#1
I've only been playing for 2 months and I haven't really stopped playing for a long period of time. Well I just recently read a thread about some people playing guitar that can no longer feel the ends of their fingertips, have any of you experienced this? I want temporary callouses while I'm playing but I don't want to be stuck with feelingless fingertips if I stop playing the guitar in the future.
#2
It happens - if you are a diabetic then you loose the feeling because of the needels - its the same sort of thing, just takes longer.

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#3
Now that you mention it the fingertips of my left hand are a hell of a lot less sensitive. I didn't really notice it, just that they've hardened.

I like it though. Makes me feel like being a guitarist is part of me rather than something I just 'do'. Deep, huh?
#4
Never heard or noticed that. I wouldn't worry at all about it.

I did loose feeling in one fingertip from a fishing line wrap that almost pulled my L ring figer off at the last knuckle, took 8 months to get the feeling back and playing guitar was almost impossible because I couldn't even feel if the string was being pressed properly.
#5
You will have reduced sensitivity in your fingers, but it should never become numb.
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#6
Nope never heard of this before. I think by numbness they just mean the tips are reli hard from years of playing so the hard skin on top of the fingertips would endure pain easier than the soft skin, its all part of becoming a guitarist you cant avoid it and i think you should embrace it if anything thats just my opinion.
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#7
Well... let's clear something up here.

A good guitarist's callous is not hard. It is soft. Hard callouses are just what you get when you start learning. Soft callouses are what you aim for.
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#8
So is this 'reduced sensitivity' permanent, or can I get the feeling back in my fingers? I can't type as fast as I did before because of these callouses, and I also want to be able to feel things fully with my left hand because I'm actually left handed even though I play right handed guitar. I have soft callouses on my left hand at the moment.
#9
well, you could have sceroderma but being that you're a guitar player I'd guess it's just the usual callouses. Try sticking a needle in the tip of your finger to see if it hurts or not. If there is no pain ever I'd say something could be wrong.
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#10
You shouldn't be getting numbness in your fingertips. A reduced sensitivity? Yes, but not numb fingertips.

If your callouses get that hard, you're doing it wrong, you shouldn't need to press down anywhere near that hard to sound a note (you really don't need much effort at all).

Unless your hands are always dry, causing the callouses to be hard, it should not happen.
#11
Ive only played for a little over a year now, and the calouse phases are a recent memory for me. First it was soreness and bruise like pain when I over did it. next was hard calouses like someone mentioned, and a bit of numbness, but still some pain when playing too long.
I was playing acoustic with some fairly heavy strings through all this time. the hard calouses later developed ragged edges that I would sandpaper off because it would actually catch & sound strings if not lifted during chord changes.
Now finally, the smooth soft calouses have developed, with the "numbness" you descibe. Feels more like I have a piece of tape on my fingertips than numbness really. It did feel awkward at first, but the body and brain seem to adjust to it. I suspect it would all go back to pre-guitar if I stopped for awhile.
Playing is MUCH more enjoyable now. Also went to lighter strings, and new guitar. No more discomfort distractions, and longer practice/playing time.
#12
"Numb" is an overexaggeration. You can still feel most anything once your callouses become soft. You know that little bump on the F key to indicate that you're on the home row? I can still feel that without problem.
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#13
i'm suprised by how many people are saying they haven't experienced this, haha. my fretting fingers are numb, i cant feel ice on them. i dont mind too much, it's pretty funny and it will go away if you stop playing for a few weeks.
#14
It's not really a 'numbness' it's more that I just can't feel things very well with my left hand. I mistype a lot of stuff and I just want to be able to feel well with my left hand. Would suck if I became blind or something like that or someone who was blind started playing guitar without knowing that it was going to become a permanent thing.

