Can You Get Blisters From Playing Guitar?


A fresher just getting into the guitar may worry about his fingers getting hurt or damaged. He may think, ‘can you get blisters from playing guitar?’

The short answer is yes, you can. Guitar blisters result from playing guitar for a long time, and many guitar players suffer from this problem. The friction produced between your fingertips and the strings of the guitar cause this problem. Blisters can be painful and frustrating for the fingers. 

The blisters are especially common when you are just a beginner who doesn’t know much about technique and tips on how to avoid the blisters. Here I will tell you:

  • Are blisters normal? Can you continue playing guitar with the bristles?
  • How to avoid guitar bristles?
  • How long will it take for bristle to heal?

Are bristles normal?

Yes, you can get bristles while playing the guitar. When I started playing guitar, I only expected the calluses to be formed on my fingers. But after some time, bristles started to form on my fingers. They were extremely painful and frustrating, so I know the grind of dealing with them.

What is the most common site of bristles?

Bristles mainly form on the fingertips of the fretting hand as they come in contact with strings the most. But they can also form on your thumb in fingerpicking.

Why do I get bristles?

Getting bristles is totally normal for guitar players. Bristles normally occur due to the constant friction between strings and delicate skin. Bristles usually form only when you are a beginner. Once you gain more experience, your fingers will start to get thick and develop calluses. Then you won’t have to deal with bristles.

How to get rid of bristles?

I know bristles are very uncomfortable, painful, and frustrating. Practicing guitar and doing every chore becomes difficult when you have bristles. Guitar blisters aren’t usually a cause of concern. There are also various ways to prevent or heal them.

The best approach to cure blisters is to stop playing guitar for a few days. Try to avoid practicing until the blisters go away. It will take a maximum of one week to fully heal, and then you can go back to practicing guitar.

Can I play guitar with bristles?

Bristles are very painful and uncomfortable, so it would be best to stop playing the guitar if you have blisters. Plus, the best approach to cure the blisters quickly is to stop playing the guitar. If you play the guitar with bristles, the bristles will turn into wounds, and that will take much more time to heal approximately two weeks.

You can continue playing guitar with bristles if you want to. But that will cause more harm to your fingers.

Can bristles turn into calluses?

Yes, bristles are the initial stage of calluses. If you get guitar bristles, then stop playing guitar for a few days. Allow your fingers to heal and your skin to get hardened. When you allow bristles to heal, they will eventually convert into calluses.

How to avoid guitar blisters?

Guitar blisters are common in the initial stages of playing guitar because fingers are fragile in the beginning. My recommendation is to use the guitar with the following characteristics:

  • Get lighter or low gauze strings for your guitar.
  • Adjust the truss rod to lower the string height.
  • Get a guitar with a slimmer neck profile.

Aside from changing things in guitar, you should practice the following things to avoid bristles:

Take short breaks between your practice.

Short breaks between your practice routine are very important, especially when you have just started learning the guitar. As you know, blisters are the result of friction. So when you constantly practice the guitar, the chances of getting blisters to become higher due to friction between soft fingers and strings. That’s why taking breaks between practices can help you to prevent blisters.

Don’t push yourself to limits.

Some guitar students are so optimistic and relentless that they wish to learn everything daily. But that’s not a good approach. If you are such type of student, then you should stop pushing your limit. Such an approach can lead you to practice for hours, leading your fingers to their limits. It’s better to try one thing at a time.

Don’t apply excessive pressure on the strings.

I have seen many guitar players exerting excessive force on the strings. This will not only cause bristles on your fingers but also distort your strings. This action isn’t normal since you can’t control the strength of your fingers properly.

You should try to slide the strings gently. In this way, the chances of getting blisters will be much lesser.

Practice guitar for a shorter period of time initially and gradually increase the time.

According to my experience, initially, it’s important to practice for a shorter time period. You should practice for 10 to 20 minutes only when you’re a beginner. Once you progress as a player, your experience will increase, and you can practice for hours.

Starting slowly in the beginning and avoiding practicing for hours is the key to avoiding guitar blisters.

Use hand cream.

You can use good hand cream on your fingertips after the practice session. The cream will help to restore your skin. It will also act as a protective layer from the constant friction.

How long will it take to heal guitar blisters?

Guitar blisters will take up to 1 week to heal completely, but it may vary depending upon the size of the blister and the measures you take. It can take less time if you follow my above-recommended measures. You can also use hand cream on the blister to help your skin with the restoration and strengthening process.

But if you continue playing guitar even with bristles or if you pop the blister, it will convert into a wound. The wound will take much more time to heal.


I also developed blisters when I started playing the guitar. But that was mainly because of my inexperience and lack of guidance. However, you can take my recommendations to prevent or heal blisters quickly. For beginners, it is common to get blisters on their fingertips. But consider it as a passing phase that leads to the calluses. Once callus is formed, you no longer have to deal with bristles.

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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