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Prepare Your Fingers Properly For Playing The Guitar

May 6, 2008
Without the correct preparation the fingers are likely become rigid and sore when playing the guitar. The fingers have to be flexible and capable of bending into unusual shapes in order to play certain notes and chords. The stiffer they become, we continue to force them to play, getting tenser as we go along which in turn affects our fingers. So is there anything we can do about this problem?

The answer to this question is yes. We need to ensure our fingers are properly prepared before we begin. An ideal way to do this is to perform finger exercises which will add strength to our fingers even whilst we are not actually playing the guitar. Normally quite difficult chords will be so much easier to play simply by using a soft rubber ball to carry out squeezing exercises to stop our fingers becoming stiff.

As well as strength, fingers need to be supple too and exercises such as typing or playing games using the keys of your computer keyboard will keep them moving. It is important to give the third finger more exercise as traditionally it is the weakest of them all. You will see proof of this fact when you place your hand palm downwards on a level surface and try to lift the third finger without moving any of the others. This weakness can be overcome by practicing using your third finger for tasks where you would normally use your index finger.

When you are watching TV make a point of wiggling your fingers by way of exercise. Let your fingers do the walking up and down the chair arm, put your hands into tight fists and then release each finger stretching it as you go. Take a few minutes to stretch your arms above your head and then allow them to drop by your side. With loose fingers shake your hands and feel the tightness fade away.

Just before you start playing your guitar, give your hands a good shake to get rid of any tension, then warm up by doing some scales. Start slowly at first, then speed up as you continue playing. If your hands or fingers are cold you should get them to the right temperature before you begin. You can do this by soaking them in a dish of warm water.

If blisters are a common occurrence after you have been playing your guitar, you should let them heal before plucking or strumming the strings again. There are plenty of other things you can be getting on with while you are waiting for your blisters to disappear such as brushing up on the theory of music. This means you will not waste your "out of action" time. Of course, you can avoid blisters by playing your guitar a little at a time to start with. Your fingers will harden eventually and you should have no problems in the future. You can always tap your fingertips on a hard surface whenever you get the opportunity as this will also help them to become firm along with exercising your fingers at the same time.
About the Author
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.
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