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Regular user
Munich, Germany
137 Posts

Profile of BenSimon
Hi, everybody!
I was wondering whether any of you also play the guitar or another string instrument. I find that the callus on my left finger tips makes handling some slick objects like cards at least a little different than with the right hand, a little more slippery. Having encountered this and thought about it, my idea is to now consciously decide which hand to learn which move with and to re-visit sleights in order to check whether I need to use a different hand at some points, when perfect tactile sense is extremely important or when maximum grip is needed on the finger tips.
What are your experiences on this?
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New user
San Jose, CA
53 Posts

Profile of mgcpwrs
I have found the same thing. It is like the left a hand has numb fingertips.
I am not good enough to have it make a big difference yet, but I talked
to Roberto Giobbi at an event a few years ago, and for his card work, the
condition of his hands is very important (he said). So you are not imagining
it. I think some info may be in the card college book series about this.
I am sure other folks will add on to this.

Posted: Jan 7, 2010 1:03pm
One last thought, I had trouble keeping the callus's from getting rough and uneven.
This made the magic even worst. The two things I found that helped were: try to,
quickly dip my left fingers in rubbing alcohol every time I got them wet - to the water
did not really get into the skin and make the calluses peal, and second, a used nail file
or emery board to smooth the calluses (lightly) can work wonders. That way there are
no sharp 'edges' of skin to catch. But you still have the sensitivity problem.
Filip Hofmann
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New user
26 Posts

Profile of Filip Hofmann
I to am a guitar player and have been playing much longer then I have been doing magic. I do not have any trouble with the fingers of my left hend when performing at all, on the contrary, I think that playing guitar has given me dexterety that helped me when first starting out. My calluses are not to big or hard so that might be why I don't feel any difference. So for me I guess it has helped more then caused problems.

If I had been a bass player thou it would have been a totally different story Smile
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New user
8 Posts

Profile of yyrkoon
I've been playing bass for 15 years and as a result I do have callus on the tips of both hands but I never felt it was a problem. Then again maybe I'm not good enough to be bothered by it, some advanced card moves might be more difficult, but so far it didn't stop me from doing card flourishes, DLs or other essential moves.
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New user
39 Posts

Profile of barrypeters
I'm fortunate (??!!) to be lefthanded with cards, so I hold the cards in my right hand. I haven't found my left hand calluses to bother sleights very much, although I'm like yyrkoon and I may not be good enough to notice!
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Inner circle
Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

Profile of mrunge
I've been playing guitars for years and have NEVER had any problems with cards, etc... In fact, I don't even think about it and it's never even crossed my mind!

Mark. Smile
Richard Schneider
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New user
57 Posts

Profile of Richard Schneider
Same as above... I've been playing guitar and uke for a year or two now, and doing card magic for about the same. I've never even thought about my calluses causing problems, and like Filip Hofmann said, I figured the dexterity required for both activities might slightly overlap.
Brad Burt
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Inner circle
2674 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
This is a great post. A few years ago I started to practice the guitar. I now have firmly entrenched calluses on the fingers of my left hand. The irony here is that one of my best selling instructional videos is the one on the Side Steal, which has long been one of my favorite techniques. The problem? A right hander will use the tips of his left fingers to push out the card from the deck and the tips of those fingers on my left hand are so slick from the callus build up that I can't get the card out!!! Kind of funny actually. I am working slowly, but surely to rework my technique, etc.

But, to your question, the answer is yes, there is a problem! Happily it affects a small amount of my technical needs so........

Brad Burt
chris young
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New user
Greatstone, Kent, England
12 Posts

Profile of chris young
Hi I used to play but not anymore. I didn't find a problem then but I swap hands for different lifts and trick anyway. I can not do everything on one hand. Am I strange or does this happen to others???
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New user
3 Posts

Profile of ultador
Thanks guys I was in a rut doing tricks from one book and nothing else now I have a great variety
Jason Fox
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New user
Washington, D.C.
48 Posts

Profile of Jason Fox
Same here, I had to stop learning the guitar because it was causing me to mess up at magic gigs. Although I just got my good friend Oscar Santana into magic and he's been playing the guitar since he was a kid, but now that I think about it he stopped playing too.
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Elite user
Southern Louisiana
424 Posts

Profile of guitarmagic
Work on the frayed callus / dead skin of the fingertips on the fretting hand to keep the coefficient of friction high and flesh smooth. Moisturize the fingertips, as needed, with Skinner's Edge Cream ... this has been the best solution I have found to date. Mr. Burt, you describe the exact problems I have encountered with callus on the tips of the left hand. I am excited to hear of other solutions to this problem.

Of course, letting go the pursuit guitar is a remedy but not a necessity.
Why is it that on one side of the world a person looks at a picture of the Grand Canyon and says, "it looks so real." At the same time on the other side of the world a person looks at the Grand Canyon and says, "it looks like a picture."
Phil Tawa
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Regular user
103 Posts

Profile of Phil Tawa
I would have to say no but I am not that good at cards anyway.
You could say it's not my FORTE.
I do other manipulations though and don't seem to find a problem with it.
David Waldorf
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Regular user
132 Posts

Profile of David Waldorf
It may depend on the strings you use on your guitar. If you do acoustic, then you either have nylon or steel strings. Steel is rougher on the fingers than nylon would be. But, I play a steel string guitar and do not have trouble with cards, so go figure. Other factors could be how much you play guitar, and how advanced your card handling is, but now I am speculating.
Didn't your mother ever tell you not to believe anything you hear and only half of what you see?

From a Roy Rogers movie
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Veteran user
360 Posts

Profile of DN777
If you learn to play the guitar with the other hand, then both hands will be the same!
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Regular user
Munich, Germany
137 Posts

Profile of BenSimon
Thanks everybody for your input. Daniel, love that idea Smile I've found that the very tips of the fingertips themselves are the most slippery, but also on the other hand, these very tips are a little slippery... so for side steals and related moves I need to use more of the flesh than the tips. Maybe a part of this is psychological, I've feared the side steal for this reason and never really learned it. I guess it's time to put work into this.
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