In the world of music is not everything about playing live, recording albums, or giving worldwide tours.
Experienced musicians are truly aware of that and they pay special attention to every needed aspect.
One of those facets is the look, from how you dress to what accessories you wear.
We have a lot of examples of this, musicians with painted faces, wearing chains, or even large pieces of jewelry.
In the case of guitar players, we have seen lots of them wearing rings. From wedding or engagement rings to rings made especially for them.
But the question is: Is it safe to wear rings when playing the guitar?
Wearing rings while playing the guitar is completely normal and many professional players do it. However, if you want to preserve the finish of your guitar’s neck or your pieces of jewelry unscratched, I would advise removing them to be extra sure. You can put them back on as soon as you finish playing.
However, when you discuss this topic in deep many doubts may come up so, I will try to help evacuate them.
Through this article, I’ll explain to you everything you need to know about wearing rings while playing guitar.
Can wearing rings damage your guitar’s neck?
Rings are usually thick pieces of some metal, and while playing you move your hand and fingers in a way that could probably damage the wood of your neck.
This may happen after a long time of playing, is not something that instantly occurs.
Many players claim that they used rings and after some years of playing they couldn’t see any noticeable damage on the guitar.
On the other hand, some others state that there was little extra wood scraped away on their instruments.
So, in the long term, your guitar will have some scratches.
Maybe you scratch the lacquer or the frets but it would be just aesthetic damage that won’t affect playability at all.
Should you wear rings in your strumming hand?
Most of the guitar players don’t use any jewelry in their right hand but is not always the norm.
If you use a ring in your strumming hand could interfere with the strings when playing.
However, if the piece of bling is not bulky you won’t have any problem and you could play anyway.
Some players are really used to playing using them while others feel uncomfortable.
Those who are not accustomed sometimes change the ring to the fretting hand or just take them off.
Of course, this mainly affects strumming and picking style, you won’t have any problem if you play fingerstyle.
Can playing the guitar damage the rings you wear?
This is relative, it always depends on the ring materials, but if you slide your hand when playing and you scratch the guitar’s neck, you are also marking your ring.
However, metal rings are thicker and more durable than guitar wood so, in the end, the instrument will bear the brunt of the damage.
Moreover, if you use rings in your strumming hand they could get stuck between the strings.
This will only happen if the ring is too big and, if gets stuck it could be harmed.
Can you damage your fingers if you play guitar wearing rings?
Like everything in life, this is up to each player and it may vary depending on the kind of rings worn.
Engagement rings are commonly thinner and this could make the ring scratches along the underside of the neck.
In addition, if you wear rings in your right hand and play slapping, the ring could slip off your hand.
What is more, a couple of guitarists assert that rings stop them from plucking.
Furthermore, I would say that rings cannot damage your fingers when playing.
What actually happens is that some people could feel uncomfortable using them whereas others can do it without any trouble.
Does playing with rings make it harder to fret chords?
We have pointed out many aspects of wearing a ring as a guitar player but we haven’t discussed if using them affects your playing.
You may think that it would be a cumbersome task to play barre chords but let me tell you that is not always the case.
It could be really tough if the ring is placed in your finger joints because that constricts your finger’s movement and limits your playing.
This may occur due to the size of the ring, if it is extremely bulky it could be a headache.
Nevertheless, this arises only on those two occasions.
It would be silly to place a ring exactly in your finger joints, it might make any activity more difficult so, if you are going to use a ring, bear in mind these situations.
Does playing with rings affect your technique in any way?
As regards guitar techniques, I don’t think it interferes.
There won’t be anything to it, you will be capable of developing any method, tapping, sweep picking, shredding, or any other approach.
It is important for you to do take into account the difficulties previously mentioned.
They may take place not only when playing chords but also applying different techniques.
Should you take off your wedding ring before playing the guitar?
This is an aspect that keeps people having a lot of discussions.
On one side, some guitar players tend to keep their wedding ring because they don’t want to take it off.
On the other side, we have musicians who prefer playing without any ring or piece of jewelry.
As we discussed previously, rings may be unbearable for some players.
Nevertheless, if you want to be extra careful and preserve your wedding ring in perfect conditions, you should take it off.
I suggest you do that in order to avoid scratching your ring, in most cases, it is a really precious object and it would be sad if you ruin it.
Popular players that play wearing rings
To conclude, I would like to talk a little bit about those famous guitar players who wear rings.
In the first place, we have the well-known guitarist from The Rolling Stones, Keith Richards.
The most popular ring in the world of Rock and Roll music was worn by Keith.
Richards has had those rings, one in each ring finger, in every gig he performed and every picture he was taken of.
Both of them are skull rings made of silver.
We also have one of the most representative guitar players in history.
Needless to say, we are talking about the amazing Jimi Hendrix who wore a distinctive accessory.
It was a late 60s silver ring with a turquoise stone on it which had been part of Jimi’s belongings and is currently on sale.
In addition, the ring was authenticated by a jewelry department and it has small dents and some scratches due to Hendrix’s wear.
Last but not least, we have Mr. Saul Hudson, best known as “Slash”, a famous musician from the iconic group Guns N’ Roses.
Slash not only wore rings but also a lot of bling such as bracelets or even notorious accessories as his recognizable top hat.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.