Why Do My Fingers Hurt When I Play Guitar?


One of the first things that guitar players usually want to know is why their fingers hurt when they play. When you first start playing, your hands will probably be sore after practicing for a few hours.

The traumatic consequence is related to the continual, constant contact with the harsh material of the strings. The top layer of skin is worn away over time, exposing the more sensitive and nerve-dense dermal layer beneath it. Attempting to continue playing with your fingertips exposed can be incredibly painful.

It’s important to remember that this is normal and won’t last forever.

Your skin may also feel tight or dry until it becomes more accustomed to holding on tightly to the strings of your guitar.

In this article, I’ll discuss some reasons why your fingers may be hurting when you play guitar, as well as some tips on how to protect them from pain going forward.

Is it normal for my fingers to hurt when playing guitar?

Generally, when you first start playing the guitar, you’ll be experiencing some pain and discomfort in your fingers.

This is due to the constant contact with rough materials that contain strings on a guitar.

If you’re not sure what to expect, just remember that this is normal and it will go away.

It’s important to note that this discomfort won’t last forever, but if it persists for more than a few weeks without any sign of improvement, talk to a doctor.

Many people have reported that the pain in their fingers goes away after a few weeks of regular practice.

It’s also important to take extra care in picking out guitar strings for playing. Remember that they are abrasive materials meant to create sound when plucked.

The downside is that they are pretty rough on the skin, so try to pick out strings that are smooth or coated (like Elixir strings).

Situations that may cause pain in your fingers when playing guitar may be related to the size of the guitar, improper positioning, or the type of strings.

If you are playing a guitar that is too big for your body frame it may be uncomfortable to hold and could cause pain in your fingers after extended periods of time.

How can I protect my fingers from pain while learning guitar?

Here are a few ways to avoid pain when playing the guitar:

Work on your finger strength – play exercises that will strengthen your fingertips. For example, you could try plucking the strings with only one or two of your fingernails until they get sore and then switch to all of your fingertips.

This will train them to be stronger and less sensitive in the long term.

Switch up your strings – play with different types of string materials (like nylon or steel) until you find one that feels most comfortable for you. This can alleviate pain when playing guitar because it’ll make the strings smoother on your fingertips.

Don’t push yourself too hard – take frequent breaks when you practice so that your fingers can rest for a moment and avoid any pain in the long run.

If you’re having trouble with the size of your guitar, check out my article on it right here.

Now that you know why fingers hurt when playing guitar and how to prevent pain in your fingertips going forward, start practicing!

It’s just a matter of time before those calluses build up and you’re rocking out to your favorite songs.

When I first started learning guitar, my fingers would hurt after extended practicing sessions, but it all went away with time and practice!

How do you harden your fingers for guitar?

Rubbing alcohol is a common ingredient used by both amateurs and professionals. It helps to harden the skin and, in certain cases, can even help to relieve pain.

Simply soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol 3-4 times each day and massage your fingertips with it. The rubbing alcohol will harden your skin and reduce the pain.

Some people experience more intense symptoms like numbness or tingling that can last for several weeks even after they’ve stopped playing guitar.

This may be a sign that there’s nerve damage in your fingertips which can lead to serious complications if not treated properly.

If the pain has gone on for more than two weeks without improvement consider seeing a doctor to see if there are any underlying conditions causing the pain.

It’s probably just a matter of time before you start building callouses on your fingertips.

If you’re a beginner and you haven’t built up any callouses yet, it may be a little painful to practice guitar.

After all – your fingertips are not used to the pressure of plucking and strumming on strings!

But this is normal and will go away as soon as those hard skin layers start forming over time.

Do your fingers get stronger when playing guitar?

The great thing about the guitar is that as you practice more, you’re giving your hands and fingers a ‘workout.’

You’ll notice that muscle memory improves, your fingers get stronger and more agile, and songs that seemed hard to play become easier over time.

It’s worth noting that building calluses on your fingertips are not the only way to make them stronger.

Playing certain chords and scales over time will help you develop strength in other ways that may be more beneficial for what you’re trying to accomplish musically.

This is because certain chords and scales require you to use more fingers in conjunction with each other.

Are guitar calluses bad and permanent?

Calluses from playing guitar do eventually go away. If you stop playing, they will recover after about a month.

There are also methods you can use to speed up the development of your fingertips and cut down the time it takes for them to toughen up if you don’t want to take a break from playing.

Just keep in mind that you can speed up the process of developing calluses by playing guitar while wearing a pair of gloves.

This will reduce the pressure on your fingertips and allow them to build more quickly than they would without any protection.

How do I get rid of my pain from plucking and strumming?

If these methods don’t work, you may be better off seeing a doctor to diagnose the root cause of your pain and get more targeted treatment.

At this point in time, there’s not much research done on how guitar playing affects our fingertips over time – some professionals say it can be bad while others claim that calluses build up quickly enough that we’re generally protected from any long-term damage.

The best thing you can do is stick to a regular practice schedule and make sure that your playing isn’t too rough on the fingertips.

Make sure to take frequent breaks, wear gloves when it gets cold outside, or consider investing in a guitar stand so that they’re not being pressed against anything while you’re not playing.


Read Also: My Gear Recommendations

Recent Posts