Can You Play the Bass Guitar with Long Nails?


A good share of people love playing the bass guitar; if not, many would love to learn how to play it.

Unfortunately, you will hear so many limitations as you try to learn bass guitar.

One would be the perfect nail size to play the bass guitar.

This article focuses on long nails and how they impact your bass guitar capabilities.

Can you play the bass guitar with long nails? Yes! You can play the bass guitar with long nails; however, you must readjust how you play to ensure that your long fingernails don’t limit you.

Many bassists recommend that if you have to play with long nails, focus on fingerpicking instead of strumming.

Are Long Nails the Best When Playing the Bass Guitar?

From the information above, it is clear that playing the bass guitar with long nails is possible when you adjust your playing style.

But are long nails the best?

No! They tend to limit how you hold your bass guitar strings, making it hard to produce a note without making a mistake.

Also, using long nails will make it hard to create the proper gaps to produce a clear sound.

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If you must play your bass guitar with long nails, you will need a pick to keep your nails away from the strings.

With that, you can avoid creating unnecessary notes, eventually messing with the sound you wish to produce.

What Are the Limitations of Long Nails When Playing Your Bass Guitar?

It is no secret that playing the guitar with long nails is possible but not highly recommended.

There are a few things that long nails tend to limit when playing your bass, including:

Long Nails Work Well with Certain Music Genres

If you are a bass guitar player, you understand the importance of having the ability to handle any music.

After all, being able to handle any music creates more opportunities for you to play your bass.

So, with long nails, you must stick to specific music genres, which can be frustrating, especially for people who love playing the bass guitar.

Classical music, rock ballads, and jazz songs do well with long nails since you alternate between a pick and nails.

So, if that is your area and you won’t be interested in other music genres, you can comfortably work with long nails.

Long Nails Are Specific to Certain Strings

When you have long nails, you must worry about other bass guitar features and be careful about the strings.

Ensure that you get the right strings to prevent breaking your long nails.

For example, using thick-gauge strings would be terrible if you use long nails to play your guitar.

After all, they require more strength, and it can be painful to play them.

You Need to Consider Your Nail Length at All Times

Since you already have long nails, you must be cautious of how long is too much and which length is manageable.

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Understand your playing techniques and carefully trim your long nails when they are out of control.

You Have to Change Your Bass Guitar Playing Technique

Generally, playing the bass guitar with long nails isn’t recommended, and few people can do it.

The main reason is that you must readjust how you play the guitar before finding a rhythm with your long nails.

Of course, this situation is a hustle for many people, and changing your bass guitar playing technique can be challenging.

Can You Play Instruments with Long Nails?

You will realize that most professional music players you encounter keep your nails moderate.

They aren’t that long neither are they short.

So, can you play instruments with long nails?

Yes! Playing different instruments like the bass guitar or piano with long nails is possible.

However, it is a tricky situation that requires one to take the necessary measures to prevent any accident, mainly producing terrible music.

In that case, having long nails when playing instruments isn’t the best, but if you learn how to take care of them, it won’t be a problem.

Does It Matter If You Play Bass with Short Hands?

A few years ago, there were many theories of the perfect body feature to help you play the bass guitar.

For example, having longer hands seems like an advantage for anyone willing to play the bass guitar, which may be the case, especially since it gives the length advantage.

But does it matter if you play bass with short hands?

No! Playing bass with small hands is possible, and it isn’t something to make you give up on playing the bass guitar.

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Of course, there will be challenges since longer hands serve you better when playing the bass guitar.

However, handling the whole situation matters most since it is pretty easy to find a balance on how to handle the bass when playing it.

Plus, a few bass guitar classes should help.

Why Do Some Guitarists Have Long Fingernails?

Can you play the bass guitar with long nails is a common question since many professional guitarists tend to keep their nails at most medium.

However, if you observe closely, you realize that some professional guitarists have long fingernails, and their bass guitar playing abilities are better than you would imagine.

Despite the limitations of long nails, why would they keep them long?

The main reason is the music genre they take part in; for example, professional guitarists playing classical and jazz music keep their nails long.

When playing classical music, long nails will offer you many expressive capabilities.

Also, long fingernails mean you will play with the nails instead of the fingertip flesh, producing significantly louder notes.

Another reason is that playing with your fingernails properly will always produce clear notes, creating clear and easy-to-understand music.

Some professional guitarists keep their fingernails long, which works since they have already adjusted their bass-playing techniques to suit these conditions.

However, if you aren’t well-versed in using long nails, you can mess up your music instead of improving it.


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