Playing acoustic guitar is a very gratifying experience but it has its prices. And one of them is sore finger: it is normal, especially if you’re a beginner, that your fingers get sore. This is because you’re building callouses on your fingertips and it is a matter of time before that problem will stop bothering you.
However, there are still ways to make the experience more bearable, and one of them is using the best acoustic guitar strings for sore fingers. Usually, a set of nylon or steel strings with a lower gauge and a soft material is the best choice. We will review 6 of the best products for those facing this problem. We will also go through all of the factors to know when shopping for strings.
Is it Normal to Get Sore Fingers When Playing Guitar?
Yes, it is completely normal to get your fingers sore when you start playing guitar. This happens because the fingertips are not used to the pressure of the strings and they need time to build calluses. The calluses are thicker skin that protects them from friction. They will also make your fingertips less sensitive while playing, so you can play comfortably. As a beginner, it is normal that your fingers get sore after a couple of hours of playing a day, but this will go away after a couple of weeks or months.
However, there are some factors that might make your fingers even sorer than usual:
- If you’re new to guitar playing, it is expected for your fingers to hurt more than usual because they’re not used to the pressure yet. However, with practice and time, this should pass;
- If you have naturally dry skin, this will make it even more painful for you because the calluses won’t form as fast as they should;
- If you have sensitive skin, this will also make it more painful for you because the calluses won’t form as fast;
- If you have a guitar that’s not properly set up or adjusted, this will make your fingers hurt more because of the pressure and tension on them.
If you’re getting a lot of pain after playing, don’t worry and take the time to focus on the right things. The more you practice, the less pain your fingers will feel. If they still hurt after getting used to playing a couple of hours every day, then something might be wrong with your guitar setup or technique. Make sure that you have everything in place before worrying about this problem.
If you’re still worried about your sore fingers, try using some hand cream or lubricants that can help with dryness and friction between your fingertips and strings.
Related: For the best acoustic guitar strings, make sure to check our best acoustic guitar strings.
Best Acoustic Guitar Strings for Sore Fingers – In-Depth Review
Table of Contents
- Martin Authentic Acoustic MA170
- Elixir Strings 80/20 Bronze Acoustic Guitar Strings
- HAVENDI Acoustic Guitar Strings
- Martin Guitar Classical M260
Martin acoustic guitar strings are one of the most popular across most music styles. These strings have excellent durability, coming in a variety of gauges to suit your playing style. The strings are made with a bronze winding that gives them more durability, making them ideal for live performances. They also have a coating that is designed to protect the strings.
- Gauges: 10-47
- Martin Authentic Acoustic Strings Provide Excellent Tuning Stability and Playability with Bright and Rich Tones
- Designed to Bring Out a Consistent and True Tone from Your Guitar
- Material: Bronze
- Extremely affordable. You can get one set of these strings for only $7.
- One of the best strings regarding playability. There are tons of positive reviews across the internet affirming the comfortable character of these strings.
- These light guitar strings are also very durable, whether you’re playing at home or at sessions and gigs.
- Sound-wise, these Martin strings sound very natural and have excellent sound quality.
Considering the super affordable price of these strings, they are an excellent choice for beginners, intermediate and professional players. The durability is unmatched and the sound quality is excellent. Having one of the lightest gauges in the market (10-47), it is an excellent set for those facing sore fingers.
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One of the best features about these Elixir Strings is their NANOWEB coating. The NANOWEB technology is one of the best coating treatments in the market because they offer unmatched durability for the strings while still maintaining a natural feel and playability. Not only that but this set sounds extremely good too.
- Gauges: 10-47
- Acoustic Guitar Strings Constructed with 80/20 (80% Copper, 20% Zinc) Bronze Wrap Wire
- Played for a Crisp, Bright Tone with an Expressive, Vibrant Presence
- Material: Bronze
- Coated with NANOWEB technology. NANOWEB coating offers unmatched durability for your strings and will greatly extend the string life.
- Natural playability and feel.
- The NANOWEB technology also helps reduce finger noise.
- Easy to play since those strings have an extra light gauge (10-47)
Offering bright tones and a great value, Elixir Strings are one of the best in the market. The NANOWEB coating technology is one of the best coating treatments in the market and it gives these strings long life. The tuning stability and playability are also factors improved by the coating process.
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If you want to get a set of strings that feels great to play and sounds great too, this is the right choice for you. These strings are very well spoken of by many professional guitarists and music lovers alike. They may cost a little bit higher than other brands but they offer great value for money when it comes to quality and durability.
- Gauge: 12-53
- Durable and Tuning-stable Strings Thanks to their Finishing
- Easier on the Fingertips Thanks to the Smoothforce Technology
- Material: Bronze
- Even though this particular set has a higher gauge than other options on the list, it is still very comfortable to play with the benefit of having improved sound projection.
