Nail Thickness

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
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R_Pegio
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by R_Pegio » Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:52 pm

Regrettably the nail problem isn't my worst affliction - the trouble is after that more than fifty years of toying with learning the instrument I'm forced to the conclusion that I am physically totally incapable of applying a full barre above the fifth fret. Nothing would give me more pleasure than being able to say that I could finally manage bar sixteen of Carcassi's "Study in A major, opus 60 no.3."; 'twas that which compelled me into deserting my teacher. I wasn't able to progress as far as I would have liked to until I was able break the fifth fret barre barrier. No amount of pain inducing contortions of wrist and finger joints can compress the second string sufficiently to achieve a clear note, no matter where or how my hand is placed.

I have little doubt that there will follow many responses offering well thought out, well intentioned and kindly advice, to which I assure you I will pay full attention but alas I fear none will provide the answer.

Please do not be deterred - all advice will be studiously followed, it's just that experience has led me to conclude that my bone structure renders it impossible. It is relevant to point out that I'm seventy two and my first ambition was to emulate Hank B. Marvin playing "Apache" on a Rosetti Lucky Se7en!
It doesn't take any brains to listen to music.

Luciano Pavarotti

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markodarko
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by markodarko » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:07 pm

As a matter of interest, what happens if you barre a fret with the side of your finger. I.e., not with the fleshy bit, but the boney bit. This requires you to rotate your wrist a little.

Does it ring cleanly like that?

A second question is - what happens if you poke your finger higher up out off the fretboard when playing the barre so that the B string doesn't fall into a "gap" in your flesh made by your knuckle?

Does it ring cleanly like that?

Incidentally, there should be no wrist pain when playing a barre. Your wrist should be "flat", I.e. not bent, and you should be pulling the strings down with your entire arm, not just by squeezing with your thumb. In fact you should be able to play the barre without your thumb.
Negative, I am a meat popsicle.

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R_Pegio
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by R_Pegio » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:17 pm

Tried that - nothing works at all, even after fifty plus years!
It doesn't take any brains to listen to music.

Luciano Pavarotti

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jpryan
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by jpryan » Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:37 pm

R_Pegio wrote:... I am physically totally incapable of applying a full barre above the fifth fret.
How about a guitar with a narrower fingerboard?
--John

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R_Pegio
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by R_Pegio » Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:48 pm

I am presently the custodian of Gibson Les Paul, whose owner is in Dubai; it has a shallow, narrow neck and 10 gauge strings. I can just about hold down a barre on the ninth for about three seconds.

However I have to say that I've found under a chest of drawers a footrest which I haven't seen for some years and is angled less steeply than the one I have been using, and this seems more comfortable and offers better posture. We shall see....

I'd wondered where that blessed thing was - thought the wife had consigned it to the bin.
It doesn't take any brains to listen to music.

Luciano Pavarotti

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R_Pegio
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by R_Pegio » Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:10 pm

The suggestion of a guitar with a narrower neck is very interesting, trouble is I've never seen such a thing in Europe; I visit Spain frequently and there's little likelihood of finding one there. No doubt they would be available Stateside I should think. Having one custom-made would be prohibitively expensive I should think.
It doesn't take any brains to listen to music.

Luciano Pavarotti

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AndreiKrylov
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by AndreiKrylov » Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:19 pm

I can't measure thickness (have no tool for that) but I see that my nails getting thinner every year with the age... :)
I'd better speak by music...Please listen Andrei Krylov at Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon Prime etc. Thanks!

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R_Pegio
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by R_Pegio » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:19 am

AndreiKrylov wrote:I can't measure thickness (have no tool for that) but I see that my nails getting thinner every year with the age... :)
The drawbacks of ageing - trouble is the alternative is worse, much, much worse!
It doesn't take any brains to listen to music.

Luciano Pavarotti

malin819
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by malin819 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:29 pm

nails were little thin and created hooks when they grew out. Solved my problem by applying a layer of crazy glue on them. Now they a thicker and stronger

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Jorge Oliveira
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:04 pm

It is not my case, I have quite strong nails, fortunately, but you can play without nails in a quite pleasant way. See, for instance, Rob Mackillop in this clip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfulgD6Lieo. And there are others. If you search the Internet you will even find an explanation from Rob on his technique for playing without nails.
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
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RobMacKillop
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:03 pm

Thanks. My website: http://rmClassicalGuitar.com

2handband
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by 2handband » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:11 pm

I have super-thick nails; I can pick with nails on a steel string without noticeable nail wear. Gets a big, strong tone as well. As someone upthread pointed out a thicker flatpick has the same effect (not to mention is essential if you really wanna play fast).

Trouble is right now I'm renovating my 112 year old house and the work tears the crap out of my nails no matter how careful I am...

dtoh
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by dtoh » Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:22 am

I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record on this, but one advantage of having a soft gel treatment is that it allows you to control thickness (unless you have thick nails to start with). I work on a regular basis with my nailist to experiment with different thicknesses. Also it allows you to have an uniform thickness for all you nails. (In my case, a and m are naturally thinner than i). An important thing to remember is that what you're really interested in is rigidity/flexibility....not thickness. Thickness is just one of the factors that influence flexibility.

BTW - Before getting gel treatments, I would crack/break a nail every two weeks. Since getting gel treatments, I've only had one crack in two years. The best thing about it is that you can just stop worrying about breaking your nails.

Mr.Rain
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Re: Nail Thickness

Post by Mr.Rain » Wed Dec 21, 2016 9:22 am

I used to have thin fragile nails, they are still thin, but not that fragile,what worked(/slight improvement) for me was eating more nuts and using sand paper on the last filing round.
The nails tend to chip with the daily use(picking up things doing work around the house...), but if they are well polished you can reduce the possibility of it (if the surface is polished then it is less likely to get chipping ). It is a pain initially but I got used to sand polish them every 1-2 days,may be worthy to give it a try.

In what it comes to the "home improvement", the solution is to use gloves,even if they are "thin" this will reduce the risk.

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