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finger picking and yer nails

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JedMarum 12 Mar 01 - 02:35 PM
Clinton Hammond 12 Mar 01 - 04:04 PM
chip a 12 Mar 01 - 04:59 PM
Murray MacLeod 12 Mar 01 - 05:26 PM
Bluesman and kde 12 Mar 01 - 06:49 PM
GUEST,Andrew 12 Mar 01 - 07:07 PM
Bugsy 12 Mar 01 - 07:47 PM
ddw 12 Mar 01 - 10:25 PM
Noreen 12 Mar 01 - 11:10 PM
Clinton Hammond 13 Mar 01 - 12:28 AM
JedMarum 13 Mar 01 - 07:58 AM
Steve Parkes 13 Mar 01 - 10:29 AM
Gray Rooster 13 Mar 01 - 10:53 AM
JedMarum 13 Mar 01 - 11:10 AM
Gray Rooster 13 Mar 01 - 11:20 AM
Murray MacLeod 13 Mar 01 - 06:51 PM
Clinton Hammond 13 Mar 01 - 07:02 PM
Little Neophyte 13 Mar 01 - 07:13 PM
Matt_R 13 Mar 01 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Tim Kane 13 Mar 01 - 07:42 PM
Little Neophyte 13 Mar 01 - 08:06 PM
Bugsy 13 Mar 01 - 08:21 PM
ddw 14 Mar 01 - 12:44 AM
Gray Rooster 14 Mar 01 - 11:21 AM
Murray MacLeod 14 Mar 01 - 03:07 PM
tiggerdooley 14 Mar 01 - 03:18 PM
Gray Rooster 14 Mar 01 - 03:45 PM
Murray MacLeod 14 Mar 01 - 04:06 PM
Justa Picker 14 Mar 01 - 04:12 PM
tiggerdooley 14 Mar 01 - 04:22 PM
Murray MacLeod 14 Mar 01 - 04:30 PM
tiggerdooley 14 Mar 01 - 04:36 PM
Bluesman and kde 15 Mar 01 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,Tim Kane 15 Mar 01 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,esmond 15 Mar 01 - 06:54 PM
Gypsy 16 Mar 01 - 01:01 AM
Murray MacLeod 16 Mar 01 - 01:10 AM
Whistle Stop 16 Mar 01 - 08:15 AM
Luke 16 Mar 01 - 01:37 PM
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Subject: finger picking and yer nails
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 02:35 PM

For years I used my fingers nails, and a thumb pick for most of my playing, using a flat pick for a few songs here and there ... but since I've been doing more and more band work that requires some hard driving falt pick work, I've found that I grind my index nail down too much to keep a healthy edge on it. I learned to use my midle finger instead of the index, but I the angle causes me to scratch across the top of the nail more then strike clean, and I have worn that down as well some. Over the last year or so, I've always seemed to be short on index nail, suffering a broken middle nail or struglling to keep a proper fitting thumb pick for guitar and banjo work. So last week I went to my wife's nail lady, and had three fake nails put on. It's worked pretty well. I don't use any picks now, except a flat pick, and the nails work great. It ain't too expensive (I paid 12 bucks, counting a tip) and they oughtta last a month or so ... and they look like my real nails ... so it's not too weird. Anyone else tried this extreme step?


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:04 PM

should I break a nail, and I don't have time togrow it back, I use over-the-counter Press-on types.. I just super glue 'em on and leave 'em there till the nail grows 'em out... works just fine and dandy... I was actually toying withthe idea of doin' that for the marathon of maddness that March 17th is gonna be...


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: chip a
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 04:59 PM

I tried fake nails from the beauty shop for a while but I found that my own nail underneath got thinner & thinner & thinner. If I let it grow back out it was so puny that I couldn't play with it. I tried gelatin too. That didn't seem to help either. Now I'm just REAL CAREFUL of my index finger nail! Good luck! Chip


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 05:26 PM

Jed, there have been other threads on this, someone will no doubt do a blue clicky. Yes, your solution, which I assume is acrylic build up rather than glued on false nails, is the way to go. One word of warning however, they will not last a month of guitar playing without having them filled (round the cuticles) after ten to fourteen days. One hand costs me ten dollars every two weeks, plus tip.

Murray


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Bluesman and kde
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 06:49 PM

I can never keep my nails long enough to play with and solved the problem with some plastic fingerpicks that fit under what's left of the nail. The name on the picks is "Alaska Pik". I found them at a now defunct music store and haven't been able to find any more. They are almost as good as using your fingernails. If anyone has any info on where to find these, please post it...........Thanks..............Jim


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: GUEST,Andrew
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 07:07 PM

I know I'm drifting a bit with this: Bluesman and kde, can you strum down as well as pick up with those picks? I've been looking for such a pick, as I (as I'm sure many do) use licks that require both up and down strokes. Never have found a pick designed for both. Sure, flat pick, but I'm using my thumb too, see.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Bugsy
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 07:47 PM

Jed, The original thread was this one "Goodbye worn and chipped fingernails!" Click here

There was another one after that but can't remember what it was called.

