I am playing for almost 2 years acoustic guitar. So I reached grade 3 now, yet I still struggle with finger pain. Ok, it is definitelly better than when I started but it still hurts after 2 consecutive songs I play for example, or 10-15 minutes of continuous playing.
I am using .11 gauge strings (custom light) on Lag T70A acoustic guitar. When I bought guitar my action on 1st fret was already quite low (around 1 mm) and on 12th it was 2.5 mm for low E and 2.0 for high E. I sanded down saddle and straightened the neck and even managed to lower action slightly at 1st fret. Yeah, by doing it I screwed it and I am getting some buzzing on harder strumming and have to take it to real guitar technician. Yet, regardless of mess I made, action is now really low with around 1.8 mm on low E string and 1.5 mm on high E string on 12th fret.
It’s quite low on 1st fret, as I barely fit .52 string (used as feeler gauge) underneath the strings. Note that I measure 1st fret action with finger fretting 3rd fret and than tapping/using string as feeler gauge.
Again, even with this action I get bad finger pain after couple of songs played and definitely I need to stop after 30 minutes of practice/playing. Now, I understand Justin said in one of earlier lessons that our anatomy is different and since I never really (ab)used my hands and fingers they might be bit oversensitive. Some folks suggest switching to .10 gauge or .09 even, and I won’t mind losing the loudness (I’m not fond of loud music anyway, nor I plan to play in band, it’s more meditative hobby to me). What I mind tho as I already tried .10s is that thin strings get very sharp and razor like and strings tend to be flimsier overall so I do lose some control over them. Stuck 3&4 chords are nightmare on such strings as my pinky hurts for days.
So, my question is if this is simply something that comes with guitar and I need to get used to it or there is some solution? I can’t even imagine how can professional musicians go for 1 hour or more session and survive I do have callouses and yeah, I am paying attention that I put my fingers as close as possible to the frets. F chord even with this low action is still a nightmare after more than year of using it in songs and practicing almost daily.
Electric guitar isn’t solution as it’s not self contained and you need more gear to make it work (amp, speakers, etc…). Also I love the sound of wooden, non-electric guitars. I was even thinking of going to classical guitar, but it’s hard thing to do because I love strumming equally as finger style. Also, contrary to popular opinion I am not really fond of “warm tone”, it sounds muffled and lifeless. The “zing” I get from 80/20 is amazing and I love it as bright as humanly possible.
Sorry for such long tractate, I’d just love to hear from your own experience and how you deal with such issue (if you have it, that is). After all, Justin did warn that many quit playing guitar for this reason of pain alone.
Thanks for replies!