I've played so much guitar that I'm now not completely worthless at it. I understand that nails are important for good tone and I spend a lot of time manicuring them.

I also touch-type a lot and the combination of nails and typing is frustrating. The reason is because when I type, my nails hit the keys at a 70-90 degree angle (the correct way to touch-type) causing my precious nails to bend. Almost the same shape as eagle beaks which causes the strings to get hooked underneath the nails.

Is there a solution to this dilemma? I can trim my nails very short but then I feel that I'm losing a lot of the sound.

  • 1
    I had a similar dilemma that lead to me having to cut my guitar nails. Of course, my problem was that they were interfering with my other miscellaneous instruments which I have more experience with, but it was disappointing all the same. I hope you figure something out! Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 1:43
  • @GeneralNuisance yes I often have these problems too. Nails are great, but only for playing the guitar (and scratching of things ;). I struggle to play electric bass with nails, and even electric guitar.
    – Mafii
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 8:40

3 Answers 3


A similar problem arises when combining guitar and piano. The only "solution" I've found is a sort of compromise: cut the nails a little shorter than your ideal for guitar.

This isn't necessarily a "compromise" from a somewhat broader perspective. Having a little less nail should make apoyando easier and more effective. In older (pre-Segovia) methods this is the norm. Very little if any nail is advised in Sor's method, for example.

I've also discovered that a shorter nail makes tremolo easier and more effective, too. Sensing the string with the fingertips by touch gives you that much more control of how you send it into vibration and stop it again.

This can change your tone as well, but probably for the better (IMO). More fingertip should give a sweeter, warmer tone, albeit with less brilliance and sting that the nail can give.


As someone who studied classical guitar for 2 years in university before changing majors to computer science, all I can say is you will get used to it. It will slow you down a bit overall, but not much once you get used to it.

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    Also, as luser droog points out, maybe try shorter nails. I was always a fan on very little nail (with the exception of the thumb). Maybe that's why I never had much issue adjusting. Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 12:55

I'm not a trained touch typist, but I type from a much closer angle; 45 degrees or even less (maybe because I've been playing guitar with nails almost as long as I've been typing!) It may not be correct by the book, but I average around 100wpm so it hasn't been an obstacle to typing fast and accurately. Unless there are RSI risks that I don't know about or something, you might want to think about simply changing your typing style.

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