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Finger Style Guitar & Nail Care
Old 14th March 2015
  #1
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Finger Style Guitar & Nail Care

I use my fingernails to go for particular tones while recording, but I'm plagued
with brittle nails that crack and always right at the quick, so once clipped it may take more than a month or two to grow back long enough to use effectively again.

I've tried the Gel Caps, but wanted something to protect and strengthen the nails
without a glossy shine.

My friend just told me Sally Hansen now has a matte finish nail strengthener in the Hard As Nails line.

Big Matte Top Coat | Sally Hansen

Is there anything better out there?

I certainly welcome any proven tips that work.
Old 14th March 2015
  #2
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Fernand's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I feel your pain. I tried having acrylic nails put on by a manicurist. Also gel nails. Initially wonderful. Disaster after they started getting outgrown, the nail bed was severely damaged. The gels were the worst as they bond with the nail and cannot be separated. Have you tried the new Alaska Piks?
Old 14th March 2015
  #3
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Those are a bit too much piks :-)

I actually use the flat of my nails for a light brushed across the string sound.

So I'm brushing down more than pulling up on the string.

They get a crack in the corner and that's it.
Old 14th March 2015
  #4
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AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
For fast hands Ni Guan (Southern Fist) Kungfu fingerstrikes or playing fingerstyle guitar with finesse, there is no other option to taking Biotin supplement for hard nails. Buck up.
Old 14th March 2015
  #5
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Monster pickers like Johnny Hiland and Brent Mason are/were using acrylic nails, but just on their middle and ring fingers.
Old 14th March 2015
  #6
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
First line of defence is nutrition. If you want good nails and skin you need to make sure you are getting plenty of calcium, but more importantly magnesium - which most western diets are woefully lacking in - which regulates how calcium is used. You also want good silica, which is also deficient in our diets because we don't eat dirt so much these days. I'm into bio-hacking and I take supplements that would worry some people ... but do you own research. I highly recommend magnesium chloride (aka magnesium "oil" and bentonite clay. It's a huge subject, but basically we are made of what we eat, and if you want quality skin and nails you have to eat the right stuff ... makes a huge difference to your life if you get it right.
Old 14th March 2015
  #7
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Wyllys's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Cigarette papers and super-glue.
Old 14th March 2015
  #8
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Of course there's always the Adamantium-Infusion method, but my insurance won't cover it.
Old 15th March 2015 | Show parent
  #9
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
I actually use the flat of my nails for a light brushed across the string sound.
You get a sound you like that way? I've encountered a couple acoustic players who did what I think you're describing, and it seemed like there was a high scrape-to-note ratio and the playing didn't "sit" in the pocket well -- it was sort of rhythmically indefinite, if that makes any sense. But, again, what you're doing may be entirely different.
Old 15th March 2015
  #10
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Jeff Scott's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Check this out.

Old 15th March 2015
  #11
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RicTone's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
This is a great subject! Let's hear what you guys do about fingernail problems!

I use nail files on my left hand fretting fingernails to keep them short and they are constantly splitting and causing trouble. But yet my right hand fingernails which I cut short using scissors (never use a file) have never had a problem. The act of filing my fingernails lends the nails to split.

I use super glue extensively for finger splits on my fingertips both hands (I keep super glue in my guitar case) and I will say super glue saves my ability to play in the Winter. Unless super glue was invented I absolutely could not gig in the Winter.

I also use super glue for my fingernail splits and I'm intrigued by Wyllys cigarette papers and super glue method. I currently put super glue directly on the fingernails but I like the idea of using a thin paper to wick the super glue on to.

Edit to add: Jeff Scott has added a video. I will watch it, thanks!
Old 15th March 2015 | Show parent
  #12
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➑️
You get a sound you like that way? I've encountered a couple acoustic players who did what I think you're describing, and it seemed like there was a high scrape-to-note ratio and the playing didn't "sit" in the pocket well -- it was sort of rhythmically indefinite, if that makes any sense. But, again, what you're doing may be entirely different.
I'm mostly playing with the finger tips (skin) and thumb in that situation and just using the flats for strums and some individual notes and cheater chords.

I started on bass, so playing with fingers feels more natural for some stuff.

Sometimes a plastic pick just doesn't seem to work.

Last edited by FFTT; 15th March 2015 at 12:52 AM..
Old 15th March 2015
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
rnappi's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I use self adhesive China silk wrap & Crazy Glue: Backscratchers Sheeeer Magic Self-Adhesive Silk Wrap 2 yd
A single layer leaves some flex in the nail which is more appropriate for flamenco/nylon, or you can build layers and create rigid daggers for steel strings.

rich

Last edited by rnappi; 15th March 2015 at 08:36 AM..
Old 15th March 2015
  #14
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm glad you posted the James Taylor clip.

