Do your fingers hurt while you’re playing the guitar? In this article we’re going to go over a few different tips on how you can minimize finger pain while you’re playing guitar. Rock on!
Tip #1 Do Open Guitar String Strummming Create a Buzzing Sound? Maybe it’s time to adjust the action on your guitar
When you strum all of your guitar strings without using your chord hands to create any chords or notes (a.k.a leaving all the strings open) do you notice a slight buzzing sound? Although they’re there may be other factors causing this buzzing sound this may be because the action on your guitar is adjusted too high. This means the distance between your strings and the fret is too high this will make it a lot more difficult for you to press down the strings to create the notes. This will in return cause a lot more finger pain. The action of your guitar can be adjusted through what is known as the truss rod on an acoustic guitar. The truss rod on an acoustic guitar is located inside the soundhole, just where the end of the neck is. Be careful not to adjust your action too much as this may result in the strings being too low or too high and in return make create more fret buzz than you actually want. If you’re able to get the action lower, awesome. You won’t have to push on the strings as hard to get them down to the fretboard and up against the Fret. Be careful adjusting your action and if you need help, seek out a guitar tech at one of your local guitar shops.
Tip #2 Do You Notice How Much Pressure You are Putting on the Guitar Strings? Maybe it’s time to dial back
Do you notice how much pressure you are actually putting on the guitar strings and in return on the fretboard? You may be putting too much pressure on the guitar strings and that can affect the intonation as well. Also, putting a lot of pressure on your fingertips will cause a lot of pain. Part of the process of learning guitar is building up finger strength and dexterity. You will also start to develop calluses. If you don’t develop calluses then it can be more painful process playing the guitar. Practice plucking the same guitar string and using your finger on the fretboard to play the same note and put less and less pressure until you notice the string start to buzz. When this string starts to buzz, put more pressure back on until the buzz goes away. When the buzz goes away and you are not putting too much pressure on the strings your fingers won’t hurt as much.
Tip #3 Position and Press Your Figure as Close to the Fret as Possible
Are you at all putting your fretboard hand in the middle of the fret and the string? This makes it much more difficult to not get a buzzing sound and also not as accurate of a tone. Try moving your finger closer and closer to the front. What I mean by this is if you have a dot on the fretboard move your finger in between that and up as close as you can to the fret and press down. This will require less pressure on your finger and less pressure for you to put down on the fret in order for you to not get fret buzz. You will also create a better tone for your guitar and get less fatigued playing notes and chords. Excessive pressure on the strings usually be the cause of finger pain
Tip #4 Develop your Guitar Finger Calluses
Are you a beginner guitar player but maybe you haven’t fully developed calluses? Your fingertips are going to develop more strength and resistance to the guitar strings as you play more and more within the first month or two. You will develop calluses and they will have more strength to your fingertips which will give you less and less pain the more you play guitar and develop these calluses.
Tip #5 Use Lighter Gauge Guitar Strings
Did you know that lighter gauge guitar strings are easier to play on the guitar? They will also be less hard on your fingertips. Lighter gauge strings are also easier to bend and slide on. If you have lighter gauge strings, you are putting a lot less stress on your fingertips. String gauges come in light, medium, and heavy. Steel guitar strings are also a little bit rougher on your fingers. Electric guitars typically have lighter gauge strings compared to an acoustic guitar. Maybe consider playing a little more of electric guitars. Also, classical guitars nylon strings are softer and easier on your fingers. Consider maybe changing your guitar strings and going down a notch gauge thickness. You might notice a huge difference in your finger pain. Note that there are many pros and cons to changing the gauge of your guitar strings.
Tip #6 Change your Guitar Strings
When was the last time you changed your guitar strings? I’ve seen some guitar strings so bad that the coiling around the strings is loose and coming off and it can hurt your fingers. The strings might be so worn out that you need to consider changing your strings. You’ll achieve a better tone. Guitar strings oxidize over time and this affects the tone. Typically you will change your guitar strings every 6 months but it also depends on how much you played the guitar, the humidity level for the guitar, and how well you clean the strings. There are many factors that may affect how often you want to change your guitar strings. Do you gig at all? Do you play for many hours during the day? Consider all of these factors for when you should change your guitar strings.
Tip #7 Dial Back on your playing style and take breaks from practicing
How long do you practice every day? Maybe you are just getting tired and your fingers are getting fatigued from the amount of playing you’re doing. Certain playing styles are more aggressive than others. Maybe consider giving your fingers a break from playing the guitar more often.
Tip #8 Strengthen your Fingers with dexterity exercises and use a Finger Strengthener
Do you get finger pain anywhere else besides your fingertips? Maybe you’re getting it at the joints or maybe you’re getting it throughout the fingers? This may be because you need to strengthen your fingers or you are just too tense while you’re playing the guitar. Consider using a metronome or slowing down so that you can practice going at a more relaxed pace, then slowly you speed up your playing. To strengthen your fingers you can do dexterity or permutation exercises going up and down the fretboard one note at a time, like a chromatic scale. Also, there are finger strengthening tools that you can use for the guitar that will help strengthen your fingers. Certain fingers may be weaker than others and require more attention. You may notice this when trying to produce certain notes on the fretboard that the fret buzz is bad or that finger hurts more. This finger may need more attention to play better and to be in less pain. We will list down below a great finger strengthener from Daddario as well as a typical Gym hand strengthener that you may also find interesting to use.
We hope you found this article helpful and tips to reduce finger pain. These tips should help experience less finger pain while playing the guitar. We may have not hit all of the points but these are some of the biggest reasons why you might be experiencing finger pain while playing the guitar. Keep on Rockin and have a great day!