Finger Stretching & Strengthening Exercises for Playing Guitar

Guitar Finger Strengthening & Stretching Exercises
Guitar playing can be painful to your fingers, especially when you are starting out. Here are some effective finger stretching & strengthening exercises to help you cope with Guitar playing.

Learning the guitar may be “cool” but not without its share of pain. All those learning the guitar will know that playing the chords and strings could be quite painful for the fingers, sometimes even causing blisters on them.

Effects of Guitar on Fingers

Learning to play the guitar is fun and exciting but we have come across many who have started out with much gusto but fizzled out after playing the strings and learning the chords.

The reason being that, initially, the learning process could hurt your fingers a bit, causing blisters. Learning how to play the guitar requires quite a lot of practice and dedication. But when you play for a long period of time, your fingertips become soar.

Also some of you tend to press the strings too hard that causes blisters on your fingers. The tips of our fingers are generally very soft and when we press the strings when playing the guitar, it is normal to feel pain.

However, if you still continue practicing, you will notice that the blisters dry up eventually and cause calluses. The calluses protect the fingertips for a while but after a while it starts hurting again. But eventually the calluses keep building up making your fingertips thick and you won’t feel the pain anymore after that.


Guitar Finger Strengthening & Stretching Exercises

Best Warm Up Finger Exercise for Guitar

Warm Up Finger Exercise for guitar

Here’s an excellent warm up finger exercise for playing the guitar. Before you begin your practice session, its a good idea to warm-up your fingers before moving on to the complicated things.

This is perhaps the most important exercise to learn and practice for guitar and an excellent warm up for guitarists of any level.

Before attempting this, spend some time to learn the frets so you know where the notes are located.



Initially it may take more time, say about 10-15 minutes, but with practice you should be able to go through it several times in much lesser time and use it as warm up exercises before you move on to the other practice stuff.

Here are some more things to keep in mind when you’re doing this exercise, to derive the maximum benefit out of it:

  • Try to only touch the string you are playing, and not the string below
  • Try to play legato, which means you lift the fingers just before you pluck the next fret. As you lift the fingers, try to lift them towards the direction of the next string/fret you’re going to play.

With more practice, you should easily be able to move your fingers across, up and down the frets.

Tips to Protect your Fingers

  • Avoid washing your hands or taking a shower just before playing the guitar. Washing your hands softens the fingertips, which could in turn make playing the guitar all the more painful.
  • You can also apply some methylated spirits or what you call, rubbing alcohol on your fingertips as it will toughen your skin and also remove oils from your fingers.
  • Electric guitars with nylon strings are much easier on the fingers than the steel strings in acoustic guitars. Hence you early beginners can keep this in mind before choosing a guitar to play on.
  • Cheap guitars may be cost effective but they are tough on your fingers. Because of its low quality, the neck of the guitar and its frets are not flat and may hurt your fingers more. Alternatively, you could start off playing a good guitar till you can play it and later invest in a cheaper guitar.


  • Do take good care of your fingers and make sure you don’t have any cut or wound from before playing the guitar, because that will only hurt you more and may be difficult for you to play.
  • Long nails will make it difficult for you to grow calluses and may not even sound good when you play.
  • Some of you may try to put wax or stick on thimbles to avoid soreness but if you do that you will never grow calluses and it may eventually hurt your fingers later when you play.
  • How to Strengthen Your Fingers

  • Many guitarist will vouch for the fact that playing the guitar regularly itself is a good exercise to strengthen your fingers. The more you play the more flexible your fingers are and there is more dexterity. So, don’t be deterred by the pain in the fingers and just keep playing without giving up.
  • You can also stretch your fingers apart from each other.
  • Use a stress ball or any kind of small ball like a tennis ball etc and hold it in each hand and squeeze the ball with your fingers and relax it after few seconds. This is a good for your fingers and wrists.
  • You can also try some exercises on the guitar itself, like practice the scales up and down the fret board. Fast chord changes not only strengthen your fingers but also improves your song.
  • Everything in moderation is good, overdoing anything has never helped anybody and has only caused harm. So, when you practice, make sure you are not overdoing it. Sitting for long hours at a stretch will only cause more harm to the fingers. Hence, take small breaks in between practice and use that time to stretch your fingers and hands or massage your hands etc.


  • Summary

    Anyone who plays the guitar will tell you that the initial phase of learning how to play causes a lot of pain to your fingers. Every beginner has a problem of soar finger tips and blisters but this is not something you have to deal with all the time. The pain eases out eventually. Long hours of practice or too much pressure on the strings or frets can cause these blisters which hurt initially; however, the skin thickens after a while. There are many finger strengthening exercises to strengthen your fingers and wrists for playing guitar better. But the best way to strengthen your fingers is to keep playing without being deterred and without giving up on your guitar.

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