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How to play guitar with long nails: best tips to follow

The guitar is an enjoyable instrument with a variety of ways to play it. You could be interested in learning how to play the guitar but want to preserve your long nails if possible.

In such a case, you might be wondering how to keep your nails in good condition and play the guitar at the same time. You can keep your nails long and yet create lovely music if you quit using a pick, file them, and tune your guitar differently.

Does having long nails make it harder for you to play the guitar well? That is definitely not the case. And we're here to shatter this false idea. Let's get started!

The length of long nails

How can you know whether the fingernail is already considered to be long before we address the primary subject and show you the techniques?

Keep in mind that our perceptions of what constitutes a long fingernail vary. Since most guitarists like short fingernails, they may already consider their nails lengthy even if only slight growth has occurred.

Some guitarists, on the other hand, don't mind a little growth as long as it doesn't extend past the nail bed. Playing the guitar won't be an issue at this length because you can still easily hold down the strings. If the fingernails extend past the finger pads, they will consider them to be lengthy.

The length of long nails

Rarely, other guitarists with acrylic or synthetic fingernails can hold chords and play guitars with a fair amount of ease. Even though it may have required a lot of time and effort, it is genuinely amazing to be a part of a small group of talented guitarists, despite having quite long nails.

However, in order to maintain consistency in this article, we define long nails as those that extend past the finger pads. This makes it difficult to produce a steady tone since the lengthy nails might interfere with holding down chords.

Because of this, you'll need tactics and skills to play the guitar well without ruining the appearance of your nails.

Can long nails be used to play guitar?

Long fingernails might make it challenging to transition between chords, which contributes to the myth that we can't play the guitar with them.

Consider this: in order to maintain a strong grip on the strings while holding down a chord, we must use the pads on our fingertips. This enables the guitar to generate a strong tone without any shaking or buzzing. Therefore, keeping your fingernails short will undoubtedly make playing the guitar simpler.

Can long nails be used to play guitar

Long fingernails can still be used for playing, even if short nails might make it simpler. It could be more difficult, but it's still feasible.

Having said that, there are several tricks and techniques you may utilize to play the guitar while having long nails. And with the correct training, you'll quickly master it.

Consequences of having long nails when playing the guitar

Positive consequences

When fingerpicking, having long nails is quite helpful. You may select each string carefully with the nail by itself to guarantee that precise tones are obtained.

Longer fingernails are significantly better for fingerstyle guitar playing, especially on the classical guitar. Additionally, a few of country guitarists perform fingerstyle music using both a thumb pick and the natural nails on their other fingers.

Long-nail guitar playing also helps you get better control over your fingertips. Every time you play, you gain natural control because you must be extra cautious with every movement to ensure the correct sound is produced.

Negative consequences

Unfortunately, if you attempt playing with long fingernails for the first time, it's possible that they will catch on the guitar strings. Additionally, using just your nails to apply pressure to the fretboard is much more challenging. These are a few of the most important things to think about before you grow them long enough.

Long nails will also make it more difficult for you to manage your pick. This is especially true for artists who have acrylic or very long natural nails. As a result, the guitar pick can easily slip or spin while you're playing because your finger pads won't have a good grip on it.

Negative consequences

How to play guitar with long nails: best tips to follow

Improve your fingerpicking abilities

When playing the guitar, the fingerpicking technique involves manually pulling or plucking each string to create a distinct sound. Since it highlights the distinctive tone of the guitar, country songs tend to favor it more than other genres.

Pick strumming with long nails may be fairly challenging. The pick will eventually rotate or fall off of your fingers since you won't be able to gain a strong grasp on it, and that may be very awkward if you're performing in front of a large audience.

Admittedly, getting acclimated to fingerpicking could take some time. But with the correct practice and persistence, you'll undoubtedly master it quickly.

Instead of using a pick, use your fingernails

You can effectively get rid of the pick and replace it with your fingers if they are longer than a pick. You are allowed to grow the nails on your picking or strumming hand in order to replace your previous pick in this situation.

Instead of using a pick, use your fingernails

You may also shape your nails to emphasize a certain sound in order to get the finest effects. Here are some suggestions for nail filing that you might want to think about:

- You can shape your nails so that the middle is pointy. The form that most closely resembles a pick is this one, so you should start here. To create a pick-like sound, you must verify that the sides going to the center are the same.,
- Rounder fingernails. Even though they don't resemble picks, rounder fingernails help the guitar sound richer when you play it.,
- Nails that slope to one side. This nail design produces a warmer tone, making it ideal for playing classical guitar. You are entirely responsible for determining the slope's angle. You may experiment with various angles for each fingernail to see which sound suits you the best.

Keep your fretting hand's nails at a length that doesn't extend past the finger pad

As was previously noted, maintaining the chord firmly in place on the fretboard is the biggest challenge while playing the guitar with long fingernails. The pressure you apply with your fingernails to hold down the chords won't be the same if the finger pads aren't applying the same amount of pressure.

We advise you to let your nails grow, but just to the border of the finger pad. In this manner, holding down the chords won't be limited by your nails. You still have adequate length with this, but without the bother that can result in inferior sound.

Keep your fretting hand's nails at a length that doesn't extend past the finger pad

Benefit From Open Tuning

If you truly want to keep your nails long, though, we advise open tuning your guitar. Tuning the G string to a G#, the D string to an E, and the A string to a B is required.

With these adjustments, you won't need to apply a lot of force to the fretboard in order to generate the same sounds on the guitar. Additionally, using lengthy fingernails to grip chords is made much simpler by this technique.

How to play guitar with long nails - Conclusion

Long nails will make it difficult to play the guitar at first. You need to be resolute enough to see things through to their conclusion if you want to succeed.

In conclusion, learning to play the guitar while having long nails is quite doable. With the appropriate methods and approaches, you may quickly become an expert in this particular ability.

If you liked this post and would want to read more tips for your music career and general information about the music industry, please visit our blog section.

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Written by CalypsoRoom Editorial Team
The CalypsoRoom Editorial Team is a skilled and diverse group of writers, researchers, and industry specialists who have access to Calypso's data and information in order to give you broad knowledge about the music industry as well as helpful advice to help you manage your music and dancing career.

Updated January 2023


How to play guitar with long nails: best tips to follow

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