Learning how to play the guitar requires time, commitment, determination and lots and lots of practice. A new guitarist will often experience hand and finger pain within the first weeks and months and this is one of the reasons why people give up learning how to play this instrument in the early days. The pain is a part of the learning process and especially pain on the fingertips of the fretting fingers but it eventually dissipates. There are, however, ways that can help you minimize the pain and here are a few of them.
Guitar strings come in different sizes or gauges, ranging from thin strings to thicker strings. One way to minimize the pain is to use the lighter string as you are learning and gradually progress to the thicker strings as your skill improves. The lighter strings require less pressure when fretting than the heavier strings, which will in effect minimize the pain.
The pain may also result from a high string height on your guitar, which is the distance from the bottom of the string to the top of the metal fret also known as 'action’. A high string height is bound to cause pain in your fingers on your fretting hand. You can go to a guitar shop and get a professional have a look at the height to determine whether it needs adjusting. A low string height will require less pressure, which in turn, minimizes the pain that you experience in your early playing days.
Your technique is also important when it comes to minimizing the pain in the fingers. You should press the string as close to the fret as possible and not further away. This technique reduces the soreness that you may experience. It will also help you play longer before taking a break.
It is advisable to learn how to play using the nylon string as opposed to the steel ones. The nylon strings are less harsh on the fingertips and will help reduce the pain you may be experiencing.
Having short fingernails will prevent you from using the fleshy pads of the finger when fretting. It is important to play using the fingertips and not the finger pads because they bruise easily.
Take a few minutes to play slowly as a warm up before you get into more intense playing. This will help prepare your muscles and joints and as with any other physical activity prevent any injuries and pain.
Learning how to play the guitar can be an exhilarating experience, but pain can dampen your enthusiasm. By following the right playing techniques and making a few changes to your guitar, you should be able to minimize the pain you feel in your hand and finger. The pain and soreness are only temporary and within a few weeks, you will be able to play without experiencing any pain, you just need to keep at it and eventually, you will be playing like a pro.
Do you experience pain when playing the guitar?