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How to Soothe Sore Fingers from Playing Guitar

Updated on October 12, 2012
Painful blisters and calluses can be caused when learning to play guitar or excessively playing. Soothing sore fingers can be a very simple process.
Painful blisters and calluses can be caused when learning to play guitar or excessively playing. Soothing sore fingers can be a very simple process. | Source

Pain Caused by Playing the Guitar

Learning to play the guitar can be a very rewarding experience. Guitar players often have more social contact with other musicians whether playing together or just gathering due to similar musical interests. The pain caused by blisters and calluses on the fingers can happen to beginners and seasoned guitarists alike. These wounds can take a long time to heal if they are severe and worst of all can place your guitar playing on hiatus. There are however several simple and inexpensive home remedies that can soothe your sore fingers both before and after playing the guitar.

Finger Soothing Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar

One of the more popular remedies and preventatives for finger pain from playing guitar is apple cider vinegar. The same homeopathic cure for painful sunburns, scrapes and itchy throats is also great for reducing swelling and pain in the fingers from playing guitar. Simply soak your fingertips in apple cider vinegar for about 45 seconds just before and immediately after playing your guitar.


Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic found in many toothache remedies. The chemicals in this compound are excellent for dulling and numbing pain on the skin's surface. The benefits of using benzocaine to soothe fingers after playing the guitar are obvious: its anesthetic properties numb the fingertips which is great for alleviating pain. Apply the recommended amount of the product containing benzocaine according to the manufacturer's instructions directly to the fingertips. This is best done immediately after playing the guitar but can also be used before if necessary. Be careful not to overuse these products and watch for skin irritations or reactions.

Increase the Comfort of Your Guitar

  • The higher the strings on your guitar are from the fretboard, the more pressure you have to apply to them while playing. Beginner guitarists and those with finger pain issues should have the action set as low as possible on their guitars. Most guitars have adjustable action, though this should only be adjusted by a professional. If you are unsure of how to adjust the action on a guitar you should take it to your local guitar retailer or music shop.
  • The strings on your guitar can also cause your discomfort. Heavy gauge strings require more pressure to be applied to them while playing. Getting light gauge strings can increase playability and require much less strain on your fingers.
  • Just don't give up. As you continue to play your finger's dexterity will increase dramatically and your fingers will develop protective calluses. These calluses will all but eliminate pain caused by playing the guitar, making sores and blisters a thing of the past. Just consider the pain newbie leaving your body. The journey is well worth it.


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      Vandana 3 years ago

      thank u so much for this. I have just started to play guitar but aahh this soreness I hope my fingers will develop protective calluses soon and this pain will not became a hindrance.

    • profile image

      mabel 3 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this post.

    • jessefutch profile image

      jessefutch 5 years ago from North Carolina

      These tips always helped me when my fingers hurt from playing guitar. I am sure your husband will feel the same effects! Thanks for the read and good luck!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this look at relieving soreness from playing guitar. My husband enjoys playing but doesn't get the chance to play often enough to keep his fingers from getting stressed quickly. I hope he will find your tips helpful!