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  #1  
Old 12-09-2017, 06:57 PM
BernebeM50 BernebeM50 is offline
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Default playing with broken nails

I broke a couple of nails today (not sure when) and it sure throws me off. The shorter nail always seems to miss the string or sounds dull and weak. I hate it, now I have to wait for it to grow back to an acceptable length before I can play normally. I watch other people play without nails, I don't know how they do it.

Some people put clear nail polish on to strengthen the nails but I think that may look a little strange to my students and co-workers. The nails aren't weak as I can barely clip them with a nail clipper. They are hard but brittle. I had a glass finger nail shaper that worked well but I can't find it now.

Does anyone else have this problem where the nails have to be just right before you can play? I tend to freak out when I break a nail around people, they look at me like I'm crazy. I guess this qualifies as a first world problem.
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2017, 08:06 PM
m-thirty-great m-thirty-great is offline
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I can definitely can tell the difference when my nails are not the right length, shape, or smoothness I prefer. However, I can still play when they are not ideal. I play with the flesh and the nail, so when there is no nail, too little nail, or not the right nail shape, I am not always able to get the precise tone(s) I want, but I can still play whatever I usually play.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:58 AM
Dogsnax Dogsnax is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m-thirty-great View Post
I play with the flesh and the nail, so when there is no nail, too little nail, or not the right nail shape, I am not always able to get the precise tone(s) I want, but I can still play whatever I usually play.
^^^This is the approach I take. Because my nails tend to "hook" as they get longer, I keep them somewhat trimmed. Not as long as I'd prefer, but long enough to get some nail along with flesh when playing. I'm starting to learn flamenco technique and it's going to be a challenge as nail length is super important in getting the right flamenco sound....
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Old 12-10-2017, 06:44 AM
palolowarrior palolowarrior is offline
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Default Repair it

Repair it with this and crazy glue.
IBD 5 Second Nail Filler Powder
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2017, 08:03 AM
Bikewer Bikewer is offline
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Same problem for me. My nails are prone to cracking and breaking, and I do a lot of things that are dangerous to them...

When I have a broken on, it’s like that finger is dead. When the nails are “right”, I produce a nice, clean, loud tone. No nail...No tone.

Since I only play for my own amusement, I’m not motivated to try artificial nails or similar items.... But I did buy a new mandolin recently.

Thick mandolin flatpicks don’t break....
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:50 AM
DupleMeter DupleMeter is offline
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I'm the same way. Since I make my living with music I have no problem justifying nail wraps. Ever since starting the nail wraps I have not had to deal with a break.

FWIW I only wrap the top 1/3rd of my playing nails. But if you file & buff properly they're just about invisible.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:41 PM
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Todd Tipton Todd Tipton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BernebeM50 View Post

Does anyone else have this problem where the nails have to be just right before you can play? I tend to freak out when I break a nail around people, they look at me like I'm crazy. I guess this qualifies as a first world problem.
I really wouldn't think of it as a problem. Doing my nails is a daily routine. If you don't get them exactly right prior to playing, excess tension almost always comes into the playing to help get the right tone. And then, well...you aren't really practicing anymore. ;-)
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:50 PM
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Todd Tipton Todd Tipton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Same problem for me. My nails are prone to cracking and breaking, and I do a lot of things that are dangerous to them...

When I have a broken on, it’s like that finger is dead. When the nails are “right”, I produce a nice, clean, loud tone. No nail...No tone.

Since I only play for my own amusement, I’m not motivated to try artificial nails or similar items.... But I did buy a new mandolin recently.

Thick mandolin flatpicks don’t break....
You might try making sure your nail file only moves in one direction when filing and using lighter movements thus taking more time. Even when I am NOT playing, I find that the bottom of the nail (where the nail actually contacts the string...and EVERYTHING else) has to stay highly buffed. Of course this is important for good tone. I'm talking about when I am NOT playing. It significantly reduces snags and accidents.

I don't know if you or anyone else is interested, but I don't have much luck with nails on the steel strings. I have had tremendous luck with a product called AlskaPik. http://www.alaskapik.com/ Initially, you might spend a little more than you want through trial and error of getting the right sizes. For serious steel string playing, I absolutely love them.

I recommend the plastic ones. Although not as easily as natural nails, they too can be filed and shaped. Far more than just protecting your nails, I feel that they give the added power that a heavier built steel string instrument needs. If nothing else, when one hears the tone and power, they may never go back to natural nails.
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2017, 07:22 AM
Don W Don W is offline
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I use liquid gel nails that are done at the local nail salon to my desired length and shape. After I have them done I smooth off any rough edges and polish them with a polishing file. I polish them each day...takes just a minute. I also play steel string. They last 2 months + and I never have a problem. Twenty bucks at the nail place. I was sick of nails breaking and bad tone. Nails are crucial to the quality of your sound.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:42 AM
Mr. Scott Mr. Scott is offline
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What I usually do in the case of one broken nail is to reduce the others to about the same length so that at least you can hit all the strings without having to distort your hand too much.
In the case of a more severe accident, I cut (sorry, file) all the other nails back to a common shorter length then wait for them to grow back before filing back into playing condition. A bit of a game I know, but it does help retain ones's sanity...
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:43 AM
redir redir is offline
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I used to have the same problems and concerns and decided to just give up and cut my nails. Now it's at least consistent and I don't have to worry about it. I do keep the thumb nail though and that one seems to stick around for some reason. I'll never be able to get 'that' tone but... what ever.

Someone turned me on to this website and it helped me make the transition: https://rmclassicalguitar.com/
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2018, 10:36 PM
Rapido Eduwardo Rapido Eduwardo is offline
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Here is a you tube site that features a classical guitarist (KevinGallagher) showing he repairs broken nails using china silk and 5 second glue, both from Amazon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajcxf1WZe6w
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2018, 12:29 AM
TKT TKT is offline
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redir, thanks for the link to Rob's site, I lost track of him and have always liked his music.
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2018, 07:02 PM
Toshiba Toshiba is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Tipton View Post
You might try making sure your nail file only moves in one direction when filing and using lighter movements thus taking more time. Even when I am NOT playing, I find that the bottom of the nail (where the nail actually contacts the string...and EVERYTHING else) has to stay highly buffed. Of course this is important for good tone. I'm talking about when I am NOT playing. It significantly reduces snags and accidents.

I don't know if you or anyone else is interested, but I don't have much luck with nails on the steel strings. I have had tremendous luck with a product called AlskaPik. http://www.alaskapik.com/ Initially, you might spend a little more than you want through trial and error of getting the right sizes. For serious steel string playing, I absolutely love them.

I recommend the plastic ones. Although not as easily as natural nails, they too can be filed and shaped. Far more than just protecting your nails, I feel that they give the added power that a heavier built steel string instrument needs. If nothing else, when one hears the tone and power, they may never go back to natural nails.
Interesting nail pics but are they more comfortable than regular finger pics?
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  #15  
Old 02-19-2018, 08:31 PM
jstroop jstroop is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don W View Post
I use liquid gel nails that are done at the local nail salon to my desired length and shape. After I have them done I smooth off any rough edges and polish them with a polishing file. I polish them each day...takes just a minute. I also play steel string. They last 2 months + and I never have a problem. Twenty bucks at the nail place. I was sick of nails breaking and bad tone. Nails are crucial to the quality of your sound.
+1^ I tell all my picker friends who complain about their nails to find a nail shop where one of the techs knows how to fix a guitar player’s nails. Her technique (acrylic powder, but gel works, too) has solved my most aggravating guitar problem. Everyone who does it, thanks me.
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