Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
celestemcc
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by celestemcc » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:13 pm

I've always played with nails, can't even remember playing without a full RH of nails. Suddenly though I find myself with two broken ones, and having trouble keeping a fake on one of them. My m nail is down to the quick, which rarely happens; the other is my thumbnail, but I'm used to working without one if necessary.

So, I'm considering filing all my RH nails down and starting over, so to speak. If I do this, during the interim, can it affect my RH technique? It's been that long. I know I won't love the sound, but want to maintain the technique I have while waiting for them to all come back. Will it feel same-as-usual but quieter? Or radically different? I'm really afraid to do this without some idea of what I may be getting into!

A few things: 1) Nope, not planning on staying nail-less and 2) Usually I'm pretty good with fakes, but given certain life circumstances and cold, dry weather, this option isn't really good for the short term. If it turns out that maybe filing them all, isn't a great idea, I'll keep slogging along with the fakes till I get some growth.

Thanks!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

ddray
Posts: 727
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by ddray » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:29 pm

How about a set of plastic picks? It wouldn't be the same of course but it may help you continue playing with your usual technique until your nails grow back.

User avatar
ameriken
Posts: 292
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:58 pm
Location: Westminster, Co USA

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by ameriken » Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:02 pm

I've heard of Rico nails, fakes but temporary. You can put them on and take them off every time you play.
Amalio Burguet 1A Spruce
Takamine C-132S

celestemcc
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by celestemcc » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:01 pm

How about a set of plastic picks?
Thanks -- been there, they really don't work for me, just don't feel like real nails at all, darn.

Rico nails

I do have a similar alternative; (Ricos are just too big for any but my thumb) and perhaps I'll just get some of the same adhesive Rico uses. It's the way I'll go if I don't take this drastic step of filing. I'm just trying to avoid the fake route (and I may be kidding myself and have to just break down and deal with a fake on m!!)
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

ddray
Posts: 727
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by ddray » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:27 pm

Well davekear who's a user here may be able to give you some advice. He sells artificial nails.

celestemcc
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by celestemcc » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:34 am

Thanks... still though, has anyone tried starting over from no nails, and what's the process like?
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

davekear
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by davekear » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:05 am

ddray wrote:
Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:27 pm
Well davekear who's a user here may be able to give you some advice. He sells artificial nails.
Thanks ddray.
Here's a copy of a post I did a little while ago:
A great option would be to learn to use artificial nails. Many professional guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Grisha Goryachev, and many more, use artificial nails on a regular basis and have been doing so for years. They don't use natural nails at all. You can have artificial nails that feel and sound like great natural nails, and can use them every day of your life without damage to your natural nails. If you get good at it, you can remove an old nail, put on a new one and be ready to play in less than 5 minutes. Just a matter of learning how to do it properly.
If you contact me personally, I'll be glad to help you.

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1196
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:58 pm

davekear wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:05 am
Here's a copy of a post I did a little while ago:
A great option would be to learn to use artificial nails. Many professional guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Grisha Goryachev, and many more, use artificial nails on a regular basis and have been doing so for years. They don't use natural nails at all. You can have artificial nails that feel and sound like great natural nails, and can use them every day of your life without damage to your natural nails. If you get good at it, you can remove an old nail, put on a new one and be ready to play in less than 5 minutes. Just a matter of learning how to do it properly.
If you contact me personally, I'll be glad to help you.
Just a note in support of Dave's system - it works perfectly and I can confirm that the process, when learned, is quick and reliable. More importantly to me though (I'm extremely fussy), the ones made from scratch feel 100% like using one's own nails.

I've used them in concert both solo and with musicians like Giulio Tampalini, Ewa Jabłczyńska and Bill Kanengizer. The tone produced using these false nails was compared extremely favourably (and not by me) against that of the other players in every case.

I've tried many other methods but nothing came close.

User avatar
BugDog
Posts: 1088
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:07 pm
Location: Northern KY USA

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by BugDog » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:22 pm

On the rare occasion that I break a nail so bad that it's unusable, I'll do the file 'em all down thing. I look at it as revisiting basic technique and generally learn, or relearn, something about the finger/ string interaction.
BugDog
There's one in every crowd.

User avatar
kloeten
Posts: 1041
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 3:33 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by kloeten » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:31 pm

celestemcc wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:34 am
Thanks... still though, has anyone tried starting over from no nails, and what's the process like?
I play with nails but regularly (once every 2-3 months) I cut all RH nails short - as a gesture to my wife who hates the nails.

Although the sound is pretty thin at first, things will improve after just a couple of days. After more than a week you will sound 'ok' again.
I have never noticed any impact on my RH technique, so I would say go for it, it only hurts for a week.

Best of luck!
Rutger

celestemcc
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by celestemcc » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:57 pm

I look at it as revisiting basic technique

Interesting point, thanks!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

celestemcc
Posts: 832
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by celestemcc » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:58 pm

it only hurts for a week
I envy your fast growing nails! And thank you!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

davekear
Posts: 300
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by davekear » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:05 pm

Mark Clifton-Gaultier wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:58 pm
davekear wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:05 am
Here's a copy of a post I did a little while ago:
A great option would be to learn to use artificial nails. Many professional guitarists including Eliot Fisk, Grisha Goryachev, and many more, use artificial nails on a regular basis and have been doing so for years. They don't use natural nails at all. You can have artificial nails that feel and sound like great natural nails, and can use them every day of your life without damage to your natural nails. If you get good at it, you can remove an old nail, put on a new one and be ready to play in less than 5 minutes. Just a matter of learning how to do it properly.
Just a note in support of Dave's system - it works perfectly and I can confirm that the process, when learned, is quick and reliable. More importantly to me though (I'm extremely fussy), the ones made from scratch feel 100% like using one's own nails.

I've used them in concert both solo and with musicians like Giulio Tampalini, Ewa Jabłczyńska and Bill Kanengizer. The tone produced using these false nails was compared extremely favourably (and not by me) against that of the other players in every case.

I've tried many other methods but nothing came close.
Thanks Mark Clifton-Gaultier, appreciate that. There is a bit of a learning curve involved. in over 25 years of doing this, we've learned there are some important things you need to know, and do, in order to achieve good, standard results. But once you get it down, it's really nice to have this knowledge; that you can have great nails anytime you want in just a few minutes.

User avatar
David Gutowski
Posts: 491
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:14 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by David Gutowski » Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:08 am

Add some pure coral calcium to your diet or drink plenty of smoothies made with whole milk...keeps the nails strong and fast growing.
3 hard things for humans: dentist visit, public speaking, offering forgiveness.

Muse: chg pitch measure rhym feel tempo improvise melody harmonize arpeggios stucco your legato & practice

Carrillo Concert
Yulong Chamber '17
Bozo 123

Laudiesdad69
Posts: 2000
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:16 pm

Re: Nails: starting from (sorry) scratch

Post by Laudiesdad69 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:56 am

Just broke M today, and I filed em all down.

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