The 4 Solutions to Beginner Guitar Finger Pain
I know your pain. You’ve just started out. You’re excited and keen to play. You’re motivated. You can’t wait to pick up your guitar…but then…your fingers hurt so much you can’t play! Don’t worry. There are solutions. Here’s some tips:
First of all, here’s 4 questions to ask if you’re suffering from DBGFP (Dreaded Beginner Guitar Finger Pain)
Am I pressing down too hard on the strings?
Is the “action” on my guitar too high (the height of the strings above the fretboard)?
Do my fingers need a rest?
Am I playing guitar regularly enough?
Let’s tackle each one individually:
1. Press down on the string as lightly as you can manage while at the same time still making a clear, clean sound. Practise finding that sweet spot where you’re putting on just the right amount of pressure.
2. If the “action” is too high, which is often the case with cheaper guitars, you could try taking it to a guitar shop and asking them if it’s possible to lower the action for you.
3. As beginners, we are often using our fingers in ways that they haven’t been used before. The tips of the left hand can hurt because of the metal strings rubbing against them, or the whole finger can hurt due to the pressure we use in holding down the string. Some pain is normal, usual and comes with the territory. But as your fingers get stronger and as your fingers develop a “tougher” exterior, these problems melt away. Be sure to rest if the pain is putting you off playing and try using alternate fingers where possible, even just for a short time to give the sore fingers time to recover.
4. I sometimes notice that if I haven’t played for a few days, it takes my fingers a little while to get their “toughness” back and I get a bit sore on the tips of the fingers. Conversely, if I’m playing a lot, I can often get pain as well. We need to judge this ourselves of course…but going too long without playing can mean that our fingers lose a little of their strength and toughness so by all means take breaks…but not for too long!