Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
DaveLeeNC
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun May 27, 2018 3:32 pm

My nails are typically a disaster. My thumbnail is impossible (I have had a full, usable thumbnail for maybe 2 weeks over the past 2 years). My i, m, and a nails are maybe 50/50. For whatever reason my little finger ('c') nail is indestructible. I have alternated between Alaska Pik's and ping pong balls, and over the past 6 months or so it has been 100% nails or ping pong balls (either under the nail or over, depending on the amount of nail left).

More recently I have been fighting a tone issue that seemed to be variable. There was always 'some angle' that seemed to work and avoid a kind of mushy/brushy tone. And there were technique issues as well. But this seemed to be mysteriously hard to control.

I recall a while back reading that there were two different materials used in ping pong balls. One worked pretty well and one did not. What I had done is to pre-cut a whole bunch of ping pong ball pieces from a couple of balls. And more recently I discovered that SOME of the ping pong ball pieces contributed to the tone that I was trying to fix.

So this weekend I received a Guitar Player Nails starter pack. Since I am so used to ping pong balls I really didn't use anything that came in the pack except for the pre-formed nails. At this point I have two nails (p and m) that need help and have GPN's installed. For now the other nails are real nails. My comments are

* These things are WAY easier to install than ping pong balls because of the pre-shaping.

* You could probably install these under the nail (like is most often done with ping pong balls assuming you have enough nail). But I am not sure why one would do that

* I am not a high skill player but these generate a tone that is quite acceptable to me. I am undecided about my other 'real nails' right now. I might just go to all GPN or maybe just when one breaks. Not sure.

* Ping pong balls on top of the nail are pretty unsightly. GPN's are far better in that regard.

dave
2014 Ashley Sanders Spruce/Ash Burl
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

rpavich
Posts: 717
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:23 pm
Location: West Virginia, USA

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by rpavich » Sun May 27, 2018 5:06 pm

I'd say that that's pretty accurate in my experience. I will add that it gets better as you put on a few GPN sets. You get better at the nuances of what makes a good application and shape.

I recently bought GPN's rotary file and bits and I have to say it REALLY made the whole process MUCH easier and faster. I know that it's a lot of cash but having better tools really upped the enjoyment level for me. I was using one of my wife's rotary nail files and it just didn't have the guts to do the job.
Asturias AST-100-heavily modified by Robert England.

davekear
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by davekear » Thu May 31, 2018 7:26 pm

Glad the nails are working for you. Yes a rotary file or a Dremel tool is great to have with any artificial nails. They're quick, accurate, and you can monitor what you're filing as you file. Another thing about the pre-formed nails, is that you can adjust the tone and feel after they're applied. You can take a nail that sounds just OK, and make it sound great. If you understand the anatomy of tone as it relates to fingernails, then you can adjust the nail by bending it in various ways to increase highs, increase clarity, change timbre etc. If you add 1 layer of wrap before adjusting the tone of the pre-formed nails, you get less of a crease,(fatigue line). But you can also adjust them before adding wrap. One example would be if you apply a nail with a bit too steep of an angle, you're going to hit more "edge" first. This can take away some clarity and highs. Simply bend the nail up a bit (you can use your teeth) and straighten it out so that it strikes the string more full on, less edge first. Smooth needle nose pliers also work well. Lots of different scenarios. Experiment all you want. You can always just put on a new nail at any time. A lot more info on our site regarding this.

Adam
Posts: 578
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 3:51 pm
Location: USA

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by Adam » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:01 pm

Sorry that you are having these nail issues. Have you tried any supplements? I take a MSM supplement, and my nails area really thick and strong. Could be worth a try.

If I had these problems, I don't think I could persevere through these false nail solutions. I'd probably resort to playing without nails or just get a steel string...

davekear
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by davekear » Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:20 pm

Adam wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 8:01 pm
Sorry that you are having these nail issues. Have you tried any supplements? I take a MSM supplement, and my nails area really thick and strong. Could be worth a try.

