Alaska Pik's ...

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DaveLeeNC
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Alaska Pik's ...

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:06 pm

... the ones that you put on the ends of your fingers - not a tool used to dig holes in a frozen tundra :-)

I have a single nail (a finger) that seems to split, chip, tear when exposed to a light summer breeze. So right now I am using an Alaska Pik on my 'a' finger (nails otherwise). I'm curious to hear if there are other classical guitarists out there using these things. My experience (after a few days) is listed below. Note that I am an intermediate level player (at best) who returned to CG the summer of 2016 after decades away from the instrument.

1) You lose a bit of feel, although it does't seem like a huge deal to me. It takes a couple days, however.

2) I really can't assess sound/tone very well here. I have literally not had a functional 'a' finger nail at the right length for more than a couple days EVER (since the 1980s' anyway which was the last time I played CG seriously or otherwise). But my impression is that the Alaska Pik is a tad louder than regular nails. But maybe that is due to my technique - hard to know. Tone is just a bit brighter. My guess is that with proper filing of the Pik that can be balanced out.

3) For me the right size WRT the nail part is really tight and "pinchey" when on my a finger. My fingers are a normal size (I think) and per the website medium is the right size for my a finger. But it is just slightly uncomfortable (slightly).

Are there other users there with experience to share? Thanks.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

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bear
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by bear » Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:08 am

Had them, hated them. They pinched my fingers and I didn't like the loss of contact. Fortunately, I'm able to maintain nails. If I couldn't, I'd go nail-less.
2013 Jeff Medlin '37 Hauser 640mm sp
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DaveLeeNC
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun Dec 04, 2016 2:47 am

Just a general comment regarding the comfort (or lack thereof) of the Alaska Pik's. The edges that come around your fingers opposite your nail are very sharp. Taking a nail file to those is a non-trivial help in dealing with pinched fingers. You can also trim off a little to further reduce that.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

nightflight
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by nightflight » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:32 am

I didn't like the feel of Alaska Piks. They seem to interfere with the bending of the distal joint. But then, it may be because my hands are smaller. I wish they were made of thinner plastic, but still with some rigidity.

When I need a nail, I end up sticking a plastic one on using a glue dot (intended for this express purpose; Sally Beauty supply). Don't like the way it looks, but it's better than nothing. Using nail glue works for a day or two, but my hands are in water a lot, and the nail comes off after a few days, damaging the nail beneath. The glue dots do less damage, and if I'm lucky, I can get about 5 days out of one. If I'm careful, I can re-use the plastic nail. Regular glue dots (from an office supply or craft store) release if I put my hands under warm water... but then I'd be replacing the nails several times a day (I often practice for multiple sessions throughout the day).

There seems to be no ideal solution.

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Big bird
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by Big bird » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:39 am

bear wrote:Had them, hated them. They pinched my fingers and I didn't like the loss of contact. Fortunately, I'm able to maintain nails. If I couldn't, I'd go nail-less.
Pretty much my experience too. They feel foreign to me. I have messed with them by filing, trimming, stretching and they just seem to separate me from the guitar. I wished they worked, I like the increased projection.
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Blondie
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by Blondie » Wed Dec 07, 2016 12:52 pm

Yep, didn't like them also. Thin, bright, pingy tone and uncomfortable.

Can't remember why I tried them as I have no nail problems (maybe I had broken one and was looking for a good emergency remedy). I bought various different sizes to try and accommodate the lack of comfort but to no avail. You have to do a lot of filing to get it anywhere near usable and the critical flaw I found was that a band of plastic sits underneath whatever nail you do have - i.e. between finger tip and nail, exactly where my contact point is.

This made a clear contact/grip on the string impossible, that pocket is essential IMO for control and good tone and thus free stroke is impaired considerably.

IMO silk wraps + cyano glue, ping pong balls, stick on nails are all much better solutions for classical guitar.

Euan Hannah
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by Euan Hannah » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:16 pm

Well I came on to this thread expecting to see Grizzly Bears, Snowy mountains and Calfing Glaciers. Instead you are talking about plectrums :oops: :lol:

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Lorette
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by Lorette » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:03 pm

Hi Dave,

When I caught my thumb in a door a few years back, and lost the nail, I used the Alaska Pik for quit a while, until the nail grew back. I had to customize it by filing and stretching it to fit comfortably, and had to use a piece of tape to hold it in place. So, I was able to play. And again, about a year ago, my “a” fingernail broke close to the quick and I did the same procedure.
True, It’s not the most comfortable, but at least you can play your guitar. :guitare:

Lorette :casque:

guit-box
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by guit-box » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:26 am

I prefer to have a nail pro use a nail form under the nail and install a thin acrylic nail over the top of my natural nail that extends out a couple mm. (so no nail tip is used).
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

DaveLeeNC
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by DaveLeeNC » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:39 am

FWIW, I've been using an Alaska Pik on my 'a' finger for about a week now. It has gotten to the point (after some careful filing) that I would no longer call it uncomfortable. And while the feel is not exactly my nail, it is feeling more natural. I am fortunate that in my case 'the slot' between my finger and nail seems about right.

And as Lorette said "least I can play my guitar".

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 158
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by DaveLeeNC » Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:09 pm

FWIW, two more 'nail events' this week. So I am now down to one decent nail (i) and one marginally useful nail (p). I suppose that I could start the journey of various nail salon solutions, try a bunch of supplements, give that 'nail oil' a shot, maybe preventative Superglue/fabric steps, etc. But right now I am going down a 'full Alaska Pik path" and have ordered a handful in different sizes to see what works best. I'm not sure that this is ever going to work on my thumb, but I think that for ima it will be better in my case (not a highly skilled player),

There are one or two pieces that I play using 'c' (in just a few spots). So far I have had far fewer problems (actually none so far) on that finger.

FWIW.

dave
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

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slidika
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by slidika » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:21 am

My RH middle fingernail tore at a terrible angle, so I trimmed the nail to get it as closer to 'even' (although it was not). Finally went to the nail salon my wife uses and had them put a nail on it. I was able to play for about 4 weeks, then had it removed. My real nail was still too short to play normally, but I did the best I could. Finally, the nail is very close to normal length now, so playing is close to normal now.

I have a friend who does a lot of gigs and he has a professional put nails on his RH every few weeks.
Whenever I am not ready for my music lesson, I call it 'facing the music'.

Jack Douglas
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Re: Alaska Pik's ...

Post by Jack Douglas » Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:51 am

DaveLeeNC wrote:FWIW, two more 'nail events' this week. So I am now down to one decent nail (i) and one marginally useful nail (p). I suppose that I could start the journey of various nail salon solutions, try a bunch of supplements, give that 'nail oil' a shot, maybe preventative Superglue/fabric steps, etc. But right now I am going down a 'full Alaska Pik path" and have ordered a handful in different sizes to see what works best. I'm not sure that this is ever going to work on my thumb, but I think that for ima it will be better in my case (not a highly skilled player),

There are one or two pieces that I play using 'c' (in just a few spots). So far I have had far fewer problems (actually none so far) on that finger.
Dave,
I bought a bottle of Vitamin E oil at CVS and every day stick my I, m, a finger in one at a time to get the oil on each finger, then massage the oil in and rub the excess on my left hand fingers. In addition, I use a crystal file and a series of micro mesh sheets to keep my nails free of minute snags. I still have the occasional sock or towel catch, but not often. I tried biotin, but decided to stick with my normal vitamins that already have it in them. Eating jello regularly will help too.
And, short nails are the way to go!
Jack
Hauser III 2014!

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