Legendary guitarist Eric Clapton is preparing for his forthcoming world tour by experimenting with a range of hand treatments - to save his digits from painful calluses.

The musician, nicknamed SLOWHAND, douses his hands in witch hazel lotions before he strums for hours on his instrument during his gigs.

Clapton explains, "If I have long stretches when I haven't played much, I have to go through a whole callous-building process which gets really painful.

"I've checked with other guitar players and they never seem to have that problem. I think it's a metabolic thing. I develop these calluses and I have to try to preserve them, so my left hand has to stay out of contact with hot water. It's a nightmare."

27/02/2004 19:20