Hello there, guitar slingers!
I have experienced several times how frustrating it is to have blisters on your fingers and how it can affect your overall guitar playing.
It’s completely normal. Let’s see what you should do in this situation.
First of all, you should STOP playing with various techniques that irritate the skin of your fingers. Techniques that involve bending, vibrato, and sliding are some typical examples. For a few days, just skip these techniques from your practice schedule!
You will be able to use them in a few days, but NOT right now. For now, keep it as simple as it gets. I think I hear you saying something like this:
“Ok, coach, but what are the techniques that won’t harm my fingers for this period?”
The answer is pretty simple. You should focus more on exercises like alternate picking, sweep picking, and maybe even legato (if it doesn’t hurt your fingertips). It’s also a perfect chance to get better at those techniques.
These techniques are pretty much straightforward and they don’t involve bends and sliding. Τhink of it like this:
Let’s say your practice schedule for today contains 15’ alternate, 15’ vibrato, and 15’ bending. Just change the last two exercises (vibrato and bending) with sweep and legato and you are good to go. The more time you spend focusing on these techniques will help you improve even further.
Also, I’d suggest you limit improvisation, because improvisation will naturally push you to use techniques like bending and vibrato.
Now, if you want to catch up with your guitar practicing but you are not able to use your fretting hand at all, this is an excellent opportunity to concentrate on your picking hand. You can do some alternate picking, sweep picking, or fingerpicking exercises. I know this is beyond the scope of this article, but the point here is to continue the habit of daily practice.
Also, how about music theory? You didn’t see that coming, huh? It’s the perfect time to study some theory. Maybe some intervals or inversions, or maybe what chords you should use with your all-time favorite harmonic minor scale.
Let me remind you that this won’t last for long and your fingers will be able to normally fret guitar strings in just a few days. IF this is the first time it happened to you, it just might take a little longer, but no more than a couple of weeks.
Overall, the key idea is to keep practicing other technical exercises or music theory and not stop practicing.
So there you have it! I hope this was helpful. Also, you can watch the video, where I explain in detail this topic.
Born in the Greek island of Crete, Ioannis Anastassakis completed his Bachelor’s degree at the American College of Greece and subsequently studied at the distinguished Musicians Institute (GIT), where he remained as an instructor, after graduating at the top 1% of his class. He continued his graduate studies in Music, at the California State University, completing an MA in Guitar Performance, graduating Magna cum Laude.
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