Can Playing Guitar Damage Your Fingers?


When you start practicing guitar initially, you can worry about your fingers hurting. If you are also thinking of playing guitars or if you are a beginner, then you probably heard from commoners that playing guitars can damage the fingers. But is it true? Can playing guitar damage your fingers? 

It’s not true. Playing guitar isn’t supposed to damage your finger. But if you are a beginner, your fingers might get hurt from the strings. But once you allow those wounds to heal, they will get thickened, and the callus (thick skin) will form on them as a result of repeated pressure. Calluses on the skin will save you from further damage.

If you don’t allow initial wounds to heal and keep playing guitar, then your fingers can get damaged. Playing guitars even with hurting fingers can cause strings to cut flesh, blood vessels, and nervesresulting in permanent damage to fingers.

As a beginner, then you may have many queries regarding finger damage while playing guitar. Here I will tell you:

  • Why do the fingers of beginners get hurt while playing the guitar? Is it normal?
  • Will my fingers look ugly if I play the guitar?
  • How to prevent fingers from getting hurt?

Can my fingers get hurt while learning guitar?

Acoustic guitar strings are a bit tight and much thicker than the strings of electric guitar. That’s why you have to slide fingers on strings a little harder in acoustic guitar to get the right note. This repeated assault on fingers can cause hurt to them.

But as you give your fingers some time, they will eventually heal with calluses and will not cause further damage.

Is it normal for fingers to get hurt while playing guitar?

Yes, small cuts and some pain are normal for fingers initially playing the guitar. Your hands aren’t adapted to the guitar strings in the early stages. That’s why when you slide your fingers against strings, the soft tissue in your fingertips hurts.

You must continue playing guitar with some on and off breaks; you will eventually notice your fingertips getting harder. That’s when your fingers get used to the guitar strings and won’t hurt anymore.

You should take proper lessons for learning the guitar if you are a beginner because proper attention to the playing technique and hand position is necessary to avoid damage to fingers. If you don’t pay attention to these elements, your finger joints will start to hurt. Pain in the fingers or finger joint signifies that you should take a break from the guitar.

In how much time will my fingers stop hurting?

If it is your first time playing the guitar, then your fingers may take up to 1 month to heal completely. You should practice daily, even for a brief time, and keep that momentum for a whole month.

What practicing every day will do?

Practicing the guitar every day for a month will help your fingers get tough and develop calluses (thick patches). If you rest for 3 to 4 days, your fingers will again go softer. That’s why you should keep the momentum going.

Why my finger joint is in pain?

Now you are used to playing strings, and calluses are present on your fingertips, but your joints are hurting. It means your playing technique isn’t correct, and you should pay attention to it.

According to my personal experience, if joints are hurting, then try to decrease the space between strings and fretboard. And if possible, replace steel strings with nylon ones. Nylon is gentle against fingers and can ease your learning days. Once you’ve fully learned the guitar, you can return to the steel strings again.

Will my fingers look ugly if I start learning guitar?

Don’t worry that your fingers will not look ugly if you practice the guitar daily. Fingertips only get harder, and calluses develop on them. These calluses aren’t visible to anyone, and that’s why they will not look ugly. Most of the time, guitarists aren’t bothered by this thing.

But keep in mind that your fingers may change their shape if you practice guitar for a long time. You may also lose sensitivity from your fingertips, but it will be repaired if you rest your fingers for a while.

The left hand (the fretting hand) is more affected, but if you play without a pick, the fingertips of the right hand (the picking hand) may also get affected. But as I have already told you, this isn’t something to worry about. With a little rest the fingers will heal themselves.

How should I prevent my fingers from getting hurt while practicing guitar?

Some activities can prevent your fingers or cure them quickly. I will provide my recommendations here:

  1. Do finger stretching exercises after each session. These exercises will help your fingers loosen up and prepare them for the next session.
  2. Playing guitar is a sort of indoor sport. So like every sport, it also requires warming up. Make sure to properly do the stretching of fingers before picking the guitar.
  3. Avoid playing guitar with wet hands or after a bath. In this way, your calluses will remain intact.
  4. Make sure the guitar’s action is correct (it means that the space between fretboard and strings should be low). If the action isn’t right, visit a guitar specialist to re-setup your guitar.


Playing guitar doesn’t damage your finger but can cause pain initially. Once the calluses are formed on the fingers, you won’t feel pain anymore. I have provided some tips to ease the pain, which worked fine for me. You should practice daily so your fingers can get used to the guitar. Plus, make sure your playing technique, hand position, and guitar action are correct while playing the guitar. The problem in any of them can hurt the fingertips or finger joints.

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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