Sore fingers and fingerpicking

Guitar Tricks Forum > Open Discussion > Sore fingers and fingerpicking

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

I have a mystery on my hands... literally.

I've been playing for awhile. Good calluses, no pain when I play even for extended periods of time.

But now that I'm starting to seriously/formally learn fingerpicking in Anders' acoustic 1 course, I suddenly find myself having "beginner" finger pain in my fretting fingertips again, as if I'm all the way back at the very beginning.

This mystifies me, because the fretting hand isn't doing anything differently from what it's always done.

My first thought was, ah ha, this just shows that I haven't really been getting a clean sound when strumming and I just didn't notice it because it was strumming rather than picking individual strings. But I double checked that, and that is not the case. Clean sound on all strings when I strum and no fingertip pain.

My next thought is that perhaps I'm tensing up more with my left hand because I'm learning a new thing with my right hand. I suppose that's possible, but it doesn't feel like that's what's happening.

Anyone else have this happen or have any thoughts?

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#1

I have a mystery on my hands... literally.

I've been playing for awhile. Good calluses, no pain when I play even for extended periods of time.

But now that I'm starting to seriously/formally learn fingerpicking in Anders' acoustic 1 course, I suddenly find myself having "beginner" finger pain in my fretting fingertips again, as if I'm all the way back at the very beginning.

This mystifies me, because the fretting hand isn't doing anything differently from what it's always done.

My first thought was, ah ha, this just shows that I haven't really been getting a clean sound when strumming and I just didn't notice it because it was strumming rather than picking individual strings. But I double checked that, and that is not the case. Clean sound on all strings when I strum and no fingertip pain.

My next thought is that perhaps I'm tensing up more with my left hand because I'm learning a new thing with my right hand. I suppose that's possible, but it doesn't feel like that's what's happening.

Anyone else have this happen or have any thoughts?

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

moosehockey18

Full Access

Joined: 02/01/20

Posts: 82

Originally Posted by: faith83

I have a mystery on my hands... literally.

I've been playing for awhile. Good calluses, no pain when I play even for extended periods of time.

But now that I'm starting to seriously/formally learn fingerpicking in Anders' acoustic 1 course, I suddenly find myself having "beginner" finger pain in my fretting fingertips again, as if I'm all the way back at the very beginning.

This mystifies me, because the fretting hand isn't doing anything differently from what it's always done.

My first thought was, ah ha, this just shows that I haven't really been getting a clean sound when strumming and I just didn't notice it because it was strumming rather than picking individual strings. But I double checked that, and that is not the case. Clean sound on all strings when I strum and no fingertip pain.

My next thought is that perhaps I'm tensing up more with my left hand because I'm learning a new thing with my right hand. I suppose that's possible, but it doesn't feel like that's what's happening.

Anyone else have this happen or have any thoughts?

Hi Faith,

That`s interesting. I`m thinking that ( assuming nothing has changed in your guitar set up) that learning a new skill forces you to concentrate more and thus it`s possible to bear down on the strings a bit more as a result. I remember from my hockey days, when I was working on a new shot, my hands would clamp down on the stick harder than normal. After a while muscle memory would kick in and I would relax my grip a bit. Might be the same thing here.

#2

Originally Posted by: faith83

I have a mystery on my hands... literally.

I've been playing for awhile. Good calluses, no pain when I play even for extended periods of time.

But now that I'm starting to seriously/formally learn fingerpicking in Anders' acoustic 1 course, I suddenly find myself having "beginner" finger pain in my fretting fingertips again, as if I'm all the way back at the very beginning.

This mystifies me, because the fretting hand isn't doing anything differently from what it's always done.

My first thought was, ah ha, this just shows that I haven't really been getting a clean sound when strumming and I just didn't notice it because it was strumming rather than picking individual strings. But I double checked that, and that is not the case. Clean sound on all strings when I strum and no fingertip pain.

My next thought is that perhaps I'm tensing up more with my left hand because I'm learning a new thing with my right hand. I suppose that's possible, but it doesn't feel like that's what's happening.

Anyone else have this happen or have any thoughts?

Hi Faith,

That`s interesting. I`m thinking that ( assuming nothing has changed in your guitar set up) that learning a new skill forces you to concentrate more and thus it`s possible to bear down on the strings a bit more as a result. I remember from my hockey days, when I was working on a new shot, my hands would clamp down on the stick harder than normal. After a while muscle memory would kick in and I would relax my grip a bit. Might be the same thing here.

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

I'm thinking that it must be that, even though I'm not feeling it consciously. Nothing else has changed... ???

