What is the best way to strengthen fingers for guitar playing?

I have been playing guitar for over 5 years. Recently, I got a segull acoustic guitar which i like quite a bit. The only problems ive had are with bar chords, which have been more difficult to do than on my electric guitar. Any suggestions for makeing clearer guitar bar chords would be great (such as what string gauges to use)

Chosen Answer:

Acoustic guitars, by their very nature, are harder to play than electric guitars. The string gauge is thicker and the action is a bit higher. There is not really anything that can be done to change that other than putting very light gauge strings on the acoustic. This might sacrifice some of the sound quality though. I have played some Seagull guitars and they play very nicely. I doubt if you could get the action much lower on them without running the risk of fret buzz. To be sure, take it in to the store where you bought it and have them put a lighter gauge string on it and ask if the action could be lowered at that time.
I think that you will just need to get used to it. After playing an electric for so long your fingers have gotten used to the reduced tension and lower action. The best thing you can do is just play the acoustic a lot! Doing basic finger exercises like the 4X4 can help improve strength and dexterity.
Here is an example, use all four fingers.
–2-3-4-5–
–2-3-4-5–
–2-3-4-5–
–2-3-4-5–
–2-3-4-5–
–2-3-4-5–
Play each string individually, walking your way across the neck. When you get to the top, reverse direction and come back down. Do this exercise for about 5 minutes a day. It will help immensely with strength and dexterity. It will also improve your coordination and articulation.
by: gtarczar
on: 23rd January 10

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3 Responses to What is the best way to strengthen fingers for guitar playing?

  1. Troy says:

    Use a stress ball, it’s usually for beginners but I guess you don’t play consistently enough to build up muscle. Just sit in the classroom or at work and squeeze the stress ball. If you want to build up for chords, wrap your fingers around the ball. If you want to build up for solos and hammers and slides and such, pierce downwards on the ball with your fingers. It’s cheaper than those widgets they sell at the store, and more useful. Don’t go for long periods of time, just flex slowly, and if you want speed, just spend awhile wiggling your fingers as much and as hard as you can. 🙂

  2. gtarczar says:

    Acoustic guitars, by their very nature, are harder to play than electric guitars. The string gauge is thicker and the action is a bit higher. There is not really anything that can be done to change that other than putting very light gauge strings on the acoustic. This might sacrifice some of the sound quality though. I have played some Seagull guitars and they play very nicely. I doubt if you could get the action much lower on them without running the risk of fret buzz. To be sure, take it in to the store where you bought it and have them put a lighter gauge string on it and ask if the action could be lowered at that time.
    I think that you will just need to get used to it. After playing an electric for so long your fingers have gotten used to the reduced tension and lower action. The best thing you can do is just play the acoustic a lot! Doing basic finger exercises like the 4X4 can help improve strength and dexterity.
    Here is an example, use all four fingers.
    –2-3-4-5–
    –2-3-4-5–
    –2-3-4-5–
    –2-3-4-5–
    –2-3-4-5–
    –2-3-4-5–
    Play each string individually, walking your way across the neck. When you get to the top, reverse direction and come back down. Do this exercise for about 5 minutes a day. It will help immensely with strength and dexterity. It will also improve your coordination and articulation.

  3. Kris says:

    There are lots of devices that helps build finger strength, but nothing works better than straight up practicing. Acoustic guitars are a little tougher to play than electrics because of the thicker string and higher action. If you use .09 gauge on your electric, i recommend you try .10’s on your acoustic. if you use .10 on ur electric, then try .11.

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