How to protect your fingers when playing the guitar

Written by carrie currie
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How to protect your fingers when playing the guitar
Playing guitar can cause finger pain. (guitar image by cherie from

Playing guitar is a favourite pastime for many, but the finger pain associated with playing often turns people off. In order to play the guitar, you must press your fingertips along the strings which are often made of metal. The constant pressure from the guitar strings causes pain and often bleeding or blisters. There are steps you can take to help protect your fingers while playing the guitar.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Alternate your practice days. While practicing is important, too much practice when you are first starting to play guitar can cause blisters. Alternating can give your fingers a chance to form calluses, which will protect them from the strings.

  2. 2

    Tape your fingers. If you do not want to lose a day of practicing, you can use medical tape or bandages to protect your fingertips. Taping may provide protection, but can cause difficulty when playing as your fingers may slip off the strings or cause disruption in the pressure on the other strings.

  3. 3

    Practice the fingering without applying pressure to the strings. This allows you to continue working on muscle memory while giving your fingers a much-needed break.

  4. 4

    Develop calluses. This is the best way to protect your fingers while playing guitar and it will happen over time. Each day you play, your skin will begin to create its own protection in the form of calluses. These will allow you to play without pain.

Tips and warnings

  • Some people feel that dipping the fingertips in rubbing alcohol or drinking alcohol will help toughen up the skin.
  • There are products on the market such as finger pads or covers, which can be used in place of tape or bandages.
  • The use of lotion will slow the development of calluses which are the best protection for guitar playing.

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