How To Play Guitar With Less Painful and Exhausting Hands.

How To Play Guitar With Less Painful and Exhausting Hands.

Pain, Injuries, blister and Sore hand while learning guitar. Do these sound familiar to you? 😫😭🤕

Sore fingers and wrists tendonitis
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.

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.

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 stretching.
Wrist stretching.


Fingers stretching.
Fingers stretching.


Hand massage.
Hand massage.

So, calluses are good stuff to prevent sore fingers while fretting your guitar. 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.

10 Replies to “How To Play Guitar With Less Painful and Exhausting Hands.”

  1. These are great tips, I’ve followed some of these tips for reducing finger and hand pain while playing guitar and they work well. I used to also use Finger Ease, which you spray on the neck board and it helps your fingers slide around more easily. Though it may not be a good idea depending on what you’re practicing, I practice guitar while listening to music. This helps me stay awake while playing guitar and it makes it more entertaining too.

    1. Hello Juan,
      Great to hear that this article help. I never use any of those Finger Ease before, but it’s good to know that and thanks for your sharing. Hope to hear more tips and fun from you.

  2. When I used to play my guitar m fingers were so sore the pain was unbearable. I did read that as time went on the pain should ease as the skin on my finger tips will get harder. It never did though as I was a beginner I was pressing down on the strings too hard. The advise in your article is great and would of been very helpful if I was still playing. Thanks for the article

    1. Hi James,
      I’m glad you have benefited from my article. Hope you’re still playing and I’m keen to hear your exciting learning experience.

  3. Thank you for this insightful article. I always wanted to learn guitar. It’s been on my bucket list for so long. I have tried a couple times however. Do you find it is something we can all excel at with enough practice? Or is it something that you have to be musically talented or a natural to pick it up? Each time I try, I can’t seem to get the hang of it. Maybe the lessons I watch from youtube are hard to follow? Any tips?

    1. Hi Rob,
      You’re exactly experiencing what I had been through. Doubted about yourself whether you’re naturally talented in music? As for me I don’t believe such thing as talent. Practice is mandatory if you wanted to success or achieve excellence result, but make sure you learn the correct skill and approach before you really push to the limit. Be very careful as improper approach will lead you to develop bad habit and worse case, suffer.
      If you’re following a proper certified lesson from YouTube then it should be fined. Else if you just follow a single song lesson created by someone then make sure you start with an easy song first. You must learn how to walk before you learn how to fly. Some song just too difficult to follow for a beginner, as it may involve many skills in it. Try start with song with just pure strumming and practice the entire song until you’re able to smoothly change from one chord to another. Until then share with me your exciting moment once you’ve done it and I hope it would be soon. Enjoy and good luck!

  4. It’s a great and convincing review.. You use a special technique in writing.. You start with writing your experience and finally lead to the product.. I never use this product but my brother does and he likes it a lot.. He also recommend to his friends who suffer the same situation..
    Only one suggestion.. Don’t use black background because it’s not easy for reading.. I recommend you change to white surface with black font
    Wishing you all the best

    1. Hi Rania,
      Thanks for your compliment. I’m glad your brother like it and hope you enjoy too. If your brother have any queries he is welcome to leave a comment here or email me personally, I’d be more than happy to reply. And also he is welcome to share his exciting experience here about playing guitar.
      Also, thanks for your suggestion and I’ll seriously look into it.

  5. totally agree on that. I pick up guitar last year and after half a year I gave up. My fingers are in great pain when playing it. I don’t really experience sore hands. Only the fingers that are killing me. Thanks for your information.

    1. Hi Jay,
      Too bad to hear that you had given up. Not everyone would have sore hand and I’m glad that you’re not suffering this. Hope that my article would help you to continue playing guitar again. I think you’re just one step behind, you’ll overcome the pain once you’ve developed calluses. And I hope to hear from you again about your guitar story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *