One of the topics of high interest last year in the Newsletters was finding solutions to sore fingers. I had sent suggestions in a newsletter and was surprised to hear responses from the readers of solutions I had never heard of. Thought it would be helpful to post them here for future readers and as a reference for those looking for solutions.
Below are 10 solutions:
1. Make sure the action is low. The action is the distance between the strings and the fretboard. If the action is high on any guitar, that can hurt your fingers. The action should be around 1/16”, or 1.5mm, at the 1st fret and 3/16”, or 5mm at the 12th fret. You can have the action adjusted in most music stores.
2. Use lighter gauge strings. Try to purchase the newer coated strings. They last longer and are easier to play.
3. If it’s your first guitar, try starting with a nylon-string instrument. You can always move to an Acoustic later. Nylon-strings are definitely easier on your fingers, or an electric guitar.
4. Soak your fingers in vinegar for about 30 seconds, and then dry them off before you start playing.
5. Don’t play right after you have washed your hands. Rub some rubbing alcohol on your finger tips, let them dry, then play.
6. Use Dubbin on your fingers. This is a leather conditioner apparently from Australia. I’m told it keeps your fingers soft and tough at the same time.
7. From a sewing/craft store you can purchase stick on quilters’ thimbles that are made of silicone. They stick to the tips of your fingers. Made in Japan, they only cost a few dollars for a pack of 60.
8. Hold ice on your fingertips before and after you play.
9. Dissolve some Alum in water and soak your fingertips for a few minutes. Dry and play. Repeat for a few days and the “toughness” increases. It’s found in the spice section of most grocery stores.
10. One subscriber shared that he would slide his fingers up and down the strings until they hurt. He repeated this every 10 minutes on and off for three days and after that his fingers all had thick calluses.
Once you know that the action is low and that the strings are easy to play, try any of the other suggestions to help your fingers adjust to playing this wonderful instrument!