How do you protect your nail?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:06 am

Yisrael van Handel wrote:My nails rip and get nicked all the time. I refuse to use anything artificial on my nails. And I have tried playing without nails, but gave it up. You can play faster and have a larger range of tone quality with nails. Out of four right-hand nails that I use to activate the strings, the playing surface of my thumbnail is entirely gone and has been for at least two weeks. I am playing with the flesh only right now. And I had to file down the m nail completely to remove a deep tear. It should be back at playing length next week. In the meantime, I play with whatever nails I have. I can do very useful practicing without perfect nails. I am working on memorizing (probably my biggest weakness at this point—I cannot play anything from memory), so the nails are not critical.
I am a professional writer, and I write a lot. I am constantly hitting keys on the computer keyboard with my nails. Does not do them any good. However, I suspect that the main source of nicks and rips in nails comes from the very dangerous activity of…playing the guitar. I am currently trying to perfect Käppel's method of shaping the nails and activating the strings. It seems that this will cut down on nail damage considerably once I have mastered it.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

guit-box
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by guit-box » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:11 pm

Yisrael van Handel wrote: I am currently trying to perfect Käppel's method of shaping the nails and activating the strings. It seems that this will cut down on nail damage considerably once I have mastered it.
Can you tell us about this or post a link? I'm not familiar with who Käppel is.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

dtoh
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by dtoh » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:22 pm

Go to a good manicurist and get a soft gel treatment. Every time I read the threads on nail care, I feel like I've wandered into Plato's allegory of the cave. Walk into the sunlight and get your nails treated. If you don't think it's a huge improvement, you can have the gel finish removed and climb back into the cave.

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Yisrael van Handel
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by Yisrael van Handel » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:24 am

guit-box wrote: Can you tell us about this or post a link? I'm not familiar with who Käppel is.
Certainly. Hubert Käppel, a German classical guitarist (Professor at the Conservatory in Köln) who wrote a book called "The Technique of the Modern Concert Guitar." The English translator mistranslated the title "The Bible of Modern Guitar Technique." This book is rapidly becoming the standard of modern guitar technique. There is nothing revolutionary here. Mr. Käppel's technique is evolutionary, representing the current state of modern classical guitar technique. The reason this book is having such a spectacular impact is because Mr. Käppel goes into great detail to explain what the techniques are for, the exact mechanics that are required, and very detailed microexercises that make mastering techniques easier by breaking them down into their component parts. I have had the book only two months, and it has already greatly improved my awareness and playing ability. For the first time in 50 years I have an idea what I am supposed to achieve by shaping and polishing fingernails (namely, first of all, quick release). There are a hundred other things that I know understand for the first time, too many to mention. One more example: you have to watch the distance between your palm and the bottom edge of the fingerboard. Mr. Käppel gives exact measurements that lead to the greatest power in the fingers with the least effort. Another example: he explains exactly how the thumb should move according to what string you are playing. The book gives hundreds of such insights, all of which contribute to better technique, that allows you to do more and do it faster.
Yisrael van Handel
Modi'in Ilit, Israel

guit-box
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by guit-box » Sun Oct 23, 2016 3:29 pm

Thanks for the reply, I hadn't heard of him, but watched some videos and read some of the book online and it seems worth owning. Strings By Mail and Amazon carry the book in the states.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

robert e
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by robert e » Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:55 pm

guit-box wrote:Thanks for the reply, I hadn't heard of him, but watched some videos and read some of the book online and it seems worth owning. Strings By Mail and Amazon carry the book in the states.
Here's a recent thread about the book, with a few mini-reviews and talk of where to get it. The consensus seems to be that, despite a horrendous English translation, the book is worth its weight in gold. I just ordered a copy from Book Depository.

EDIT: Ooops! forgot the link: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=104092&start=45

Bill B
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by Bill B » Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:49 pm

the only things that I know that actually helped me are keeping the edges smooth to avoid snags, and the nails as short as possible to keep them stronger and out of the way. If I'm doing something especially dangerous for them I wear work gloves, but they help less than you might think. I broke my thumbnail last week doing yard work with heavy work gloves on.
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TheRoadGoesOn4Ever
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by TheRoadGoesOn4Ever » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:19 pm

Scotch Tape?? It seems to work OK for me.
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rojarosguitar
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Re: How do you protect your nail?

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:08 pm

Which one?
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