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Lesson 6: Care and Grooming of Your Nails

Right Hand Nail Shape

I played classical guitar for years without paying attention to the fingernails of my right hand. I just used the tips of my fingers to play. It was ok and sounded good but when I started growing my nails and caring for them a whole new world of sound possibility opened up for me.


If you are serious about classical guitar you really should grow and maintain the fingernails of your right hand. The illustration at left shows how your nails should be sculpted for best effect.




Line 3 shows the nail rounded and centered. This is incorrect. You should file the nail so it is longer on one side (either the left or the right depending on what feels better for you). This enables the nail to slide off the string creating a smoother action. Lines 1 and 2 show this.





Nail Length

The illustration at right shows approximate nail length. If you hold your finger out the nail should be approximately as long as the end of the finger tip. Picture a vertical line drawn from the nail. It should be even with the tip of the finger. This is just my recommendation. Some guitarists prefer to grow their nails much longer.


A Note: There are commercial nail hardeners that you can apply to your nails. I have used these with some success. They tend to crack and split quickly for me though. Nail hardener with green tea in it works best for me.

Also, you should get yourself some emory boards so you can shape your nails.


The Nails of the left hand should be trimmed short and maintained short.

When playng guitar develop a sensitivity for your nails and you will develop nail length and nail care that is right for you.


Ok! All the introductory stuff about the guitar is complete. Let's move on and learn how to read sheet music. Continue to next step in tutorial


Nail Hardener with Green Tea





Trim Nail Care Emory Boards