleviate finger pain.
    Everybody is discussing the effects of Finger Ease on their strings, but nobody has mentioned how they like spraying that gunk on the fretboards of their mandolins. Can anybody enlighten me on this aspect?
    When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
    Me, I'm just a lawnmower - you can tell me by the way I walk.

  34. #24
    Gummy Bears and Scotch BrianWilliam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    When I use it, I spray it on a rag, not the instrument.

  35. #25
    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Finger Ease

    Set up recently adjusted. Finger tips tender. Sounds like you raised the action a little and need to get used to it. But practicing an hour a day you should get used to it pretty quickly. Is an hour a day a recent development? Is the set up person a pro with mandolin setups? Maybe the action is too high at the nut and first fret. Did you change string brands? Do you have thick calluses? Mandolin strings can impose their own brand of hell on the fingertips that can be worse than guitar strings. Keep playing if you don't have good calluses. If it feels like a bruise, lay off for a few days.
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