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  1. #1

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    I am having a problem with my fingernails (probably related to my age). They always seem to crack and break easily which makes fingerpicking chord melody style difficult for me. I found an internet site that sells a product called "Flexinail" that looks like it might help with my fingernail problem. Have any of you fingerpicking chord melody guys ever tried Flexinail?

    wiz
    Last edited by wizard3739; 04-06-2009 at 07:00 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Any suggestions to help my fingnail problem would be sincerely appreciated. My favorite playing style has always been fingerpicking but for last couple of years, I have found it necessary to play mostly with a pick.

    wiz

  4. #3

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    I have acrylic nails. Go to the nearest beauty shop and have them put acrylics on. I play Hybrid style, so, I use a flatpick with middle and ring finger. I have been using the plastic nails for about 2 year now and I love them. Costs me about 9 dollars once a month to have the two fingers redone. A lot of players are going that way.

    Good luck,
    Bill

  5. #4

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    Acrylics have a great sound but are a total pain to deal with imo. It is a tradeoff.

  6. #5

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    I've been maintaining classical nails for over twenty years. I think that diet, no shit, is really important. Also, I keep P-I-M-A short, just enough...

    sailor

  7. #6

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    I'll second that, try keeping them short. My nails are strong so cracking isn't an issue, but I keep them short as I believe I get my best tone that way. Nail and flesh in preparation, string slides across 1st third of the nail with an angled finger attack. For me longer nails (or a parallel attack) creates a less round, brittle, clicky sound that I don't like.

    With my palm towards my face and looking across the fingertips I like to see only about 1/16th of an inch of fingernail.

  8. #7

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    When I was a kid, my aunt used to drink gelatine powder dissolved in hot water to help with brittle, cracking nails. She swore by it. You might want to do a bit of web research on it.

  9. #8

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    I had a tough time keeping my nails up when I studied classical for a couple of years. Going to fingerstyle for solo jazz was a deal breaker for my nails. I didn't like just finger tips, so I went to acrylic overlays about 3 years ago. No fake nails, just a layer of resin over mine. Works great. I keep em pretty short, just peeking out past my finger tips.

  10. #9

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    Yes, I didn't put false nails on. I did the same as Derek and had them apply the acrylic over mine. Like I said earlier, 2 years and they work like a charm.

    Bill

  11. #10

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    Anyone have good nail file suggestions? I find that most files create too much of a "sharp" edge whereas good files in the past let me get a more rounded edge be better tone.

  12. #11

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    I keep L/H very short. R/H P-I-M-A just long enough and shaped so no edge will catch string accidentally. I use a regular Revlon file -shaping side first, finishing side second. If your obsessive you can completely smooth the playing edge with a small piece of 600 grit sandpaper.

    perfect nails.

    sailor

  13. #12
    Do a search on this nail fortifier called 'Onymyrrhe'. It is a highly recommended product on delcamp.net, which is a popular classical guitar forum.

    Are your nails obnoxiously long, that's why they break easily? You should keep your nails long enough just that it can produce the tone but short enough so that it is not brittle. A good gauge will be taking a nail filer and making sure that at the moment when your nail and the flesh of the finger are touching the nail filer at the same time, the nail filer remains vertically straight.

    File off the sharp edge. Make it round at the sharp edges. I am using a 'ramp style' of finger nails and I file my sharp edges off and make them round.

  14. #13

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    There are many products you can use to make your nails stronger, from vitamins to nail polishers that fortify the nails.

    That has always worked for me.

  15. #14

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    What I do is to file the nails with the file at 90 degrees to the end of the nail. That way I am keeping the nail at full thickness right to the end, not tapering towards the end. Then, as Sailor said, a piece of 'wet and dry' sandpaper, as used by car painters, to smooth the tip. He mentioned 600 grade, but you can get totally fine polishing grades up to 2000!
    Even a stiff wooden fingernail brush has a polishing effect, and clawing into fine sand at the beach. The trick is to get maximum smoothness without loss of material. Just running nails along the denim of a pair of jeans will polish them.

  16. #15

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    I've been keeping my classical nails for the past several years, and have experimented with various things.

