Getting used to silk wraps

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
ebneth

Getting used to silk wraps

Post by ebneth » Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:51 am

I finally broke down and went to my wife's local nail shop to get silk wraps after years of playing with bare fingers. First of all, the nails are much thicker now so I'm hitting other strings as I play. Also, it seems to me to be a metallic sound as I play. Is the poor tone because I'm not used to them yet, or is the thickness causing the problem? Anyone else experience a break in period? I was wondering if the Guitar Player Nails are as thick and unresponsive as these commercially applied silk wraps. Thanks for any comments on this.

Emil Krasich
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Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by Emil Krasich » Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:02 am

silks/acrylics will always give a lousy tone. It's all about nail/flesh combination for a good sound out of the guitar. Are you having trouble with growing out and shaping your natural nail?

Rainwater

Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by Rainwater » Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:48 pm

I had good experience with guitar player nails. I had the GPNs on two fingers (im), and natural for the other two (pa).
The sound was pretty consistent. the thing about guitar player nails is that it takes a bit of sanding, and I think this thins the guitar player nail a bit. I think silk wraps cover your fingernail-thicker nail, and GPNs extend past the nail....pretty similar to natural nails. My nails have finally grown out all natural now, but I keep the GPNs around for emergency.

rfd

Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by rfd » Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:19 am

I do my own silk wraps with Swiss Silk. This silk has a very light adhesive backing, to make positioning easy. I use Hot Stuff thin CYA for the bonding. I started off doing the whole nail, but that's not necessary - now I like the tip only wrap, and only a small portion of the silk is needed. After positioning the silk over the nail tip, I apply a small amount of CYA, allowing it to saturate the silk - I use a bit of paper towel to wipe off any excess CYA that might build up. The silk overhang is removed with a 220 grit abrasive board, and at least 2 more coats of CYA are added. Final sanding is done with 600 and 1500 abrasive, making sure to smooth off the tip area. I'll get at least several weeks of daily playing from this wrap procedure before needing to touch up with a bit more CYA. I find that silk wrapping is THE way to go for me - no more worries about chipped or broken nails, no concerns about cold cracks or liquid softening. Best of all, your wrapped nails feel totally and completely natural. The resulting string tone is "round" and clear, but that has more to do with your playing style, attack, and nail shape.

Half nail wrap ...
Image

Tip only nail wrap ...
Image

ebneth

Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by ebneth » Sat Nov 08, 2008 1:21 pm

For Emilio,
I have the thinnest nails imaginable, plus I get alergic skin reactions to the nail strengtheners out there.

Chris Ebneth

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James Lister
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Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by James Lister » Sat Nov 08, 2008 4:54 pm

I use pretty much the same technique as rfd above, with good results, and a very good tone, if anything slightly better than with just my natural nails.

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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KeMe
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Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by KeMe » Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:22 pm

rfd wrote:I do my own silk wraps with Swiss Silk.
This sounds wonderful, I think that I'm going to try it.My own natural nails are thin and give such a wimpy thin sound. :( I'm tired of the salon solar nails because they click on the strings and drive me crazy. So this sounds good.
Thanks for the information. :merci:

Kay
Music touches the heart, but playing classical guitar can lift your heart and enrich your life.

ebneth

Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by ebneth » Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:56 pm

Guitarists,
Thanks for the advise. What the salon I went to did was to start with one of those strips glued to the fingernail, trim it, then began applying alternating layers of a powder (?) with a layer of glue until it built up the thickness of the nail. Then the whole thing was filed down smooth. It seems that the GPN's are a much thinner, more responsive attachment.( I read an interview with Peter Huttlinger, a steel string fingerstyle master, and he said he has his nails done at a salon every two weeks. Perhaps he knows to keep the nails thinner. ) I think I'll give the Guitar Player Nails a try.

Straight Ahead.

Greg2

Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by Greg2 » Sun Nov 09, 2008 9:58 pm

I've had to use a single layer of silk for m - otherwise it wears down and chips alot when playing. I just put a 2 to 3mm wide strip on the edge of the nail (using the self stick silk sold for silk wraps w/ cyanoacrylate glue as described by others - just cut off what I need) - usually lasts a couple of weeks. I keep the nails relatively short so I am getting flesh with nail when playing. Tone sounds the same as other fingers.

ErikEngerd
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Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by ErikEngerd » Fri Jan 01, 2016 9:34 pm

I started out with china silk (Miro's naio repair kit) and had quite some trouble getting good sound and also had the problem with the silk wraps letting go early or fraying. But I have now developed a method that seems to work quite well. I know have excellent tone quality and as we speak I have two silk wraps that have been on my nails for about two weeks already and that seem to be quite strong and provide some additional length because I broke off some large parts of my nails.

Things I did wrong in the past:
  • using mujltiple layer of glue between two layers of silk
  • not using a nail activator for much smoother and faster results
What I do now to lengthen my naiks is the folowing:
  • apply one layer of silk (china silk or swiss silk will do) and don't use any glue yet
  • liberally apply resin glue and spread it evenly, completely drenching the silk
  • use resin glue activator to dry quickly, and repeat from step 1 until you have three layers of silk and glue
  • apply another three layers of resin glue and use resin activator each time after applying the glue
  • now file the nail into shape
You can get cheap china silk or swiss silk as well as resin activator abnd glue on the internet. No need to buy special stuff for guitarists.

celestemcc
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Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by celestemcc » Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:37 pm

Short of an out-and-out break, I only use silk for repairs... and let the nail grow out until I can safely file it to a reasonable playing length. Acrylic (done at a salon) can be great, but at least for me, it's really bad for the nail in general.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

Robert Cote
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Re: Getting used to silk wraps

Post by Robert Cote » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:40 pm

rfd wrote:
Sat Nov 08, 2008 11:19 am
I do my own silk wraps with Swiss Silk. This silk has a very light adhesive backing, to make positioning easy. I use Hot Stuff thin CYA for the bonding. I started off doing the whole nail, but that's not necessary - now I like the tip only wrap, and only a small portion of the silk is needed. After positioning the silk over the nail tip, I apply a small amount of CYA, allowing it to saturate the silk - I use a bit of paper towel to wipe off any excess CYA that might build up. The silk overhang is removed with a 220 grit abrasive board, and at least 2 more coats of CYA are added. Final sanding is done with 600 and 1500 abrasive, making sure to smooth off the tip area. I'll get at least several weeks of daily playing from this wrap procedure before needing to touch up with a bit more CYA. I find that silk wrapping is THE way to go for me - no more worries about chipped or broken nails, no concerns about cold cracks or liquid softening. Best of all, your wrapped nails feel totally and completely natural. The resulting string tone is "round" and clear, but that has more to do with your playing style, attack, and nail shape.
I realize this post is ancient now, but I just wanted to express my gratitude for the info. This worked great for me - at least for the one fingernail I needed to repair and reinforce. I didn't use the exact nail glue mentioned - I used a generic ethyl cyanoacrylate brush-on glue I found at the beauty supply store - but my results were quite good. I did notice that I had to use a finer grit of abrasive board to get a good round tone - finer than I normally would with natural nails. Until I did that, I was getting a brighter, slightly unpleasant attack that wasn't matching up with my other nails.

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