Guitar Nails

Guitar Nails are an essential part of any type of finger picking guitarist

I often get queries from guitar students regarding guitar nails i.e. the shape and state of their fingernails either they’ve chewed them off, have broken them or have real difficulties growing them.

As a result I’ve decided to share a few tips on Guitar Fingernail Maintenance and Guitar Fingernail Repair

Guitar Nails Maintenance

  • The length of the guitar fingernail will depend on you. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all however keep in mind the longer the fingernail the greater the chance of breakage therefore only keep them as long as you need to. Tip: if your fingernails are catching on the strings, file them down
  • Keep the fingernail rounded, having edges will increase the chance of breakage
  • Ensure to include protein and calcium in your diet
  • If you notice areas of weakness or small fractures immediately repair with a nail file or use a nail strengthening polish
  • Take supplements. One which I can recommend is Blackmores Hair, Nail and Skin supplement
  • File your guitar nails rather than use clippers
  • Guitar Nails
    Example of how your Guitar Nails should be for Classical and Flamenco guitar.

    Guitar Nails Repair/Options

    • Acrylic Nails: When there is no time for your fingernail to grow i.e. you’re playing a gig tomorrow or you cant grow nails Acrylic nails are a great solution. They are put on quickly and will last a few weeks. The downside is that they damage the nail and it will take a few weeks to recover once they come off. If you’re a frequent performer you may be stuck in the cycle of constantly having to have to use acrylics. Tip: re-glue them as they come off and keep filing down. This will help with the recovery process
    • Finger Picks: These are great for all genres (except Flamenco due to percussive techniques) as they attach to the finger while you wait for the nail to grow. It can take some getting used to but once you do they do the job. Lots of electric guitarist use them as a finger picking solution.
    • Artificial False Nails: You can put these on yourself, they are similar to the acrylics however acrylics last longer and are stronger. The advantages of false nails are that they won’t damage the fingernail as much as Acrylics (don’t file the surface of the nail) so if you have a small break and need a quick fix false nails are a good option
    • Guitar Nails Repair Kit: If you play percussive guitar using a guitar nail repair kit wont really help however as a classical or finger picking guitarist this may be what you need. You could also consider nail strengthening lotion if the break isn’t very bad.


    The ideal scenario is that you have beautiful fingernails and they never break 🙂

    I hope you’ve found this article useful and feel free to use the comments section below to ask questions.

    If you want to improve your playing or get better then get in touch for Guitar Lessons