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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I broke a couple of nails today (not sure when) and it sure throws me off. The shorter nail always seems to miss the string or sounds dull and weak. I hate it, now I have to wait for it to grow back to an acceptable length before I can play normally. I watch other people play without nails, I don't know how they do it.

Some people put clear nail polish on to strengthen the nails but I think that may look a little strange to my students and co-workers. The nails aren't weak as I can barely clip them with a nail clipper. They are hard but brittle. I had a glass finger nail shaper that worked well but I can't find it now.

Does anyone else have this problem where the nails have to be just right before you can play? I tend to freak out when I break a nail around people, they look at me like I'm crazy. I guess this qualifies as a first world problem.;)
 

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Not yet...I don't know if I can ever play WITH nails but I'm about to give it a shot. I guess that's why I'm a pick/hybrid player. Oddly enough, I was considering digging out my dads old nylon string and trying some Spanish stuff, but I know I need to keep my nails longer for it. (I cannot get into finger picks)
 

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Mine have to be as perfect as possible. If there's a hitch on the end I run the risk of a break and the bigger the break the longer it takes for them to grow back. I tried nail hardeners, but what works for me and my terribly soft nails is a decent diet and daily filing.
 

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I could never use my nails. I use a pick most of the time and if I learned finger picking I would use finger picks.
 

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I use to play with the tip of my fingers and nails. Over the years, I came to file my nails with asymetry, I mean the longest tip is toward the pinky side of the fingers, so that I attack strings with flesh but I can snap with the tip of the nail.

Anyway, broken nail is a flaw since mine are thin (though my thumbs have a thicker ones). Anyway, they would break easily. The other day, the tip of my thumb nail broke without any real reason I could find except wearing winter gloves !
I read a guy's note telling he broke some while zipping his pants !

Broken nail, ok ! Now, what can we do ?
Personnally, since I just play for my own pleasure and can play mostly with my finger tips, I just file my nails down and let time do his job... I have to say I am particularly reluctant to use creams and all kind of stuff on my body and never used anything else than polish on my nails.

Of particular note, we could try to make nails harder : I read that nail polish plus poured baking soda and a second nail polish layer would produce stony hard nails. Well there also are false nails, ping-pong balls and pill bottles one can glue on his nails. Someone even suggested epoxy !

When a nail breaks....

If it is broken but still in place, nail polish plus cigarette paper and a second layer of nail polish would do a fine job.

If the tip is lost, just file down the rest... and try to play with the tip of the finger... or use artificial nails or a part of ping-pong ball (John Renbourn says in a video he used to do that because he had spoonlike nails).

Hope my readings on the subject of nails can help...
 

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As I have said before, in my senior years, every booboo that happened throughout my life is now showing up as a splitting nail.

I "fibreglass" with nail hardener and teabags (see YouTube). One of the salesmen at L&M has learned to apply his own fake nails. He says they last about a year. I must try that.

I finger-pick my short scale guitars (folky & jazzy) and flat-pick my long scales (poppy & rocky).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Good tips, thanks! I usually just file/clip the broken one even and then wait for it to grow back. I also clip the others a bit shorter as one short nail really throws me off. I just play for my own pleasure but it has hard to be patient when you want to play.
 

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I had a whole thread on this not too long ago. Ultimately, I changed my playing style, but found that glue-on nail worked best. The only issue I had was that they hurt wherever they touched my skin.
 

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I too have used superglue and teabag to make repairs to torn nails.

But prevention is the best approach. I use Mane 'n' Tail Hoofmaker to keep my nails strong yet pliable (no affiliation):
Hoofmaker - The Original Mane 'n Tail | Personal Care

I was once told that gelatin in your diet helps - I use that as an excuse to eat jujubes.
 

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I too have used superglue and teabag to make repairs to torn nails.

But prevention is the best approach. I use Mane 'n' Tail Hoofmaker to keep my nails strong yet pliable (no affiliation):
Hoofmaker - The Original Mane 'n Tail | Personal Care

I was once told that gelatin in your diet helps - I use that as an excuse to eat jujubes.
What about getting an acrylic overlay on your nails? I know that Justin Sandercoe does that and they seem to work for him.
 

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What about getting an acrylic overlay on your nails? I know that Justin Sandercoe does that and they seem to work for him.
I've been told that once you go that route, you can't really stop because the real nails get soft underneath the overlay.
 

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I've been told that once you go that route, you can't really stop because the real nails get soft underneath the overlay.
That's the reason I haven't tried those chemical weapons yet : "Primo no nocere" (first, do not harm).

I also heard about mycosis after false nails use.... don't know what to think about that.

As I play golf in the summer, I would not experiment about nails until Fall, but what if I then damage my nails for three months ?!

P.S. I recently tried finger picks again... don't like the "click" at string contact...
 

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I've been told that once you go that route, you can't really stop because the real nails get soft underneath the overlay.
Yes they eventually will soften but over the course of a long time. I had fake acrylic gel nails for years and when I started to play guitar, off they came. To avoid the softened nail I just fortified my nails with a nail hardener. 2 or 3 coats did the trick.
 
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