LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
Forum rules
IV Laws governing the quotation/citation of music


For discussion of studies, scales, arpeggios and theory.
User avatar
Mark Featherstone
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:26 pm
Location: Alameda, CA

LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by Mark Featherstone » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:30 pm

Hi all,

I have been playing CG for about 4 or 5 years now, and have made a lot of progress in achieving a lighter touch with the LH fingertips. Despite this, I still occasionally wince with pain from having pressed too hard. Now, I really don't think I am pressing that hard when this happens, and I have a feeling that I may be more sensitive than most. This may be related to the fact that the calluses on my LH fingertips are minimal, nothing like the great calluses I had years ago playing steel string acoustic guitar.

So I guess my questions are: (1) Is it the case that some people are particularly susceptible to LH fingertip pain? (2) Should I have better calluses after playing an hour a day most days for 4 or 5 years? (3) Is there a way to build up calluses? I suppose I could buy a steel string and play on that for part of my practice time, assuming that would help.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Mark
Francisco Navarro Concert Classical, cedar top, 630 mm scale, 50 mm nut

"The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."
Bruce Cockburn

celestemcc
Posts: 1329
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by celestemcc » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:48 pm

is it all your fingertips? Just your pinky, perhaps? Just trying to see if there's a particular pattern. Otherwise --

An hour a day isn't a lot of time to build up calluses. I suspect that you are in fact pressing too hard, or that you're not dead-on to your fingertip and hitting a softer area (correct me here if I'm wrong). Can you play a clean, clear chord in the middle of the neck without using your thumb on the neck? In my experience -- If not, you're using too tight a grip. It may seem paradoxical, but if you can do it, your pressure is just right.

If you can play a little more each day, even just on your classical guitar, it will help -- so has been my experience, and I've played for many, many years.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

User avatar
Mark Featherstone
Posts: 555
Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 12:26 pm
Location: Alameda, CA

Re: LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by Mark Featherstone » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:36 pm

celestemcc wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:48 pm
is it all your fingertips? Just your pinky, perhaps?...
Many thanks for your response. It can be any finger (today it was 1), though yes, more frequently with 4. Yes, I can play that chord without my thumb, and I suppose my problem is, still, that I lose track of how much pressure I'm applying when I'm focusing on a difficult passage. Now that you say that I need more than an hour a day, I see where my problem lies. It would be hard for me to get more time in now, but that should change in about a year.

Many thanks for your kind help.
Francisco Navarro Concert Classical, cedar top, 630 mm scale, 50 mm nut

"The trouble with normal is it always gets worse."
Bruce Cockburn

User avatar
petermc61
Posts: 6897
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:11 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by petermc61 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:26 am

Losing focus during difficult passages - definitely sounds like tension and therefore probably too much force.

User avatar
Christopher Langley
Posts: 1012
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:59 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by Christopher Langley » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:30 am

Reduce speed. Focus on playing lightly.

If you are pushing any harder than the minimum you need to, you are pushing too hard.

I wouldn't suggest a steel string, they hurt way more man, last thing I think I'd recommend.

Sometimes one of my fingers will get to where it feels like it has a splinter in the tip if I'm over-playing.. but usually about 12 hours and that goes away.

I feel like fingertip issues come with the territory to an extent, I guess it's up to you to decide if it's worth the pain. I mean, we are asking an awful lot of the tips of our fingers.

Might consider light tension strings. D'addario EJ29 Recitified set is a very light set that still sounds very good to my ears.

If you are a heavy user of lotions/creams you might cut back and see if that helps harden your lh fingertips. I notice mine get softer when I apply lotion.
My name is mud.

Karen
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:11 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by Karen » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:29 pm

I don’t know if this will help, but the secret for me in learning to lighten left hand pressure was actually in paying attention to the fingers not playing. Learning to release pressure on unneeded fingers naturally lightened the pressure on the fingers being used, as well as allowing more flexibility to my hand.

PeteJ
Posts: 1395
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:52 pm

Re: LH fingertips sore from pressing too hard

Post by PeteJ » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:18 am

I've just had to stop for a couple of days for exactly. this reason. Same as Christopher, it's like having a splinter in your finger.

Return to “Classical Guitar technique”