I bought an Acoustic guitar six months ago, and I am trying to learn with the help of YouTube videos. And in those videos, it seems like it is not hard for them to press the strings for a chord.

However, when I try to play the same chord, the sound becomes mute, or my fingers hurt a lot. Is this normal, or should I change my steel strings? Picture of My Guitar

  • 2
    Measure what height they are at the 12th fret, and post it.
    – Tim
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 13:49
  • 2
    The height at the nut is also important. Many acoustic guitars come with very high nuts. Commented May 2, 2020 at 15:30
  • 1
    If you are a newbie, you will get used to it and then you will hear more clear sounds.
    – Nabla
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 18:46
  • 6
    Also, there's something wrong with your guitar. The 6th string is going through the nut at the same place as the 5th string... have you fixed that? That will improve your sound noticeably
    – mkorman
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 19:16
  • 2
    1/8th" will be so much better. Even 1/4" is way too big - so 1/3" is not a good sign. That guitar needs to go to someone who knows what they're doing, and either straighten the neck and/or lower the bridge. Neither job seems like you could do safely, if it's the first time. Is that measurement from string to top of fret or string to wood?
    – Tim
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 13:02

3 Answers 3


Many newcomers to guitar playing don't realize the importance of having their guitar properly set-up in order for it to be easily playable. A qualified tech can look at your guitar and make adjustments to the neck, the bridge, the nut, and the string gauge which will greatly improve the playability of your instrument. If you are handy with tools, there are books that explain the process step by step and you can learn to do these adjustments yourself, but beginners are usually advised to seek professional help with their set-ups. You'll be amazed at how much easier your guitar will be to play, and how much less pain is involved in your finger tips.


First of all based on your pic the low E string is in the A string nut groove. I don't know how you can play that at all. It is common for finger tips to hurt you are exposing them to something new. There is the pressure if the string digging into the flesh and that will cause calluses to develop. Then there is the issue of your forearm muscles and other elements of your hand and wrist getting used to the new tasks you are demanding of them. This is all new to your body and will take time to adjust. There will be fatigue among other things. However, as already mentioned guitars need to be adjusted. If you bought it new there is a good chance that it has never been properly set up. A pro set up can run $50-$100 in the US depending on where you get it done. The feel of the guitar will depend on factors like string gauge, bridge height, nut grooves, truss rod tension etc. When it's all in the right place it should be fairly easy to play. That doesn't mean you will be a virtuoso in no time. One thing to keep in mind is that YOU will be introducing your own internal tension due to not being able to properly finger chords, locate the right frets, etc. All this translates to fatigue. It takes considerable time to teach your hand the correct posture and beginners frequently have trouble getting every note to sound right. Some may be muted due to other fingers touching the strings slightly (no adjustment will fix this), or buzz due to the finger placement not being directly behind the fret. Set it up correctly first then see how it feels. You should probably takes lessons from a real persona and not You Tube.


There are a few possibilities due to which you might be facing this issue. First, as you mentioned that you bought the guitar six months ago and are trying to learn via YouTube, it is possible that you haven't yet developed the required finger strength which is very common among new players. Second possibility which I think is very likely the cause of your problem is that you might be using a set of heavy gauge strings which are generally harder to play. Try using low gauge strings like d'addario extra light or maybe Ibanez extra light or fender etc. Go for 0.009 to 0.045 guage strings. Third possible issue can be that your strings might be far away from fretboard. This might be fixed by adjusting the elevation of your guitar bridge. It can be also be due to some upbow which means that your guitar neck is bent outward moving the strings far from frets. This can be easily fixed by adjusting your truss rod. If you can't do it, seek help from an experienced guitar player or a professional.

I really think that the problem is with the guage of your strings. Try using low guage strings.

Click a photo from the side of the fretboard so that the distance between your guitar strings and frets is visible.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.