" -Hooked" - nails

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
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pogmoor
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by pogmoor » Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:32 am

Welcome to the forum Larry. Have a look here to find out what you need to know about using the site. And please also consider introducing yourself here.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

Mousey

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by Mousey » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:33 pm

I've just succumbed to frustration and filed them almost away again. Bah.
This is introducing so much frustration that I suspect it's going to end up driving me away from playing the guitar.

HrothgarZachachaeus
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by HrothgarZachachaeus » Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:57 pm

Don't give up! It should encourage you that this thread is so long and has so many people with the same problem, including myself! I am currently typing this with my poor mangled right hand nails which I messed up, in part, by overcorrecting the 'hookedness. The way I see it, it's a way to take a short break from regular practice, step away and let your nails grow back, and come back to the guitar in a few days with some fresh perspective, and hopefully learn from your filing errors!
"There's a fine line between clever and stupid."
-David St. Hubbins

LizNicks

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by LizNicks » Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:08 am

Don't give up. I don't have hooked nails but I have a horrible collection of autoimmune conditions which are making my nails extremely weak, thin with snail-like growth.

And I discovered I don't like the sound of nail-less playing. So, although I'm trying to regrow my nails (yet again), I'm using the temporary false nails with adhesive stickers. I even used medical tape to secure the nails on my fingers. I wash everything off when I'm finished playing. If Ani DiFranco can wear electrical tape and false nails, I can do this. Don't give up the guitar!

Mousey

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by Mousey » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:48 am

Thanks. I'm prone to having the odd frustrated moment of self pity as I'm really struggling to find any way of filing them that works. I don't like to think that something so seemingly small will end up putting me off something I think I otherwise have an aptitude for but I'm increasingly struggling to know what to try. I think mine slope down so much that falsies wouldn't work.

I'm very impressed at your willpower and determination Liz. Have you tried aquila's nylgut strings? I put some on my little La patrie Motif guitar and found they actually sound quite nice and bright with no nails.. though sadly my lh nails don't file back far enough to play that way either.

I'm not quite at giving up... just a bit out of ideas.

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gsilvergran
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by gsilvergran » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:00 pm

We have had some threads on this before, where I posted a trick which works great for me. Simply "perm" the nails heating the tip of a tea spoon with a lighter for 5-7 seconds, then gently push the nail up with the spoon ("facing down") and hold it for a few seconds. Just be careful not to touch the flesh and you´ll be fine :)
Nicht Bach, sondern Meer müßte er heißen - He should have been called "Ocean" instead of "Brook" / Beethoven about Bach

jowori

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by jowori » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:42 pm

gsilvergran wrote:We have had some threads on this before, where I posted a trick which works great for me. Simply "perm" the nails heating the tip of a tea spoon with a lighter for 5-7 seconds, then gently push the nail up with the spoon ("facing down") and hold it for a few seconds. Just be careful not to touch the flesh and you´ll be fine :)
...as the new nailform won't last for long you should add some gel to keep it stable.
After the tea spoon -treatment I use Maestro Vargas nail kit from Spain
https://www.flamenco-world.com/tienda/p ... luxe/5633/,

At the beginning it's a little tricky to handle with, but that way I don't even get a perfect nailform,
but also could keep the leaving edge a little thicker which improves the sound.
Best greets,
Jowori

mdc53

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by mdc53 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:24 pm

The trick is to file the underside of the nail to create a flat plane. Stop when the file contacts the entire nail at once. Then file the nail straight on to eliminate the bevel you made. Follow with whatever very fine sandpaper you normally use.

Viewed from the top the a-nail in the picture above (the only one that you can see from the correct angle; the others should be viewed in the same way) will be shorter on the pinky side, but you can't just copy its new shape by filing straight on: you must always file the underside flat first. So this isn't a permanent fix - you can't "train" the nail to grow without a hook. I've tried to show the angle of the file by adding a little line. Remember, file the underside first to create a flat plane, then file straight on to remove the bevel. Also, look at each nail in the same angel we see the a-nail in the photo.

One nice thing about it is that, at least in the example above (in fact in most cases), you don't have to shorten the nail where it contacts the string, which means that you don't have to wait for the nails to grow or get used to the new shape - they normally feel natural and it's easy to play immediately. Furthermore, it works with all kinds of nails because it's based on the principle of filing a flat plane on the underside - where the string makes contact.

You might have to practice a bit before you ge it right but believe me, it works. I've filed thousands of nails like this in the last 30 years or so.

