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Fingerstyle Nail-care Regiments

2922 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  shingler
So who here plays fingerstyle? (I know I wish I did! I try at least...)

What do ya's do to keep yer nails up to snuff?

Fakes? What kind?

picks? If picks what kind? Dunlops? ??

Other? Don Ross does some interesting surgery involving bits of pingpong balls and super epoxy or sommat....

What keeps you frailling???
1 - 9 of 9 Posts response should be taken with a grain of salt, since i am not a finger style player, per se.

that said, i gave up on using my fingernails. too high maintenance.

i find i get much more mileage and tonal variety from using the fleshy part of my thumb and fingers, although i tend to play electric more often then acoustic.

Hey Clinton,

I use a UV Gel-based acrylic coating on my nails which I get refilled once a month at a local salon. It's pretty simple really and is certainly hard enough for steel string playing. If the tip breaks, I get a plastic one glued on until it grows out, otherwise the length is all natural nail.

There's a good description of the process here:
"using the fleshy part of my thumb and fingers"
Too muted and mid-rangey for me, thanks... I MUCH prefer using my nails... and I just cannot get used to the feeling of fingerpicks

I'm barely tolerating the one thumbpick I've found useful....

Herco, Heavy G.... in a variety of colours

Fingernails on my first three fingers, and a Fred Kelly thumbpick as I've just never been able to keep a thumbnail. I keep the nails shaped relatively short (but I get mostly nail on the strings when playing) and sometimes employ some hardener. Compromise is in order as they have to play nylon and steel strings. I play some self-penned tunes, hymns, classical pieces, celtoid tunes, and a variety of other stuff. For heavy bass gigs I'll knock the nails back shorter as I prefer more flesh for bass.

Peace, Mooh.
"I've just never been able to keep a thumbnail"
Heh... My thumbnail would have to be a mile long to come close to being where I'd want it for my pathetic fingerpicking....

So I've never even tried
After dealing with broken nails every couple of weeks, I trimmed all my nails down to fairly short. That decision was made easier after learning Kelly Joe Phelps (no slouch at finger style) plays that way, and I remember a fairly famous classical guitarist saying he preferred short nails. While I don't get the zippy sound of long nails, I do find the overall sound clearer than before. There's still a bit of nail left to get the string ringing, but it is a mellower sound - definitely not muddy sounding at all.

Down side is the couple of weeks getting calluses on might right hand fingertips.

Read an article a year or so ago about Bruce Cockburn who uses Nail Envy (I'm not sure of the spelling) and tissue paper to "fiberglass" his nails.
I can grow a great natural thumbnail, but the rest are weak and split easily. So I am forced to go with short nails, basically flesh on string, or do the acrylic gel method and get infills every 3~4 weeks.
I've played fingerstyle for about ten years and have never been able to corral a pick. I've just begun to play steel and i realise that I MUST GET PICKS!! As a solo instrument any guitar can survive w/o picks but as any kind of a group, especially electric, picks, i'm starting to think, are a must.
My finger regimen has been to shingle houses. I haven't had to chew off a callous in years - except when i play bass, and on my right forefinger and thumb. I try to dictate my tone w/o a pick and often fail because of a lack of nails/picks/callouses.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
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