- Comes with a set of picks in different gauges.
- Excellent tuning stability and durability.
- If you’re not happy with the strings, HAVENDI will give you a refund.
A great set of phosphor bronze strings for guitar players of any level. With its warm tone and mellow sound, these HAVENDI strings have a gauge that is higher than most other options on the list, but it is still comfortable to play. The greatest benefit with it being heavier strings is that you get more sound projection and definition from your musical instruments.
D’Addario Pro-Arte Nylon Classical Guitar Strings are made especially for nylon-stringed guitars. If you have a classical guitar and you’re looking for an affordable set that will last for a long time and offers great playability, then this is a great option. Keep in mind though that this set can only be used in nylon-stringed guitars and not on steel-stringed ones.
- Gauges: 28-43
- High-Quality Materials with the Unparalleled Manufacturing Consistency
- Laser Selected Trebles and Silverplated Copper Winding on a Multi-Filament Nylon Core
- Material: Nylon
- Nylon strings are easier on the fingertips than steel ones, but they can only be strung in classical guitars.
- With nylon-stringed guitars, the gauge won’t affect playability that much so you have more options to choose from.
- D’Addario has one of the best manufacturing processes in the market.
- Very affordable considering the quality of these strings: only $10.
If you have a classical guitar that is nylon-stringed, then this is an excellent option. D’Addario’s unmatched attention to detail paired with their careful manufacturing process makes these strings durable and comfortable to play for prolonged periods of time. Keep in mind that these strings can’t be used in steel-stringed acoustic guitars.
Things to Consider When Buying a Acoustic Guitar Strings for Sore Fingers
Gauge – What is the Best for Sore Fingers?
The gauge of the strings is a very important factor for those who want to keep their fingers in good condition. For those facing sore fingers, we recommend sticking with a light gauge such as 10’s or 11’s. These types of strings sound good tone-wise and provide the best playability when it comes to comfort while playing.
Material – Which One Feels the Most Comfortable?
Now, this is a highly subjective question. The most comfortable of all is nylon because it is a smooth material that won’t hurt your fingers as steel does, but you can only use nylon strings on acoustic guitars that were built for it. If you’re playing steel strings, then most materials will be comfortable enough: it is best to focus on the gauge of the strings.
Of course, you want a set of strings that will last a long time. When it comes to durability, there are two types of strings: coated and uncoated. Coated strings receive a coating treatment so that they repel oil and dirt; Uncoated strings don’t receive that treatment, but they have a smoother feel and natural sound.
The choice is highly subjective. We recommend that you do try both types before making your decision. If you’re a beginner only playing at home, you can get away with an uncoated set of strings. If durability is an important factor for you, however, and you’re playing your acoustic guitar frequently in sessions and gigs, it is advisable to go with a coated set.
There are acoustic guitar strings for virtually any budget in the market. From $5 to $100, you can find this product in every price range. Naturally, cheaper sets are usually ok but they tend to not last as long as more expensive strings. If you’re a beginner, we recommend you go with an affordable set because you don’t really need to spend that much money right now: there are tons of quality options on the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Play an Acoustic Guitar without Hurting Your Fingers?
There is no fast and hard way to play acoustic guitar without hurting your fingers, but some things may help. First, you can use a lighter gauge string set, as we discussed in the article. Nylon guitar strings are also easier on the fingers (if you happen to have a nylon acoustic guitar). Other than that, practicing frequently will help as your fingers will build callouses.
Are Lighter Guitar Strings Easier to Play?
Yes, a lighter guitar string is easier to play. You will get used to them much faster and they are also slightly more forgiving to your fingertips.
Can You Use Nylon/Classical Guitar Strings on a Steel-Stringed Guitar?
No, the tensions are very different and you could damage your steel-stringed guitar if you did so. Nylon strings are exclusively made to be used with classical guitars only.
Do Lighter Gauge Strings Break More Easily?
Yes, due to them being thinner they are more prone to breakage. However, this will largely on your playing style more than on the string gauge itself.
In our best acoustic guitar strings for sore fingers, we reviewed 4 excellent sets of strings with their own features and qualities. The best strings will vary from player to player, but you can expect all of the products in this list to be easier on your fingertips than most other options on the list, particularly due to their light gauge and materials.
If you’re getting sore fingers after playing acoustic or electric guitar, keep in mind that this is a natural process, especially if you’re a beginner. With practice and time, these problems will largely disappear, as your fingers will build callouses, and playing the guitar will become easier then.
How to Buy
You can find the link to each product at their respective titles on the list. We hope you liked this article. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions!