Ahh, so your fingers are sore? That’s a good sign!
It’s a sign that you have actually been putting your new ukulele to good use. Whatever you do, don’t let it get you down. Having sore fingers when you first start playing an instrument doesn’t mean that you are too weak to play or that playing a ukulele just isn’t for you. You must remember that it happens to everyone! All it means is that your fingers aren’t used to the pressure you have been putting on them lately and they will need to build up calluses in order for comfortable playing.
With that being said, the WORST thing you could do once your fingers start hurting is stop playing! If you don’t keep playing and build up calluses on your fingers than you’ll never be able to play ukulele comfortably. So how do you deal with the agonizing pain of sore fingers after playing for hours?
A lot of beginners have a problem with pressing down on the strings much harder than is necessary. Take a second to play a note and see if you have simply been pressing too hard. See if there are other techniques you could try so that playing the chords wouldn’t cause so much pressure on your fingers.
Like I said before, the most important thing is that you don’t stop practicing! If the pain is really bad, try cutting your practice time down to smaller intervals. Instead of playing an hour session a day, play 4 sessions a day that are 15 minutes each. Give your fingers time to rest in between but don’t ever stop practicing!
It’s likely if you continue at this pace, you will develop a few blisters on your fingertips. This is, again, a great sign! Leave them alone! These annoying blisters will eventually form into calluses that will make ukulele playing much easier and much less painful. Let your body heal itself.
Another reason your fingers may be sore is simply because they are not accustomed to being bent and moved as they have been lately while playing your uke. A simple solution to this is hand and finger exercises! It may sound crazy, but there are many exercise strategies out there that help strengthen your fingers and hands. They are very common among ukulele and guitar players. The more flexible your hands and fingers are, the more comfortable playing a stringed instrument will be for you! So don’t look over the potential healing effects of simple stretches before and after playing.
Looking for a quick shortcut to form the calluses necessary to play the ukulele?
Soaking your fingertips in alcohol can dry out the skin and help calluses to form faster. In addition, keep your fingers as dry as possible. The water can weaken the calluses that you have worked so hard to form! The longer you play, the stronger the calluses with become and eventually water will have no effect. But at the beginning, it’s always a good idea to keep your fingertips as dry as possible.
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