Thumb Blister After Buying Expensive New Guitar

I’ve been playing a bit over 4 years now, have some nice good callouses on my fingers, and thought finger pain was a thing of the past for me.

A month ago I decided to splurge and get myself an acoustic guitar (Martin 000-X2E) and I just love it and have been playing the hell out of it. The thing is, the neck has a natural/satin finish, and for whatever reason, sliding my thumb up and down the neck has caused a huge blister on my thumb. I never had this problem when I was playing my cheap electric guitar with a polyurethane neck.

I’ve taken 5 days off and my thumb is just about fully healed. Will my thumb eventually toughen up by itself if I keep playing it? Or am I gonna have to get rid of this guitar and go back to a poly neck?

You can get rid of the thumb and keep the guitar. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Never experienced a thumb blister to be honest. Give it a rest and try again. Personally I prefer satin necks over any other kind of finish but that’s subjective I guess, different strokes for different folks.


I also have a Martin (a D28). I’ve never had a fretting hand thumb blister. I’m not sure what finish my guitar neck has, I think it’s satin, but it’s worn now but if you’ve got a blister I suspect it’s to do with your technique and nothing to do with the guitar.


Mole skin.

The 20 characters minimum makes these simple and trite comments difficult. :roll_eyes:


Exactly. And once again I have to pad my response.

Ivan you are always so very helpful. :rofl: I wonder to whom you might be thinking Five could give his guitar hmmmmm? :bat:

Well in this case it would be Four wouldn’t it? :grinning:

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Can’t say I’ve ever experienced a thumb blister on my fretting hand from any guitar (including my Martins). I suspect a technique-related cause.

On a more serious note never happened to me either, blister would occur if tension on a thumb would be too much, if it was something to do with the material of your neck more likely I would expect some sort of skin burns rather than blisters so I agree with Jason must be something with a technique.

Given your username and profile picture, I can tell you must have a great deal of expertise in this area. :wink:

I haven’t consciously changed my technique since switching guitars. One thing I’m thinking is that with a polyurethane neck the thumb will slightly stick so you gotta use a light touch when sliding up and down the neck. With the natural/satin finish, the thumb slides really easily no matter what, so maybe I’m unconsciously applying more pressure with the thumb?

I’m going let thumb heal for another couple more days and try to pay close attention to how hard I’m pressing with the thumb.


That is awesome! Great to have a guitar you love to play that much! And time to do it!

It still seems like you have a mechanics problem. I don’t feel any friction at all sliding my thumb on my satin finish guitar neck.
Granted I am not zipping up and down the neck all that much, but it sounds a little like you are still gripping when you slide your thumb or otherwise using it as a pressure point support. Just my thoughts.

Well I’ve finally solved the mystery. I had a feeling it wasn’t a mechanics problem since this was the first time I’ve had a thumb blister in 4+ years of playing the guitar.

Shortly after my original post, my high E string stopped working while I was fretting it. I changed strings, and still no luck so I took it back to the shop and the tech told me the guitar was dehydrated (due to low indoor humidity in Wisconsin in the winter). He sold me some hydration packets, so I put those inside the case with the guitar for a week and waited for it to hydrate.

One week later and the high E-string was working again. But as an added bonus the neck felt silky smooth. It’s a subtle feeling, but I can tell my thumb is movie over wood that is moisturized rather than dried out wood.

Anyways for the past 2 weeks I’ve been back at it for 90 minutes a day and no thumb problems at all.