You have probably heard that playing guitar damage the fingers but is it true? Let’s find out.
Is playing guitar supposed to hurt your fingers?
Playing guitar is not supposed to hurt your fingers but if you are a newbie, your fingers may hurt in the beginning. After a few weeks of playing guitar, you will notice that your fingertips will get thickened and calluses ( thick patch ) will form due to repeated pressure against the strings. This will prevent your fingers from further hurting.
Why Do Fingers Hurt While Learning Guitar?
Unlike in electric guitars, the strings in the acoustic guitar are tight and way more thicker than an electric guitar. One has to press the strings harder to get the notes clearer. Due to that repeated pressure exerted by fingers, it starts to hurt. But as you play for a few weeks, calluses ( thick patch ) start to form on the fingertips which prevent you from hurting more.
Is It Normal For Fingers To Hurt While Playing Guitar?
Yes, it is absolutely normal for fingers to feel pain while playing the guitar. Due to the pressure applied by the fingers on the strings, the soft tissue of the fingertips hurts in the early stage. As you play regularly you will notice that the tips of your fingers will get hard. That’s when you know that the fingers are ready.
But you need to take a closer look at your playing technique and hand position when your finger joints start to hurt. That’s when you need to stop and give proper rest to your fingers.
How Long Until Your Fingers Stop Hurting From Guitar?
If you are just starting out to play guitar then it is going to take ( 1 month ) a while. Try to practice every day and keep that momentum going for at least a month. That will help your fingers to get tougher and calluses ( thick patch ) will form sooner on your fingertips but as soon as you stop playing for 3-4 days, your fingers will again get softer. That’s the reason you need to keep that momentum going.
If you are talking about finger joint pains then you need to correct your playing technique. Make sure that the action of your guitar ( space between the strings and fretboard ) is low and if possible replace your steel strings to nylon strings. That will help in making your learning process easier in the early days. After a while again change its steel strings.
Will My Fingers get Ugly If I Learn The Guitar?
Fingers don’t get ugly when learning guitar. The fingertips may become hard and calluses will form on the fingertips but it won’t be visible to anyone. Moreover, 99% of guitarists are not at all bothered by it at all.
The shape of your fingers may change a little if you are playing or practicing the guitar for a longer time and you may also lose sensitivity on your fingertips but it will repair itself as you allow your fingers to rest for a while.
Your fretting hand ( left hand ) may get more affected when learning guitar but if you choose to play without a pick, your picking hand ( right hand ) fingertips may also get hard. But as I said, it is not something that you should be concerned about. As you allow your fingers to rest it will heal itself.
How Do I Prevent My Fingers From Hurting When Learning Guitar?
After every practice session, do some finger stretching exercises which will help you to loosen up your fingers and prepare your fingers for the next session. Like indoor sports, playing guitar is also a physical activity that requires warming up. So, make sure to spend quality time to stretch your fingers before picking up the guitar again. You should also avoid playing guitar when your fingers are wet or you have just taken a bath. This will help in keeping your calluses ( thick patch on fingertips ) intact.
You can also consider checking the action of your guitar. If it is too high then simply visit a nearby guitar store or technician and ask them to re-setup it. It won’t cost you more than 500INR ( 10 USD ).
Is Playing Guitar Really Good For Your Fingers?
After a certain time of playing guitar, calluses ( thick patch ) start to form on your fingertips which prevent your fingers from hurting. The more one practices the guitar the more he/she gets used to the pain. So, yes, playing the guitar will not damage or injure your fingers.
Should You Stop Playing Guitar If Your Fingers Hurt?
Yes, you should take short and long breaks when your fingers start to hurt. Let your fingers to get healed naturally before practicing or playing again.
So, lastly, I would like to say that learning to play guitar is just like learning to play any other sport. It is a physical activity that involves some hurting and pain but as you practice for a certain time, your fingers get tougher and you enjoy it more and more.