    My personal opinion is that strong, natural nails are the way to go. Length is a matter of personal taste (I keep mine longer than most, but this is primarily because they need to be long to get past the end of my fingers - my nail beds are very far receded due to years of nail biting as a kid). I would stay away from acrylics - the adhesive trashes the nails.

    I shape the nails with an emery board and then polish them successively with a product called "Micro-Mesh" (scientific cloth-backed polishing patches). I use 3200, 4000, 6000 then 12,000 (yes, you read that right) grit. When I am done those babies are glass-smooth and sound beautiful on the classical. I think I got them from Strings By Mail.

    This is more than likely overkill for steel-stringed jazz guitars, though.

    If your nails break, I would recommend the Emergency Nail Kit from RicoNails, which is comprised of several sizes of artificial "nails" that you file to your own personal length and shape, and apply with an easily removable adhesive (it doesn't trash the nail and can be applied daily with the included handy "dots"). I recall that I also got these from Strings By Mail.

    Hope this helps out,

    Jeff

  17. #16

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    interesting, i will check it out.

  18. #17

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    Most fingerpicking and chord melody phrases could picked with a pick too and if that doesn't help (I think you knew that before), try to pick with the tip of your finger. I do every 'fingerpicked' thing like that (cause my nails are always cracked,..). First its harder than doing such phrases with the nails, but for its also easier because its safer - nails can crack anytime. Hope I helped you.


    kind regards, Tobias

  19. #18

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    Short nails are a blessing for me, changing between nylon and steel all the time. Just enough for flesh-and-nail attack on strings. Nail-only attack is not eactly how I like to feel the contact with strings, especially steel, and the sound is thin and brittle for what I like to hear. But of course, we all have an individual idea of what the right sound is.

  20. #19

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    I started using Micro-Mesh a few months back and it's done wonders for my nails. It's basically an industrial polisher, but it really helps to smooth out my nails and prevents them from nicking and scratching, which causes problems when playing.

    Anyway, it's a decent product, cheap, and lasts forever.

    Product Review: Micro-Mesh Nail and Pick Care Kits | Micromesh, Nails, Have, Grades, Nail

    MW

  21. #20

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    And as if on cue, classical guitarist Douglas Niedt weighs in on the Rico artificial nails:

    TECHNIQUE TIP OF THE MONTH; Douglas Niedt, guitarist

  22. #21

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    Doug is a very nice guy, and wonderful player. I have seen him a couple of times since he is local.

    No amount of care, suppliments, etc, I used in the past that worked for classical would work for steel strings. My nails just aren't strong enough. I have to either do some sort of artificial thing (like the resin) or go without.

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by derek
    Doug is a very nice guy, and wonderful player. I have seen him a couple of times since he is local.

    No amount of care, suppliments, etc, I used in the past that worked for classical would work for steel strings. My nails just aren't strong enough. I have to either do some sort of artificial thing (like the resin) or go without.
    Derek,

    Did you check out the tip? He is advocating the Rico Nails. I've used these myself (on classical and jazz guitars) and they are very workable for steel strings. The beauty is that the nails come on and off quickly and use a non-stringent adhesive. You just put them on before you need them to play, and take them off afterwards.

    Don't get me wrong, I prefer real nails, but if you have a broken nail or weak nails, these are a good alternative.

    best regards,

    Jeff

  24. #23

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    For about the last year I have been using a cream that I get from Walmart. It is called "Hard as Hoof", and while that may be a bit of an overstatement, it has definetly made my nails more resilient. I believe that they are healthier and they grow faster.

    It is not very expensive and certainly worth a try.

    BTW, I live in a very dry climate and have always had ugly cuticle/hangnail problems. This is the only thing I have ever tried that really helps.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rio
    Anyone have good nail file suggestions? I find that most files create too much of a "sharp" edge whereas good files in the past let me get a more rounded edge be better tone.
    Any decent diamond powder nail file from the drug store should suit your needs. On the the finish side, take some wet or dry sand paper and smooth that side out a bit. The shaping side will be good for what is is designed for and the smoothed finish side will work wonders.

    Guitar Salon International has a nice and pricey glass nail file, but drop it once and it is all over.

    GSP (Guitar Solo Publications) in San Francisco has some very pricey silk nail wraps and glue kits that are far to superior to anything you will likely find locally. I really relied on them for awhile.