Do Drummers Get Calluses? From Blisters To Drumming Free

By Evan C

Hands Hurt?

Do drummers get calluses on their hands? Well, that’s a great question considering how much energy and friction is exerted when you drum! Let’s talk about it!

Do drummers get calluses like this? It can and it does happen to a lot of drummers!
Calluses may often form in this area of the hands for drummers

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Do Drummers Get Calluses?

Yes, drummers can develop calluses on their hands and fingers, particularly on the areas that have the most friction due to striking the drums or cymbals.

Calluses are a natural response of the skin to repeated friction and pressure. Drummers often practice and perform for extended periods of time, which can lead to these calluses forming as a way for the skin to protect itself.

Friction Is Always There

​Direct contact will always happen between the sticks and our hands. Let’s go over different things to do look at with calluses. 

Callus Science Explained

What is a callus? Calluses are composed of dead skin cells that have accumulated in response to ongoing mechanical stress or irritation.

When the skin is subjected to frequent rubbing, pressure, or friction, the outer layer of skin thickens and toughens as a protective mechanism. This process helps prevent further damage to the underlying skin layers.

Notice the relaxed grip?

It’s worth it to note that even using good technique behind a drum kit won’t save you from calluses. It’s just a part of the process, but doing these things below can help mitigate excessive calluses or anything worse or painful.

1. Improper Technique

Do drummers get calluses while playing with bad hand techniques? Sometimes, due to a deathly tight grip, drummers may develop painful blisters on their hands (the hope is that blisters are eventually replaced with thick calluses).

This can be due to long sessions, not using proper technique, and just repetitive motions as mentioned a few times earlier.

This can be especially true for metal drummers or anyone who plays with excessive force, even including new drummers. 

It doesn’t matter if you play traditional grip or matched grip, improper drumming technique can be present.

It’s important to practice with a loose enough grip that you can play freely, but the sticks don’t fly out of your hand upon drum head impact.

Watch that left hand or whatever hand is your weakest, as it’s easy to justify a juggernaut grip for our weaker hand. Just don’t do it!

Your blisters may happen faster with the affected area being larger than it would with a loose grip. Antibiotic ointment may help with really bad blisters. 

ointment on blisters
You can put ointment on blisters if they start forming. The hope is that eventually you have calluses and no longer feel anything in those affected areas 😵‍💫 😜

On top of blisters, improper technique could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. 

2. Using Drum Gloves

Got any hand chalk? A more long-term and less annoying path is drum gloves. Drum gloves help dominate a loose grip.

For any drummer, it’s the best way to ensure you don’t have to use excessive force or bad technique because it gives you a good grip.

It also gives that extra protective layer that’ll save your hands from friction over a period of time. Friction is what is causing these blisters and calluses in the first place, so anything like some gloves are a great option. 

Click to check out my list recommended drum gloves!

There is no shortage of choices for drum gloves to help you get a better grip. 

3. Finding sticks that work

Do drummers get calluses with all sticks? It’s always a good idea to find sticks that feel comfortable for you.

I’ve used sticks before that had a weird lacquer on them or no finish at all and have gotten blisters from those every time.

It can be different for all drummers, so don’t take it at 100% truth across the board. You can use also look at ways to lessen the friction like stick tape, dipped sticks, or finger tape. 

4. Friction Is Unavoidable 

With proper care, you shouldn’t have to worry about any horrible healing process. I’ve been drumming for over 20 years and after you’ve been playing for so long, you don’t even notice calluses.

It’s a natural part of the process and I think a lot of drummers, including myself, are proud of them because it shows the work and dedication you put into a craft. 

my drumming calluses
My drumming calluses exist right below my fingers. This is where friction happens the most.

Guitar players are among a number of many other musicians who deal with calluses from the friction of guitar strings. 

Off To Callus City!

Calluses can be seen as both a positive and a negative aspect for drummers. On one hand, they provide a level of protection and can reduce the discomfort of extended drumming sessions.

On the other hand, excessive calluses might hinder a drummer’s ability to control their sticks better or just increase discomfort.

Drummers who are concerned about their calluses impacting their playing ability might choose to manage them through various methods, such as using drumming gloves, moisturizing regularly, and being mindful of their technique to minimize excessive friction.

What Are Your Thoughts?

So, do drummers get calluses even with following all this? Well, maybe not with drum gloves, but any other way you may develop some type of callus.

This could be on the upper part of your palms, your fulcrum point, or your thumbs. Have you dealt with calluses? how do you manage yours? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Want FREE drum hacks to help your drum chops foundation and get you on the right track?

Get those by clicking here.

Until next time, stay attuned!

About the author

Hi there, I'm Evan and I love drums.. Also, I love music! I've been playing drums for most of my life and nothing beats the thrill I get from it. I hope to be able to provide you with insightful tips and reviews on things within the drum and music world!

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