The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #94106   Message #1818939
Posted By: Don Firth
25-Aug-06 - 05:03 PM
Thread Name: Guitarist's nails (again)
Subject: RE: Guitarist's nails (again)
I use a combination of fingertip and nail, varying the angle slightly to get the kind of sound I want. I work my nails over ever few days with one of those metal nail files that look like they have metallic grit embedded in their surface. The first ones on the market were called "Diamon Deb," but Revlon makes a good one. You can get them various sizes, short enough to carry around in a pocket or up to six or eight inches long. One side for shaping, the other side, a bit finer, for finishing. Any drug store with a cosmetic and nail care counter or rack should have them.

When I first started playing, I did have occasional problems with my nails breaking, but my first classic guitar teacher suggested that I spend several minutes a day massaging my thumb and fingers just behind the root of the nail. I did, and a few months later, my nails started growing out a bit thicker—and strong. The nails of my right thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers are about half again as thick as the nails of my other fingers. I never break nails when I'm playing, and not very often at other times, unless I accidentally jam or snag a nail on something.

I don't keep my nails very long. If I hold my hand up palm toward me, I can just barely see the nails over my fingertips. A millimeter, maybe a bit less. I also shape them at a slight angle, then polish the edges with the "finishing" side of the Revlon file. Everybody's nails are a little different, so you have to experiment with length and shape to see what works best for you.

Don Firth