How to toughen up your fingertips


From strengthening your sense of wellbeing to lớn boosting your creativity & confidence


When we polled some of our guitarist friends on what the guitar means khổng lồ them, and how playing guitar makes them feel, we expected to find a common theme or two, but we didn’t expect the same words khổng lồ keep surfacing in the majority of answers we received. ‘Therapeutic’, ‘happy’, ‘creative’, ‘calm’... These words came up time and again.

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No matter what’s going on, you pick that up & all of a sudden everything feels all right.

Kelly Jones, Stereophonics

We see playing guitar as a khung of mindful escapism, a way to lớn create space between an individual và their busy mind. Guitar-playing is beneficial to your overall well-being & mental health in other ways, too, including helping you develop a greater sense of personal achievement.

Paul McManus, Chief Executive for UK music charity Music For All (opens in new tab), tells us: “At Music For All, we see the many benefits that playing a musical instrument can have on the individual.

"Being able lớn play that first song on a guitar is quite a defining moment and people feel a real sense of pride.”

From the first chord you learn, then, the guitar is something that will never leave you.

Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics explains it lượt thích this: “I always remember my old man saying lớn me, ‘If you have a guitar you’ll never be alone’ and I thought that was a very dramatic thing to lớn say, but now that I’m 43 I’d be fucked without that thing.

"Because it’s the one thing you can rely on every day. No matter what’s going on, you pick that up & all of a sudden everything feels all right.”

1. Playing guitar is a form of therapy

The benefits of music therapy are becoming ever more apparent, with schools, charities và health organisations using playing the guitar khổng lồ manage a person’s stress, enhance their memory, improve their communication và motor skills, and to help them feel more able lớn cope with life.

Guitarists have long recognised the therapeutic benefits of playing guitar, as Clark Vogeler of The Toadies testifies: “If I"m having troubles, or something has stressed me out, playing music on a guitar resets me to lớn zero, calms me down, và puts me in a place where I"m ready & able to giảm giá khuyến mãi with almost anything.”

2. It’s good for your heart

Music therapy is widely implemented in general health care in the Netherlands, so it’s unsurprising that a group of researchers from the country mix out lớn explore the link between music practice and blood pressure.

They studied three guitarists and found that each patient who practiced for over 100 minutes a day showed a significant drop in blood pressure và a lower heart rate compared to lớn those who didn’t.

Patients who practiced guitar for over 100 minutes a day showed a significant drop in blood pressure

3. It enhances your creativity

Whether it’s writing original material or reworking a tuy vậy for your covers band, the guitar is unlike any other instrument for unleashing your creativity. Ok fine, we’ll throw piano in there too.

If you need khổng lồ get creative for other areas of your life, such as writing an essay for school or pulling together some ideas for your boss, picking up the guitar and noodling around for a few minutes can create space in your brain for an inspired idea to lớn drop in.

We are all innately creative, even if at times we don’t feel it. Playing guitar reconnects us with our creativity. That in turn helps us express our true authenticity, and when we bởi that we’re in the Flow.

Named by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, Flow (psychology), also known as ‘being in the zone’, refers lớn those times when you’re fully immersed in và enjoying the job at hand. Playing the guitar can help you get epic Flow, so use it the next time you hit a creative brick wall.

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(Image credit: Pexels)

4. It can future-proof your brain

We’ve all seen those stats about brain decline in later life, but did you know that playing guitar can boost your grey matter? Early brain scan studies show that learning lớn play the guitar, among other musical instruments, not only increases grey matter volume in various regions of the brain, but it strengthens the long-range connections between them.

Sharper brain function can also help protect you against mental decline in your later years. As an added bonus, a dual study conducted by the Mind-Body Wellness Center và Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems shows that playing guitar can also reduce stress.

André Axell of The Great Discord certainly feels this: “A shitty day can get significantly better just by sitting down, plugging in & getting lost for a while.”

Paul McManus of Music For All also believes in the future-proofing benefits of playing guitar. “We see more and more people either returning lớn playing music in later life or even starting for the first time. Making music is a great ‘anti-ageing’ tool as it helps with coordination, concentration and memory.”

Learn 60 guitar chords in 20 minutes (opens in new tab)

Don’t underestimate how much of a wellness boost you can get from being around like-minded people

5. Playing guitar strengthens your tư vấn network...

...if you play in a band or jam regularly with other people. Don’t underestimate how much of a wellness boost you can get from being around like-minded people. Playing guitar with others can also, in time, lead khổng lồ new friendships & a richer social life.

Rachel Boyd, Information Manager for mental health charity Mind, says that, “Music can also be something we share with friends và family. Social activities can be good for our wellbeing in general, và can strengthen our support networks.

"Getting together with others who share a passion for music can be a great way to connect, whether that’s listening to lớn music, studying, discussing or playing it.”

(Image credit: Pexels)

6. It enables you khổng lồ express your feelings

We all have those moments when it’s hard khổng lồ verbally express our feelings, but many guitarists find it easier to show their emotion, khổng lồ process their feelings & to feel truly heard through playing the guitar.

Kirk Windstein of Crowbar is one such guitarist: “I run through a lot of emotions while playing guitar. It"s a perfect vehicle for letting out my feelings,” he tell us. “While playing, I often feel my aggression, my sadness & any anxiety leaving my mind and body.”

For some of you, playing the guitar might be a hugely cathartic way khổng lồ communicate your views, your feelings, passions & fears… Distilling it all into a haunting guitar riff, a blistering solo or a few simple chords – và in a way you might never be able khổng lồ with words.

Jeff Loomis of Arch Enemy finds resonance with this: “I"ve always been a fairly shy person in general and one that doesn"t talk that much... So guitar playing has always been a way I can express myself to others.”

7. Playing guitar boosts your confidence

Learning to lớn play the guitar can have an enormously positive effect on your self-esteem & confidence. As you learn lớn play, and continue to lớn improve, chances are you’ll end up playing in front of a family member, a mate, some potential bandmates or even an audience.

Playing guitar in front of others, however scary at first, will build your confidence in expressing yourself publicly and sharing your creativity.

This can help you in a study or work context, too, as playing guitar to lớn others inadvertently teaches you ‘presentation skills’, including how khổng lồ speak lớn a crowd – even if it is just your mum lớn begin with.

Ultimately, the more you improve at playing guitar the bigger the gains to lớn your self-esteem & confidence. That in turn will give you an increased sense of satisfaction, helping you khổng lồ feel good about yourself; an important ally in the war against mental health.

Guitar playing has always been a way I can express myself to others

Jeff Loomis, Arch Enemy

8. It helps you khổng lồ feel part of something bigger

As we now know, there are several ways in which playing the guitar can improve your mental health and overall wellbeing. But perhaps the greatest way is how it connects us lớn each other.

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Paul McManus of Music For All has first-hand experience of how the guitar can be a gateway to lớn helping all of us feel connected to something bigger: “One of the great powers of making music is that it brings people together. Music knows no barriers.”

It doesn’t matter where in the world you are playing guitar right now. Whether you’re playing alone or with other musicians, know that you are part of a family. One that understands the transformational power of the guitar.