Learning how to play the guitar can be a challenge. It requires patience and lots of practice. Only then can you perfect each note and move on to complex tunes. However, there is one drawback that comes as a core feature of playing the guitar. And that is bleeding fingers while playing. If you have soft hands, then chances are the pain may become a bit unbearable. This may have left you contemplating whether you should even continue learning how to play the guitar. If this is the situation you have found yourself in, then the first piece of advice is to not give up. The second is to find a way around making the experience worth it by following the right tips on how to soothe your fingers. By knowing what causes fingers to bleed while playing the guitar, to having quick remedies to get your fingers used to the pain, you can kick start your music journey with pleasant memories.
Let’s have a look at the in depth reasons as to why fingers bleed while playing the guitar, and what steps you can follow to help from calluses i.e. the formation of thick skin on your finger tips that make it easier and painless to play the guitar. To learn about it all, read ahead for more.
Why Do Fingers Bleed When Learning How To Play The Guitar
There are several reasons why fingers bleed while playing the guitar. Here are some of the common reasons.
1. The Presence Of Friction
Repeated isotonic movements i.e. the repetition of movements of your fingers and hand while playing the guitar causes friction and strains the finger tendons. This is also since the guitar strings are made of metal which is hard and thin. Constantly pressing down on them can result in the top most layer of the fingertips experiencing a tear. As the dermal layer below becomes exposed, the fingers start to bleed.
2. Not Taking Enough Breaks In Between Playing
By not taking frequent breaks while playing, the problem can be exacerbated. Not letting your skin recover and heal before picking up the guitar again can cause permanent harm to the skin. This can get in the way of helping you form calluses as well.
3. Not Letting The Skin Heal Properly
Everyone’s body reacts differently to wounds and experiences healing and recovery at a different pace. For some, wounds and bleeding fingers may experience complete recovery in 3 days, while for most it might take a week. You want to listen to your body and give it the time it needs to heal before starting to play the guitar again. If the problem persists, you can consult a health physician or dermatologist on what course of action would be best for a quick recovery.
Tips To Alleviate The Pain And Form Calluses
On average calluses can take up to 2 to 4 weeks to develop. You may have noticed these on your friend’s fingertips as well. It’s a layer of hard and thick skin that forms after a long period of exposure to playing the guitar. And to get to this stage, a lot of patience is required. However, you can expedite this process by knowing what tips to follow and alleviating the pain in a sustained manner. Some of the factors that aid in this range from how often you practice playing the guitar, to why kind of music you are learning how to play, to the strumming techniques, and the type of guitar.
Here are some of the tips that can help prevent excessive bleeding from your fingers and help from calluses fast.
- Try to practice for shorter periods at the start. This will help prevent deep tears on your finger tips
- Opt for a steel string guitar to make your fingers get used to metal
- Look for strings that are thick-gauge
- Keep your nails short. Longer fingernails can cause your nail beds to become damaged, resulting in ingrown nails
- Avoid pressing down too hard on the strings at first. Once you get the hang of it and start forming calluses, you can press down on them as desired
- Use rubbing alcohol to dry out the skin and form calluses
- Take a break from playing the guitar if your fingers are bleeding. Let your skin heal before picking up the guitar again
- You can apply numbing cream on your fingers while playing to reduce the pain
- Apply a cold compress on your fingers and take pain medication if needed
- Soak your fingers in a bowl of diluted apple cider vinegar
- Visit a doctor if the pain persists and wounds are unable to heal despite having played the guitar in a while
Click here to watch a video on how to get calluses on fingers.
Wrapping it Up!
Bleeding fingers should not stop you from achieving your goals. Especially if you wish to have a career in the music industry. All guitar players and musicians have experienced occupational hazards such as bleeding fingers at some point in their music journey. Thus, the main aim here is to not give up. By following the right tips and knowing what causes excessive bleeding of the fingers, you can be wary and cognizant of what to do to alleviate the pain.
If you wish to learn more about musical instruments, tips and tricks on how to learn about new guitar playing techniques, or want to learn the differences between different music notes, then head on over to Musician Authority! Here you are sure to find a wide range of articles, blogs, and resources that are catered to helping add value to your knowledge about music. Be sure to check it out today!
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.