10 tips to reduce tension and pain in your fingers playing the guitar!

This phenomenon particularly affects beginners, but can also annoy some players who have left their instrument aside for several months: when you play guitar, you feel tension – even pain – in your fingers. Of course, since we adopt positions that have nothing natural on the handle, we ask a lot of joints … And they sometimes end up showing some weaknesses. Rest assured, these discomforts are not fatal: here are 10 helpful tips to better support and reduce pain.

finger pain when playing the guitar

1. Facing beginner’s pains: they will disappear

In the majority of cases (for the right-handed ones), the left hand runs the neck to make the chords, while the right hand scratches the strings on the lower part of the guitar. Logically, the friction on the handle is more demanding : the left hand discomfort first (right hand left-handed).

Although joint pain exists, the first handicap stems simply from the friction between the fingers and the strings. It disappears as the training is linked , because by being forced, the skin of the fingers protects itself. You will see horn forming, then observe as a hardening. Gradually, discomfort will diminish until it is no longer felt. Patience!

2. Release the pressure

When you start playing guitar , stress influences the vast majority of movements . It is not without consequences on the quality of the game: so that the sequences are more fluid, it is necessary naturally to learn to relax, to take confidence and especially to consider the practice of the guitar like a real pleasure.

More surprising, this tension encourages you to press harder on the handle. By force of circumstances, the friction with the ropes is increased, the joints work even more – and the suffering grows. Thus, for the learning of the first chords to generate less pain, it is simply necessary to consider the mind calmed . If such advice seems easy to say, we must not forget that there are many methods used by musicians to relax: meditation before training or breathing exercises, among others.

3. Adopt the right posture

As soon as you start the guitar lessons, the teacher learns to position himself, to sit properly, to hold the handle in the right way and to install the instrument on his thighs. Put all these tips in your mind: a correct posture gives you all the keys to play effectively , quietly, without generating too much harm.

In general, a badly committed body will already be tortured : besides hand pain, if you play a long time, you will feel stiffness in the back, cramps in the legs , etc. Naturally, you will not be able to move your hand properly on the handle, which will further fuel the tension in the fingers.

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4. Choosing the right strings

The choice of strings is a decisive moment for all musicians: it will have consequences on the sound, of course, but also on the difficulties encountered. If you’re new and your fingers are really painful, use thicker or medium-sized models, which are theoretically more comfortable.

Be careful, this choice does not imply that everything will be easier. Because if they sensitize less the fingers, the thick cords are also more complex to handle, since the space between them is reduced. The chords are simpler to succeed with thin strings, but also more painful. Try intermediate thicknesses in order to find the right compromise!

5. Prepare a grandmother’s remedy

Some purely natural solutions can help you, at first, to reduce these pains with the hands. Pour a sufficient amount of apple cider vinegar into a container to soak all your fingers . Impregnate your skin for thirty seconds, before and after training : some musicians approve this method that costs almost nothing.

Another economical remedy accessible to all, the ice cream. After your little game session, you can form an ice pack and grab it in your hands . Low temperatures have anesthetic properties: there will be no “long-term” effect on pain, but this initiative will have the advantage of relieving pain that occurs just after training.

6. Take care of your hands

This may seem anecdotal: when you get used to the guitar , you have to take the time to take care of your hands . For example, when the horn appears, do not attempt to tear it off nervously. You may form a wound and, if you are one of the less fortunate, she will become infected … This will prevent you from playing for several days!

So that your skin reacts well to all these solicitations, moisturize it regularly, protect it from external aggression (cleaning products, gardening, etc.) and maintain good hygiene habits, especially if you hurt yourself (disinfection of wounds, dressings).

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7. Allow the horn time to train

Once the horn has formed well on the fingers, the pain disappears. Some impatient players are tempted to redouble their efforts over a short period of time, to solicit their fingers and speed up the process. But going beyond his initial abilities, the guitarist will suffer above all much more than he should, knowing that he will then have to wait several days to be able to resume his instrument, so that the tissues are reconstituted.

So, just let time and nature do things. By learning softly, the horn will be formed day after day. Theoretically, it only takes a few weeks to have a good base : if you claim to be able to get there in a few days, you are wrong and you take the risk of losing even more time!

8. Identify alerts and make the right decisions

When an unusual pain occurs during the game, do not minimize it and do not force it. Stop for a while, try to find the origin of the problem (friction on the skin, joint, stress) and resume only once relieved. Fetuses on the fingers are benign , but they appear theoretically cold.

Major muscle or joint discomfort during play is not necessarily normal. Do not worry, but the break is necessary at this time and, if it continues, do not hesitate to ask for an outside opinion.

9. Warm up before starting training

There are warm-up methods specific to guitarists. Your teacher can certainly teach you. But if you are self-taught, do not hesitate to consult videos on the Internet, in order to visualize concretely these methods allowing to begin serenely his session of guitar. For example, fix yourself on the first four boxes of the neck, and play all the notes, rope by rope. In this way, you solicit the gap between your fingers and work on your landmarks.

You can also warm up the right hand, which scratches the strings , multiplying the back and forth on all the strings. So that the gesture is more fluid, we recommend going from rope to rope without looking at what we do, as long as we maintain a certain ease.

10. Practice diligently

Patience and perseverance will overcome your pain in your fingers. Indeed, the gradual formation of the horn will reduce the unpleasant sensations of friction … Only if you play regularly. It is not necessary to practice very long each time, at the risk of over-soliciting the body and trigger tendonitis.

Instead, choose rather short training sessions, one hour, several times a week. Little by little, the practice of the guitar will become less and less painful … And more and more pleasant!