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Learning to play the guitar can be difficult, and if you’re having trouble with your fingers hurting, it might not be normal. So, is it normal for fingers to hurt when learning guitar?
Yes, Many people experience finger pain when they first start playing the guitar because their muscles aren’t used to moving the fingers in a coordinated way. Additionally, the tip of your fingers is not used to apply constant pressure on the strings, which makes your fingertips hurt.
Let’s look at some of the most common questions guitar students have about fingers hurting when you are playing guitar.
How do I stop my fingers from hurting when playing guitar?
When playing guitar, the fingers may hurt due to the tension in the hand and fingers from applying pressure to the strings.
Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to reduce finger pain when you are playing guitar. One of the most common challenges for guitar students is fingertip pain when they are first developing their guitar calluses.
However, it is important to use a light touch and relax the hand and fingers as much as possible in order to reduce the tension and pain. You should also try to stretch your fingers regularly, especially before and after playing.
How long do guitar fingers hurt when learning?
It will depend on how much pain you can endure, and how often you are practicing. It is common for beginner guitar players to experience fingertip pain all throughout the first 2 weeks of learning. Even experienced players can feel a slight pain, if they stop playing for a long time, or if they change their strings to a heavier gauge.
Remember that your fingers are being used in a way that they are not used to, and so they may feel stiff or sore. This discomfort should lessen over time as the fingers become more accustomed to the new movement pattern, and you develop calluses on the tip of your fingers.
How do I toughen my fingers for learning guitar?
The best way to toughen your fingers when you are learning guitar is to practice as much as you can. The more you practice the faster your fingers will strengthen, and you will start being able to play for longer periods of time.
It might also help you to use different string gauges if you have the possibility of having several guitars. In this case, you can start playing with a heavier string gauge, and when you start feeling discomfort or pain you can switch to the guitar with the light gauge string. This way you will be able to play for longer periods of time.
However, not all of us have the possibility of having two different guitars, especially when we are starting to learn.
How to build calluses on fingers for guitar
Building calluses on fingers for guitar playing is a process that takes time and patience. Usually, the more you practice and the long hours you put in, the faster you will build your guitar calluses.
In this case, it is helpful to start learning with an acoustic guitar instead of an electric guitar. Although an electric guitar will be easier to play with since the strings are lighter, the acoustic guitar will be more painful, but it will help you develop the calluses faster, and you will also be able to play pretty much any string gauge.
You can also practice using light movements, to try and make your practice session last as long as possible. However, beginner guitar players might have a hard time controlling the strength and pressure they apply on the strings, which makes this advice difficult to follow in some cases.
Additionally, you can also use a pumice stone to help you scrape the dead skin off your fingertips. This will help your guitar calluses form faster, and it will help you play for longer periods of time.
Why do my fingers still hurt when playing guitar?
Even experienced players can hurt their fingers when playing. This can happen when they have not played in a long time, and they decide to start playing again, or they start playing with heavier gauge strings.
Finger pain eventually goes away with practice, and you have to accept that it is one of the reasons why learning guitar can be so challenging.
Guitar strings that don’t hurt fingers
There are a few things that can make guitar strings less likely to hurt fingers, like light gauge strings. These strings are known for being light and less thick than common guitar strings, and they can be a great alternative. You can try .09 or .08 gauge strings, and since those are extremely light they won’t hurt your fingers as much.
Additionally, you can also try playing a classic guitar, which has nylon strings. These strings are easier to press and do not hurt as much. But you will have that classic nylon guitar sound, that might not be very appealing depending on the music genre you want to play.
If you find that your fingers hurt a lot when you practice or play, remember that it is a common step for everyone that starts learning guitar. If even experienced players that have played for 10 years have pain in their fingers, you will also feel it.
The key is to not let that make you unmotivated, and just see it as one of the challenges you have to overcome in order to become a guitar player.
I have been playing guitar for the past 15 years, and my knowledge and passion for guitars prompted me to start Guitaresque to share my knowledge, tips, and tricks with other guitar players. The sole purpose of this website is to help and inspire guitar players worldwide, to improve their playing and their love for guitars.