When I dove into this grueling practice routine in August, I had just finished a month of traveling without much guitar, so my fingers were completely unprepared. On top of that, I set up my guitar with .012 gauge strings for the first time so I could build my strength and get one step closer to that SRV tone. Until mid-September, I was ripping a new layer of skin off my fingers every other day. When my calluses finally thickened up enough to stay intact, it started causing other unexpected problems. I do most bends with my ring finger, and its callus is now abnormally flat and smooth. Now I often struggle to keep the string under my finger when I bend it because it keeps slipping out. There's no more fleshy fingertip for the string to dig into, so it won't stay where I want it anymore.

I found the solution today in an article at The Good Musician: Treat Yourself to the Finger Spa. I realized it's fine to soften my calluses; the thick skin is what I really need. I put some lotion on my fingers and they feel better already. I also used to soak my hands in warm water every day. Going back to that would help too.

Today's Summary

  • warm-up: left finger isolation while listening to the new Robert Plant & Alison Krauss album (very good), slow pentatonic sequence (3 2 1), 1 hr
  • SRV: watched a few of his YouTube videos, worked on "Lenny", "Love Struck Baby" (isolated chord run at 1:18), 2 hrs
  • sight reading: C major w/ added Bb, 5 positions, 1 hr
  • ear training, 1 hr
  • went through appendix of jazz book with chord changes, found chord root positions in time, all over neck, 1 hr
  • same 10 arpeggios as yesterday, all positions, varying speeds, 3 hrs