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Finger Nails

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Eminent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 20
Topic starter  

How short should they be on the fretting hand?

Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5342

That's a very individual thing.

I have mine as short as I can sensibly get them. I don't go crazy, but as soon as they start to extend beyond the end of my fingertips then they're too long and get trimmed.

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Honorable Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 549

I keep the nails on my fretting hand as short as possible, because I hate putting divots in a fretboard. The fretting-hand nails are trimmed with a clipper & rounded to the contour of the fingertip (the picking fingernails are filed & square-ish to minimize breakage).

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921

On the fretting hand I go as short as I can get them.

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Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 3709

I press my fingers to my thumb as I would the board on the guitar. If I feel the nails dig in, they are too long.

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

On the fretting hand I go as short as I can get them.

Same for me - as short as I can get 'em without drawing blood. Left (fretting) hand - at least 1/4 of an inch of skin showing above the top of the nail. Right (strumming and picking) hand - just slightly protruding above the end of the fingertip. File 'em down regularly. Thing is, I don't use plecs so the one finger I REALLY look after is my RH index finger.

My own personal rule of thumb for my left (fretting) hand - I curl my fingertips inwards towards my palm, till they're level with the top of the palm of my hand. Squeeze them together. Then run the top joint of my thumb across the top of my fingers - if I can feel a nail, it's too long.

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Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 34

They definitely should be no longer than the tops of your fingers. They will just get in the way of fretting and cause you to fret on the wrong part of the pads of your fingers which will lead to accidental muting of other strings and such. Sorry ladies. The nails gotta go!

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Reputable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 296

Yep, I agree. As short as possible without it being painful. Careful as you're filing though, especially if its a new nail file, you could suddenly find that you have very sore finger! File slowly.