Tender Fingers

It Begins In Earnest

It began in earnest last night with my daughter’s ½ size cherry red guitar. Learning the guitar has begun with phase one – grow calluses. I mentioned in a previous post that one of the showstoppers I have had in the past with learning the guitar was the annoyance and time of callus making. I do not find playing the guitar enjoyable without calluses. I have never gone long enough to actually have calluses form on my hand so it goes without saying that I have never actually been at a point where I have ENJOYED playing the guitar.

My thought here is to get the annoying part out of the way at the beginning. So before my first crack at actually learning the instrument I am focusing on the thing that has kept me from the prize in the past. I found a two part How to Grow Guitar Calluses Quickly and Easily document on eHow and started with these exercises. Upon noticing that there were two strings missing from the guitar I have now dubbed “Half Cherry” I was miffed to think that I would have to wait another day and get some stings. Upon reading the steps involved in part one though, I was happy to see that I would only use the number 6 string.

Start Plucking

Basically all you do is start with your index finger on the string, pluck a few notes and slide your finger back and forth until you can’t take it anymore then move to the next finger. I ended up doing this for about 30 minutes twice yesterday. The advice in the article was to focus on the sound and making a little riff pattern because it would take your mind off the pain in the fingers. This really worked! I was actually having fun.

At one point I even put my headphones on and fired up good ole Lyle Lovett, someone who often inspires me to learn to play.  I focused on the music, which is super easy for me to do, and kept the exercises going the whole time. After day one, I am thinking that this might actually work. Today as I am typing with my tender fingertips, I think I can actually feel the beginnings of my first calluses. I’m so proud! To think, just last week, these calluses were just a glint in my eye.

Check out the acoustic version of Up In Indiana from It’s Not Big It’s Large by Lyle Lovett on the MEmusic page.


5 Comments to “Tender Fingers”

  1. Interesting that there actually exists a guide that teaches you how to build finger calluses for guitar playing! Who knew? Certainly not me. I personally would much prefer building them while practicing notes. I’ve gone through the process so many times because I never keep it up. I’m sorta, kinda curious to try it now though. For kicks.

    • Surprisingly, I am finding it really fun. Perhaps it is because I am just even holding the guitar and fooling around. Its becoming comfortable in my hands. Its a form of exploring the guitar and I think maybe even reducing the intimidation factor. Today I noticed a big difference in how the frets felt. I don’t really see visible changes on my finger tips yet but can definitely feel it. Once I feel like its old hat, I will probably move along to learning some notes. Its counter intuitive for me to take it slow, I always want immediate gratification so, its a good lesson in that too.

  2. “Immediate gratification”…GAWD can I EVER relate to THAT!! It’s why I’ve given up guitar so many times – just can’t learn it fast enough, you know? I want to know how to play NOW. Without the work. And yes, the pain. 🙂

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