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Guitar Player Finger Tip Condition

Not Just Calluses?

I recently observed something which might be better explained by a medical expert. This is only an observation, so there's no lesson here about improving your playing per se. But maybe other guitar players have noticed this phenomenon.

The tire inflation illustration helps my nifty analogy, ok.

A guitar player's calluses protect the fingertips from injury and discomfort. They also help with gripping the strings for bends & vibrato. But did you ever notice after going a couple days without playing, how your fretting can seem more squirmy? Even though there's still plenty of callus the fingertips don't seem to "handle" the strings  the same way. Although it takes several days to lose significant callus, there seems to be another factor underneath.

A vehicle doesn't handle as positively with under-inflated tires-- regardless of how new & heavy the tread layer is. Similarly, fingertips also seem to have some sort of  additional firmness characteristic besides the callus protection, which emerges with regular playing yet diminishes much sooner than callus loss.

A guitar player's fingertip tissue may develop a more extensive capillary network to which the body distributes more blood under frequent playing conditions, possibly accounting for this pressure/inflation or firmness element.

Is this important? Perhaps not. Just something I observed which also sorta parallels tire behavior. Something only other guitar players might be familiar with. And what kind of idiot would discuss this with people who don't play a stringed instrument?

When I tried to talk about this during my space alien abduction, they simply put me under anesthesia, and dropped me off in the desert. I awoke not only feeling violated, but also feeling that extraterrestrials are not the least bit interested in guitar related issues.

And that's why I have a guitar blog.

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