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  #1  
Old 10-15-2012, 08:28 PM
JeSuisAmericain JeSuisAmericain is offline
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Default Acrylic Nails?

I play those weird percussive/fingerstyle/tappy-type techniques. I hate–HATE–fingerpicks (they catch on the strings) and my fingernails are wearing out too fast. I've kinda run out of options, so...

Should I just go for acrylic nails? I've heard some really nasty "war stories" about what happens with acrylic nails and how they're "the worst decision [some random guitarist] ever made". On the other hand, many very well known players (I'm thinking of Kaki King and Tony McManus here) use acrylic nails.

Should I? Personal experience/stories more than welcome.
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  #2  
Old 10-15-2012, 09:42 PM
Jeff Scott Jeff Scott is offline
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Have you checked this out?

http://www.jamestaylor.com/guitarlessons/

You will see this video:

Lesson One Bonus Video:
"NAILS 101"
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  #3  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:07 PM
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The video Jeff linked above is nice. Those are fiberglass wraps.
Also look into silk wraps.

I've tried both wraps mentioned, applying acrylic nails myself with superglue and dip powder, and just about every fingerpick in existence. I liked the tone and durability I got with the acrylic nails the most, but they were just too much of a hassle.
I am not man enough to walk into a salon for real acrylic nails. Maybe someday...
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:37 PM
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i wore acrylic nails for years, starting when i was in a band rehearsing long hours for a show and wore all my nails off at an angle. as long as you make sure to get them filled often enough, they're just awesome once you find what shape/thickness you want. once you have that nailed (pun intended) for the tone/feel you're looking for, it's just wonderful and you never have to look for a pick. i wore mine for years, and if i start playing more in the future will absolutely have acrylic overlays again.
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:55 AM
Paikon Paikon is offline
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i use these "Original Instant Nail" for years
i bought them when it was only material they were selling, i never tried the pre formed or thicker thumb stuff
http://guitarplayernails.com/store/
for me the fiberglass wrap didnt work, instead when the physical nail breaks on the side i glue on top a piece of an artificial nail and i file the edges down so it doesnt catch the string when i use the top of the nail.
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2012, 05:05 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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My take on it is HERE. I've had 'em for years.

Bob
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:28 AM
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I have acrylic nails. I play fingerstyle, and my natural nails are too thin to be useful. They break, chip, and peal. I wouldn't get acrylics if I didn't need to, as it is a pain to get the acrylic applied and maintained. I need to go in every 2-3 weeks to have it done. However, they do work really well for what I need. I get good volume and can get better consistency in tone than using fingerpicks or natural nails. Initially it was a bit of a search to find a good shop, and tech, to do the nails. I didn't like the shops where there was a language barrier as I couldn't always get them to understand what I wanted. I also don't like the shops that use dremel tools instead of hand files.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:49 AM
DanR DanR is offline
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I just did the fiberglass wrap thing last night. I was pleasantly suprised.

Thanks JT

I saw the JT video a week or so ago and ordered the wrap and it came in the mail yesterday. In my case, they worked fine as a repair/spare tire type thing. My nails are usually pretty sturdy, but if I let them get too long, leverage seems to take over and one will break.

A little over 2 weeks ago, I picked up an OM-28 Martin as a kind of a fingerpicking guitar. As luck (or lack of) would have it, I jammed my thumbnail into the brick side of my house while carrying in groceries. At first there seemed to be just a little blood underneath but no break, but the next day I saw a crack on the picking side halfway down to the cuticle. I tried superglue to hopefully hold it together until it grew out, but it ultimately broke. After applying the wrap last night and then filing and shaping, the nail worked like a charm. It seems very sturdy and isn't all that visually noticeable.
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  #9  
Old 10-16-2012, 08:52 PM
Bill Reid Bill Reid is offline
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Default Like acrylics: advice

What a relief when I finally started going to a nail salon and getting acrylics on my thumb and three fingers (omitting the pinkie in my case)! It works for finger-picking & strumming, and the acrylic is nice and hard for strumming with the back of the nails as well. They take a little care between visits (about every 2-3 weeks for me, and most shops charge $10-18), but they're much better than bare nails or finger picks.

Many manicurists in large shops have more than one guitar player customer; in small nail shops of small towns (I've been in many on the road) you're an anomaly. The first time you do it, they will put on plastic extensions. After that, a brush-on acrylic of some kind will be used to "fill" in the back as the nail grows.

Some pointers that work for me:

(1) Don't let them become too long. Very long nails on acoustic-electric metal strings often cause a metallic, "hot" sound on direct-in. If that happens, try filing the nails back a bit so that a little "meat" blends with the sound.

(2) Very long nails tend to bend in at the sides, causing the nail (particularly the "thumb side" of the index and middle fingers) to dig into the quick. That gets worse as the nail grows out with thinner nail behind it. Ouch.

(3) As the nail grows out, bare nail sometimes appears under the quick at the sides (especially the "thumb side"), and can tend to dig under the quick (as above, with the same "ouch"). If you feel that, the first thing to do is gently push back the side cuticle and see if there's a bit of bare nail cutting in. If so, put some alcohol or other antiseptic on it, slip a nail file underneath it, and gently push it upward out of the irritated area. Filing it back helps a lot for me.

