Many people want to learn or play guitar but may worry about how it will damage their nails and fingers. This is particularly true for many women players, who tend to have longer nails, and at times with gel or acrylic applied. As a result, many didn’t start at all. However, how true is this? Can you play guitar with gel nails?
You can play guitar with gel nails. This is because gel nails are sturdier and less likely to chip off. With the right tools and materials, you may also fix your gel nails easily at home. However, if your gel nails are long, they may cause guitar playing issues. You may find it hard to press on the chords accurately.
This article discusses if you can play guitar with gel nails. We will also explore other related issues, such as if you can play with acrylic nails and which nail finishing may work better for guitar players.
We also explore the issues with playing guitars with long nails and if there are ways to keep long nails and still play guitar.
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Can You Play Guitar With Gel Nails?
You can play guitar with gel nails. The gel finishing on your nail does not affect your playing. Gel nails also last longer and are less likely to chip than acrylic nails. With the right tools and materials, gel nails are also easier to fix at home. However, long gel nails may have some issues when playing guitar.
Gel nails are as written. A layer of colored gel is applied to the nail, and you place your hands under UV light to harden it. You can then shape and adjust the gel into shape. You can also polish the gel to a desired level of thickness.
When it comes to playing guitar, the nails and finishing you apply to it do not really matter. This is because you play guitar with your fingers, not your nails. As a result, you can play guitar with gel nails.
However, when it comes to playing guitar, there are several issues to contend with if you have gel nails. First is that guitar strings may brush or scrape against your nails, meaning guitar strings may damage your gel nails. This means you must accept that you may need to fix your gel nails frequently after playing.
There is also another issue you need to think about, which is the length. In many situations, many people with gel nails tend to keep long nails. As a result, long, gel nails may not be a good combination to play guitar since it may be harder to press on the chords.
Can You Play Guitar With Acrylic Nails?
You can play guitar with acrylic nails. The acrylic finishing on your nails does not affect your playing. However, your acrylic finishing may scratch, crack or chip since they may scrape or hit on the guitar strings. This means you must accept that you may need to fix your nails after playing guitar.
Many people also enjoy applying acrylic finishings on their nails. Acrylic finishings are essentially glittering or colored powders that are mixed with acrylic resins. When the acrylic resin is applied to the nail and exposed to the air, the solution hardens, forming a colored layer on the nails.
In theory, you play guitar with your fingers, not your nails. Some may think you need long nails to be able to fingerpick or pluck well, but it is not necessary. In fact, many guitarists do not keep long nails on both hands. The habit of keeping long nails is usually made by classical guitarists.
This means you can play guitar with acrylic nails, as they would not cause issues with your playing. Rather it’s the other way round. Guitar playing may cause issues to your acrylic nails.
Your fingernails may scrape or knock on guitar strings or the guitar itself as you play. These contacts may cause your acrylic nails to scratch, crack, or chip. This means you must accept that if you play guitar, you may have to fix your nails more frequently.
Is Gel Nail or Acrylic Nail Better For Guitar Playing?
In general, gel nails may be better for guitar playing compared to acrylic nails. This is because gel finishings are sturdier, longer lasting, and do not chip as easily as acrylic nails. Gel nails may also protect your nails better. With the right tools and materials, gel nails are also fixable at home.
As a start, it doesn’t matter if your nail has any finishing, be it gel or acrylic. They both can be used to play guitar. However, if you have to choose between the two, gel nails may be better than acrylic nails for several reasons.
Durability: Gel nails tend to be more durable compared to acrylic nails. This is because gel nails can be a bit flexible. The gel can accommodate your nails without cracking or chipping if you bend your nails. Gel nails may also be able to take some punishments and still keep their appearance.
Acrylic nails are much more rigid and may crack and chip when the nail is bent slightly. You may bend your nails when you press on frets or pluck on strings. As a result, acrylic nails may lose their smooth appearance faster if you play guitar.
Fixable: Gel nails are also easier to fix compared to acrylic nails. This is because gel nails do not dry out your nails as much as acrylic nails. This means you can fix, remove or reapply your nails with gels more frequently without worrying about damaging your nails.
Acrylic nails have a tendency to dry out your nails, which means you might not want to keep removing and reapplying new layers of acrylic finishing. This is because your nails need time to rehydrate.
Coupling this fact with the situation that acrylic nails may chip and crack easier if you play guitar makes gel nails a better option to play guitar with.
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Faster To Fix: Another fact that makes gel nails better than acrylic is that it is faster to dry, provided you have the right tools. This fact may make it better for a guitarist.
Whenever you play guitar, you may damage your nail polish. If you are the kind that really cares about your nail, you might end up fixing or reapplying your nail polish every time you finish.
This means if the nail polish dries faster, it may make your life easier. A normal acrylic nail polish may take around 5-10 minutes to dry, so you must sit and wait for some time. With gel polish, you may be able to dry your nails as fast as 30 seconds, provided that you have a UV dryer machine.
Can You Play Guitar With Long Nails?
You can play guitar with long nails, although you may need a different strategy to approach it. For your fretting hand, you want to keep it shorter than a quarter inch and practice with the nails. You may keep the nails for your strumming hand as long as you see fit.
Nails with gel or acrylic polish tend to be longer, to enhance their aesthetic appearance. This leads to the question if you can play guitar with long nails.
The thing is that you can play guitar with long nails. With longer nails, you may need to have some adjustment in your playing style, particularly the fretting hand.
As a start, the recommended length is best at a quarter-inch and lower. This is because when the nails are way too long, it may be too difficult to press on the chords properly without disturbing other strings.
When playing with longer nails, consider curving your fingers slightly more to reduce the likelihood of your nails touching other strings when you play. It may be slightly uncomfortable for you at first, but with practice, it should feel more and more natural.
Another thing you may want to consider doing is to keep the nail length consistent. This means if your nail length is a quarter inch, you keep it at that length consistently. This helps you develop familiarity with the fingernail length and the muscle and finger memory to press on the frets well.
As for the strumming or plucking hand, nail length may not matter much. This is because there may be an incentive to have a longer fingernail here. Longer fingernails may help you to pluck the strings better. In fact, many classical guitarists have a habit of keeping longer nails.
However, it is also ok if you prefer to keep short fingernails on your strumming or plucking hand. This is because you can still pluck the strings with your finger or a pick.