Do your hands ever hurt when playing guitar?
Or your fingers feel a little too stiff to playing the frets?
If so, I know how frustrating it can be (I broke my pinky finger on my fretting hand in high school). The pain can literally limit you from becoming a better guitar player.
Maybe you can’t practice as much because of the pain. Maybe some days you’re just too sore to even pick up the guitar.
Well, whether it’s from arthritis, an injury, or from untrained muscles…
Here are 3 simple things you can do to help soothe the pain; so you can improve your dexterity, stretch your fingers further, and just generally play more:
Squeeze a tennis ball
This exercise not only develops the muscles in your hands, but also soothes arthritic pain.
Here’s how you do it:
Simply grab a tennis ball. Wrap your left hand around it. And squeeze until you feel a little give in the ball. Then hold that for as long as you can, or 30 seconds MAX (either, or). Finally, switch to the right hand, and squeeze for another 30 seconds, max.
That’s it! That one exercise will help build flexibility AND strength — exactly what you need to stretch further across the neck, and hit notes hard enough (even with your pinky) so they don’t buzz.
Use lighter strings
– This doesn’t need a lot of explanation… But it’s something that’s easy to overlook.
Thicker strings mean you have to press the strings down harder to get a clean tone. So if you lighten the gauge of your strings down to 8’s or 9’s, then your fingers won’t have to work as much to press them down. That way you can play longer before your fingers get worn out.
Side note: Along with a little thing like changing your strings… You should also pay attention to how tightly you’re gripping your pick. Squeezing hard on the pick will put a lot of stress on the muscles of your picking hand. So try lightening the grip if there’s pain in that hand.
Use a pain cream to dull the pain and loosen the muscles
I saw in the supergroup, one member said he uses pain cream 10-15 minutes before playing to minimize the pain. Smart.
Now, while I don’t want anyone reliant on pain cream, it can help soothe the pain as you’re developing your hands. And if you’re someone who deals with chronic pain, pain cream can be a savior on the colder days that really stiffen up your joints.
So there you go…
3 ways to combat the pain and stiffness that’s so common for new and old players alike.
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