Finger callus grooves

I have developed good calluses and playing no longer hurts but I have noticed that the grooves in the calluses on certain fingers are making certain chords hard to play because the strings slip into the particular finger groove and that’s not always the best for certain chords. Any way to keep the calluses and get rid of the grooves? Thanks.

Do you use hand cream on your callouses? I know it sounds counterintuitive, but doing this has stopped my callouses from cracking and peeling (and catching on the strings). It also keeps them more pliable. It could work to soften those grooves. I use a very rich cream with shae butter at least once a day (before I go to bed). If my hands are feeling especially dry (usually in winter, if I’m outside a lot) I use it during the day as well. Just be sure to wash your hands well before you play guitar.


Curious what others have experienced, but I feel like I went through a time like that, right after they stop hurting they get a little over built up and groove, occasionally even feeling like pieces of them may tear off. Then that settled down and I can’t remember the last time I even noticed the callouses. Until I stop and think about them. They are definitely there and definitely working. Just now a gentle part of how my finger is made.

So, my impression is that it is a stage of callous development and muscle through it to the other side.


I will give the cream a try. They do occasionally dry up and pieces get caught in the strings as well. Thanks for the advice.

1 Like

I have also had pieces come off or even get caught in the strings. How long have you been playing? I’m at around the 3 month mark. Thanks.

3 years.

Every once in a while, I have to smooth the calluses out. I find a glass nail file works best. It has a finer abrasive than an emery board, so it leaves them smoother.


Probably similar as Jamolay, when calluses hardened they started to peel off pretty badly, but smoothing them out bunch of times helped and since then unless I play for like 90-120 mins and do lots of bends it stays okay and doesnt require further attention


I massage mine nightly with soft nylon strings.


+1 on this! For some reason, Czech glass is considered good. There are tons available on Amazon for under $10.


Thanks for the tip. Just ordered a glass file.


Hi Richard,
Every other day I rub my hands with a very cheap body cream before going to sleep…that keeps the calluses a bit soft/elastic, but of course we don’t all have the same callus formation or the same activities, but this has worked for me for 4 years very good :sunglasses: …I missed a week and things got way too loud and I got stuck on strings and stuff,

1 Like

I don’t use hand cream or anything. Similar to @Jamolay and @adi_mrok the grooves go away eventually - they’ll be there immediately after a string bending session or such but not bothersome.

In the beginning I sometimes chewed off calluses that were breaking away but not really required much now.


I use steel ones! :rofl:

1 Like

These are things I never considered as a new guitarist. What brought this up was D chord. It was the first chord taught and learned. I got it perfect :+1:, I could change to it really quickly and it didn’t buzz or sound funky at all but by the time I was practicing the C and G chords I noticed switching to the D chord from any other chord it would sound weird and/or buzz. I noticed it was always the 2nd finger on the little E string and that finger has a deep groove in the tip that the string would slide into and make it sound off. I will try to file it and get some lotion on it. Thanks for the advice.

In addition to all the good info others have provided, I’ll add that you should try to use as little fretting pressure as possible. This not only will alleviate the short-term problem of grooves in your callouses, it will also help you progress faster. Fretting harder than necessary builds tension in your hand and wrist, which prevents you from moving your fingers as quickly or accurately as possible.

I suggest you fret a chord, strum it, then release some of the squeezing pressure you’re using, then strum again, and keep doing this until you find the point where the string(s) no longer ring out clearly.

In effect, you’re convincing your brain that squeezing harder is not the fix for muted chords, but proper finger placement is :smiley:



I’m getting better with my death :skull: grip but I still have a way to go in this aspect of fretting. Seems like it’s either way too hard or way to soft with my fretting. Thanks for your advice and I’ll keep plugging away with it.

I have been using my wifes cream with the shea butter stuff. She laughs and makes this comment everytime she sees me doing it.


1 Like