Calluses and touch screens

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Tom

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Since playing a uke and developing calluses, I've noticed a significant impact on my  use of touch screens. Presumably, the calluses cause a significant change in resistance and/or capacitance. In some cases I notice the variation across a given fingertip.

I'm not looking for an explanation of the various touch screen technologies, but I was just curious if any other stringed instrument player has the same issue.

At this rate I'll need to find a rotary dial cell phone  :(

Edit: Fixed typo.
 

Tom

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I should be careful what I wish for; google turned up numerous solutions, including:

http://www.concept-phones.com/?s=rotary+dial

http://www.rotarydialtelephones.com/rotary_dial_cell_phone.htm

http://www.amazon.com/Binary-Wits-LLC-Rotary-Dial/dp/B004Y0VLR8
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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I've noticed the same thing when the skin on my hands are ultra dry, e.g. after handling a strong detergent solution. I have to wet the skin or apply some hand lotion to get the touch working again.

Kind of adds a whole new dimension to the phrase  "I'm losing my touch".  8)
 

Ned

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I love the Concept Phone model.  Steampunk is in vogue today :)
 

SeilerBird

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I have been playing so long I no longer have or need calluses on the tips of my left hand fingers. If you play long enough the calluses will go away. However I use my right hand for touch screen events so even if I did have calluses it would not affect me. But then again I don't own a tablet, only a smart phone and a GPS that uses touch screens so I am never doing two handed typing.

Tom - If you still are getting calluses it means you are still pushing too hard with your finger tips. Spend some time each day practicing playing chords without using as much pressure as you normally use. The less pressure you use the longer you can play without getting tired. The less pressure you use the easier it is to change chords.

Another thing you can do is get a uke with the strings that are closer to the fretboard. Cheaper stringed instruments tend to have the strings much higher off the fretboard since they are not as precision made. More expensive instruments are almost always easier to play because of string height.
 

Tom and Margi

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We bought Tom a capacitive stylus at Staples for use with the iPad.  It looks like a ball point pen and has a clip for your pocket.  No need for a pocket protector.  ;)

Margi
 

Tom

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Thanks Tom, understand what you're saying.

I'll try less pressure on the strings, although I can sure tell if I'm not applying sufficient pressure.

I try to practice every day, but haven't succeeded lately due to distractions from other commitments, and suspect this would do the most to help the calluses and improve my playing. I sure know if I haven't practiced when I attend the next group practice  :-[

Interestingly, the strings on my two "everyday" ukes aren't any further away from the fretboard than the strings on an expensive Martin that was left in my care by a friend. They're certainly closer than on the el cheapo ukes I have here (bought for grandkids).

Talking to one of our uke players who also plays a guitar, I suggested that the steel guitar strings would be tougher on his fingers; But he felt that the wound guitar strings were more 'finger friendly' than the nylgut strings on a uke. I don't play guitar, so I couldn't confirm or challenge his comment.

I'm also right handed, but have calluses on both hands, because I don't use a pick and use the fingers on my right hand for strumming and for limited picking.

I recall a friend who played lead guitar in a band when we were in our late teens talking about his fingertips. He used to soak his fingertips in 'methylated spirits' aka denatured alcohol every night. I don't know if there's any validity to this, but he swore it helped  ???

 

SeilerBird

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Tom said:
Interestingly, the strings on my two "everyday" ukes aren't any further away from the fretboard than the strings on an expensive Martin that was left in my care by a friend. They're certainly closer than on the el cheapo ukes I have here (bought for grandkids).

Some people actually prefer instruments with the strings high off the fretboard. It is easier for some people that way. And if you want to play slide then the strings need to be high off the fret board. If your two ukes are set up like the Martin then odds are they are as close as can be without problems. If strings are too close they can end up buzzing.

Talking to one of our uke players who also plays a guitar, I suggested that the steel guitar strings would be tougher on his fingers; But he felt that the wound guitar strings were more 'finger friendly' than the nylgut strings on a uke. I don't play guitar, so I couldn't confirm or challenge his comment.

I can't comment on that but it is probably a personal observation.  I bought a bass guitar last March and it had round wound strings on it and I hated them so I switched to flat wounds. But for a guitar round wounds are my preference. I think nylon strings are more finger friendly than round wounds.

I'm also right handed, but have calluses on both hands, because I don't use a pick and use the fingers on my right hand for strumming and for limited picking.

I have never done enough finger picking to get calluses on my right hand.

I recall a friend who played lead guitar in a band when we were in our late teens talking about his fingertips. He used to soak his fingertips in 'methylated spirits' aka denatured alcohol every night. I don't know if there's any validity to this, but he swore it helped  ???
I have heard many stories like this. The most popular is pickle juice.  I have never tried it since I have never needed it.
 

SeilerBird

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mylo said:
Flat wound guitar strings are sexy, albeit pricey...

They are sexy.

Many jazz guitarist use flat wound guitar strings but rock players rarely use them. String noise contributes to a rock players sound.

However on a bass there were no round wound bass strings before around 1970 so you can't get the Paul McCartney sound or the Motown sound without flatwounds. And I did not like the way the round wounds felt on my fingers. The flats are much easier to play and easier to control for me.
 

Tom

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AFAIK the only wound string available for a uke is the optional low G string.
 

Tom

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Thanks Carson. I always say that I wish I'd learned to play a/any musical instrument when I was a kid.

BTW here's another rendition of what that kid was playing and singing; This took two adults, one singing and one strumming along:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-7XPCNrD5Y

For anyone interested in playing or singing along, here are the chords and lyrics on a lead sheet:

http://www.ukuleletricks.com/hey-soul-sister-train-ukulele-chords/

BTW I fixed the issue with calluses; I soak my fingertips in WD40 every night.
 
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