Learning to play the ukulele is a challenge in itself. When you start the process you might find the challenge even more difficult when your body starts to work against you. Ukulele soreness is a real thing and almost everybody suffers with it at some point.
Having pains from playing the ukulele is normal. Especially if you are just starting. Your hands and fingers are in the process of adjusting. Blisters, Callouses, Aches, Cramps and stiffness are all things you can expect to experience.
While all the above is something you will likely have to go through, I must stress. This is NOT permanent and you WILL overcome them. Let’s have a look at how you can minimize your pain.
The 2 Common Areas Of Pain
Most of the pain related to your ukulele will be in your hands. while bad posture while practising could lead to aches in your back and neck. This article is focused mainly on how to avoid the pain that’s directly from the uke. The following is a list of things that are common for ukulele beginners.
|Strumming Hand||Fretting Hand|
Burning sensation in forearm
Bleeding near the fingernail
Aching finger joints
So what are some things to consider and what can you do so these don’t impact your ukulele progression.
Dont Strum With Your Arm
Technique Vs Volume
Have A Break
Playing the ukulele is a physical exercise and we need to treat it that way. Our hands are been forced to do things that they are not used too. It’s very important to give them the rest they need. Your progress won’t be hindered if you have a full day from playing after five days in a row. In fact, you will come back refreshed and even better equipped to play.
To Pick Or Not To Pick?
While the debate on whether to use a plectrum or not is a hot topic in the ukulele community. If using one is going to help you progress, go for it I say. If it’s just the side of your fingers that are hurting and everything else is fine. A ukulele plectrum is a great way of replacing that strumming finger. Your practice routine won’t be interrupted and it gives your fingers a chance to rest.
Pressing Too Hard
Is Your Action Correct?
The ultimate aim for our fretting fingers is to build up callouses. This is when the skin drys up and goes hard on the fingertips. In time this will come, it’s just going to take lots of practice. This isn’t something you can rush, you just need to go with the motions and accept that it might take a while. Sooner or late your hands will look like this.
Getting the blood to your fingers before you start playing is a sure-fire way to ease the stress on them. Going through a couple of scales and utilising all your fretting fingers for 5 minutes is all it takes.
Dont Play While Wet
Try to avoid playing your ukulele while your hands are wet. This could be after a shower or straight after cleaning the kitchen dishes. It’s going to be much harder for your skin to dry up and form callouses. The fingertips are also likely to be more sensitive, making it harder to press the strings.
Using Creams Or Oils
I have seen many people on internet forums advising the use of substances that make your skin go harder. While this maybe is a temporary fix or could well have worked for them. I wouldn’t advise going down that route. You can never too sure what kind of effect they are having on your skin. They might cause more damage than actually help you. It’s not worth the risk. Building calluses the albeit long, but natural way is your best bet.
All the aches and pains you are feeling can be overcome with some small tweaks to your playing. It breaks my heart when I hear of people quitting the ukulele because they couldn’t overcome the initial pain. It’s a small hurdle and once we overcome it, we become a much better player.