(4) Be sure the underside of the nail is smooth, especially at the sides where a slight burr can catch on the string.

(5) For shaping acrylic nails, get good coarse emery boards (not a metal file), since thick acrylic nail is hard to grind down. The black-surfaced ones are just right for me. Some players pluck the strings with the very tip (as classical players should for the most part); others, like myself, pluck mostly on the side of the nail. Ironically, IMHO that side should be gently rounded, not protrude like a claw.

(6) Don't let the manicurist push your cuticles too far back or grind too much near the quick on the sides of the nail. That can start an irritation that gets worse with lots of playing.

(7) If you see the nail separating from the acrylic, or discoloration beneath the acrylic, get the nail redone. Discoloration can be mold on top of the nail (the manicurist should sterilize the nail before applying a fresh tip).

(8) Once you get the nails the length and shape you want, tell the manicurist that you want "fills" but not to mess with the tips. Adjust the shape yourself later.

Long post. Sorry.
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  #10  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:19 PM
kingputz kingputz is offline
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My wife got me to go to the shop for acrylic nails. I've had them done about 6 times now and I love them! Occasionally the acrylic will crack or break, but manicurist repairs it for free. I've used Alaska picks for years, and I have to say I love playing with acrylics. Keep them filed and they typically last 3-4 weeks. She also told me to pick up some cuticle oil and apply that once a day and it will help the acrylic from pulling away from the nail.
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  #11  
Old 10-17-2012, 09:56 AM
E-man E-man is offline
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Default Get them done professionally

I tried fingerpicks, buying & doing it myself & just about anything rather go to a Nail Shop to get them done... BUT NOW

I go to a nail shop... much better.. much easier.. the shop I go to has a man working there who plays the guitar and of course he gets his nails done, too..

Once you start going to a nail shop you will wish you had skipped the learning curve and went to a nail shop in the first place...

Find a shop you like and go every 3/4 weeks ... mine run $10+ tip...

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  #12  
Old 10-17-2012, 02:46 PM
gfsark gfsark is offline
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Default Ugly as sin?

I got a set of nails from Guitar Player Nails, and I've used them when I break a nail, usually thumbnail. They are milky white plastic. Quite ugly. People ask me what happened. I tell them I broke a nail and this plastic protects it. Then they are sympathetic for my injury.

The injury is to my self image. Thing is, your fingernail may be somewhat milky at the tip, but its transparent over the skin. Coat your fingernails with white plastic, and it looks bad.

Also have problems with the thickness of the nail. As your nail grows out, you need to file the plastic down. Eventually, you reach the point where the natural and artificial nails tips are exactly on top of each other at the tip. This leaves a really thick (double thick) nail which I found gets in the way of playing.

Is there a better product out there? Pictures anyone? A truly transparent nail? Is the fiberglass version clear or milky?
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  #13  
Old 10-17-2012, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfsark View Post
Is there a better product out there? Pictures anyone? A truly transparent nail? Is the fiberglass version clear or milky?
It's not milky, but it's... there. You can see it. Definitely more on the clear side, but it's... you can see it.
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  #14  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:09 PM
Paikon Paikon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfsark View Post
I got a set of nails from Guitar Player Nails, and I've used them when I break a nail, usually thumbnail. They are milky white plastic. Quite ugly. People ask me what happened. I tell them I broke a nail and this plastic protects it. Then they are sympathetic for my injury.

The injury is to my self image. Thing is, your fingernail may be somewhat milky at the tip, but its transparent over the skin. Coat your fingernails with white plastic, and it looks bad.

Also have problems with the thickness of the nail. As your nail grows out, you need to file the plastic down. Eventually, you reach the point where the natural and artificial nails tips are exactly on top of each other at the tip. This leaves a really thick (double thick) nail which I found gets in the way of playing.

Is there a better product out there? Pictures anyone? A truly transparent nail? Is the fiberglass version clear or milky?
you are doing something wrong
i have one glued right now and you have to see closely to see the difference from my natural nails.
probably you spilled glue over the nail or you didnt push it on the correct position.
now when the natural nail grows you have to take out the artificial nail or file it from the top till you feel comfortble with your natural nail. Dont file beneath (your natural nail) because you will weaken it.
hope i helped a little
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Old 10-17-2012, 05:31 PM
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Fngrstyl Fngrstyl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimplyLuo View Post
I am not man enough to walk into a salon for real acrylic nails. Maybe someday...


I'm a fan of Acrylic, and I go to the salon.. I dont care about the looks. They know me well enough now, its no big deal. For me, this is the best way. It takes them 10 minutes, and they dont make them too thick. I work on generators, and put my hand through a lot. Acrylics really hold up like no other! My playing means enough to me, that a few weird looks from people I dont even know... who cares!

Sure you can tell my nails are a little long, but can you really tell there is Acrylic over them...? Not really.

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Last edited by Fngrstyl; 10-17-2012 at 05:40 PM.
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