Finger and Wrist pain from Guitar Playing

Finger and Wrist pain from Guitar Playing

Pain, Injuries, blister and Sore hand while learning guitar. Do these sound familiar to you? 😫😭🤕
Sore fingers and wrists tendonitis
I can still recall that when I first started learning and practicing my guitar lessons, my hands were so painful and exhausting. The pain suffered not only on my finger tips of my fretting hand, but also on my wrist and arm.

For me learning guitar isn’t that hard, the only biggest challenge is the sore fingers, muscle tightness and pain resulting from continuous and excessive fretting and depressing the strings over long period of time.

I think this is the main reason that discouraging beginners, and eventually gave up after a few lessons or not even complete the first lesson. 😰

Furthermore, if you’re a newbie in learning a musical instrument, you’ll feel mentally exhausting when you really paying full concentration and attention on it.

Your brain not only have to fully concentrate and follow closely on every single musical notes and progression, but also have to control your movement according to the instant changing of notes and melody in a very fast pace, depending on the tempo set.

This kind of torment may also preventing some beginners to have longer practicing period. 🎼🎵😵

Pain and sore fingers are common process that many of the guitarist have to go through and overcome. In order to overcoming the pain, they tried all sorts of methods just to make their fingertips immune or relief to the pain.

Some people coating their fingertips with superglue, roughing them up with all sort of tools, dipping them into a hot frying pan and more just to thicken the skin on the fingertips before they really build up calluses.

How to deal with finger pain from playing Guitar and Bass?

So what a calluse is? And what is the benefit of having it? 🤔🤔

Calluse is a thick skin built on your body’s skin especially on palms and feet due to the result of excessive rubbing on a same spot over long period of time. It will reduce your sensitivity of feel when the skin on your fingertips are thick enough and hence reduce the pain while fretting.

Calluses built up on fingertips.
Calluses built up on fingertips.

I myself tried coating with superglue on my fingertips before as a beginner and to tell you the truth, this doesn’t help much and it gives you a weird feeling. So if you’re like me doing one or more of these so called “trick”, I’d advise you to stop now.

Stop abusing your hands before it becomes a serious problem and injure.

The most effective way to build up calluses is through traditional practice.

This way you’ll not only building up calluses but at the same time brushing up your skills. It is relatively important to have both building up simultaneously. Here are several ways to reduce pain and avoid muscle injury during practicing and helping you build up calluses slowly.

  1. Always warm up your palms and wrists by doing some stretching exercises before every practice. Then start with some warm up fretting exercises.
  2. Fine tune your guitar’s neck so that the gap between the guitar string and frets is not too large. This can be done by professional guitar shop.
  3. Use Light-Gauge strings so that the force use to depress the string is less.
  4. Applying appropriate depressing force. Too hard will reduce your fingers speed, more painful fingertips and get tire faster. Too light force will produce poor quality tone or out of tone.
  5. Fix a short practicing time per day. Do not over practice and strectch your fingers. It doesn’t help to improve much when you’re too exhausted, and there is possibility to have your palm hurt and developed muscles tighness and wrist tendonitis.

The best practice to relief muscles tightness after a long practice is to carry out some exercises, I’m referring to whole body exercises. Exercise will help to increase our stamina and relax our mind. Although there are devices that use specifically to exercise our palm but I think by just purely exercise one part of our body doesn’t help much to increase our strength.

Wrist Finguers and Hand Stretching

Last but not least, I’d like to share one more trick which I find it very useful to relief sore hands, the ” Cool Down Exercise “.

After every practice, it is a good habit to do some mild stretching and massage on every fingers, palms and wrists.

A proper cool-down exercise will help to relax your muscles, releasing the tension after heavy fretting and hence reduce pain.

And if you could maintain this habit you’ll feel that the pains are getting lesser each time you carry out your practice and calluses are slowly built up at the same time.

wrist pain guitar
Wrist stretching.


Fingers stretching for playing bass guitar
Fingers stretching.


Hand massage to play guitar
Hand massage.

So, calluses are good stuff to prevent sore fingers while fretting your guitar and bass. But on the other hand, calluses may be an annoying stuff to some people especially for girl. As they do not look and feel good when something rough on your fingers and at the beginning you may tend to peel them off. Please try not to do that as this act may bleed your finger while peeling off the rough skins. If the roughness really disturbing, here I recommend a good piece of stuff to reduce them, a small FILE or an Emery Board.

Use an Emery Board to gently file on the calluses when the surfaces are too rough. This way will smooth out the surface of the calluses while still maintaining them.

So these are my experiences to overcome sore and exhausting hands. If you have any queries, I’d be more than happy to reply to you. Or if you’d like to share some of your comments and exciting experiences, you’re welcome to leave a word at the comment column.


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