How does Dolly Parton play guitar with such long fingernails?

Dolly Parton
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM)

Dolly Parton set the guitar world alight earlier this month when she chose to play a $99 mini electric guitar at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. But it also revived the eternal question: how does she play guitar with those long fingernails? 

Personally, it's been decades since I gave up any thought of having nails that went more than a millimeter past the ends of my fingertips. But Parton manages to coax luscious tones out of her guitars while sporting long – but delicately preened – hand talons.

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Laura B. Whitmore

Laura B. Whitmore is a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, writing for, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.