#1
Sorry if this is the wrong section. It does apply though.

I have a pretty low end Epiphone Acoustic, and to try and get a thicker tone out of it I upgraded the .11's that I have had with it since I bought it to .14's about a week ago. As far as tone goes, it's not the best, but it's what I was expecting to get, so I am happy with my tone.

The problem is my fingers are NOT used to the strings at all. Generally playing generally isn't too bad, but after about 30 minutes of barre chords and some scale runs my hand is SORE. I mean, I have played guitar for 6 years or so, and I can't remember this much pain from playing!

Now, I know eventually I WILL get used to playing with these strings if I spend some time with them... which might take a while, which is time I don't have. See, I also have a small performance I am putting on August 8. 10 days from now. My Acoustic will sound fine for then, but I am worried about my hand crapping out halfway through the performance.

So, long story short, is there anything that I can do to strengthen my hand faster? I mean, other than playing for 5 hours a day... that one is already on my list! (Maybe not 5... stupid work, but as much as I can possibly cram in without damaging my hand)
Quote by sporkman7
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#2
Don't know of any ways to speed up the process, but if you are still worried about your dexterity come show time, you can always throw on a set of 12s or 13s for the show.
#3
You took a huge jump from .011's to .014's there. Did you adjust the truss rod to compensate for the extra pull those heavy strings are putting on the neck? You could have allowed the relief to get so extreme that common chords and such are now substantially harder to perform, which in turn is causing all your hand pain.
#4
when i was into bodybuilding, it was better for muscle building not to work out every day until your body parts were adjusted to faster recovery but rather to give the body days off to recover. unfortunately for you, you have only a few days, but if you're worried about hand muscles crapping out, i'd suggest you take the day before the show off from playing and not play more than a short warmup just before.

good luck, and let us know how it goes!
#5
Err... I'm actually not quite sure if 14's are okay for your guitar. I know for a fact that Martin suggests that you not use anything past mediums(13's) on their guitars. Can anyone confirm if it's okay to use such thick strings?
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#6
to strengthen your fingers really hard stress balls are good but they won't develop your callouses

there's no shortcut really, just play a lot and press really hard so you get callouses faster
#7
Quote by captivate
Err... I'm actually not quite sure if 14's are okay for your guitar. I know for a fact that Martin suggests that you not use anything past mediums(13's) on their guitars. Can anyone confirm if it's okay to use such thick strings?

Should be fine, but I think a gauge as high as 14 would need some adjustment at the nut for sure.
#8
As you describe your guitar as low end, it could be that the guitar also needs some setting up. Using two pieces of writing or typing paper, press each string down directly on the second fret, then insert the paper under the first fret. If both pieces easily fit, the guitar needs some nut work using nut files designed for that purpose. If but one piece of paper fits, leave it alone. There's a number of web sites that will also show you how to adjust the saddle. Once the guitar is as set up as this particular model will allow without buzzing, it should be easier to play with all string gauges.
#9
good point. it's unlikely that using strings heavier than recommended for a guitar is a good idea for the guitar - and considering the amount of time involved, is highly unlikely to do anything strengthening for the finger muscles, either.

Quote by captivate
Err... I'm actually not quite sure if 14's are okay for your guitar. I know for a fact that Martin suggests that you not use anything past mediums(13's) on their guitars. Can anyone confirm if it's okay to use such thick strings?
#10
Yeah, most standard acoustic guitars really aren't built for 14s. Not saying yours isn't or that your guitar is being damaged, but I certainly wouldn't put anything heavier than 13s on mine for both structural and playing reasons...but then, I love my 12 gauge strings and I have a fairly light built guitar.

I agree with jim that such a job will require adjustment on the guitar...your action is probably HUGE right now.

Also, .11s to .14s is sort of overkill don't you think? Never play through pain in the fingers (not fingertips...we all love playing through tip pain)...because that means damage is occurring in either muscle, tendon, or bone. I suggest, to minimize your risk of RSI, work up slowly. Get a set of 12s on your acoustic and play until you feel your comfortable, and then decide whether to go to 13s or not.

Chances are the right set of 12s (have you experimented with materials and brands?) will get you a pretty good approximation of the tone you want. Actually, very few players use 14s (not unheard of, but uncommon.) If you find the right string material, and gauge, and brand then I bet you can get a satisfactory tone out of 12s.

11 to 14 is really big, at least kick it to 13s, but i suggest 12s for now.
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