CHeers

Bugsy

ps. By the way Jed, thanks for the CD. Unfortunately I am not associated with the programme any more, but am playing it, (with much good response) to the many visitors to my place.

Thanks again - it's a ripper!


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: ddw
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 10:25 PM

Bluesman — Don't know where you are, but if you can't find Alaska picks locally, check here

david


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Noreen
Date: 12 Mar 01 - 11:10 PM

See also Marion's recent thread, SemiBS: Fingernails


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 12:28 AM

Andrew... if you try to strum down with Alsaka piks, all you'll do is pull 'em off yer fingers...


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: JedMarum
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:58 AM

using my nails in both directions is important to my playing - that's why I thought the fake nails would be helpful. I am concerned about them diminishing my real nails, underneath - and if they only last a couple of weeks, I am notsure I;ll get around to going that often ... I am pleased with how they work, though.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:29 AM

Like a lot of people, I have trouble with fingerpicks, but my own nails aren't strong enough to make the kind of volume a pick makes. I find fingerpicks difficult to control: they tend to slip off the string before I'm ready.

Last night I had a brainwave. I took my metal thumb/fingerpicks and used a pair of pliers to bend up the last 1mm of the tip (if you're American, you can bend up the last 1/32"!) a teeny bit; with a bit of trial and error, I got them so they just catch on the string, so I have to pull deliberately -- like with a fingernail -- to pluck the string. It works! (Not fir strumming, though.)

Now everyone will be able to hear just what a crap guitarist I am, and I'll have no excuse for not practicing! I wish I'd thought of this wen I started playing in the sixties: I could have been another Jansch or Rembourne by now ...

Steve


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Gray Rooster
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 10:53 AM

Jed, as you know, I've been playing with and without fingerpicks for years (45+). I've discovered that super glue, carefully applied on the tips - after a break or before - has kept me playing. Super glue keeps me from the acrylic blues and the fake nail shake. I've tried 'em all.

The aforementioned Alaska Pics are better at down strumming than the typically used "reverse" fngerpicks, but either can be usd in that manner with practice.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: JedMarum
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:10 AM

Super glue is probably a good solution, but in may case it isn't so much the breakage (God, in her infinite wisdom has seen fit to bless me with very strong and fast growing nails) but it's the grinding. My heavy handed flat picking seems to undo that which the good lord has given! Truth is I can manage without - but it sounds better with. I like the idea of the Alaska picks - but I do too much brushing, and don't like puttiong picks on and off. I'll figure out how to live with the nails, or the fake nails. But i have been encouraged by the fake ones, even if I only use 'em on those rare times I have a multiple breaks/grinds.

And I know, Gray Rooster, you been a finger picking madman for probably all 45 of those playin' years! You never let that damn flat pick cause you any heartache!


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Gray Rooster
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 11:20 AM

Ah! OK. Try putting on the clear nail base strips from a nail repair kit. Then use the overcoat they supply. Heck, put several layers on if you like. I've done that.

Use the fake nail parts they supply as UFO models.

The base strips last a long time and will keep your flat pickin' nail fresh underneath. Cheaper than visits to the "nail lady" (don't forget gas and time.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:51 PM

GR ,I used to do the nail repair kit thing myself too. You're talking about the gauze and cyanoacrylate glue? They are NOT dependable if you pick real hard, like it sounds Jed does. I had my index fingernail build-up disintegrate on me on stage at a festival a couple of years back. After that I changed to acrylics and have NEVER had a problem since. Sure, they cost to maintain, but so does your hair and your teeth.

Murray


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:02 PM

oh ya... I mentioned this once before... this is mostly a solution for guys... (hehehehe)

Ya got weak nails? Wanna strengthen 'em? Stay 'in the mood'... keepin' horny and semi erect will flood your body with testosterone... and well, your hair on your head may fall out faster, but your nails and beard will grow like 90!!! Also, to help the nails... as yer growin' 'em in, tap 'em on EVERYTHING... Drive everybody around you crazy drumming your finger nails... I run finger picking patterns against the bar to keep mind strong... It helps tonnes!

