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Hello guitar world. I just started playing about a month ago and my fret hand fingertips are calloused and tender is that natural? Am I playing too much (about hour daily)? Should I slow down and "heal"? 

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Sounds pretty normal to me.  In time the callouses will not be tender and it will be much more comfortable.  People more experienced than I could tell you whether an hour a day is too much for your fingers, but it's probably an excellent amount of time to be learning at a nice pace.  I'd say when your fingers get too uncomfortable, practice scales or something that doesn't require too much stress and pressure.  You could also try lighter strings or "silk 'n steel" strings, but frankly I wouldn't bother to go to the trouble and expense just for something that won't be bothering you in another week or two.

Thanks Walt. I am enjoying the guitar journey thus far. I've learned some simple hymns. Great way to worship

When I started almost 3 years ago, I had the same problem.  The answer I got was to give up the "death grip".  You only need to press as hard as necessary to get the string firmly ONTO the frett.  Trying to press the string INTO the frett board won't improve the sound.  I think the term given me was "technique".  I tried various strings, also.  The only ones that helped were "flat wound" D'Addario Lights.  Since I've worked on technique, I still have minor calouses, but no pain.  Being retired, I play at least an hour a day.  Keeping It Fun, Dean

Hi, Edward, welcome!

I don't think an hour a day is too much time to be practicing -- seems just about right if you are just starting out. The strength in your fingers and hands will quickly develop with this much playing also, which will really help when you start on Bar chords and playing up and down the neck. 

As far as callouses go, get used to them! I've been playing for 25+ years, and I still get callouses if I'm playing a lot of blues or doing string bends and such. I have a weekly practice session with my band mates that lasts about 3 - 4 hours, and I can tell you that my fingertips get pretty shredded by the end of the night. However, there's really no tenderness or pain associated (maybe a little, but that's pretty standard), its just the top layer of skin that gets beat up (looks almost like you took sandpaper to them). The callouses underneath that you will develop prevent most of the pain or tenderness you described.

The key is to just keep on playing! With that much practice time your fingers and your playing will quickly get in shape. Good luck!

Mark, thanks for your insight. You're spot on when you mentioned bar chords "ouch" but I am getting better at it as my hands are become stronger. I guess I'll just get used to a lifetime of callous fingertips 'cause I'm really enjoying this instrument. I didn't know that would have so much fun with it and I'm just getting started. I hear and write a lot of songs, now I will have the opportunity to begin to play and sing them...can't wait to progress. That's why I'm putting the woodshed time into it.

Edward, glad to hear you're enjoying your wood shed time. Wish I got more of it myself these days...have a little 2 year old boy running around keeping me busy, so I don't get that much "me time" anymore, but its a trade-off I gladly accept...

The beauty of the guitar is the endless possibilities it offers. Ask any player and they'll tell you they never stop exploring, practicing, and learning on the guitar which is why it becomes so addictive! Once you've mastered one technique or song type, there's a million more to learn. Enjoy! 

Oh the days for the pitter patter of lil feet runnin' 'round the house...those were the days. But now since mine are young men, I've got more time! Yeahhhh. I must admit I have become addicted, and this is just the beginning. When I listen to all my fellow community guitarist, I think to myself someday soon. You guys are inspiring!

Have you had the action /string height checked for playability .??

Yeah I just took my guitar and the trusted guitar guru Bobby said it my nut was a little high so he's gonna lower the action a tad. Other than that he said it played beautifully.

It is natural and you will learn to love it because if your fingertips are sore, it means you have been practicing!! It is not likely to cause any more damage than a coupl eof layers of skin coming off, so don't worry about slowing down - lay to your heart's content!!

No slow down here...thanks for the encouragement!

Hello Edward, Truthfully, you do not need to slow down ,one hour is definitely not excessive,nor do you need to "heal".You need those callouses to build up,then they will stop feeling sore, and playing will become a bit easier,If you actually stop, you'd be back at square one.Make sure your fretting hand is in a comfortable position and apply just enough finger pressure to get a clear sound. Play on ,in a few weeks your fretting should feel fine.


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