Who doesn’t love music? Probably nobody! It’s easy to get enticed by the rhythmic tone and get swept away into it. So, it’s not surprising that you’ll want to take up learning an instrument or two.
So, you decide to get a ukulele to start your journey. Thanks to all the videos available on the internet, you get a fantastic routine to begin practicing on day one. After all, you need to get good as soon as you can! But can ukuleles hurt your fingers?
Playing ukuleles can sometimes hurt your fingers. After playing for a while, you’ll find out your fingers hurt, especially the tips. They seem swollen as well. But don’t panic because it’s a common occurrence amongst beginner players.
But, there are several ways to get over that obstacle. Let’s go over them together.
Why Does It hurt?
Before we get to the solutions, let’s go over the reasons why your fingers hurt. After all, knowing is half the battle. So, we’re going to get into the reasons behind this problem and then jump straight to the solution.
Cuts and Blisters
It’s actually common knowledge that if you have any prior cuts or blisters on your fingertips, it’s going to hurt when you play. As you press down on the strings on the fret, the opposing pressure will feel painful on your damaged fingertips.
Sensitive fingertips are the most common barrier that beginner musicians have to face. Try to recall how much pressure your fingertips had to take before you took up the ukulele. The most common answer will be not much.
That’s why when you start playing a stringed instrument, the skin on the top of your finger starts hurting as they haven’t been through such pressure ever before.
Pain in the Joints
If you have any physical conditions that hurt your joints, such as Arthritis, it can be a barrier to your path as a musician. If you have such a condition, even mild practice sessions can negatively affect your health.
How to Stop It
All these scary reasons you went through in the section above may put you off from taking up your ukulele again. But don’t worry because where there’s a will, there’s a way!
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to make your fingers hurt less. In due time, you can get rid of the pain once and for all. Moreover, they’re not complex either.
Practice, Practice, and Practice!
Do you know how muscles are built? You keep exercising and ripping your muscles into shreds until your body can make ones that can stand such strain. Of course, we’re not experts, but that’s the general rule.
The same goes for your playing. As you keep playing and your skin keeps breaking, your body will try to replace that skin with stronger ones that can stand such pressure.
So, you’ll have to keep playing for your body to know just how tough your fingers need to be. And as a bonus, your strumming skills will also get better in the meantime. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!
Don’t Force It
Beginner players don’t have much idea about how much pressure they need to use or how long they need to press down on the chords. Indeed, some players can grasp the concept from the get-go. But for the normal populace like us, take a breather!
Play a note and check if you really need to apply so much pressure on the fret. If you see that you can play the note perfectly even with a little less pressure, lower the pressure slightly. Eventually, you’ll find the sweet spot that doesn’t hurt your finger as much as before while still sounding perfectly fine.
You may have noticed that we didn’t say that the pain will go away completely. It’ll simply subside a little bit. The central theme here is that you keep practicing. If you can’t go on anymore, cut down your practicing time into smaller intervals.
There are a few exercises that you can use to strengthen your fingers. One good idea is to use those squeaky balls to build your strength. And when you’re not using it, you can use it to play with your pets or your family members.
Besides building strength, you can also try some hand-stretching exercises. You need your fretting hand to be flexible to play every note perfectly. So, whenever you’re not strumming, you should be stretching your palms. Introducing your fingers to a few stretching exercises can go a long way.
Check the Action
The action of your ukulele refers to the distance between your fretboard and strings. In their default settings, most ukuleles have too high an action for you to press down on them comfortably.
So, get your uke’s action checked. If it seems too high, seek outside help to reduce the action to a comfortable level.
Leave the Blisters Alone
As you keep practicing, you’ll notice a few blisters on your trips. Now as enticing as it might seem, do not poke or peel them off. It’s part of your body’s natural healing process.
Your body is trying to build firmer skin that can accommodate your rigorous training sessions. If you peel them off, they’ll only reveal softer skin that’s much more sensitive to your strumming sessions.
If they bother you too much, use a file to smoothen them rather than peel them off.
Besides, it’s the mark of a musician to have such callouses. These blisters will show off how much time you put behind your practicing sessions. So, rather than being annoyed with them, wear those blisters proudly like a battle scar!
Practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid of a few blisters as you go down the path as a musician. Take the bull by the horns and keep hurdling over these obstacles. You’ll soon find out that it was worth it. And to make your journey an easier one, use the tips above.
Ukuleles can hurt your fingers, but not forever. As you keep practicing, you’ll soon find out that you’re much better than you were before. Happy strumming!