Yes, you can have short nails with the ukulele. Short nails work so well when playing ukulele, because they are less difficult to grip than the thick (wide) nails. A short nail will look the same as a thick nail. However, you have to be really careful not to pull your nails too long – a lot of people play the ukulele because they’re afraid of picking or picking too deep – so they will play with short nails, so they might not have enough width. A very nice feature of short nails is that most kids think they can get away with having thicker nails than they would if they had thick nails.
Is there anything I can do to improve the sound of the ukulele?
The ukulele is a great instrument if you play it with a good pair of short nails, so the reason we recommend short nails is to get a good musical sound. Unfortunately most of us play this instrument a lot more than we play it. Most musicians play with a standard set-up, without any modification. While it sounds good on most tracks, if you play a lot of different songs, you will naturally lose the sound if you play this way. So long as the piano is very loud and if you are playing very low on your instrument, you may be able to have a musical sound with short nails. Although the sounds may not be as good as on a good piano with a standard set-up, it sounds good enough if you are playing very low. You can learn more about playing the ukulele without nails in my short nails article.
What should I do if my children have short fingernails, and they need short nails for practicing chords?
Short nails is a natural and normal habit for children to have. It is often difficult for adults to adjust to the fact that children have short fingernails – but this is natural and it is not a condition to be afraid of! Try playing with the new fingernails at the same time as you are playing with the old nails. This will allow the muscles to become accustomed and you will be able to play more easily with the new fingernails. Try to keep the nails short on the same finger – use the extra little fingers and your nails can go up to an inch or so.
What is a “soft pick”? What does it mean?
A soft pick means that the pick is made from a soft, smooth wood.
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