My first day playing guitar ,it makes my fingers hurt so much What should I do ? It makes me feel like I'm not going to learn it anymore.

  • 3
    Hi - what kind of pain are you explaining, and what kind of guitar are you playing?
    – topo morto
    Mar 30 '18 at 6:46

You're not the first, and won't be the last! Just about anything you do physically will produce some discomfort or pain as you're using body bits that aren't used to it.

Here, it's probably fingertips, and maybe the muscles in those fingers - particularly fretting hand (usually left).

For a start, you don't know how hard to press down, so it's likely you're pressing too hard. Next, you need to press as close to the fretwire as you can.

Of course, the guitar is also likely to blame. Beginner guitars aren't often set up well, with high action, meaning the strings are too far from the fingerboard, so the have to be pressed harder than they should. Depending on what sort of guitar will throw up all sorts of other problems/solutions - electric, acoustic, cambered boards, neck profiles, gauge and material of strings - the list goes on.

If it's a new guitar, a trip to the shop may alleviate some problems, which are difficult to remedy remotely as here.


this is entirely normal.

  1. Your skin is a bit soft and will soon form slight callouses
  2. Every string musician gets calloused fingertips.
  3. You're probably pressing a bit too hard as all beginners do. Use only the very lightest pressure on the stings - almost none is needed.

What to do ?

  1. Don't give up.
  2. Use some moisturiser on your fingers tips after you finish playing. I recommend Aveeno from amazon.
  • 2. Not every string player gets calloused fingertips! I haven't had them for 60 yrs! Play every day, had them on my first badly set up guitar. Most of my students don't have them either. 3. Very lightest pressure usually equals buzz.
    – Tim
    Mar 30 '18 at 11:38
  • lightest pressure means "...and still get a clear note" - you raise an interesting point though - the OP may have a badly set up instrument Mar 30 '18 at 11:59

First and foremost: If possible, find yourself a good guitar teacher to learn proper technique and get established in a good, healthy routine. A teacher will also take a look at your instrument to make sure it is set up and adjusted properly. Problems with your instrument can cause unnecessary strain and pain, as @Tim has mentioned in his answer.

@Tim and several others on the site are experienced guitar teachers - listen to them.

Having said that:

Soreness and blistering on your fingertips from pressing the strings until you develop callouses is quite normal. See How to minimize the pain for a beginning guitar student so they won’t give up before they develop callouses? for good information about dealing with your problem.

In general, pain in your hands, fingers, wrists and arm are entirely normal and natural for anyone just starting guitar or bass. Playing these instruments (and most instruments) requires you to use various muscles, nerves and tendons in ways that are not required in ordinary activities.

Until you gain the new conditioning required, through regular disciplined practice, you will invariably experience some pain, just as you would if you took up a new sport or exercise routine.

Still, although some pain is natural and inevitable, poor technique and an incorrect approach to playing your instrument can cause pain which is avoidable.

You have not gone into much detail about what sort of pain you are experiencing so it's hard to give specific advice, but some general good practices:

  • If using a teacher is not possible, learn about proper hand, wrist and arm positions for playing from books and Internet resources. Bad technique can cause you more pain and you can injure yourself. Do a simple google search and a look at What are the disadvantages of not warming up? to get started.
  • Don't press too hard on the strings. Beginners tend to push down hard it's not necessary, causes unecessary soreness and more your playing for less efficient: Pushing down on the strings hard expends time and energy better used for other things.

  • Don't try playing for too long at a stretch when you're first starting out. Keep it to half an hour at a time, then take a good break of a few hours at least, before playing more.

  • You need to move gradually in terms of what you try to play. Don't jump right away to difficult chord shapes and stretches - work your way up slowly from the simple, easy to do shapes and positions until you become more conditioned, then move on to more difficult techniques, slowing building up your strength and stamina.

  • Learn about warm-up exercises, stretching techniques and ways of "cooling down" after playing - these things will help minimize pain. See this question and the answers there to get started on that road: What are the disadvantages of not warming up?

Most importantly, always keep in mind No pain, no gain. If you are experiencing pain, that's a good sign: It means you're working - you're on the right track. View the pain you're experiencing as an initiation rite into that most august body, the International Fellowship of Musicians:enter image description here

Welcome to the club, and good luck!

  • Nearly mentioned callouses in my answer, but I don't believe in them! Only time I ever had them was when I first started, with a rubbish guitar. I play several times a week, as ever, and don't have callouses. Do you?? And warm up exercises? Why not play stuff that needs playing, gently? An exercise won't be as useful, I feel. A bit of playing DA here!
    – Tim
    Mar 30 '18 at 8:37
  • @Tim - I play every day for at least 2 hours - that pace for about 5 years now - before that, erratic. I have callouses but they are not particularly hard except for my index & middle fingers on my right hand from banging hard on the bass. The rest of my fingers have a layer of thick skin but it's not hard. (Not sure if bass is the same as guitar.) If I stop playing for a couple of weeks that skin begins to soften and when I go back to playing, I get some pain and blisters. When I had some hand and wrist problems stretching exercises helped but I discovered the source was in my technique...
    – Stinkfoot
    Mar 30 '18 at 9:13
  • @Tim - I'm talking about stretches/exercise before playing, like athletes do - check out that question about warming up. I always stretch my arms and fingers, etc before I play - I can play for a long time - hours - without pain or discomfort. I don't know if it's from stretching or not... probably not! (And yes - I believe in callouses, as mentioned.)
    – Stinkfoot
    Mar 30 '18 at 9:20
  • Reason I asked is I'll play for two or three hours without a break at gigs, but don't do warm ups - never have! Just play more gently for the first few numbers... If I developed callouses, it'd be almost certain I'd pack up!
    – Tim
    Mar 30 '18 at 9:26
  • When you play every day, you're always close to being warmed up. But I think you do have callouses. Not hard ones, but a layer of tough skin that goes down for about 1/16 inch - how mine are.
    – Stinkfoot
    Mar 30 '18 at 14:38

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