Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Sore fingers ? anyone

Sitting here after my marathon learning a tune I have sore fingers . is there any one out there that gets sore fingers and what is it you do about it . I wait .

Waiting is about all I know to do. Lately I have been getting a sore pointer finger that feels like the bone or the last joint is sore. I have been backing off playing as much when it gets that way. It hit earlier this week during a performance and thankfully it didn’t get worse. I only had a couple songs to go to finish.

As much as I dislike it, putting the guitar down is the only solution I’ve come up with, too. Over time, I’ve figured out which kind of pain is likely to cause me lingering problems and which kind I can ignore. A lot of times I’ll play through sore finger tips, but aching joints, a cramping hand, or shooting pains cause me to take a break.

I’ve been changing instruments before I get too sore lately. Not for that reason, but because of the different oportunities/obligations I’ve had. I normally don’t have marathon sessions anymore unless it is in a good jam.

Last two weeks are a good example. One week preparing and then recording Bass for a Jazz ballad w/Sax & Piano players. Next four days Banjo and then a Bluegrass Gospel show. 2 days prep and then a show with different bluegrass band on fiddle and bass. Now in middle of a week of prep for a show next Sunday playing guitar and singin lead for yet another band (replacing my good friend who injured his hand).

Feels great to be back picking with others again on a semi regular basis.

That is the very reason we all try to learn and learn well, to have fun with others and make the music , and it does touch the soul of man . I am thrilled to hear of your getting back into it as you or others might say. Not to leave the ladies out it touches their soul as well LOL

Hello, Welder!
For context, I’m sixty-four, a beginner guitar player. Started lessons and playing regularly last summer. Playing two 2-hour jams per week and “try” to practice everyday. Some of this may be psychosomatic, but it seems to help for me. Here’s what I do for sore fingers:

  1. Stay hydrated.
    I try to remember to drink more water, and keep a large glass of water nearby when I’m practicing or playing. Here in Colorado, the ambient humidity is around 27 percent. Things like fingers and guitars dry out quickly; even more so for older guys like me. With less water in the finger tissues, the string pressure on the finger calluses seem to irritate the tender underlying tissues more than when I’ve been drinking enough. I’ve also found that beer, wine, or liquor reduces the soreness, and adds a lot to my enjoyment of my playing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to improve my skill level; at least that’s what my wife tells me. :unamused:

  2. Lightly sand finger tip calluses.
    Once a week, or whenever I’m clipping my nails, I use an emery stick (fine grade) to lightly sand away some of the dead skin on my finger tips. Not much, just enough to smooth over some of the grooved edges that tend to catch on the strings. I do this in combination with number 3 below.

  3. Rub a little dab of skin softener into the finger tips after playing. Not a lot, not every time, but several times a week I’ll rub and work some skin softener into my finger tips. In combination with the occasional sanding, I’ve found that the calluses don’t get as rigid and dried out, and thus don’t seem to put as much pressure on the more tender underlying tissues.

I know these sound almost counter-intuitive, but they seem to work for me. And one more idea…

  1. Just got back from a guitar lesson. My instructor suggested an exercise that helps to reduce sore fingers by reducing the amount of finger pressure applied to control strings. Position your hand to play any basic chord. For each finger, reduce the pressure on the string until you hear a buzzing sound; then slightly increase the pressure until the you again hear a clear tone. That’s the optimum amount of pressure you need to apply to each string. He said the tendency (especially for beginners like me) is to really clamp down on a chord, and apply even more pressure after making a mistake.

I’m trying to teach myself to use less pressure on the strings, but honestly, it seems like every time I attempt to learn a new technique, or unlearn a bad habit, my playing goes to heck in a handcart. I keep telling myself that the goal is the journey of learning to play, but sometimes the “journey” sounds awfully painful to my ears!

Very much enjoy reading your posts, Welder. Thanks for sharing.

Best regards, Chris

PS - See Drguitar’s post over in the calluses thread in this forum. Should have held up posting here until I read his post! :slight_smile: