Why You Should Not Use Guitar Finger Protectors

Why You Should Not Use Guitar Finger Protectors

As a new guitar player or student, you may experience frustration at the amount of finger pain you experience while learning guitar.

Some individuals try to learn guitar using guitar finger protectors. These are small plastic pieces that fit on the tips of your fingers. 

This might sound like a great idea to reduce finger pain, but there are many drawbacks. Here is why you should not be using guitar finger protectors.

No Calluses

When you practice the guitar, you will develop calluses over time. These are hard layers of skin on the tips of your fingers. The skin may also peel and flake away as you are developing calluses.

This might seem like it would be a concern to you, but these calluses are good. They play a vital role in how well you play the guitar. 

When you have hard calluses, it's much easier to play the guitar for a longer duration. The strings no longer hurt your fingers.

If you don't develop calluses, you will never improve your fingertip strength, and you're playing won't be as good as it could be.

Why You Should Not Use Guitar Finger Protectors

My Experience

When I was first learning guitar, it took several weeks before I started to develop calluses. During this time, my fingertips hurt quite a bit, but I kept playing my guitar. As my calluses got thicker, the strings on my guitar did not hurt as much.

If you want to improve your guitar playing, you also have to improve your calluses. You can only do this by playing the guitar with your fingers and not relying on plastic finger protectors.

When you use these sorts of plastic pieces, you're not going to develop calluses on the fingers.

Guitar Technique

Your guitar technique will also suffer if you use finger protectors. You won't be able to judge the string as well. These plastic pieces interfere with techniques such as bending or finger vibrato.

It's the strength of your fingers and the calluses that helps you perform these various guitar techniques.

If you don't have calluses, these techniques may not be as good as you could get them.

The Learning Experience

Learning the guitar takes a lot of effort. If you try to cheat the process, you're not going to get as much out of your guitar lessons. Finger pain is a part of that process.

We all have to go through issues with finger pain. Once the calluses have developed, this pain goes away, and you will rarely ever feel any finger pain when you're playing your guitar.


Use Lighter Strings

There are steps you can take to reduce finger pain without relying on finger protectors. The first thing you can do is to use lighter gauge strings. Many instruments ship with thick guitar strings.

If you lower the gauge, playing the instrument will be easier. For example, put on a set of 009s on an electric guitar and don't use 010s. The 009 gauge string is a lot thinner than the 010 gauge.

On an acoustic guitar, you can try light strings and not medium. Mini acoustic guitars have medium strings. The problem with this is that they are heavier and thicker. These will hurt your fingers if you are a beginner. Lighter strings will be much easier for you to play.

Why You Should Not Use Guitar Finger Protectors

Nylon Strings

Any way to reduce finger pain a great deal is to try a nylon string classical guitar. These guitars have nylon strings. They are much easier on the fingers.

You can learn the basics of guitar on the classical instrument. Then you can graduate to an acoustic or electric. These strings won't develop your calluses as much, but you learn guitar without frustration.

Electric Before Acoustic

Many players start with a steel-string acoustic and get frustrated. This is because the strings are thicker than the electric guitar.

I recommend beginners try the electric guitar first. The strings are easier on your fingers, yet you will develop finger calluses. You won't have as much of an issue with finger pain.

If you start on the acoustic and then graduate to the electric, you'll find the switch to the electric even easier.

Why You Should Not Use Guitar Finger Protectors


Guitar finger protectors seemed like a good idea. I don't recommend them because they don't allow your fingers to develop. You need to play and practice your instrument to get better. Finger pain and the development of calluses is part of the process.

Once your fingertips are strong enough, you will not feel the guitar string digging into your fingers. You will be able to play for a long duration without any finger pain.