Fingernail Structure Question

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
DaveLeeNC
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Fingernail Structure Question

Post by DaveLeeNC » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:15 am

My nails (p,m, and a anyway) are built of egg shells. For whatever reason i and c are manageable. I am currently giving Alaska Picks a serious try and I noticed something today. Alaska Picks are BARELY long enough on my fingers on the 'a' finger and not at all long enough for p based on what I have seen on some guitarists. So I measured the distance from where the playing end of my nail 'exits' the skin and the tip of my finger. I just took a mm ruler and, with my palm facing my face, I stuck it down firmly behind my nail and eyeballed the distance up to the top of my finger. My numbers were

p - 5.5 mm
i - 4.5 mm
m - 5 mm
a - 5.5 mm

I have seem pictures of nails of guitarists that would not come close to reaching the top of my fingers. So I am wondering if my nail structure is somewhat unusual and if that isn't part of my egg shell nail problems.

Numbers from other? 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

Lovemyguitar
Posts: 2877
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Fingernail Structure Question

Post by Lovemyguitar » Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:40 am

My nails also need to be fairly long just to get over my fingertips (but I have never measured the distance). I have noticed that some peoples' nails start almost at the tip, thus they can make do with much shorter nails than I can, but I have also seen many like mine. I think there is quite a bit of variation on this matter, and so I don't think that it is a problem in itself. My nails are strong and healthy, so the length doesn't affect their durability (although, I suppose the only thing is that longer nails may catch on things more easily, although I am very careful!). Are your nails weak and brittle even when they are shorter? If so, there is probably something else causing it.

Bill B
Posts: 1024
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Fingernail Structure Question

Post by Bill B » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:22 am

I think the point of attachment might be variable, meaning people who bit them or keep them cut as short as possible, like surgeons end up with nails that attach further from the tip. certainly the shorter you can keep them the stronger they are and also the less likely to snag on things. I try to keep mine just barely long enough to get the sound I want.
2013 Angel Benito Aguado
2005 Ramirez R-2

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Fingernail Structure Question

Post by DaveLeeNC » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:02 pm

Regarding the question "Are your nails weak and brittle even when they are shorter?" The answer is yes for p, m, and a and no for i and c (which just are not a problem). FWIW, I took a tiny chip out of 'm' last night opening a pop top diet cola can. Guess I need to stick with the plastic screw top stuff :-)

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

Lovemyguitar
Posts: 2877
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Fingernail Structure Question

Post by Lovemyguitar » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:50 pm

DaveLeeNC wrote:Regarding the question "Are your nails weak and brittle even when they are shorter?" The answer is yes for p, m, and a and no for i and c (which just are not a problem). FWIW, I took a tiny chip out of 'm' last night opening a pop top diet cola can. Guess I need to stick with the plastic screw top stuff :-)
Regarding your brittle nails, have you tried any of the usual "remedies" such as applying oils, eating more gelatin, and/or taking supplements like MSM, fish oil, biotin, etc? Regarding pop cans, it is best to use your left hand for such things! Bummer, though! :(

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Fingernail Structure Question

Post by DaveLeeNC » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:07 pm

The supplements seem an unlikely solution to me given the asymmetrical nature of my problem (where only some nails are an issue). I happened to have my annual physical last Friday and my doctor suggested that stuff I applied would more likely to be useful, although this isn't his thing.

So this weekend I started using a vitamin E 'ointment' (kind of like vaseline with vitamin E) and just today found some uncolored iodine to try out. FWIW CVS pharmacies (common in the US - have no idea elsewhere) often stock what they call "uncolored iodine". White iodine and Clear Iodine are also used.

We'll see how this goes.

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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