The guitar is one of the most popular instruments in the world. However, it requires a learning process during which some frustration can be felt due to the pain in the fingers experienced by beginners.
As in every action we take for the first time, the body has to adapt to it. Thus, at the beginning of the guitar art, the performer will feel discomfort in the fingertips, due to the appearance of calluses.
Common injuries for playing guitar
The guitar is not an instrument that has very good ergonomics. This requires a period of adjustment, not only to learn how to play it, but also to find a position that doesn’t mistreat the player.
To begin with, we must observe the correct posture when sitting in order to avoid pain in the neck, back or waist. It is not uncommon for guitarists to suffer various types of injuries to the wrist, elbow or forearm.
Among the different types of injuries that guitarists suffer, the following are worth mentioning:
- Finger on the trigger.
- Cubital tunnel syndrome.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- focal dystonia.
In all of these cases there can be tension, inflammation, pain, numbness, loss of flexibility in the hand and fingers, and even spread to the neck and back. And naturally, practicing or learning the instrument suffers.
What Causes Finger Pain When Playing Guitar?
If you are starting to learn to play the guitar, you have certainly suffered from it and you know what we are talking about. Decidedly, Finger pain is a necessary evil when you want to become a guitarist.
Now, the question is why do your fingers hurt when you play this instrument? The first reason is more than obvious since we are not used to pressing strings.
Secondly, according to a studywhen playing a stringed instrument repetitive touching can cause trauma Closed. In this case, in the tissue of the fingertips, which is soft. In this way, the constant pressure causes the top layer of skin to wear away, exposing the more sensitive dermis.
Isotonic finger movements can also affect the tendons, as muscle and joint contractions and some effort are required. In both situations, pain in the fingers can occur.
Pressing the strings too hard will cause pain. on the fingers, both in the tip or bud and in the tendons and joints. For a beginner, it can be difficult to determine how much force to exert.
On the other hand, metal strings hurt fingers more than nylon strings. Also, if the strings are too tight, your fingers have to push harder to produce a clean sound.
How long does it take for calluses to form?
Fingertip pain is almost a rite of passage for aspiring guitarists. Over time, these bruises heal, becoming calluses that will allow you to play without discomfort.
On average, it can take anywhere from 15 days to a month for calluses to form on the fingertips. This, in turn, depends on various factors, such as how many days a week the person plays, the type of guitar, the type of string and the technique.
Finally, if the person is an experienced guitarist and stops playing for a while, the callusing process takes less time once it resumes.
Tips to prevent finger pain when learning to play guitar
While calluses are good for you in the long run, they’re a real torture for the beginner as they form. This may lead some to consider giving up the tool.
In this sense, finger pain when learning to play guitar is inevitable, But it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Here are some tips to prevent or mitigate it as much as possible.
1. Duration of the session
It is advisable, when starting out, to divide up the practice sessions, therefore which are short periods of time Duration from 5 to 10 minutes.
You can stay like this for the first two weeks. Then you will feel a little less pain and you can increase the duration and frequency to 15 minutes, 3 times a day.
Also for experienced guitarists it is advisable to rest from time to timebetween test sessions, to avoid finger and wrist conditions, such as tendinitis or other.
2. Squeeze the strings lightly
When you train, if you are not surrounded by an audience, apply as little pressure as possible. During rehearsals or if from concerts you can use more force if necessary.
On the other hand, take care of the grip on the back of the neck. Often the excess tension is due to poor wrist position and thumb pressure from behind.
3. Use nylon strings
You know it’s not the same sound, depending on what you want to play. However, as a student, it is recommended to start with the nylon ones until you have callusesSo you don’t feel so much pain.
Also remember that old, corroded strings wear out your fingertips, while new ones allow you to glide better. So change them if they look rusty already.
4. Keep your nails short
If you’re right those of the left hand, and vice versa. Keep your fingernails short on the hand you use to strike strings and produce chords.
that way, the bud presses better for a clean sound. This will also reduce pain and you won’t accidentally play another string you don’t want.
5. Do not touch with wet hands
When you have been in the water for a long time, when bathing or in the pool, wet skin softens a bit. Touching in this way can affect the formed calluses, cracking and opening the skin.
Also, wet fingers slip on the strings, so the pressure has to be increased, with the consequences this entails.
6. Help your calluses
Furthermore, if the person wishes, the formation of calluses can be accelerated by applying some techniques, such as drumming. As long as it doesn’t cause more wounds or more pain.
Sure, avoid hitting very hard or on a very hard surface. The recommended thing is a plastic card (like a credit card) or a wooden table with a tablecloth.
7. The maintenance of your instrument
If the neck is arched or the bridge is too high, the strings will be tighter and more pressure will be needed. ANDIt is important that the guitar is well calibrated. Take it to the musical instrument workshop and make the necessary arrangements.
How to relieve finger pain when playing guitar
When you are learning to play guitar, it is advisable not to continue playing if your fingers are soreas the soft tissue damage worsens.
Under no circumstances should you allow the buds to crack and have open sores or blisters. This would force you to stop and wait for them to heal and will slow down the callus process.
If necessary, use a natural anestheticsuch as apple cider vinegar, dipping your fingers in a glass of this product for 1 minute after touching it.
It also helps to use cold compresses, alternating with warm water.as well as warm salt water and denatured alcohol. Remember that if you are going to play again you need to dry your hands well.
Identify the type of pain you experience when learning to play the guitar
While finger pain is normal when you’re just starting to learn the guitar, it shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it can become a more serious problem.
This doesn’t mean you should stop playing., at least not permanently. If your fingers hurt, take breaks, practice less for a few days, and give your fingertip time to recover and harden.
If we feel pain when we touch our fingertips, it is a question of calluses or lack of calluses. But if we feel pain when we claw our fingers, it’s another type of injury.
You have to pay attention to this, because if the pain is in your hands you need to improve your position or grip. But if it persists or you experience it in your hands, wrist, elbow, or shoulder, that’s a sign of a more serious problem.
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