Guitarists are always looking for ways to improve their tone and technique. One question that comes up from time to time is whether or not nails should be long or short.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of both options and help you decide what’s best for you.
How Long Should My Nails Be For Guitar?
The perfect length of your nails for playing guitar is when you see a small white line of about 1 to 2 mm so that your nail is just a bit shorter than your fingertip.
Cut your nails too short and you might find that your fingertip starts hurting when pressing down on the snares of the guitar. Because you don’t have your nail to take some of the pressure.
Nails that are too long can make it difficult to accurately press down on the strings. They can also get in the way when you’re trying to hold certain chords.
Long nails can also cause snares to slide under your fingernail when playing, this can hurt your finger and it doesn’t sound good when playing guitar.
So, the ideal length for your nails when playing guitar is somewhere in the middle. Not too long and not too short.
Is It Easier To Play Guitar With Short Nails?
Short nails have the advantage of being able to press down on the strings more accurately. This can be helpful when you’re first starting out and are still getting used to placing your fingers in the correct position.
Short nails also make it easier to hold chords, as they don’t get in the way as much.
However, like I said before short nails can make your fingers hurt a little more. Because without the nail to take some of the pressure, all the pressure is on your fingertip.
Is It Difficult To Play Guitar With Long Nails?
Long nails can be difficult to play guitar with, but it’s not impossible.
If your nails are too long they can get in the way when you’re trying to hold chords and make it difficult to press down on the strings accurately.
Long nails can also cause snares to slide under your fingernail when playing, which can hurt your finger and doesn’t sound good.
Your nails might break or bend when they are too long. This can be painful and make it difficult to play guitar.
So, if you have long nails it’s probably best to either trim them down or file them so they’re not in the way as much.
Do I Need To Cut My Nails For Playing Guitar?
No, you don’t need to cut your nails for playing guitar. You can play with long or short nails.
However, I would recommend keeping your nails trimmed down so they’re not too long or too short. This will help you get the best sound out of your guitar and make it easier to play.
For your right hand, that you pick the snares with it doesn’t really matter if you have long or short nails. But for your left hand, that you hold the chords with having short nails will be easier.
Can I Play Guitar With Acrylic Nails?
Playing guitar with acrylic nails will be even more difficult than playing with normal long nails. Because of the same reasons why it is hard to play guitar with long nails but times two.
Your acrylic nails can get in the way when you’re trying to hold chords causing other strings to make a buzzing sound because your acrylic nail is touching them.
And they make it difficult to press down on the strings accurately.
How Did Dolly Parton Play Guitar With Nails?
Dolly Parton is famous for playing guitar with long acrylic nails. She didn’t press down single notes with her fingers.
Instead, she turned her guitar to an open chord and only played open barre chords on it.
Playing guitar this way allowed her to use her whole finger to press all the strings at once. Instead of pressing down single strings with the tip of her finger.
Why Do Some Guitarists Paint Their Nails?
Some guitarists paint their nails because they think it looks cool.
Others do it to protect their nails from breaking or bending. When your nails are painted they are less likely to break.
However, painting your nails can make it difficult to play guitar. If the paint is too thick it can make it difficult to press down on the strings accurately.
So, there you have it. You don’t need to cut your nails to play guitar. But shorter nails are easier to play with.
Long nails can be difficult to play with but it’s not impossible. If you have long nails it’s probably best to either trim them down or file them so they’re not in the way as much.
Playing guitar with acrylic nails will be even more difficult than playing with normal long nails. So, if you have acrylic nails I would recommend taking them off before you play guitar.
Thanks for reading!