Just popped into my head: the possibility of lubing the string with lanolin. The single wire strings don't carve me up, just that slide from fret 2 to 5 on the 4th string tear me up because it's wound.. Lanolin wouldn't hurt the wood or the string, and it would be good for my finger, just not sure if it would be detrimental to the sound. Is there such a thing as string lubricant?
"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." ~HL Mencken
Hi, Stinky... Soak your fingers in dill pickle brine. It works well. Do not use lanolin- it will soften your fingertips. Fast Fret is used on the strings, not your fingers. Lubing the strings won't make your fingertips calluse any quicker, either... if anything, it will just prolong the discomfort. The object is to dry your fingertips out so calluses will form fast. regards, Stanger
"Sometimes I like green shade, and sometimes I like dry shade"
you could try putting surgical spirits on your fingertiips, (as long as theres no broken skin) this should speed up the toughening process.
Yes, good one. I used to soak my finger in rubbing alcohol, but don't drink it. I don't how well it actually worked but it got me to practice, part of my playing ritual in the early days, back when I could practice all day long.
I like the idea of dill picke brine, which I suppose is mildly acidic. Maybe white vinegar would work -- never tried it.
I agree about the lanolin -- avoid it -- it's a softener. Keep your fingers dry and don't play the banjo immediately after doing dishes, taking a shower, swimming, or any activity where your hands have been soaked in water. If you see white puffy wrinkled skin, then you fingers are not dry enough to go sliding around a banjo and you will destroy the top layer (skin and callous) and have to start all over.
Lubing the strings might prevent friction which could damage your callouses, but it won't help form them. I have seen people apply Fast Fret directly to their fingers, but then I've seen people drink mud straight out of a pint glass at the Rooney Festival in Old Forge, NY. Yecch!