I have been advised by my piano teacher to trim my nails to prevent accidents on the keyboard (like getting a nail stuck between the keys).

How short should I trim my fingernails?

I don't want to cause damage to the inner parts of my fingernails.


Short enough to not click on the keys when playing with curved fingers. I've just done mine.

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  • 4
    I wouldn't recommend cutting your nails that close to the "meat". If you do that on your toes as well, that's like asking for an ingrown fingernail to happen. – Pyromonk Mar 8 '20 at 23:16
  • 1
    I cut my left-hand nails that short for playing stringed instruments, and never have trouble with ingrown fingernails. Maybe I'm just lucky. The only trouble I had from super short nails is that it felt strange for a few weeks until I got used to it. – Wayne Conrad Mar 9 '20 at 3:19
  • The clicking surely isn't a problem. Nails are there, I guess, to protect the fingertips. Yours look quite vulnerable that short. – Tim Mar 9 '20 at 16:27
  • @Tim, I guess you don't play piano? If they click, and you play with any energy, they eventually become painful and even split – Laurence Payne Mar 10 '20 at 12:23
  • Played piano for 65 yrs! Still play in two big bands, and one jazz quartet, and keep nails as in my answer. never had any problems. And I give it stick when needed. But if mine were as short as yours, guitar and bass would be problematic. Bit of a compromise, but it's always worked like that for me. – Tim Mar 10 '20 at 17:04

This guidance really should come from teacher, especially as s/he mentioned it! However, I keep mine at between 1 and 1.5mm from the skin. Bearing in mind I also play guitar and bass,it's a bit of a compromise on r.h. On the other hand (!) as long as you don't have long manicured nails such as thiose found on some ladies, you'll be o.k. Ask teacher.

  • The compromise I've personally reached is to leave 1-1.5mm from the pink portion of the nail and leave a longer nail on the right thumb. – Pyromonk Mar 8 '20 at 23:14

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