Guitar Nails: How Long?
One of the Worship Guitar Class students asked how to get a clear sound when holding down guitar chords. I decided to make a video for everyone about guitar nails and what’s a good length for guitar fingernails. If your guitar nails are too long, it’s near impossible to get a clear clean chord.
On the hand that holds down chords, your fingernails should be very short. Only the pads of your fingers should be touching the strings. You want to come directly down on the strings so no other string is damped.
The guitar nails of the hand plucking the strings are best, in my opinion, when they are quite short. Watch the short video below for closeup shots of my favorite lengths for guitar nails. You can hear the difference when tapping your fingers on an object, like the music stand in the video. You should not hear the nail sound on the hand that holds down strings.
5 Helpful Tips For Perfect Guitar Nails
- Your left-hand nails should be short. When tapping them, only the pads of your fingers should touch the table, etc.
- Your right-hand nails are best when they are short, but slightly protruding over the finger pads. Watch the video above to see how to find the perfect length.
- Use a good emery board to smooth the ends of your guitar playing hand so there are no rough edges that can snag on the strings.
- In my opinion, the perfect length for the hand playing the strings, is when you tap on a object your fingers touch both the pad and nail.
- When plucking a string, it sounds richest to use the pad and nail at the same time. Especially on classical guitars, the sound is much fuller then only using your nails to play.
For step-by-step lessons: