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  1. Unban nik12

    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Hands blistering and bleeding

    Kind of an unorthodox topic, but I’ve been practicing with my band for the past couple days and my hands have been absolutely killing me. I swapped out from extended 2B’s (like the Vic Firth Rock) to the Vic Firth Extreme 5B to give me a little more speed around the kit since this band has some pretty fast parts and to help with my wrist and forearm fatigue, but my hands have been blistering and bleeding which has made it hard to grip the sticks. My technique has never really given me any problems before, so this is a pretty new issue for me.

    I think I’m gonna end up swapping back to the 2B’s but in the meantime, are there any adjustments that I should make to my technique? I play metal so hitting hard and still moving around the kit quickly is essential, I do hit pretty hard but I try to never over-grip the sticks. It feels like the 5B’s don’t absorb the shock quite as well as the 2B’s which I think is also playing a big factor. It’s been a long while since I’ve played a show or practiced with a band so I feel like I may be unknowingly hitting harder than usual. I’m also thinking that it’s just the callouses on my hands that have gone soft and needing to rebuild that toughness that I used to have. Should I get some drum gloves? Would that help with the blistering the way I think it would?

    If anyone has any insight or tips for this, please let me know! My hands thank you!
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  2. Registered User

    Join Date
    Mar 2005


    I think it's probably the smaller diameter that makes you grip the 5B's tighter. I had the same problem around 15 years ago with 5A's, until I switched to 5B's which gave me the same power with a much more relaxed grip.
    I'd suggest trying some standard 2B sticks. They may be a bit faster feeling than the extended ones, but with the same grip.

  3. Deferoxa

    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    Grip tape
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  4. 2-time PDF FFL CHAMP

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Playing your drums when you're not home


    Since I donít play as much as I used to, I lost most of my calluses on my fingers and when I do play, my fingers tend to get a bit chewed up now. Iíve tried a few things and some have worked for me more than others.

    I tried gloves for awhile which definitely helped with the blistering problem, however I felt I couldnít control my sticks nearly as comfortable as I was used to leading to having to try and hold them tighter (thus leading to fatiguing my fingers and wrists quickly).

    After I gave up on the gloves, I tried a couple of ďstick tapesĒ on the market. I bought two packs each of the Pro-Mark Stick Rapp and the Vater equivalent to compare head to head. Originally I preferred the Vater tape as it is a bit softer but I found Iíd still lose my grip once I had a good sweat going (and it also started to deteriorate where my fingers held after a few months).

    With Pro-Markís Stick Rapps, I still have a lot of control when I have a sweat going, however I noticed that right when I start playing (and my hands are still dry), I ran into the same initial problem of it wanting to tear up my fingers due to the friction against the material where my fingers gripped them. A cheaper alternative Iíve heard of though is apparently the tape they use to wrap the handles on tennis rackets. Apparently itís the same material, but far less expensive and you get more.

    Another thing I do occasionally (especially when I have a blister or a have little to no calluses) is Iíll tape my fingers where I hold the sticks with generic athletic tape that you can buy at any sporting goods store or even Wal-Mart. I donít remember if Iíd buy 1Ē or 2Ē but Iíd cut the length I need then Iíd cut it in half longways where I could wrap it without it affecting the natural flex of my fingers. This was something I was doing between the gloves and stick tape and it works very well, however I also believe the athletic tape is what caused the deterioration of part of the Vater tape when used together.
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  5. Registered User

    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Houston, TX


    If I’m playing outside and it’s too humid my hands will get ripped up. If I’m indoors next to a smoke machine my hands will get too dry and will rip apart. Is the room you’re in unusually dry or humid?

    Stick size doesn't matter for me. My hands get eaten up no matter how long I've been using a size.
    Last edited by TheElectricCompany; 07-19-2021 at 06:27 AM.
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  6. Dalmi Joedi - Jedi

    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    I fortunately have not had any blisters in years, but maybe you should try Vic Firthís SD1. Its tip is too small for many people, but it has a big diameter and is a very light stick. Perhaps that will help since people seem to think the diameter could be the problem.

  7. Drumming Since 1943

    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    I’ve never had to deal with that. Sounds horrible.
    Way Too Much Crap

  8. Registered User

    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by JY Kelly View Post
    I’ve never had to deal with that. Sounds horrible.
    Ditto. I'll go four hours inside/outside; humid/dry... doesn't matter. Hands are fine.
    And I ride a desk all day so it's not like my hands are staying tough from my job.

    Hope you find something that works for you Mitch. Cause that sounds really unpleasant.

  9. Chomp, Chomp

    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    south florida


    Mitch, It’s been a while since I’ve had to deal with blisters from playing, but it was a problem. This was before drumming gloves were on the market. I did try golf gloves and they worked pretty well. If you try this, don’t buy the synthetic gloves. Stick with cabretta leather. I also cut the fingers off that weren’t blistering, glove’s, not mine. That gave me more feel and control.
    Back in marching band, we’d use cotton serving/inspection gloves. We’d reinforce the affected fingers with white medical adhesive tape and cut off fingers that were not blistering. The cotton gloves are cheap and it’s nice to change a sweaty glove a few times a night.
    I know some drummers tape their fingers, but I much prefer having the tape on a cotton glove. It might be worth a try while you heal.
    Drumming since 1961.
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  10. Registered User

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Quebec City


    I had the same problem a while ago and my tests weren’t conclusive… Gloves only worked for me when combined with sticks that have added grip (zildjian dipped is an example). With normal sticks, I ended up tightening the sticks too much.

    As quicksticks said, don’t use synthetic gloves, they lasted me one practice (sweat ruined the grip they had).

    Finally, I ended up playing with band-aids where needed. The real ones, not the cheaper alternatives.
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