Guitar Player Nails

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.

Guitar Player Nails

Post by bgreene531 » Thu May 02, 2013 11:43 am

I just started using preformed GPN as I am having so much trouble maintaining my natural nails. They actually worked well and I was starting to get a decent tone. Today one of them came off and the damage from the glue to the natural nail is concerning as it is now thin and flaky. I plan to try to grow my own nails.


Moderator note: Manufacturer's response and advice here.


Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by joehydro » Fri May 03, 2013 5:06 pm

In my personal experience, it's always best to try and use your own natural nails, even if they are thin, hooked, etc. I feel the use of any glue will ultimately make your nails dry and brittle. The tone I get with fake nails is so far from the tone from my natural nails, I now would rather wait for a broken nail to grow back and use only flesh until it does. And since i keep my nails very short, it only takes a couple weeks to grow back.
Only in extreme cases would I ever recommend using fake nails. The sound from different natural nails is very specific, almost intimate thing for me. But that's just me, I'm sure there are plenty of people who get great tone from fake nails. It's just not the case for (I think) most of us.
The cyanoacrylate glue I used before still affects my "m" nail, and because it's on the longest finger, I still repeatedly break it. If I new then what I know now, I'd just wait for it to grow back instead of rushing to glue something else on there. In the meantime, keep it moist with castor oil. Sea kelp, calcium, and other supplements help strenghthen them too.
Sorry for the ramble, hope this helps.


Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by bgreene531 » Fri May 03, 2013 9:39 pm

Thanks for the advice. I have started using Healthy Hoofs to condition the nails. I agree that it is better to go with flesh until the nails grow back.

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Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by jake39 » Fri May 03, 2013 10:37 pm

I used GPnails and other similar products for years and experienced the same problem. Those type of nails with the glue seems to inhibit nail growth. They were so split and thin I had to grow them out almost from the cuticle. While I was growing them out I used glue dots with the false nails and my real nails grew in well underneath them.The glue dots work well and come off easily without filing and are good for a couple of days, but will have to be redone quite a bit. It turned out to be a great solution for me while I transitioned back to my real nails. The dots I picked up at Michael's arts and crafts store.The brand is Aleen's half inch dots.They're nontoxic.


Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by bgreene531 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:32 am

My nails are finally starting to grow back. I am using healthy Hoof and it seems to be working. No more glue.


Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by bgreene531 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:56 am

I have been using Onymyrrhe for 2 months and it is starting to help with healthier nails. I also am using Mavala on the tips once per week as per the instructions. Great luck so far. I have the IMA nails back and they are strong for once but the thumb is still growing. Thanks for the advice on these two products. No more glue or fake nails.

Sean Eric Howard

Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by Sean Eric Howard » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:08 pm

I've gone straight to permanent 1/2" Glue Dot brand glue dots and absolutely love the results. I bought a package of white nails from a local drugstore and spent some time shaping the nails into various configurations. The tone is better than what I get with my natural nails (which suffer from "hookedness").


Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by Hybrid » Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:20 am

joehydro wrote:. I feel the use of any glue will ultimately make your nails dry and brittle.
Buy this man a beer. :bravo: He is dead right.



Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by monkeyking » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:42 am

I have a side job as a is very hard to maintain my right hand for playing and working.
I just felt like I had to tell someone.

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Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by woodenhand » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:45 am

Hybrid wrote:
joehydro wrote:. I feel the use of any glue will ultimately make your nails dry and brittle.
Buy this man a beer. :bravo: He is dead right.

Agree 100%. If you want good healthy nails, they need to breathe and not dry out. I personally had trouble with my nails drying out and breaking off in the winter, but it hasn't happened at all since I started applying nail moisturizing oil on the nail and cuticle once a day. A good diet is also important. Protecting your nails from detergent is also a good thing to do, so if you wash dishes or do any kind of cleaning with detergent, wear rubber kitchen gloves for protection.

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Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by Simon the Pieman » Mon May 19, 2014 12:40 pm

I tried Guitar Player Nails, bought the kit from a classical guitar shop. I studied the videos and instructions carefully and applied to the best of my ability. Here are my experiences, for what it's worth:

* I found that the fake nails supplied cracked and split very easily
* Consequently, I was having to apply new nails frequently, also glueing on a layer of fibreglass porous tape supplied
* The process of doing this requires constant filing down of the old nail and re-application of super/nail glue. The fake nails never lasted more than a day or two.
* After I decided that the sheer amount of time consumed wasn't worth it, not to mention my worries over the quantity of unnatural substances I was applying to my natural nails, I gave up
* I have since allowed my nails to start growing back
* BUT......I have found that the process of filing away old fake nails and glue has made the top half of my natural nails (the only half to which I was applying fake nails) much, much thinner
* Consequently, they are prone to break and split much more easily than before
* In conclusion, I believe that it was a bad decision to apply Guitar Player Nails in the first place
* I am now regularly using a varnish/nail food supplement which apparently has good long term results
* I take Vitamin D and Calcium supplements
* I chew a couple of squares of raw jelly each morning
* I avoid washing up without gloves
* I apply a hand/nail cream containing some nut oil regularly, to keep my nails and cuticles in good condition
* I have decided to be patient and allow my natural, strong and healthy nails to grow back - this is the hardest thing to do, because it takes time and requires "giving up" playing classical guitar the way I am accustomed to

My advice is not to take up using Guitar Player Nails unless you want to commit to nothing else - which is what the founder of the business claims to have done. He hasn't used natural nails for over a decade. Aside from the time required and the damage to your natural nails, the expense alone would be prohibitive.

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Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by Contreras » Sat Jun 28, 2014 9:27 am

I'm fortunate that I've never had any kind of problem with nails - they grow fast, they're strong, I occasionally break one like anyone but I just go without until it grows back, I don't obsess. Flatpick the Martin for a bit.

Just started buffing and polishing with Micromesh - brilliant!

But I have seen what can happen when you glue something on - false nails and nail parlors are big business here, and I have seen some women whose nails were wrecked ( = lost) due to infections developing underneath - it's important that they should be able to breathe
1929 Francisco Simplicio
1997 Manuel Contreras Doble tapa

Robert M

Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by Robert M » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:50 am

I used Acrylic nails for a few years. When I stopped using them my nails underneath were ruined. It took abut 9 months to grow the out. I would never use any type of glue again.

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Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by pogmoor » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:12 am

There's another thread on fake nails here: viewtopic.php?f=87&t=88056. This includes reference to a video of M. Delcamp demonstrating Alaska Piks:

I guess these would be an option when waiting for damaged nails to grow back, though I haven't tried them myself.
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Lester Backshall (2008), Ramirez (Guitarra del Tiempo 2017),
Yamaha (SLG 130NW silent classical guitar 2014).

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Re: Guitar Player Nails Beware

Post by graceman » Sat Nov 01, 2014 6:24 am

I simply HAVE to use GPN when preparing for a concert If one nail is missing due to an "accident" - my tehcnique and playing style on that finger becomes intolerable if nail lenght is not aligned. (And I think about the bad tone during all of my practise -not very motivating)- But I remove it again after the concert :-)
"..don't be afraid to miss a note. Being afraid is the only way you are sure to miss it.."

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