Starting to Learn Guitar, & Calluses on Fingers w/ iPad Sensitivity


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
Los Angeles, Ca

I've recently picked up a guitar and started playing. I'm a true novice and have signed up for weekly courses at my university which seem to go well. I've started pressing firmly on the fret, obtaining calluses, knowing they'll only get worse.

I happy to be playing guitar and started this thread in the hopes of exchanging tips and other advice when it comes to playing the guitar. I have an acoustic with strong stings, as opposed to most that have the nylon strings.

On a different note, I've noticed when using my iPad that sometimes the touch won't register and cant help but place the blame on the calluses. Not he biggest issue in the world, but I'm sure you can understand my small frustration when I'm typing a long I am now.

Nevertheless, glad to start this thread.



macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Welcome to the perils of guitar! I've been playing for decades...My fingers are so callused that I have no feeling in them at all.

I don't seem to have any issues with my ipad though. It may be that you are over compensating and not actually pressing hard enough. Good luck with the lessons!


macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
I've played bass for 25 years, so have pretty thick calluses, never had any issue with touchscreens.


macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2002
Green and pleasant land
I've been playing guitar for about 4 years now. I don't think the calluses get worse... they tend to just reach a level then stop. I play using Elixir Nanoweb strings - and the wound strings are completely smooth. Try them; they cut your fingers up less, and your fingertips won't get as callused (that's not why I use them, I like the fact that they stay good for months).

Yes, I've noticed the iPad effect that you're talking about. Maybe bartelby doesn't notice so much, 'cos he has calluses on both hands through playing the bass... but I've noticed that just playing guitar with a pick, there's a totally different iPad response with each hand. My right hand is silent when typing - and is recognised fine, my left hand makes a 'tap tap' sound on the glass, and I have to push down a bit harder to get a response.

iDevice touch-screens are capacitative, so they don't respond to pressure, but to the electrical conductivity of your finger. Makes sense to me that a more dried-out finger tip would be less conductive.


macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2003
Madison, Alabama
I too am learning to play guitar (a few weeks in now) and have noticed this effect too. If I touch the iPad's screen with my fingertips (on the left hand) it tends not to register, and I sort-of have to tilt my finger a bit so that the fleshy part of my fingers make contact with the screen.

Also, my fingers hurt like crazy. Feels like blisters on top of blisters.


macrumors 68030
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
Los Angeles, Ca
I have my second class tonight and can't help but feel excited. From the fact that there is an extremely cute girl in this class, I'm starting to feel almost nothing on my middle and index finger. I consider this a good sign that i've actually been practicing. I've learned how to play one song so far and though it's much easier without a pick; i've knocked it out a few times with a pick.

Strumming is a big issue right now, especially in keeping it in sync with a song. I've learned how to play a few chords and can't help but feel more thane excited when I strum it to the point of resemblance from an actual song. I've having trouble with chords that require my index finger in acting as a capo seeing as i feel it requires a lot of pressure, to the point of it hurting.

Admittedly, i'm writing this much write now cause i'm stuck in morning class and there is an extremely cute girl next to me and I wanna make it seem like i'm typing notes. lol.

It's the truth!


macrumors 68000
Sep 15, 2004
E chord is easy, but F kill me.

Any recommendations?
You just have to keep practicing. It will get easier. Barre chords are tough and require more pressure than one thinks. You could also move the shape of the F down the neck and learn different chords with the same shape. It is easier play lower on the fretboard. Same shape, but index finger barre on third fret (first dot on neck generally) = G. Index finger on fifth fret (next dot on neck) = A.

Now if you are trying to learn a song with F, this won't help and I'd recommend the easier shape for F posted earlier. But if you just want to work on barre chords, it is easier to play a barre A than a barre F, or at least I think so.


macrumors 6502
Aug 10, 2006
Mt Brook, AL
Keep up the practice, your fingers will get better. Also, find some folks to play with. Let them know you are a beginner and be courteous when you play with them. Playing with others is the best way to get your timing down. and it is a lot of fun. This was the best advice I got when I was first learning the banjo, it really helped and I had a lot of fun. Also, strings are very important, try several types to find ones you like the best. And change them as often as necessary. You will know, they will sound like crap when they are worn out. Lastly, keep practicing, as much as you can. Save your money too. You did not say what sort of guitar you are playing, but a good guitar will play easier than a cheap one as well as sound better. I have a Martin D28 I am kind of proud of. But nothing tops the sound of my Gibson RB-250 (1965) banjo !!
Do you know what perfect pitch is?
Hitting a trash can from 15 feet with a banjo!
Love banjo humor..

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