Blisters can be a real hindrance for drummers. To prevent blisters you should loosen your grip, mind your force, use drum gloves, tape and grips, sandpaper on drumsticks, or harden the skin.
Thankfully, making some changes to your technique can completely stop blisters from reoccurring!
Long sessions with tight drumstick gripping and heavy drumming can make blisters much more likely to form.
However, drummers with great technique and experience usually don’t get blisters. You should not think of blisters as a necessary evil of playing drums.
If you are currently experiencing pain from a blister, then please read the following medical advice on how to deal with them. If you see signs of infection then visit your doctor as soon as possible.
1. Loosen Your Grip
Having a tight grip is by far the most likely reason you’re getting blisters.
When drumming, you should be working with your drumsticks and not against them. Work on the natural rebound of your sticks and loosen up your grip a little.
Having a looser drum grip will not only stop blisters from occurring, but it will also make you a better drummer! It will also help prevent a raft of other drumming-related injuries.
Examine your current grip: Get out a drum or practice pad and strike it relatively hard with your drumstick. If you don’t allow the stick to naturally bounce back up then you are forcing your hands and arms to absorb the shock.
If possible, seek the advice of a local drum instructor to solve this issue.
2. Think About Your Playing Force
Blisters can occur from excessive force and tight gripping. If you’re a hard hitter on the drum set, then think how lowering your strike force might affect or even improve your playing.
Perhaps playing a bit less forcefully might even improve your speed and technique a bit. The drums may already be loud enough through microphones if you are playing in a live situation.
So, lowering the intensity with which you play can only benefit you positively, as well as prevent blisters from occurring.
3. Consider Drum Gloves
If you are a hard hitter or can’t loosen your grip due to sweaty hands, nerves, or any other reason, then check out our guide on drum gloves.
They are not for everyone, but if blisters are preventing you from your performance and enjoyment of drums then they are a good option.
Drum gloves should not be your first option when trying to prevent blisters. It’s worth spending a few weeks or months on loosening your sticking technique first.
4. Drumstick Tape and Grips
Your grip will naturally tighten if you don’t have a firm grip on the sticks. You can buy drumstick tape and grips for this very purpose. They generally cost just a few dollars and you can easily add them to your current drumsticks.
Using this method can help you avoid dropping your sticks in live and sweaty performances. They also let you have a looser grip, reducing the risk of various drumming injuries in your hands and arms, such as blisters.
5. Use Sandpaper on Your Drumsticks
Sand down a bit of the grip area of your drumstick using some sandpaper. Although this may appear counter-intuitive, making the drumstick coarser might reduce its slipperiness, which will allow you to loosen your grip.
As mentioned before, a looser grip reduces the chance of injuries occurring. Don’t make it too coarse though, as that might end up adding friction that will, in turn, cause blisters!
6. Let Your Skin Harden (In Moderation)
I’m going to start by saying, that you should not need heavily calloused hands to play drums!
However, if you are just starting to play drums then you may need to just let your skin harden moderately to the point where it can handle drumming.
If you have some bad blisters then just take a few days off from drumming, or try some exercises to practice drumming without drums! When you get back to the drum set, you’ll be ready to go!
If you’ve been playing for months and are still getting blisters, then skip this point!
Blisters can be a real pain for drummers, but some simple steps can stop them from reoccurring for good.
Your technique should always be your number one priority when playing drums. Holding your drumsticks tightly might start with blisters, but could later develop into a tendinitis and other drumming related injuries.
Other methods to prevent from blisters occurring are to, use drum gloves, tape, and grips, sandpaper on drumsticks, or harden the skin. I hope this article sheds some light on the matter of blisters.