;-)


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:13 PM

I have been going to a manicurist every other week who builds me a nail on my index finger for frailing/clawhammer.
It cost 4 Canadian dollars each time I go. She makes up a goop that solidifies into something that has the strength of an incredibly strong nail. She forms and shapes it while the goop is soft, so it looks just like my other natural nails. Then it is hardened by a heat lamp and filed down. When I go each other week for maintenance she molds more goop onto the base of my nail which has grown out and fills in weak spots. I have had great success with this approach.

I know some people have had much success with Crazy glue. They place a small drop on the nail and slosh it around like oil in a frying pan. But!.....you must be very careful not to seal up your cuticle. Your nails need to breath and if it is sealed up you are more susceptable to fungus or infection.

Little Neo


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Matt_R
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:19 PM

I think my nails must be made from concrete or something. I never have these problems! The fake nail thing seems so foreign to me. I'm had my guitar playing nails for 7 years now and never had a breakage that was bad enough to put me out of action. The only time I couldn't play was when I sliced off a chunk of my index finger on the left hand.

I give new meaning to "Hard As Nails".


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: GUEST,Tim Kane
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 07:42 PM

This is very interesting. I try to carry an emory board with me and keep my nails filed smoothly whenever they fray or chip (always from the middle out)and try to keep a fresh coat of clear polish on them. This seems to do the trick for me and I play a lot of downstrokes with the back of my nails on steel strings. After a long abstinence, I've gone back to playing with a thumbpick occasionally. I still have some Nationals that I use but I wonder if they've become obsolete. The music stores around here don't carry anything that's large enough for me so I'll have to send away for something. Any suggestions about who makes a good thumbpick these days. Thanks, Tim

PS Hope I'm not straying to far from from the subject and wonder if I should start a new conversation re thumbpicks.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:06 PM

Tim you could always start a new thread about thumb picks and then someone will blue clicky a link for this thread onto that thread.

2 thumbs up
Bonnie


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Bugsy
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 08:21 PM

Steve, that way of fashioning fingerpicks was shown to me once by Derek Brimstone. He bends the pick around the pad of the finger then kinks the end back in line with the nail. this gives the effect of a steel nail and in the right position too. It's the only way I could get along in any way with fingerpicks but still is not as comfortable as acrylic nails. They have been a boon for me, and my playing and confidence have improved so much as a result.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: ddw
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 12:44 AM

Tim,

Check out the blue clicky I put in a previous post for Bluesman. It'll take you into Elderly Instruments' site on picks and I'm sure if it's out there, Elderly will have it or can get it for you.

cheers,

david


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Gray Rooster
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 11:21 AM

Murray, I pick hard too. And no, not the gauze, the clear plastic, adhesive backed, TAPE kind. Don't use the undercoat, just the clear finish coat (or super glue if you're inclined).

Jed said he needed it on his index finger only. Works like a charm. I know acrylics are wonderful, but they ruin your nails - you must keep them up on a regular basis and they cost much more to do than the above method.

Since every method requires some upkeep (bare nails too), I think it boils down to how much, how long and by whom.

I've tried everything under the sun I could get my fingers on. Tomorrow, someone may find the instant cure for this problem. Great. Til then, when I need nails, I'll stick to the tape and/or super glue solution.

Oh - I've seen acrylics decimated - mine. If they aren't kept up they'll FLY off your fingers and ANY slips after that will literally erase your nail down to the skin underneath. And that hurts.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 03:07 PM

GR you are right, you MUST maintain acrylics regularly. And yes, they do affect your natural nail, so once you atart you are more or less committed to ongoing maintenance. However, your natural nails will grow back full strength in time, if you ever decide to stop doing acrylic.

Another point to mention is that acrylics have to be completely renewed every five months or so. The plastic ages and loses its adherence to the nail, and then you have to soak them off with acetone and have them renewed. But any good nail tech will tell you when this needs doing.

Cost, ongoing maintenance, these are the downsides. But IMHO the benefits far outweigh the negatives. And when your nail tech is as gorgeous as mine is, who gives a toss about the cost?

Murray


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: tiggerdooley
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 03:18 PM

I was so crap at guitar that I grew the nails on both hands really long, and painted them wierd colours. Now when anybody asks if I play, I just hold out the talons and say, "Does it look like I play?", and they get so caught up asking me if they're real and how lazy do I have to be to keep them so nice, that they forget the original question. Then again, I saw Dolly Parton playing fine with her huge false nails, and she put me to shame. S'pose I've got no excuse now!!!

P.S. put metallic nail varnish on them, they'll be as strong as tungsten...


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Gray Rooster
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 03:45 PM

Murray - how can one argue with that? **BG**

And, I haven't ever tried the metallic nail paint tigger mentions above. I NEW there must be other ways.