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#3

I'm thinking that it must be that, even though I'm not feeling it consciously. Nothing else has changed... ???

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

JeffS65

Full Access

Joined: 10/07/08

Posts: 1406

Originally Posted by: faith83

I'm thinking that it must be that, even though I'm not feeling it consciously. Nothing else has changed... ???

Trust me, you're doing it even when you're trying not to. It's just what happens. Even today, I had been messing about with some non-standard chord voicings (sometimes I just grab strings and see what happens) but these voicings weren't figures I was used to. I had that grip going. For me, it's the nature of the beast and I've found that as I become more comfortable with something, I loosen up.

#4

Originally Posted by: faith83

I'm thinking that it must be that, even though I'm not feeling it consciously. Nothing else has changed... ???

Trust me, you're doing it even when you're trying not to. It's just what happens. Even today, I had been messing about with some non-standard chord voicings (sometimes I just grab strings and see what happens) but these voicings weren't figures I was used to. I had that grip going. For me, it's the nature of the beast and I've found that as I become more comfortable with something, I loosen up.

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

The problem with the "new skill/tension" theory is that when I consciously loosen my grip even a little bit, I don't get a clean tone. So clearly for some reason it's requiring more pressure on the strings to fingerpick than to strum. Which makes no sense to me.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#5

The problem with the "new skill/tension" theory is that when I consciously loosen my grip even a little bit, I don't get a clean tone. So clearly for some reason it's requiring more pressure on the strings to fingerpick than to strum. Which makes no sense to me.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

mjgodin

Full Access

Joined: 11/23/19

Posts: 187

Originally Posted by: faith83

The problem with the "new skill/tension" theory is that when I consciously loosen my grip even a little bit, I don't get a clean tone. So clearly for some reason it's requiring more pressure on the strings to fingerpick than to strum. Which makes no sense to me.

Hi Faith, Same thing happens to me whenever I learn a new skill as well and fingerpicking is no exception. Because of the added concentration being placed on the right hand it's natural to sort of "fall back" a little on your fretting hand. Your might be looking at what your right hand is doing and not noticing that those fretting fingers arent quite where they're supposed to be and that's giving you some unclear notes so to compensate you press down a little harder than normal. Typical beginners we are huh.

Like you said, Fingerpicking requires plucking one or two string at a time so you will hear the tone of the strings much more than strumming. I've noticed it myself on some difficult chords I have to really focus on the placement of the fingertips to be exactly behind the frets. This will all start to take care of itself once your right hand develops those fingerpicking patterns into it's muscle memory to the point you won't even be looking or thinking about what your right hand is doing and your focus will switch back to the fretting hand again.

It could also be that your enjoying fingerpicking so much that the time flies so fast that your practice sessions are a little longer and your fingers are getting a longer workout. Thats a good thing :)

Enjoy,

Moe

#6

Originally Posted by: faith83

The problem with the "new skill/tension" theory is that when I consciously loosen my grip even a little bit, I don't get a clean tone. So clearly for some reason it's requiring more pressure on the strings to fingerpick than to strum. Which makes no sense to me.

Hi Faith, Same thing happens to me whenever I learn a new skill as well and fingerpicking is no exception. Because of the added concentration being placed on the right hand it's natural to sort of "fall back" a little on your fretting hand. Your might be looking at what your right hand is doing and not noticing that those fretting fingers arent quite where they're supposed to be and that's giving you some unclear notes so to compensate you press down a little harder than normal. Typical beginners we are huh.

Like you said, Fingerpicking requires plucking one or two string at a time so you will hear the tone of the strings much more than strumming. I've noticed it myself on some difficult chords I have to really focus on the placement of the fingertips to be exactly behind the frets. This will all start to take care of itself once your right hand develops those fingerpicking patterns into it's muscle memory to the point you won't even be looking or thinking about what your right hand is doing and your focus will switch back to the fretting hand again.

It could also be that your enjoying fingerpicking so much that the time flies so fast that your practice sessions are a little longer and your fingers are getting a longer workout. Thats a good thing :)

Enjoy,

Moe

faith83

Peace, Love & John Denver

Joined: 04/23/20

Posts: 289

Thank you, Moe! I like theory #2 especially. :-) I am a fingerpicker at heart, I think!

Theory #1 sounds pretty plausible as well... time to get out the old practice glove again, I suppose, LOL.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel

#7

Thank you, Moe! I like theory #2 especially. :-) I am a fingerpicker at heart, I think!

Theory #1 sounds pretty plausible as well... time to get out the old practice glove again, I suppose, LOL.

"You can get what you want or you can just get old." Billy Joel