Methods For Toughening Your Hands

Posted: September 28, 2010 11:55 AM

Andy Doerschuk_1

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I can’t even begin to tell you how many respected percussionists have told me that they toughen the skin by urinating on their hands in order to endure the pounding they undergo while playing congas night after night. Does anybody out there employ this method? Care to shine some light on its effectiveness? Are there other alternatives?

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Andy Doerschuk
Editorial director, drummagazine.com

     
Posted: September 28, 2010 12:30 PM

David Pak

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Related tangent - Moises Alou (baseball player) he urinates on his hands to toughen them up during the baseball season. I’m guessing nobody like to give him high-fives or hand shakes in the locker room.

Posted: September 28, 2010 09:44 PM

Pass.Of.Era.

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I’ve never tried it personally, but boy I sure am glad I’m not a percussionist. Ew.

-Jonathan

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Tama Warlord Masai - Zildjian Cymbals - Demon Drive Pedals - Evans Heads

Posted: September 30, 2010 10:09 AM

Skulmoski

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I had the opportunity to attend a couple of Mamady Keita’s workshops and when I shook his strong hands I commented that they were tough. Not surprisingly he said it was from years of regular practice. No shortcuts.

GJS

Posted: September 30, 2010 10:16 AM

Pass.Of.Era.

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Skulmoski - 30 September 2010 10:09 AM

I had the opportunity to attend a couple of Mamady Keita’s workshops and when I shook his strong hands I commented that they were tough. Not surprisingly he said is was from years of regular practice. No shortcuts.

GJS

Well I’m sure he wouldn’t tell you mid handshake if he urinates on his hands or not…. raspberry

-Jonathan

p.s. aren’t you on Drummerworlds forum?

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Tama Warlord Masai - Zildjian Cymbals - Demon Drive Pedals - Evans Heads

Posted: October 01, 2010 09:04 AM

Skulmoski

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Pass.Of.Era. - 30 September 2010 10:16 AM
Skulmoski - 30 September 2010 10:09 AM

I had the opportunity to attend a couple of Mamady Keita’s workshops and when I shook his strong hands I commented that they were tough. Not surprisingly he said is was from years of regular practice. No shortcuts.

GJS

Well I’m sure he wouldn’t tell you mid handshake if he urinates on his hands or not…. raspberry

-Jonathan

p.s. aren’t you on Drummerworlds forum?

That’s me. I use my real name.

GJS

Posted: October 01, 2010 11:57 AM

Rev.D.

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HAHALOL! Well, I have never “purposely” urinated on my hands, but I have played hand drums over the years, and I know that I did build up hand strength and toughness naturally.

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: October 01, 2010 08:14 PM

guarilio989

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Semi-related tangent, I’ve also heard that if you have athletes foot (otherwise known as “Trench Foot”) you should urinate on your feet. ever heard that one?

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Hit Hard, Play Fast, Have Fun

Posted: October 01, 2010 09:17 PM

Rev.D.

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Nope. But I heard that it works for jellyfish stings. LOL

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A good drummer will sound good on anything. A Bad drummer will sound bad on anything.

Posted: October 04, 2010 05:09 AM

guarilio989

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ya the ammonia counteracts the jelly fish sting venom stuff.

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Hit Hard, Play Fast, Have Fun

Posted: February 08, 2011 03:44 PM

JimGreiner

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Thanks for the post, Andy!

Hand care is a topic that comes up regularly in my clinics and workshops.

I’ve also heard that urinating on our hands will toughen them; something that I have no intention of ever finding out!  An old-school conguero once tole me long ago to spend at least 30 minutes a day hitting a hardwood board - something else I never felt moved to do; I’d much rather spend the time hitting my drum heads. 

Basically, we toughen our hands by playing.  Of course, it is important to reinforce effective hand drumming techniques as we play in order to be mindful of how we are using our hands, to get the best sounds out of our instruments, to play musically and to show respect for the traditions of the instruments.

As the great American opera singer Beverly Sills once stated, “There is no shortcut to any place worth going.”

I do regularly use various products on my hands to keep them in good shape.  My favorites are:

vitamin e oil, Burt’s Bees creams, Bag Balm (used by dairy farmers to keep cows’ udders from getting chapped and infected - insert your preferred joke here) and any lotion with lanolin.

Like any craftspeople, it is important to take care of our tools!

Here is an article I wrote on hand care for hand drummers:

http://www.communitydrumming.com/learn/handcare.html

All the best,

Jim

Posted: February 09, 2011 10:18 AM

bigbeat

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Jim,
Have you ever tried Shea butter.  I’ve seen a lot of sights selling it, but don’t know anyone who’s tried it.

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loud is my forte

Posted: October 19, 2011 10:55 AM

Zaragemca

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Greetings.  The natural interaction of the skin with the instrument would produce blisters, then with the same process the blisters would become callaous, giving that rough surface to the hands, ( which would produce a better sound of the hand/ drum), because the soft skin, would naturally moffle the sound of the drum. There are some people which work in places were the hands could obtain that rough surface and it become a natural conditioning for the percussionist.  Gerry Zaragemca

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Posted: December 23, 2011 11:09 AM

pauldcjennings

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Hello!

I have been playing percussion for nearly 20 years. In my time playing hand drums I feel if you are playing regularly with correct technique your hands will become hardend with calluses. I remember when I was young and had begun playing hand drums, my hands were raw and sore at first then with practice they bult up calluses and it was way easier to play.

One thing I would say is, as a beginner dont play too hard at first. Build your hands up gradually. This way you wont hurt yourself.

Incidentally, I have never peed on my hands intently. I dont feel this will help at all. It may however result in loss of work, gigs, spouse, dignity ect…

Good luck to all,

Paul.

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Paul Jennings
Paul Jennings Music