If your child is new to playing the guitar and is taking guitar lessons in Denver, they have probably expressed to you how much their fingers hurt after they’ve practiced. It doesn’t take much to get sore fingertips when you’re a beginner with this instrument.
You know the saying, no pain, no gain. We usually hear that phrase for sports, but the same goes for playing the guitar. Unfortunately, you can’t get around that finger pain when you’re learning to play. Even your Denver guitar teacher once had to deal with this. But you can try to build up the calluses on your fingers faster! We’ve got several tips on how to work on your fingertips, but before we get to those, let’s take a look at why our fingers hurt when we play guitar.
Why does playing the guitar make your fingers hurt?
If your child is new to playing the guitar, their fingers aren’t used to pressing on nylon or steel strings over and over. In 2011, the Iowa Orthopedic Journal published a case study on tissue damage done to fingertips from activities like playing the guitar. The study found that the action of pressing on the strings over and over causes a type of trauma to the fingertips. By constantly practicing guitar, the fingers don’t get the chance to grow back new skin, which can damage the fingertips over time. However, building up calluses helps with this pain and can help your child avoid any long term effects.
Building finger calluses
How can you get your fingertips callused? It’s different for everyone, of course, but on average, it can take anywhere between two to four weeks for your fingertips to grow calluses. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process.
Five ways to build up fingertip calluses
Here are a few ways you can try to speed up the callus-process for your fingertips.
1. Cut down on practice time but practice more often
This doesn’t mean you just practice for two minutes. Consider cutting your usual practice time in half or a little more. By doing so, you can give the skin on your fingers a rest so that it won’t break open.
2. Practice with steel-strings
To learn more about strings, check out our blog on how to choose the best guitar strings.
3. Consider using a thicker-gauge string
Using a thicker string will help create calluses instead of breaking the skin. You’ll want to be careful with this tip if you’re reading this blog for your child. Sometimes using thicker string makes it harder to play, and you don’t want your child to become discouraged in their playing if a thicker string makes it difficult.
4. Try to replicate the feeling of pressing on guitar strings throughout the day
Use your fingertips to press on a thin edge of a bank card or something of similar thickness to that of a guitar string.
5. Put rubbing alcohol on your fingertips
By using rubbing alcohol, you can dry out the skin, which signals your body to build up calluses.
If your fingers or your child’s fingers are hurting, you can try to reduce the pain by applying a cold compress. You can also try not pressing down very hard on the guitar strings and keeping your nails short. It’s okay to take breaks from playing for a long time. Keep in mind that if you stop playing guitar altogether, your calluses will eventually go away. And when you decide to pick up the guitar again, you’ll have to start the process all over again.
Shred your guitar strings, not your fingertips
By using the information in this blog, you or your child will quickly build up fingertip calluses, allowing them to enjoy practicing and will help them excel in their guitar playing ability. While we hope you found this information helpful, the truth is you will benefit even more by learning from a guitar-playing professional. That’s why we highly recommend finding a guitar teacher in your area.
At Lessons In Your Home, all of our instructors are thoroughly vetted, professional, and passionate. Our teachers will come right to your home for every lesson, plus we offer virtual music lessons, too. However, our online music lessons are being taught by local music teachers with live lessons tailored to your child! Contact us today to learn more.