If I had these problems, I don't think I could persevere through these false nail solutions. I'd probably resort to playing without nails or just get a steel string...
Many professional guitarists use artificial nails as a preference to natural nails because of the benefits they afford.
Doesn't take too long to learn to use them. And once you do, you can remove an old nail, and put on a new one in less than 5 minutes.
And once you do learn to use them, you can get as good or better sound than natural nails.
Lots of benefits. No more nail emergencies. Just keep your natural nails short.
You can adjust and customize the feel, tone and timbre to your liking.
If you break a nail, it's no big deal. Work cement all day if you want.
Just a few of the benefits.
Eliot Fisk says about our nails:
"This is a huge revolutionary change for guitar players.
I think even you do not realize how big of a revolution this represents.
We are now in the realm of bassoon and oboe players with their reeds!!
Eliot Fisk."

Finchleyman
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:56 pm

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by Finchleyman » Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:40 pm

What I have found very beneficial in terms of nails: I use a 4-sided Nail Block, which grades from a standard file that takes away the actual nail (to get it to the correct length) and then another 3 sides getting progressively 'lighter' till it is totally smooth. The 'block' is sold under the Nail Care section at Boots the Chemists (UK). And is VERY cheap! One thing I do after all this - and this is brilliant - I get a bowl (sink) of very hot soapy water; I use a very light nailbrush to clean UNDER the nails. I soak my playing hand (right) in the water for a couple of minutes. This gives the nails a nice and slightly 'soft and springy' feel. My fingernails are actually very strong (but not brittle) - they never, ever break - but I do this in order to produce a softer tone when playing. After about 40 mins the affect has gone, and can be repeated. Well, it works for me!

raven
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:37 pm
Location: Columbia, Missouri

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by raven » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:37 pm

With the Guitar Player Nails, once you have a nail that you are happy with how long will it usually last before you have to remove it and make a replacement? Assuming about an hour of playing per day. If they go on the last 1/2 to 3/4 of the nail I'm thinking they should last several weeks or more before the area of attachment is too small. Or do they typically break or something before then?

DaveLeeNC
Posts: 289
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:31 pm
Location: Pinehurst, NC, USA

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by DaveLeeNC » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:49 pm

My limited experience is that they last weeks. It depends but just a week or two is unusually short in my mind.

dave
2014 Ashley Sanders Spruce/Ash Burl
1984 Jesus Marzal cedar CG
1971 Sherry-Brener (Cedar) Garcia No. 1 CG
1975 Gibson ES-175D Achtop Electric
2016 Eastman AR905CE-BD Carved Archtop Electric

davekear
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by davekear » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:26 pm

raven wrote:
Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:37 pm
With the Guitar Player Nails, once you have a nail that you are happy with how long will it usually last before you have to remove it and make a replacement? Assuming about an hour of playing per day. If they go on the last 1/2 to 3/4 of the nail I'm thinking they should last several weeks or more before the area of attachment is too small. Or do they typically break or something before then?
How long our nails last varies depending on playing style, external influences (i.e., running your finger into a wall, etc.) and which of our nails you're using. You can increase the strength (durability) of some of our nails by adding silk wrap, or using a more durable material that's inherently stronger, like our strips. When you understand what's involved and what the correct procedure is for applying an artificial nail, then it's actually a very simple and quick process. With the right knowledge and tools, you'll be able to remove an old nail (or remnants of) and apply a new nail in less than 5 minutes. You could do this all day long on one finger if you needed to. So you can always customize the strength needed for whatever may come up, and if some unforeseen nail ruining event should occur, it's easy and fast to replace it.

RobMacKillop
Posts: 3688
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:24 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:45 pm

Just for the record, you might sometime try playing without nails. Believe me, it can save a LOT of hassle, can sound beautiful, and there is a long heritage of players who played and play without nails. I only mention it as for some it is something that might never cross their mind to do. Some no-nail players cannot grow nails, or have endless hassle with them, while others, like myself, choose no-nails for aesthetic reasons. Just thought I'd quietly mentioning it, before slipping out the side door...

Lucas
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:24 am

Re: Quick First Impression (Guitar Player Nails)

Post by Lucas » Sun Aug 05, 2018 3:38 pm

For years now, after using a nail file, I finish them off with fine steel wool, tightly rolled into a tube-like shape. It seems to make the nail edges more like smooth glass.

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