Developing blisters is one of the worst side effects of playing the drums. It makes holding the drumsticks feel very uncomfortable, and it can affect other areas of your life as well. Every experienced drummer has gone through a phase of getting blisters and dealing with them, and it’s never fun.
Unfortunately, blisters are unavoidable a lot of the time. However, there are a few things you can do to ease the process. There are also several ways of dealing with them while playing the drums.
Here’s everything you need to know about drumming blisters and how to navigate them.
- 1 Dealing With Drumming Blisters
- 2 Avoiding Drumming Blisters
- 3 Final Thoughts on Drumming Blisters
Dealing With Drumming Blisters
Accept That They’re a Natural Part of Drumming
The first thing to note about blisters is that every drummer gets them. If you’re getting blisters on your hands and fingers, don’t think that you’re doing something wrong.
You may have a few technique issues that need fixing, but you’re not playing the drums completely wrong as to why you’re getting painful blisters.
It’s all part of the drumming journey, and even drummers who have been playing for decades get blisters on their hands from time to time. This is especially true when drummers play consistently for hours on end.
Most drummers tend to get more blisters after playing gigs than we do from practicing, as we tighten the sticks more when gigging, and we put a lot more energy into playing.
Wait for Calluses to Develop
The first step in dealing with drumming blisters is to wait for calluses to develop. Parts of your hands and fingers will harden after getting blisters, and that will prevent blisters from developing in the future.
If you do too much to prevent blisters from forming when you first start playing, you’ll be doing harm to yourself in the long run. It’s better to bare through the pain and allow the calluses to form so that you get fewer blisters when playing through the years.
Plasters and Band-Aids
One of the best quick fixes to use when dealing with a blister is to just place a band-aid over it. This will allow you to still play the drums without dealing with as much pain as you would when holding the sticks over an open blister.
The blister will eventually pop and go away, so you can just keep the band-aid covering it throughout that whole process.
The downside of this method is that you lose a bit of grip, so keep that in mind.
Adjust Your Grip
Another good way of dealing with blisters is to adjust your grip. If you’re using American grip, you could switch to French grip so that you’re using more of your fingers than your palms to control the sticks.
If the blister is on your snare drum hand, then you could switch from matched to traditional grip. That would completely alleviate the pressure from the stick on your blister.
The obvious drawback of this method is that you need to be proficient at playing with different types of stick grips.
Tape is a very common tool used to improve grip. Another benefit that it has is that it relieves the pressure and pain you feel from having a blister coming into contact with the wood of drumsticks.
If you have a pair of drumsticks with tape around the bottom ends, you could opt to use these when you have a blister on your hands or fingers.
Some drumsticks come with tape, or you could buy tape that is designed to be wrapped around drumsticks.
The final method worth mentioning that will help you deal with blisters when drumming is to use hand chalk. This is something that bodybuilders often do to help with grip and relieve blister pain, and it works very well with drumsticks too.
You just need to get a bag of chalk, and then stick your hands in there and clap them together before playing the drums. Your blister will become numb to the feeling of touching the wood of the sticks.
Avoiding Drumming Blisters
Loosen Your Grip
The more you tense your hands up, the tighter you’ll grip your sticks, and that’s the biggest cause of drumming blisters. Make constant mental notes to keep your grip as loose and flowing as possible.
Your grip should be firm enough to keep the sticks in your hands, but it shouldn’t be so tight that the sticks have no rebound when you play the drums.
Make sure that the energy transferring from the drums doesn’t stop at your hands, and you won’t get many blisters after that.
Drumming gloves are a good option to use to stop the blisters from coming. They’re most commonly used by metal drummers, as they’re constantly playing extremely quick notes around the drums, putting plenty of stress on their hands and fingers.
Many drummers laugh at the idea of using drumming gloves, though, as they tend to look a bit silly. While they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, you can’t deny how effective they are at keeping blisters at bay.
Use Appropriate Drumsticks
The final point to mention is that you may be getting blisters from using drumsticks that don’t suit you. There are so many different drumstick shapes and sizes, and everyone has different preferences.
You may be using drumsticks that are too big and bulky for the style of drumming that you have. Try to switch things up with your drumstick size, and you may notice that you’re not getting as many blisters as before.
Final Thoughts on Drumming Blisters
No one likes getting drumming blisters but think of them as a sign that you’re dedicated to the instrument, and you’re playing enough to get injured. That’s hardcore.
If you follow the methods that we mentioned about dealing with blisters, you’ll have no problem playing the drums with them.
You should also try your best to avoid them, though, and loosening your grip is the best way of doing that. Using drum gloves and smaller drumsticks are also options that may help a few drummers.