Note: he says he does not cover the entire nail, rather up to about half way
so the natural nails don't deteriorate .
Old 15th March 2015
  #15
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
When I played bass for a living (long time ago) I did a similar thing, but only building the nail out to the point where it would keep the skin of my fingers from pulling upwards and blistering, not to the point where the nails actually touched the strings. At first I did it with Lee's Press On Nails, which ripped off sometimes. Then I moved on to layers of nylon pantyhose and epoxy (kinda like the way surfboards are made). Worked great, but talk about your nasty chemicals. And they look at you a little funny in the checkout line when you're a 20-something dude buying L'eggs.
Old 15th March 2015
  #16
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Keeping a happy length on my fretting hand is usually once a week attention.

For the picking hand, it would be cool to know the best way to trim and file to
reduce the chances of splitting.
Old 16th March 2015
  #17
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Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Wow.

I'm a fingerpicker but I guess I must be doing things differently. I keep my nails short because I'm grabbing the strings with flesh and just letting the nail have its say once in a great while.

I keep them short and well rounded so they don't get unruly. I just picked a bit....that thumbnail has to be just right. I seem to be picking off the flesh with just a bit of nail for bite. All these years and I never even did an analysis.

Cool discussion.

Old 16th March 2015
  #18
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In my test tracking, I find if I want to get that old school Beatles acoustic sound, I get closer with fingers than with a pick most times.

It's just a bit less in your face, mellower.

Play the exact same part with thumb and fingers, Dunlop soft nylon .60 Dunlop Tortex .60 and then what ever hard pick you prefer and play them back for study.

You may note with the Dunlop nylon .60 you get that washboard rhythm sound
with the pick flapping a bit on strums.

The same part with a Tortex .60 the attack may be more accurate, but the sound changes.
Old 16th March 2015
  #19
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I'm on the Sally Hansen Diamond Strength at the moment. God bless 'er whoever she is. Just a little on the nail ends. Build up a few layers. Everytime I can feel a burr develop on one of me nails I'll file it smooth & whack on another layer of the old Hansen.

Three things to take great care with when doing.

1) Closing doors. Do not let yer nails ever come in contact with said door.
2) Opening rip top cans. Use left hand. Or right if you're a lefty. Or give up beer.
3) Movin' house, liftin' tables, furniture, etc. Wear gloves, or a glove.

These three things will eradicate up to 85% of nail accidents.

Right, who wants to talk about thumbpicks? Mah special subject.

ns

Last edited by nightscope; 16th March 2015 at 03:16 AM..
Old 16th March 2015
  #20
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I've tried the Herco thumb picks only to end up feeling like a complete ****z.

I'm sure you get used to them after a while, but I never got that far.
Old 16th March 2015 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
od Herco's You could paddle a flamin' cano

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
I've tried the Herco thumb picks only to end up feeling like a complete ****z.
Ah, yes the old Herco's. You could paddle a flamin' canoe with a coupla them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
I'm sure you get used to them after a while, but I never got that far.
Yep, not my cuppa tea either but young Landreth gets on OK with 'em.



ns
Old 16th March 2015
  #22
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FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
My old friend George Pittaway does fine with them too.

Old 16th March 2015 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
George Pittaway
Never heard of him. Talks as fast as he plays. Totally outrageous video. I shall watch it again when I'm sober.

That'll be in about ten years.

No, thanks. I shall study it with glee.

ns
Old 16th March 2015
  #24
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Back in the 80's his band, 4 Out Of 5 Doctors opened for The Cars, Hall & Oates, Cindy Lauper, Pat Travers and Richie Blackmore, stadium stuff.

He can play like that and also score for a symphony string section.

He's heavily into guitar education.

Johnny Hiland uses the Run-Barr George invented on his primary live guitars.
Old 16th March 2015
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, good stuff. Coincidentally, I have only this week got a little job teaching a young actress the basics of Travis type fingerpicking. One thing I came up off the cuff was just tapping my fingers on the guitar to illustrate the picking rhythm. Similar to what George was doing in the very first few lines of his vid. So watching his video is quite timely.

Tres cool.

ns
Old 16th March 2015
  #26
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Johnny Hiland also does finger style training videos with his 10 Gallon Guitar Series with Truefire on youtube.




Last edited by FFTT; 16th March 2015 at 04:17 AM..
Old 16th March 2015
  #27
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Pittaway explained to me that trying to play that fast with a hard pick, he would cramp up after an hour or so, just from the pressure of holding onto the pick and keeping it controlled.

Switching to finger style and hybrid finger style, he can play for 10 hours at those speeds and never gets tired.
Old 18th March 2015
  #28
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I was using Onymyrrhe for a while. It really works, and also keeps your nails piable, and helps with density so they don't become as ragged. I got it because i heard that's what the classical players use. I think it might be out of production.
Old 18th March 2015
  #29
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I tried the Hair, Skin, Nails Biotin suppliment just didn't stay with it long enough to see any results.
Old 18th March 2015
  #30
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Hoofmaker also works really well. They use it on horse's hoofs.

http://www.amazon.com/Mane-Tail-Hoof...ords=Hoofmaker
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