Tip From Mark: Dealing with Sore Fingertips!

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Q: Do you have any advice for dealing with sore fingertips? I’ve recently switched from nylon to steel strings.

A: Sure. My first suggestion: Play shorter sessions more frequently during the day. Maybe 20 minutes, then take a break for an hour, then 20 more minutes. Try a third short session later in the day.

Second: Put a capo on the second fret for a while. It pushes down the strings for you, plus the dots up the neck are still on the odd-numbered frets.

Third: Make sure you are pressing the strings only as hard as you need to! In my experience, many students grip the strings with excessive force. Experiment with this: Lay a very relaxed fretting finger on a string — don’t push! With that finger in position, pick the string constantly. It should be a thud sound at first. Gradually add pressure with the fretting finger as you pick until you produce a solid note. Repeat this several times. You may be surprise at how little effort it takes to depress the string adequately to produce a solid note! 

Fourth: Make sure the action on your guitar is set low enough to make it easy to play. Play every day. Over a few weeks you’ll build up your calluses and endurance. Good luck!

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