Here are a few more tips:

File the nails to make them grow. File them every few days to keep them the same length. Sand/polish them every day - they should always be smooth as glass when you play.

Don't apply pressure with the file (this changes the shape if you've got thin or very flexible nails), use it lightly and let it do the work.

Don't file the nails when they're wet (after a shower, for instance). They're softer and a different shape when they're wet.

Likewise, if you insist on using polish or lacquer (I have to say that I don't think this it's good for the nails to be deprived of oxygen), it should be applied and completely dry before you file the nails because lacquer can alter their shape, especially if they're thin. You want to file the nails you're going to play with, some nails of a different shape.

Torn nails can be repaired with super glue, which can also be used to glue crescent moon-shaped cuttings made from ping pong balls to the underside of a broken nail (this is more or less what a product called Players' Nails was).

Exotic and eccentric remedies should be avoided. Creams, salves, potions and unguents are, in my experience, of questionable efficacy and often expensive. It's more important to have a healthy diet, keep your hands clean and your nails smooth.
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lagartija
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by lagartija » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:27 pm

Welcome to Delcamp forum, mdc53!
Perhaps you could take the time to introduce yourself to the forum here and get a true Delcamp welcome. To learn more about this forum and its rules, please have a look at our welcome page.

Thank you for your detailed post about nail filing. There are many here who will find the information you have provided very useful. :D
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

brphillips

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by brphillips » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:44 pm

mdc53 wrote:The trick is to file the underside of the nail to create a flat plane. Stop when the file contacts the entire nail at once. Then file the nail straight on to eliminate the bevel you made. Follow with whatever very fine sandpaper you normally use.
Hi, I agree with all that you suggest. In addition I always finish the filing job with something like leather (I use a cheap proprietary equivalents from Boots UK) so that there are NO SNAGS remaining from the scratches caused by glasspaper, diamond file, etc. I check by looking at the edges of the nails with a 10X magnifying lens. I do not now suffer from chips and cracks that I used to.

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ElectricLute
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by ElectricLute » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Hooked nails I have found over the years a great problem.Its has been my a finger.Ramping helps but I find tremelo almost impossible.Now my i and m fingers are also becoming hooked.I have often wondered if a medical condition is the cause of this since I do have high blood pressure.Any thoughts on this would be welcome.
1984 Paul Fischer
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lagartija
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by lagartija » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:50 pm

ElectricLute wrote:Hooked nails I have found over the years a great problem.Its has been my a finger.Ramping helps but I find tremelo almost impossible.Now my i and m fingers are also becoming hooked.I have often wondered if a medical condition is the cause of this since I do have high blood pressure.Any thoughts on this would be welcome.
Just do a google search of "nails as an indicator of disease" and you will see the first hits are Mayo Clinic articles with pictures of nail conditions, and the next hits are also medical sites with similar information.
When the sun shines, bask.
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Classical Guitar forever!

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ElectricLute
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by ElectricLute » Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:38 pm

IIve had too many hooked nails now a and m so I'm going to convert to the lute.However will try classical guitar with nylgut and experiment.After all Tarrega and Sor had no nails.
1984 Paul Fischer
1975 Tamura
2000 Oskar Graf 10 string
Alhambra 9P CW
La Patrie Collection
Ibanez Artcore AF95-TK-12-01
Takamine EG43SC
8 course lute Larry Brown

okjellno

Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by okjellno » Sat May 24, 2014 6:29 pm

When I started playing guitar my nails did not hook. Then my nailbeds grew out(I had been biting my nails/nailbeds since childhood), and with them some of my nails started hooking. Since they did not hook to begin with, I began to suspect that making my nailbeds more evenly curved/less pointy under the nail would help with the hooking. To fix this I had to use a knife and cut into the nailbed under the nail(while using weed for the pain). Currently I'm just making sure to push back the nailbed so it does not grow too uneven/pointy again, and everything is perfect. I'm not sure I can recommend this method to anyone. Since everyone's different, there's probably a good chance this only works for me.

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George Crocket
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Re: " -Hooked" - nails

Post by George Crocket » Sat May 24, 2014 9:44 pm

Hi okjellno. Welcome to the forum. Could you please introduce yourself here.

I don't think your method could be recommended to anyone, not least yourself. I think using a knife inevitably results in scar tissue which you cannot control. I am not sure about the use of weed for such pain-relief is a good idea either.
George
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