I did try clear polish and tough nail. I rate it B plus.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 04:06 PM

Metallic nail paint? I like the idea. However, working in an almost totally Hispanic community with all the standard macho attitudes, it is hard enough for me to explain away my acrylics, let alone metallic nail paint......"Yo toco guitarra, por eso tengo las unas largas ". Not too sure I could axplain away metallic nail paint ........

GR I am still not sure about the nails you use. I recollect a woven fabric with a self adhesive back that had to be reinforced with nail glue (basically superglue) That is not what you mean? Is there a thin plastic sheet with self adhesive backing? I must admit, I haven't looked at nail repair kits in over two years.

Murray


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Justa Picker
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 04:12 PM

I've gotten so sick of dealing with nails, that these days I either play completely bare fingered (using the skin) or with fingerpicks on all digits except the pinky. I can get aware playing bare fingered as long as I'm not interspersing single string runs (using the 2-fingered style of flat-picking). When playing tunes that will require single string runs, I just throw the fingerpicks on.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: tiggerdooley
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 04:22 PM

Murray, that woven silky gauze is still on the market. I use it when one of the old talons is showing a weakness. It's wicked!!!
As for explaining the metallic stuff, tell your latino mates that you've got a fungal infection...
Aah well I tried!!!


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 04:30 PM

Tigger, my Spanish is sketchy enough without venturing into medical specifics ! I can just about order a "cafe con leche, sin asucar, y tostala". And I can also sing "Besa me mucho" although it has never had the desired effect ................

Murray


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: tiggerdooley
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 04:36 PM

Murray: "Tengo hongos de las unas".

Ask your friends what you're saying, if you can stop them from laughing!!!!!
Besos, Tigger


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Bluesman and kde
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 07:54 AM

Sorry that I haven't answered any questions that arose about fingerpicks. Andrew, I've been well satisfied with the Alaska picks. I also have some of the brass picks but usually prefer the plastic. As for strumming down, I have pretty good results with it but you're very limited, ie. it would probably be hard to play bluegrass with them but playing old blues and folk, I can strum with them pretty well along with the finger-picking. My all-time favoite blues guitar player, Josh White, used the strumming thing along with finger-picking. Gives a song the effect of having a rhythm guitar player also. David, thanks for the info on the picks. I'm down to two at present and with my loss rate, I need to order some now!!! lol .....................Jim


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: GUEST,Tim Kane
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 05:44 PM

Thanks Bonnie and ddw. I've hooked up with Elderly and ordered an assortment of their thumbpicks. Tim


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: GUEST,esmond
Date: 15 Mar 01 - 06:54 PM

Nails are nice if you got 'em but I find that when I'm playing regularly my nails wear down but I get some good callouses on the ends of my right hand fingers that give me a real nice snappy sound.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Gypsy
Date: 16 Mar 01 - 01:01 AM

I'll say it again....you can do acrylic, fiberglass, or silk wraps, and with a good tech, will not harm your nail. but DO keep up with maintenance..that is generally where problems come from. I did this for a living for many years, and never had clients with thinning nails. Also, another easy trick, file your nails straight across. Call it my bookshelf theory: if you nail a piece of 1xanything straight to a wall with no brackets, it breaks. You need supporting sides for strength, if you aren't using artificial enhancers. Oh yeah, remember that the things are quite flammable! A serious problem if building a fire.....


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 16 Mar 01 - 01:10 AM

Gypsy, I can't imagine any fingerpicker filing their nails straight across. I know that is how most women have their acrylic nails filed, but they are not, in the main, guitar players. I have never had any problems filing mine into a parabola (well sort of parabolic) and they certainly do not lack strength. But you are right, maintenance is the key.

Murray


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 16 Mar 01 - 08:15 AM

I'm with Murray on this one -- I've been maintaining my right-hand nails for thirty years (as a classical guitar player who gradually extended the technique to other styles), and filing them straight across would not work for me. A gently rounded curve, extending all the way to the sides of the nail, is what I've had the most success with. This shape is strong, glides off the string smoothly, and allows you to change the timbre by slightly altering the angle of attack.


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Subject: RE: finger picking and yer nails
From: Luke
Date: 16 Mar 01 - 01:37 PM

Just thought I'd chip in here. I have the same problem. When I play with a flat pick my index nail gets worn down so I go to the nail shop. I get just one nail so i can pick the banjo. But I'm really loving the power and am contemplating getting my thmb and middle finger done as well. If you smooth the back end of the nail with an emery board the nail will last a long time before being filled in or replaced. This cuts down on the expense. Where I live all the women look at you really wierd when you come in asking for one finger nail. Maybe it's scary tto them that I'm a guy invading their comfort who knows.

Luke


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