How much guitar time to get calluses?

I have an ok Ovation acoustic I found on Craigslist, but everyone tells me I need to build up calluses so I can actually start the real practicing. I’ve been just picking and strumming open chords, trying to get them. I think they’re just barely there.

How much a day should I be doing this? How many days does it then probably take? Do I need to slide the fingers on the strings, or will just the pressure be enough?

The calluses will come in a couple of months if you play every day (I’d say at least an hour a day). You don’t have to worry about sliding. The chording alone will get you there.

'Bout an hour a day, for about a month. Regular playing ought to do the trick - enough pressure to get a good tone and no more, coupled with normal movement between chords and/or notes seems to do the trick.

It’s a good practice (Hah!) to keep the guitar out in the open so that you can grab it when you have 5 - 10 minutes free. Commercials during the hockey game are ideal - hit the mute, play for a couple, unmute when the game comes back on.

I always tell people when they start that the first thing they should do is spend a week sliding all your fingers around all the strings. You will know when you have developed callouses. Your fingers will hurt. Your skin will peel. It is especially Obvious when you take a shower or bath - you can SEE them. The first couple of months of playing you will get them, then you will lose them, then you will get them again over and over until one day…they stick. It can be painful. But hey, if you are willing to put in that effort, you have met the first challenge of learning guitar. It is rewarding.

Another way to tell, for me at least, is that I have lost just a little bit of feeling in those fingers. Good luck!

Let me piggy back on this question: I’ve been playing for… Oh I guess about 15 years now. Have the calluses, etc. However, on the recommendation of the guitar tech at my local shop, I’m giving coated strings a try on my acoustic.

Holy hell. These things are eating my fingers alive. Anybody have any experience with these things?

I have no advice to offer people playing grampa guitars other than “get a real guitar, grampa”. :stuck_out_tongue:

Bo, help me out here, didn’t get the joke :confused: – do you mean Ovation? Acoustics in general?

“Grandpa guitars” are acoustics in general (it’s a Metalocalypse reference).

Dio got it. Brief clip here. And in another show it got the full treatment.

That’s hilarious. And lately, with work occupying more of my bandwidth, I have been playing less electric and more acoustic…

Doctor Who - you mean like Elixirs? The ones that have a nano/poly/Hoo-ha coating on them? I use them on my guitars - I sweat like a pig so I need them if I want my strings to last a few days :wink: I feel no noticeable difference vs. non-coated strings; if anything, they are a bit slicker…

Soon-to-be Grandpa

“The pain’s gonna make everything alright”

It’ll come along in a couple of weeks or so, IIRC. Once you get them, you won’t lose them as long as you keep playing (always keep playing!) and not fall asleep in the hot tub or something.

They come in handy for grabbing hot stuff, too!

Heads up, though, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I can remember bleeding on the strings when I was a newbie (nearly 30 years ago now).

I never did understand how people played guitar and would up bleeding. Maybe I always quit when my fingers started blistering and hurting. I’ve never come anywhere close to drawing blood.

My first electric gutar was a cheap piece of shit Hondo with the action jacked up beyond belief. I didn’t know any better and didn’t know how to adjust it, so I just mashed down through it, and if I played for a while, the strings would cut my fingers or open up old cuts. After a couple of months I grew the calluses and it didn’t matter anymore (plus somebody showed me how to lower the action).

Those are the ones. That’s why she recommended them… my sweat production is extremely manly. Interestingly, she told me that they would take some getting used to and some people just flat out hate them. But, if I liked them, they will last much longer.

Interesting you don’t feel any difference. I must have Princess fingers. :frowning:

I think it depends. I was able to build up calluses pretty much pain-free by being very careful about not playing too long at a stretch. 20-30 min a day for the first few weeks.