Can Playing Guitar Change Your Fingerprints?

Fingers are crucial when it comes to playing guitar. Finger accuracy and strength are something every guitar player must develop.

Every time you play your guitar, fingers of your fretboard hand constantly have to press the strings onto the fretboard.

Your finger tips, to be more precise. If you’ve stumbled across this article, you have probably asked yourself the question from the headline.

Can playing guitar change your fingerprints? Is it possible that regular guitar playing can change those patterns on your fingertips?

Playing guitar cannot change fingerprints. It can, however, harden a player’s finger tips. As they get stiff and hard over time of playing, fingerprint patterns may lose a few details. Nevertheless, patterns do not change.

A person’s fingertips are formed usually during the 17th week of pregnancy, in mother’s womb. After birth, as person grows bigger and older, fingerprints also get bigger. Well, that’s obvious.

But, patterns do not change. Finger patterns on finger tips, formed before birth, remain the same for life.

Fingerprints can lost a few details due to thickening of a skin over time of playing. Still, after some time of not playing, they will quickly return to their original state.

It would be very complicated to organize society (database of people) if fingerprints do really change. Imagine how would forensic science look like if that’s not the case.

It is, in fact, a good thing they do not change.

Science Proves It – Fingerprints Remain The Same

There’s an interesting article in Michigan State University website about this subject.

Amil Jain, University professor of computer science and engineering, conducted a study. In the article, Jain said:

“We wanted to answer the question that has plagued law enforcement and forensic science for decades: Is fingerprint pattern persistent over time?” said Anil Jain, University Distinguished Professor, computer science and engineering, at Michigan State University. “We have now determined, with multilevel statistical modeling, that fingerprint recognition accuracy remains stable over time.”

Source: MSU – Fingerprints Remain Accurate Over Time

Jain, along with his former Ph.D. student Soweon Yoon, who is now with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, used fingerprint records of 15,597 subjects apprehended multiple times by the Michigan State Police over a time span varying from five to 12 years.

The results show that fingerprint recognition accuracy doesn’t change even as the time between two fingerprints being compared increases.

Source: MSU – Fingerprints Remain Accurate Over Time

If you’re interested, check out the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, here:

Do Calluses Affect Fingerprints?

Calluses do not affect fingerprints in a way that they change them. They just harden finger tips.

As it’s been already stated, when fingers get hardened and stiff, fingerprints lose some details in their patterns. But patterns do not change.

They remain the same. The only difference is in the details they eventually lose. And that details come back soon after some time of not playing a guitar.

Some experienced guitar players report that they cannot see patterns on their finger tips. Therefore, they conclude, it must have been that those fingerprints are gone.

That’s not what happens. Over time of playing guitar, your finger tips develop thicker skin. Because of that, those patterns are harder to see. But they are still there, under the thick surface skin.

And those patterns still can be easily identified.

Is Playing Guitar Bad For Your Fingers?

Playing guitar is not bad for your fingers. Just look at some guitar players. Do their fingers look bad?

If playing guitar is bad for fingers, wouldn’t it be visible? Wouldn’t those fingers of guitar players look bad? Well, that’s not the case.

No one would dare to play guitar if it’s actually bad for their fingers. Why would anybody bother with guitar if it means sacrificing fingers health?

If you’re a guitar beginner, you certainly feel some pain in your finger tips. That’s normal. Your fingers have yet to get along with strings and frets.

How Do You Harden Your Fingers For Playing Guitar?

Fingers harden over regular guitar playing. That’s something you would expect.

Fingers are constantly in contact with strings and frets. They have to get used to that new environment and conditions.

If you’re a guitar beginner, you will soon notice that your finger tips from your fretboard hand got hardened.

How Long Does It Take Fingers To Get Used To Guitar?

It takes no more than a week of regular playing. First few days of playing guitar, you’ll notice some pain in your finger tips.

Again, that’s perfectly normal. All you need to do is to take one day for rest. Soon after, your fingers will be like new, and more used to guitar.

How Long Do Guitar Calluses Last?

It really depends on how big those calluses are. Finger skin regenerates really quickly. That’s because we tend to touch everything with our fingers.

Our body responds quickly and frequently. You probably know from your experience that fingertips secrete skin oils.

That’s the body mechanism for protection. Skin oil, coming from your fingertips, helps to maintain your finger skin in healthy shape.

Guitar playing can cause calluses. Especially if you’re a beginner with fingers not used to playing. Don’t worry about it.

Again, take one day for rest. In no more than a week of time, your fingers will be strong and hard enough to play guitar every day.

That’s just the beginning phase every guitar player has to overcome.


So, the bottom line on this subject is following. Playing guitar cannot change your fingerprints.

Fingerprints may only get hidden under the thick surface skin on your finger tips. That can happen over years of regular guitar playing.

I hope this article gave you some valuable information on this interesting subject. If you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it, I’m more than happy about it.

Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles from this page!

Cheers, and rock on!

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