Has anyone here personally stopped playing guitar for a while then their hands went back to normal? Has anyone here stopped playing guitar and the feeling never came back?
#15
Its a callous, dude. Which means your skin is thicker...which means less sensitivity. No way around that. If you don't want a callous... than maybe the guitar isn't right for you.
#16
I love playing guitar, I'm just wondering if it's a PERMANENT or TEMPORARY loss of sensitivity.
#17
some some people it's temporary, for others it's permanent. if permanent you're talking about nerve damage.

i have callous but no lack of fingertip sensitivity, and my husband used to play till his fingertips were literally flat with no loss of sensitivity. i asked him about that, and he told me it's because he doesn't press the strings down harder than necessary where many people shove the strings down much harder than they need to to get a clean chord.

i'd suggest you either learn to press down more lightly, which i find takes a lot of focus at first, try lighter strings or play less.

btw, is it only your fingertips? if it's not just the tips, you might want to talk to a doctor as it could be all sorts of things causing it like carpel tunnel or repetitive stress disorder.

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I love playing guitar, I'm just wondering if it's a PERMANENT or TEMPORARY loss of sensitivity.
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#18
Quote by captivate
Well... let's clear something up here.

A good guitarist's callous is not hard. It is soft. Hard callouses are just what you get when you start learning. Soft callouses are what you aim for.


How do you work that out?
A callus, by definition, is thickened and hardened skin. If your skin is soft, there is no callus present.
Last edited by TrueBlues at Mar 21, 2011,
#19
^ The hard skin eventually turns soft. Ask any seasoned guitarist. It is only hard when you first start playing guitar and building it up. A soft callous is desirable. Hard callouses can catch on strings (and inflict pain) and don't last as long as soft callouses.

The skin on my fretting hand is soft, but thick and has reduced sensitivity. I can play for hours on end and I will NEVER get a hard callous back.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#20
^What do you class as a seasoned guitarist?
I consider myself fairly seasoned, and I would never describe my fingertips as soft.
Obviously they, aren't like the hard skin you get on your feet, but they aren't soft.
There is a clear difference between the sound they make on a hard surface, compared to my right hand tips.
#21
How long have you been playing? It took me about 1.5 years playing frequently(about 5 hours a week) before I got my callouses to a soft state. I also built up my callouses only playing steel string acoustic. If you play a mix of electric and steel string acoustic it might take a lot longer. The wound, thicker strings of an acoustic guitar plus the higher tension are rougher on the fingers.

There is no significant in sound when I tap my fingertips on a hard surface anymore. There used to be when it was developing.

A callous is thicker, tougher skin. But it should only be "hard" when they start to develop.

When I define "hard" I mean that the surface of the fingertip feels as if there is a shell of dead skin. A hard callous will chip and flake after taking a hot shower or playing guitar for a long period of time.
Equipment:
- Art & Lutherie Cedar CW (SOLD! )
- Martin D-16RGT w/ LR Baggs M1 Active Soundhole Pickup
- Seagull 25th Anniversary Flame Maple w/ LR Baggs Micro EQ

Have an acoustic guitar? Don't let your guitar dry out! Click here.
#22
ya I'm with you captivate, I have that "soft" callous where dry dead skin doesn't flake off anymore. That took about a year or so of playing to get to that point if I remember correctly.
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#23
Quote by captivate
How long have you been playing? It took me about 1.5 years playing frequently(about 5 hours a week) before I got my callouses to a soft state. I also built up my callouses only playing steel string acoustic. If you play a mix of electric and steel string acoustic it might take a lot longer. The wound, thicker strings of an acoustic guitar plus the higher tension are rougher on the fingers.

There is no significant in sound when I tap my fingertips on a hard surface anymore. There used to be when it was developing.

A callous is thicker, tougher skin. But it should only be "hard" when they start to develop.

When I define "hard" I mean that the surface of the fingertip feels as if there is a shell of dead skin. A hard callous will chip and flake after taking a hot shower or playing guitar for a long period of time.


I've been playing for 10 years mate. Haha, about 10 hours a week, plus gigs and jam nights. Guitar may just be my life, how sad eh.
But, I think I get you now, yeah, nothing flakes off or chips, but I'd still say my fretting hand finger tips were hard.
Last edited by TrueBlues at Mar 21, 2011,
#24
I had a what the doctors called a "repetitive stress injury" from playing guitar. I couldnt feel the end of my pinky finger at all it was just completely numb. It comes and goes every once in a while... could be similar to what you're experiencing just less severe.
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