I have long nails I want to play the guitar Am I cursed?
You can play any type of guitar with a bare hand. But the frequently asked question is Can you play guitar with long nails? The answer is yes.
It is a technique that many have dealt with. Some are successful, using their fingernails to create harmonies that enter and baffle those who hear them.
Some swear not to play without cutting their nails first, claiming that the level of difficulty is too high or that the sound is not to their liking. Some just sit back and wonder: They can never figure out how to play guitar with long nails.
Ask any guitarist about playing with long nails, and they will probably respond with stories about poor sound and worse technique. Many players even find that playing with long nails is completely impossible. And while it is true that long nails can be difficult to touch in certain styles, the truth is much more nuanced than a simple “can not be”.
However, there are concrete steps you can take to make playing guitar with long nails easier. This article breaks down the guitar-playing styles that are best suited for long nails and then offers some easy tips to help you preserve your nails as you keep moving forward on the instrument.
First, though, it’s helpful to look at the effects of long nails on your playstyle and clarify when nails become an asset to certain styles to the detriment of all of them.
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Why Play Guitar with Long Nails?
Some prefer to keep their fingernails long for various reasons. First of all, for beginners who may not be aware: We are talking about your strumming / tapping fingernails, not your restless hand. For the average, right-handed guitarist, this will be his right hand.
Having long fingernails on your hand that worries you will provide absolutely no benefit and is avoided; some musicians claim that this makes playing the guitar really impossible. However, there are several benefits to maintaining nail length on your picking hand.
Benefits of playing the guitar with long nails
- Some find it easier to play this way. Keeping your nails long allows more power to start your rope.
- Some find that the sound of a plucked string is much more enjoyable for their playing style. The alternative is to play the string with your fingertip, which can muffle the sound a bit.
- Some people have fingertip skin pain; keeping your nails untrimmed can limit that pain.
- You can be faster, play stronger, and be more skillful with long nails.
Benefits of playing the guitar with short nails
- If you play guitar with long nails, they will certainly splinter when they strike the strings repeatedly. This can create the need for costly and slow maintenance.
- Short nails provide more sensitivity when playing, and some find a more emotional connection to their music since they are actually playing the strings.
In short, it is a personal preference. Some people prefer to play the guitar with long nails, and others do not. If you are just starting out, it is recommended that you learn to play the guitar with and without long nails, so you can decide which style best suits your playing.
Problems You Might Be Facing
As a long fingernail wearer, you may be facing the following problems when learning how to play guitar with long nails:
- Inability to play chords and fret strings correctly with the left hand, especially those that involve heavy stretching, such as the G major chord.
- It is difficult to hold a beak with your right hand; always glides on long nails
- It is difficult to make the choice of fingers the right way: the nails are too short or too long. If you are a woman or a girl, you may have another problem that is not on the list: you would love to start playing the guitar, but …
- Inability to finger chords along with worry strings correctly along with your own left hands. In particular, those that involve a large extension, such as the G chord.
- Hard to keep the beak together with my proper hands, it escapes due to those nails.
- Difficult to perform with your finger choosing the appropriate fashion. Nails really are too short or long. In case you are a girl or a woman, you may have other difficulties not registered here. However, you would like to start playing the guitar.
- You would rather never shorten your nails briefly.
In any case, don’t worry, we have a solution for everyone!
How Long Are Long Nails?
Different people have different definitions of the term “long nails,” and the guitar community is no exception. Most guitarists consider any nail that extends over the edge of the finger pad as a long nail; The vast majority of guitarists keep their nails well below that edge.
In general, any nails that move around your finger pad will not be a major problem in your game. Letting your nails grow out of control up to this point can be a minor inconvenience, but the length of your nails shouldn’t seriously hurt until they lengthen much further.
Very few players have fingernails that extend beyond the length of their fingers. Dolly Parton is perhaps the only guitarist in history to play regularly while wearing acrylic nail extensions.
In general, any nail that is longer than the actual flesh of your finger will be considered a “long nail” for playing the guitar. While it’s not impossible to play around with these, you may have to make serious changes to your playing style or just keep your long nails in one hand.
To better understand how you can avoid long nails when you play the guitar, let’s look at the effects of long nails for guitarists.
