Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
micha
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:58 pm

Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by micha » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:23 am

Dear all,
I have successfully grown my fingernails for a couple of months, and am experimenting different shapes, ways to file them, etc. I am really enjoying the nice sound that one can get from fingernails.

However, I will have to leave for a week of sport activity (sailing), and I am afraid that the nails may break due to the intensive, heavy use of hands and shocks. :? :?

What would you suggest to minimize the damage? Should I cut them nails to a relatively short length?

Thank you for your help! :)
Best,
Micha

Chuah Hui Hsien
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:27 am
Location: Penang, Malaysia

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Chuah Hui Hsien » Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:38 am

I don't have strong nails, I always keep my nails very short, and follow the contour of my tips.I noticed less breaking of nails since then.
2017 Karel Dedain Spruce/Maple (Torres) 64cm
1998 Yamaha GD 10, Spruce/IRW 65cm
1988 Alhambra AL 8, Cedar/IRW 65cm

a human
Posts: 583
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 1:37 am
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by a human » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:38 pm

I try to protect mine by wearing gloves during gardening, horse activities, working at food bank, household chores. Sometimes that helps avoid breakage, but it isn't a guarantee. The longer they are, the more likely they will snag, snap, tear or break.
1965 Krempel Classical (660ish mm)
The rest come and go.

Jack Douglas
Posts: 1577
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:37 am
Location: Ashland, Va

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Jack Douglas » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:30 pm

a human wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:38 pm
I try to protect mine by wearing gloves during gardening, horse activities, working at food bank, household chores. Sometimes that helps avoid breakage, but it isn't a guarantee. The longer they are, the more likely they will snag, snap, tear or break.
All the above, especially in the drier winter months. They break if you look at them the wrong way.
I’ve noticed that some professional players tape their nails to protect them. If you use a waterproof version that might help, though exposure to water while on the sailboat the nails might be more flexible and less prone to tears or cracking.
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

Grasshopper
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:54 am
Location: England, West Country

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Grasshopper » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:54 pm

Also stick a layer of superglue on top of them round the end. You don't need much, but it does help IMO.

User avatar
Kent
Posts: 2765
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:40 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Kent » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:06 pm

Gloves. Many pairs.
If you will do vigorous work (or play), put a fabric band-aid around each tip of the nail, then put on gloves.

User avatar
robin loops
Posts: 3212
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:57 am
Location: California

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by robin loops » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:11 pm

If I run the risk of breaking nails due to an activity, I file them shorter than I normally keep them. They will grow back a lot faster than a broken nail would.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.
-James-

Dirck Nagy
Posts: 885
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:47 pm
Location: Wisconsin, USA

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Dirck Nagy » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:34 pm

Tape.

A few layers of cloth surgical tape works well, but duct tape or even masking tape is better than nothing. Then wear gloves over that.

I would also file my nails down extra-low.

robert e
Posts: 563
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by robert e » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:05 pm

Also stick a layer of superglue on top of them round the end. You don't need much, but it does help IMO.
I was wondering where classical players stand these days on nail polish, "hardener" and super glue?

When I played in a rock band, I'd put clear polish on my index fingernail to keep it from chipping and splitting. That was for protection against self-inflicted trauma, of course, but the polish worked, holding up to hours a day of pounding and grinding on steel strings. I imagine coatings like that would affect tone, but maybe not necessarily for the worse?

User avatar
Julian Ward
Posts: 311
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:52 am
Location: UK

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Julian Ward » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:38 pm

Yes ^ coating with some superglue is a great thing to do. The other trick I have learned over the 30 years I have had long fingernails on my right hand is to do everything left handed.

By that I mean reach for every door with the left hand, open every door, cupboard, handle whatever...always left handed. I do a lot of windsurfing and have not broken a nail doing this but am more at risk doing the every day things I listed above, hence the left hand trick. It does work and does become automatic.
Classical guitar teacher

paskin
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2018 1:10 am
Location: Palo Alto, California

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by paskin » Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:52 am

Totally agree with Julian, always use your left hand when possible, and if it's not possible, use your right hand slowly. I don't often break my nails, but when I do it's because I've broken this rule.

User avatar
Contreras
Posts: 907
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2014 12:13 am
Location: In the Wind

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by Contreras » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:58 am

Keep 'em well filed, shaped, polished ... and gloves for everything!
1929 Francisco Simplicio
1997 Manuel Contreras Doble tapa

dtoh
Posts: 316
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:54 pm

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by dtoh » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:51 pm

My nails used to break ALL the time. I started getting soft gel treatments. Now my nails NEVER break or crack and I never think or worry about what activities to avoid. Even if you don't want to do gel treatments on a regular basis, you might think about it for your week vacation.

TheGreatKat
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:42 pm
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by TheGreatKat » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:43 pm

I would definitely make them shorter but not with a scissors, file them carefully. Also polish them smoothly. As many said before gloves are good option. I use it for hiking, climbing even when its really hot. I use a pair of bicycle gloves with full fingers. You can find very thin on top ones.

micha
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:58 pm

Re: Protect your fingernails from shocks?

Post by micha » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:48 am

Hi all,
I have filed them to a reasonably short length and then polished them with fine 1500 sandpaper, wore gloves, and this worked very well! They didn't break at all and when I came back they were still long enough to play.

Thanks!

Return to “Use of nails in playing the classical guitar”