Making Fingertips Hard


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01-18-2008, 08:20 AM
Hey, I've been trying to figure out my guitar for quite some time now. But, I still have problems with chords. I need to press them so hard that sometimes I go lazy and sounds would come out.

I went to a Guitar chat room and they told me to "Harden My Fingers". I asked how but they weren't patient enough to help me out anyway. But everyone told me to play "certain" scales and chords which are easy but will harden all my fingertips.

So, are there any scales/chords, which through practice, can harden my fingertips ? And, my guitar's lower E string (thin one) is broken so please try to avoid chords/scales involving it. If there's no other way, then, I'll change my strings anyway. But, whats important is you need to help me out. Please....

01-18-2008, 08:28 AM
to harden your fingertips the best thing to do is keep playing

EDIT: it's not something to really be too concerned about, it will eventually happen over the years as you kep playing. just practice and play right

01-18-2008, 08:29 AM
Well, you should change you strings anyways. And you should learn all the chords, start with easy ones like C and E. And the mlre youi play your fingers naturally get touher but you have to realize they will be really sore when you first start to bare down and practice more.

01-18-2008, 08:43 AM
Apparently Eric Clapton used rubbing alcohol on his finger tips once a day. I might try that.

01-18-2008, 08:48 AM
best way, is to take a belt sander, apply to finger tips for 45minutes to and hour.
no don't do that. just keep playing. Sorry I didn't read do you have an acoustic? Thats the best way to get callouses i.e. hardening your fingers

01-18-2008, 08:49 AM
This may sound unorthodox, but trying playing a bass guitar for a bit. I can tell you that as a bass player my fingers are about 4 times harder than most guitarists cause i use a lot of slides. I have ended up with finger tips hard enough that i can literaly put a cigarette out on them.

01-18-2008, 08:53 AM
dont try it on bass then guitar as the guitar strings would just slice them up as they are not used to it. just keep playing and they will harden over time

01-18-2008, 08:54 AM
also try checking that the action isnt too high on your guitar.. in other words that the strings arent too far from the fretboard, a good setup makes it far easier to play

lower gauge strings should help also, your fingertips will harden up naturally with regular practice

01-18-2008, 09:01 AM

Working up finger strength at first is really de-motivational. Really, though, it happens with time and time alone. If you focus on learning the other stuff, chords, whatever, it'll happen. All you can do is rest your hand when it gets tired. No miracles, sorry =/ If your fingers get raw, there's this stuff that's basically a liquid bandage:

It's available at a lot of corner stores like Walgreen's, Walmart, CVS, or any wal place really. It's basically liquid callous and works wonders when they aren't there naturally yet. Recently I've been learning sitar, which takes a lot of finger strength/callouses (cut right through my guitar fingers =( so I know the feeling. Anyhow, a good exercise that develops speed, strength, agility, x-ray vision and the like would be to, yes, run up and down the scales, as fast as you can comfortably play without getting sloppy, for extended periods of time. I think it's kinda boring, but if you really focus on the notes, even 5 minutes of it will give you a bit of a difference. cheers!

01-18-2008, 09:03 AM
its just the matter of time dude, just keep practicing

Peter Hayes
01-18-2008, 09:24 AM
If any other profession had people clamping thin wire with their bare fingers the unions would be up in arms about it. Not only that - if you play long enough your fingers bend upwards slightly! The thing to avoid is letting the fingers harden too much (and form a crust) as then it can blister. Your finger tips sheds skin like any other part of your body - the game is to try and let it happen gradually.

01-18-2008, 12:08 PM
i'd say, just play house of the rising sun a lot, got basic chords in it.
teaches you some basic fingerpicking, and even a little barre (the f)
look it up.
i tabbed it but it got rejected... dammit

01-18-2008, 12:37 PM
I took me like a month to harden my fingers. But i just did the first 3 chapters in my starter book Which was the first 3 strings. Then i started doing power chords.

01-18-2008, 12:53 PM
yeah my first electric broke oncec and so i had to play acosutic for like 2 months until i got around to soldering sum wires, and my fingers got wicked hard, so try that haha
(well dotn actualy braeak ur electric... just play the acoustic haha)

01-18-2008, 01:18 PM
thats all.
theres no trick.
just play the damn thing.

if it hurts, if it burns- then you are building calluses.
thats a good thing.
i used to play to the point where my fingertips would burn if i were to breath on them- but they are callused now and have been for a very long time. they dont get like that anymore

Burning Raths
01-18-2008, 02:00 PM
I remember the first day I started to tap... I was doing it all day. And I couldn't tap in four days. And at the fourth day, my index-finger was already starting to get harder.

01-18-2008, 03:28 PM
dont try it on bass then guitar as the guitar strings would just slice them up as they are not used to it. just keep playing and they will harden over time

Don't listen to this guy.
The bass then guitar way works too, but you need to play the bass. Not just play around for a couple of minutes and then think: "Wow, my fingers feel harder now!" :D

Best way is to just play something. :)

01-18-2008, 03:45 PM
Work in masonry. It does wonders.

01-18-2008, 04:51 PM
Apparently Eric Clapton used rubbing alcohol on his finger tips once a day. I might try that.
Dont do that unless its a high % dilute of rubbing alch. Just play practice and have fun.,.

gm jack
01-18-2008, 04:55 PM
Just play. And the bass idea is pretty much usless. Although your fingers go hard, it is the wrong kind of calluse.

Bass ones take a lot of pressure and friction. Guitar ones deal with it cutting into your fingers.

Just play guitar a lot. If it hurts, suck it up and keep going. Get a blister? Pop it, clean it then keep going. Hard work is the only way.

01-22-2008, 01:56 PM
Thank you guys. I'm just clueless where to start practicing. And I don't care if its boring. Can you guys give me names of some sample Scales and Chords which maybe helpful. And thanks for the "house of the rising sun" advice. I'll surely try that out.

01-22-2008, 02:30 PM
i would start learning the basic chords

A, C, D, E then after that try G, most people start on those chords, maybe they would do Am, Dm and G7 as well

It helps just to practice switching chords once you get the finger positions sorted

01-24-2008, 06:35 AM
Well, all this started since when I play chords, I touch other strings and mess up. So, I asked a friend and he told me that I don't have hard fingers. So, can this really solve the problem (atleast to some extent) ? Or, is guitar not meant for me ?

Thanks for the replies friends.

01-24-2008, 07:12 AM
I don't think it has to do with how hard your fingers are. It probably depends how big they are. But don't worry; enough practice should fix that. I also once had problems with accidently touching the wrong fret and such, but over time it is gone.

Hard fingers, to me, is just so you don't cut yourself when playing the guitar, and I think helps your speed? But yeah, they develop eventually, or someone else could answer better.

As for if the guitar is meant for you; you decide that.

01-24-2008, 09:39 AM
Keep playing and your fingertips will eventually get harder.

01-24-2008, 01:08 PM
I don't understand why people keep saying there are different types of calluses!?
Guitar strings aren't SUPER razors. Playing a bass and then getting calluses works.
The guitar strings won't cut through them.

01-24-2008, 02:31 PM
Hmm... I do have fat fingers. But would that be a problem ? I mean, I've seen over-weight fatass dudes playing the guitar. Can I play it ?

01-24-2008, 04:48 PM
After a break from guitar for a year or so i started again 3 days ago. The 2 first days my fingers were sore and **** but now i dont feel a thing ^^

01-24-2008, 05:40 PM
Hmm... I do have fat fingers. But would that be a problem ? I mean, I've seen over-weight fatass dudes playing the guitar. Can I play it ?

Of course, you can play. :)
Nothing stopping you.