If you love classical guitar pieces and are inspired to study and play classical music, it is essential that you grow your nails on your hands.
Classical guitar strings are struck at a 45-degree angle with a little bit of meat on the fingertips.
Without long nails, you won’t get many tones from your classic guitar. It would sound boring and weak.
But with the correct nail shape and length, you will have incredible tone and stronger sound projection.
If you are interested in playing classical guitar with long nails, it is better to have a tutor.
Sure, you can watch lots of YouTube video tutorials for info, but a YouTube tutor won’t give you live feedback on how you can correct how you play.
How to Play Guitar with Long Nails
Before discussing strategies for playing the guitar with long nails, you should determine whether or not you are willing to part with long nails in your fret hand (for right-handed players, this is your left hand). If so, that’s great!
You can keep your fingernails longer and play music styles that emphasize finger-style guitar or hybrid selection, such as classical and country music.
If you must hold your nails in your left hand for too long, your guitar’s progress will be severely limited. There is simply no way to worry about your fingernails instead of your fingertips. However, you can still strum some simpler songs by following the Dolly Parton technique.
If you are happy to cut your nails with one hand, you can hold your medium to long nails in your playing hand and learn to play the guitar with your fingers. For best results, you should practice tapping the strings at a 45-degree angle with your finger. That will incorporate a few of your nails and flesh and will produce a warm but distinct sound with plenty of projection.
Classical guitar and country music are two styles that are particularly friendly to players with long nails; many country guitarists use a thumb pick and play with the other fingers. You can also play jazz; Wes Montgomery played all of his quick licks with just his thumb.
Cut the nails on your fretting hand short
Unfortunately, this may be the only solution for those who want to play chords correctly and not get strange and unwanted sounds.
You cannot move a rope with your nails because it is too unstable and uncomfortable.
The anatomy of a human nail suggests that each time you press the tip of your finger against a hard surface (such as the fingerboard), the nail will always protrude unless you cut it.
For those of you who have a longer nail bed, this could get even worse; however, the cure remains the same: shorten it.
You will regret it maybe for a day or two. Then everything goes back to normal.
Keep practicing so that strong calluses form on the tips of your right-hand fingers; These calluses will eventually ease the pain and help you move the strings effortlessly.
Cut your nails short or forget the pick
If you plan to use the selection in the future, you will have to choose the side: either you are switching to fingering/strumming or you are still playing with a pick.
Long fingernails on itchy fingers get dirty with their ability to hold the pick correctly, as they tend to touch the strings when strumming.
Cutting short nails will effectively eliminate the problem and regain full control of your fingers. This is an easy step to learn how to play the guitar with long nails.
However, if you’ve come to appreciate these long nails of yours more than anything else, here is a plot twist for you: switch to finger tapping or strumming as they require good strong medium length nails.
Maybe you can make a good transition from a typical “heavy metal shredder” type guitarist to a well-established country guitarist!
Experiment with the length of your nails until you get it right
Some guitarists don’t need plectrums at all – they can prick and shred with their nails, which is quite impressive.
To achieve the same level of genius and learn to play the guitar with long nails, you should follow these tips:
- Cut your nails so that they are only a few millimeters longer than the nail bed.
- Make sure your nails have no round edges, make them almost square
- When playing, keep your fingers as close to the guitar strings as possible to avoid unnecessary movements of the right hand and save time and energy.
Watch this video to see how to shape your nails:
Play in open tunings!
If you really hate the idea of losing those beautiful nails of yours, take the famous Dolly Parton as an example.
This guitarist is known to have very long nails on her restless hand and somehow get away with it while playing the guitar.
Playing the guitar with long nails is not impossible. In fact, some disciplines and techniques would require you to have long nails to project better sound.
The classic techniques of playing the guitar would require you to grow your nails on your long and properly shaped hands.
The hybrid selection is ideal for finger styling and would also require long nails to develop good technique.
However, it is generally not recommended to have long nails on your hand, as it can cause problems with playing chords.
Now hopefully you know how to play guitar with long nails! Read more about the right hair removal techniques and your long nails will help you make good music!
And while long nails can be a distinctive fashion statement, in the vast majority of cases, a guitar around your neck will look much cooler than long nails.