Here is an exclusive tip from the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Players like Stevie Ray bend strings use a playing technique where you bend the strings with your left hand, for right handed guitarists that is. It is part of the particular style of music most blues players use, which is a staple of blues guitar music.
Bending the guitar strings to change a note or tone is abusive to the fingertips of the fret hand. To put it mildly it is a lot of work to play this style.
Stevie Ray Vaughan used the largest gauge strings made, at least ones I am familiar with. Gauge size is .013″ to .056″, basically the same size as suspension bridge cable. I am a sissy, I use light gauge strings such as .009″ to .046″ gauge. Bending strings is quite common today, however there is a fairly serious problem that can occur from lots of guitar string bending that is not a guitar problem. It is more of a guitarists health problem.
The problem I want to address is cuts on your fingertips and or separation of the fingernail to the fingertip itself. I have had this problem occur, and more than enough guitar players who bend strings can testify to this problem.
What is the solution? Super Glue. Regardless of whether it is a cut or separation, a drop of super glue solves the problem. One small drop of glue on the cut or in the separation is plenty to let you finish your set or gig. Some players actually put a drop of glue under the nail before a long hi energy set/ gig starts. This is a mandatory tool to keep available, like in your gig bag or tool box.
Incidentally, super glue was invented and used in the medical field as ‘surgical cement’ for years before it became a house hold product. Particularly by orthopedists for bone repairs.
Super glue in general can be found almost anywhere. Because guitar players are specialists, there is a company that sells a unique super glue just for guitar players. Stewart-MacDonald sells a specialized super glue for repairing fingertips and damaged guitars and guitar parts. Keep a bottle handy, you will be glad to have it should it become necessary to fix a cut fingertip.
I don’t know for sure that Stevie Ray Vaughan was the first guitarist to figure out that super glue was great for this purpose, however, SRV is the only player I know of to have mentioned and discussed how he solved the issue.
Guitarists health issues are real. Most of them such as sore wrists and elbows, etc. can be searched on the internet for viable solutions. Many of the health problems specific to guitar players can be treated easily and painlessly, especially if attended to as soon as possible. Make health issues important. Don’t let them become emergencies.