Hey, I've been practicing the Hunt quite a bit, and my index and middle fingers are killing me! I'm no 'noob' when it comes to guitar, I've been playing a year or more, but I've been practicing hard all the time on my steel string... and frankly my fingertips are sore! So, what string gauge would be easiest on my fingers for this?

p.s. I have nice thick callouses... but for some reason thi songs just gives me this deep soreness in my fingertips!
A lighter gauge than what you currently have will be a little easier on your fingers. Though if you are already using light gauge strings, I wouldn't really go any lighter than that. Typically gauges 12-54 are considered "light gauge" strings. You can find special lights, custom lights, and extra lights that will all be a little bit smaller. I don't like to use anything smaller than 12-54 because I feel that you start to sacrifice tone at that point.

Are your strings really old? Old and rusty strings are always hard on my fingers.

Aside from that, you just need to keep playing. Even though you have been playing for over a year, you could easily still have a lot of room for your callouses to continue to build and improve.
Fair enough, thanks for the help! Also, I'm not sure what guage I've got on em... same ones as when I bought them
What guitar do you have? Almost every manufacturer, and all major manufacturers, ship guitars with 12-54 gauge strings.

Also, if you are saying that you haven't changed the strings since you bought the guitar and that was over a year ago.... change your strings. This will definitely help. I've been playing for several years and if my strings get really old or rusty, they hurt my fingers!
Oh, this is a relatively new guitar... only a couple months old. I've been practicing on my S&P folk... and though it would be easier on my fingers to practice on one of my classicals, the fretboard is to wide to do one of the runs in the song easily.
Man, that's a fantastic guitar. I'd say you probably just need to keep at it. Hopefully some other people will chime in with some opinions, but I think it is pretty normal to still experience some tenderness in the fingers after a year or two of playing. Realistically, I don't know if you ever get to the point where you never feel any tenderness at all in your fingertips. If I play live or practice for several hours on end, my fingertips will still occasionally get sore. And I've been playing for... 7 years or so I think.

Welcome to UG, by the way!
Great, thanks for the help! I'm just going to work through the soreness... it's not a terrible pain, still very bearable. Also, I was very suprised when I saw the price tag for my guitar! I was expecting at least $600 - $800 dollars just by the sound and build of it, but my store had it for only $310, down from $500 something!
Great playability, and even better sound! Plus, with it's semi-gloss finish she should age nicely Very good guitar, with a very good price Anyways, even with the soreness I've been making steady prgress with the song. I'm still only two days in though, and I'm doing the '21 day challenge'. So, hopefully in just under 3 weeks I'll post a video showing the results! I am going camping in a week... but I'll bring Niandra with me (my guitars name )

Thanks again for all the help, and the warm welcome!
Wow, that's a great deal!

Just out of curiosity, what is the song?
The song is 'The Hunt' by Tommy Emmanuel... great song, overall it's got some intermediate chord, and chord changes... but the two riffs in the are what get me... you'll see how fast they are. So I've mainly been practicing those.
1 year isn't actually that much time. I don't think my callouses got the to point where my fingers didn't hurt enough to bother me until about... 1.5 years? My fingers will still get a little sore after a long 3 or 4 hour session, but not enough to bother me. I don't think anyone ever really stops feeling sore(if you play a real long time). You're rubbing your finger against metal, so it's to be expected.

Getting a low set-up guitar would also help to releviate your soreness. The lower your strings are, the lighter you can push in order to fret properly.
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^-- Is the S&P Folk the model with the solid cedar top?

Some times using Finger ease keeps the finger tips from forming calouses, which can be a cause of pain. Contrare to what some think.
Before you go to a lighter gage always check the set up or string height at the 12th fret from the bottom of the 6th string to the top of the fret a good starting point .
Check to see if the Neck has a bow in it. like a horses back. The steel truss rod can adjust to take out excessive height. A comfortable playing guitar is more fun to play and will allow your skills to shine throught. As far as tone will go. If you can play, tone does not matter, most listerners don't have a clue about tone. You can always eventually work on tone over time.
Go to this side for proper set up techniques anyone can do.
Also anyone that is a play needs to know their instrument this is all cases, do not be ignorant about your tool of trade.
Witch doctor
if you change the strings and things still hurt for your fingers, your action could be abnormally high which causes the pain.

it seems though, it has to do with your strings and not the action. it's just another thing to think if it doesn't solve the problem.
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Witchdoctor... Why did you quote my post? It doesn't look like anything you wrote is related to or in response to anything I said in that post, or any of my posts actually.
Yeah, you can always go for .10s, which is what I have on my guitar...some people don't like them for a bunch of different reasons, and some people do, it's just subjective. However, if your action is high or if your neck is bowed, then that would make your guitar much more difficult and painful to play...really, a well setup guitar can make all the difference. so you should check your action and neck bow.
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