Is Playing Guitar Bad For Your Hands? [Solved]

As a beginner guitarist, you will find that after each practice session, your hands will hurt. Particularly the tips of your fingers. This begs the question, is playing guitar bad for your hands?

Playing guitar is not bad for your hands. Instead, playing guitar is good for your hands as it improves coordination and strengthens your fingers over time. Playing guitar has also been linked to improve arthritis symptoms.

Continue reading to learn more on if playing guitar is bad for your hands and how to protect your fingers when playing guitar.

Is playing guitar bad for your hands

Is Playing Guitar Bad For Your Hands?

Playing guitar is not bad for your hands. The pain felt from playing guitar as a beginner is completely normal. In fact, playing guitar is good for your hands, especially for those with arthritis. Playing guitar builds coordination and strengthens muscles in your hands. Calluses built up over time from guitar are harmless and preferred among guitar players.

As a new guitar player, it can seem like playing guitar is not good for your hands because of how much it may hurt. How can something that’s not bad for you, end up hurting you? Unless you are using nylon strings, as a beginner it will hurt for a month or so. This does not mean it is bad for your hands. Overtime your hands will strengthen and calluses will form, making hurting hands a thing of the past.

Why Do My Fingers Hurt After Playing Guitar?

Most beginner guitarists press down too hard on the strings. Especially when learning on an acoustic guitar. This is often a product of strings not ringing out right and guitarists who have a gorilla grip on the guitar. The combination of this incorrect technique and a lack of calluses leads to fingers hurting after playing guitar.

Find Out How Guitar Calluses Form Today!

Once calluses start to form, the pain will become less and less. Once formed, playing guitar for the usual time you do, will start to not hurt at all, trust me. If you decide to play guitar for eight hours today, your fingers will hurt no matter how many years you have been playing or how built up your calluses are. Overplaying will always lead to sore fingers.

How To Deal with Sore Guitar Fingers

Sore guitar fingers and hands are common among new guitar players. Let’s look into ways to better deal with them below.

1. Consistency

The first tip is to be consistent with your practice. The more consistent you are with your playing, the easier it is going to be for you. Sore and hurting fingers are a rite of passage, and consistent playing is the best way to get through it faster.

If you only practice once a week, then each week your fingers are going to be sore the next day. You need to push through that soreness in the beginning and start practicing consistently.

As a beginner, it is best to do short practice sessions 5-6 times a week versus long ones 1-2 times a week.

2. Do Not Pick at Your Calluses

Picking at newly forming calluses is an easy way to set you back weeks. You need to leave them alone and let the form. If constantly picked at, they will never form and playing guitar will continue to hurt your fingers.

While they are forming, I recommend avoiding hot showers and hot tubs.

3. Do Not Use Finger Covers

There are companies out there that market finger covers to beginner guitarists. And because the pain can be frustrating, many new guitarists buy and use them.

Doing this does not address the root of the issue and can make you dependent on them. Avoid using finger covers at all costs and work to build up your hands and fingers over time through consistent practice.

4. Guitar Setup

As a beginner, knowing whether your guitar is set up correctly is near impossible. You may think that an extremely high action is normal, and it is just your playing that is making it difficult. I assure you this is not always the case.

I advise you to bring your guitar to a guitar shop and have a guitar tech adjust your action to the lowest point without fret buzz. They can also ensure your trust rod is aligned and that the guitar is set up in the best possible way.

How Do I Protect My Fingers When Playing Guitar?

To protect your fingers while playing guitar, start by changing your technique. Avoid pressing down on the strings as hard as possible and loosen up your hand on the neck of the guitar. Lower the action on the guitar to make it easier to fret a note, allowing you to not have to press down as hard on the string.

Discover if Playing Guitar is Truly a Good Hobby Here

The above advice will solve 90% of finger issues, thus protecting your hands.

Another way to protect your fingers is to use moisturizer regularly and drink water. Both these options help to keep your skin healthy and avoid becoming dry. Dry fingers will lead to cracking, peeling, and potentially even bleeding.

It is important to take care of your hands during and after playing guitar.

Is Playing Guitar Good for Arthritis?

Arthritis can seem like a block to your guitar playing, although it is the opposite.

Playing guitar encourages the release of synovial fluid that acts as a lubricant, resulting in smoother joint articulation which helps arthritis symptoms. It is the aspect of hand movement while playing guitar that releases synovial fluid.

When you are playing guitar, your hands are creating chords, moving up and down the neck, bending strings, etc.

With arthritis, the ends of the joints become “corroded” / “scraped”. When this happens, most people stop moving which makes it worse. Moving is what helps arthritis and playing guitar is a great way to get that movement in.

Not only does playing guitar In fact, in a study published by Stephanie Bolton of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, just listening to guitar music has been proven to diminish perceived pain levels among people with chronic arthritis.

“This study’s results indicate that music facilitated relaxation paired with live guitar music did reduce the level of perceived pain in the elderly with chronic arthritis statistically significantly.”

Stephanie Bolton, SMWC

As mentioned above, playing guitar, and listening to live guitar has been proven to help with arthritis. I encourage anyone with arthritis to either continue playing guitar or to start.

Thank you for reading is playing guitar bad for your hands. Please subscribe if you would like to be notified when a new article is posted.