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Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks

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Frug 01 Apr 01 - 09:12 AM
texastoolman 01 Apr 01 - 09:25 AM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 01 Apr 01 - 09:42 AM
Clinton Hammond 01 Apr 01 - 11:20 AM
dwditty 01 Apr 01 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,stewpot@canada.com 01 Apr 01 - 12:35 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Apr 01 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Frug 01 Apr 01 - 02:50 PM
catspaw49 01 Apr 01 - 03:10 PM
Mark Clark 01 Apr 01 - 03:48 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Apr 01 - 04:26 PM
Rick Fielding 01 Apr 01 - 04:35 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Apr 01 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Frug 01 Apr 01 - 06:05 PM
Whistle Stop 02 Apr 01 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,Midchuck upstairs 02 Apr 01 - 09:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 02 Apr 01 - 09:33 AM
Mark Clark 02 Apr 01 - 10:13 AM
Rick Fielding 02 Apr 01 - 01:19 PM
Ferrara 02 Apr 01 - 10:48 PM
GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 03 Apr 01 - 08:34 AM
Iguanaguy 03 Apr 01 - 08:59 AM
Murray MacLeod 03 Apr 01 - 09:40 AM
GUEST,Jim Bob 07 Feb 03 - 11:07 AM
breezy 07 Feb 03 - 11:54 AM
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Subject: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Frug
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 09:12 AM

Anybody got any ideas on preserving fingernails? A year or so ago I Restarted my guitar playing after a long lay off. In the past I'd flirted with finger picks but 'cause I have chubby fingers always found them too small and also didn't feel quite in control. I've tried to concentrate on developing strong nails but occasionally I find that my nails just become too brittle and split or crack with obvious implications for my playing. Question, has anyone got any advice on care, nurturing, protection of nails or failing that maybe finger pick technology has changed enough to accomodate the chubby fingered picker???

Thoughts please :)


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: texastoolman
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 09:25 AM

i was looking at a video that suggested going to a beauy salon and having artificial nails put on ,they are stronger but not permanent


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 09:42 AM

There are home kits for putting on false nails. I am a little nervous about the solvent you need to remove them.

You can try "Alaska picks". They are designed to be used "rightside up". That is they go over the nail and you pick with them as you would with a nail. They don't feel exactly the same as a nail though. There are sizes meant to be put on the thumb and they should fit chubby fingers. They come in metal and plastic. The advantage of the metal ones is that you can bend them to fit your finger just right. The advantage of the plastic ones is that you can trim and smooth them like you do nails.

Personally, I use finger flesh when my nails break. Even on a classical guitar. I don't have the patience to adjust to picks of any kind.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 11:20 AM

We really aughta gather together all the posts on this subject and Perma-thread them!!!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: dwditty
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 12:34 PM

I just cannot use fingerpicks. My right hand has a mind of its own (no comments, please) and sooner or later either the pick goes flying or it catches on a string and makes the most godawful sound. My nails have always broken, so I pretty much use flesh. Recently, at my wife's suggestion, I have started applying something called nail protein each day. It does seem to be helping even though I am walking around with three fingers and a thumb sparkling with a brilliant shine. When I catch people staring at them, I just say, fingerpicker, and they shut up.
dw


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: GUEST,stewpot@canada.com
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 12:35 PM

I sometimes use a thumb-pick, but that's all. I pick with my finger-tips, not the nails, although I will occasionally use the back of the nail for emphasis on the down-stroke. I therefore keep my picking hand nails trimmed just ever-so-slightly below the fleshy finger tip.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 02:24 PM

"Fingerpicker!" - that sounds quite aggressive really if you say it with feeling. Do people ever take it the wrong way?


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 02:50 PM

Ah well when all else fails read the previous threads on this topic. So I did. Clinton Hammond's right there's a lot of info' views and experiences could do with bottlin' up. Just spoke to a friend, a lady who's in the Health and Beauty Biz. Her advice rub olive oil into the finger nails every night. Cheaper then fancy lotions and potions and works (according to her) dont know what other effects it might have during the night...........Better not go there.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 03:10 PM

Actually, I'm working on assembling just that kinda' stuff......Here's a few:

fingerpicking and your Nails

Goodbye Worn and Chipped Nails

Fingernails

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Mark Clark
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 03:48 PM

As I have written before, I use my finger nails but take care in their length and shaping. I use a Dunlop S (small) thumbpick, so the part over the top of my thumb can't get near the strings, and cut the pick down to a nubbin that extends about 3/16" past the side of my thumb.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 04:26 PM

you da "MAN", spaw!!

LOL!


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 04:35 PM

Here's a word of warning folks. If you DO use fingerpicks (I started 'cause I played football and baseball and couldn't keep the nails uniform) LEARN TO PLAY WITHOUT THEM AS WELL! 'Cause sure as shootin' you're gonna forget 'em sometime, or lose 'em, or sit on 'em...and you simply won't be able to play properly without them.

Fortunately I've learned to play two styles (straight fingerpicking, and flatpicking WITH the middle and ring finger, for rolls) Plus, I always keep some flat picks in my key chain.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 04:38 PM

and the winner of the Best Advice Of The Year goes to RICK!!!

Bravo, old sock!


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 01 Apr 01 - 06:05 PM

Well thanks again for all the advice.......I've read the previous threads too and now I'm off to bed. However not before I've soaked the nails in olive oil, nourished them with nail protein, eaten a bowl or two of Jello (we call it Jelly but I know that's the name you use for jam, personally I like neither jello nor jelly)Tomorrow I will get hold of Biotin and OD on that! Liked the idea of needing to stay horny as it's supposed to produce something along with the testosterone to help the nails. I'll probably superglue some pingpong balls on to the ends of my Alaskan picks if all else fails.

'Night


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 08:38 AM

I'm sure I've posted this on other threads, including one or more of those provided above. I have been cultivating my right hand nails for about thirty years, first as a young classical guitar player, then to accommodate other (steel-string) styles as well. While it's worth exploring fingerpicks, artificial nails, and the various nail preservation substances that are our there, I think there's a lot you can do to make the most of what you were born with.

I have found that making nail maintenance part of my daily life is what works best for me. First, shape the nail so that it follows the countour of your fingertip; hold your hand up at eye level, palm facing you, and look to see just a hint of smoothly-rounded nail peeking over your fingertip. Make sure there are no angles or places that can catch on things; the white part of the nail should curve gently into the pink part in a smooth arc. Then, maintain the nails by gently massaging/polishing them with the less-raspy side of an emery board. Don't rely on anything too fancy or laborious, because then it becomes a chore that you'll avoid. Instead, buy a bunch of emery boards, and keep them in every room of your house, in your car, at work, etc. Get into the habit of smoothing your nails with the emery board at idle moments -- when watching television, sitting at red lights, talking on the phone, etc. Don't dig in too hard with the emery board, or you'll create small tears in the nail that will gradually expand; think of water dripping on a rock and smoothing it away, rather than rasping through your nail like a file cuts through prison bars. Get into the habit of running your nails across your fingertips (or over your clothing) to seek out rough spots, and polishing them away when you find them.

It sounds like a lot of work, but the point is that it's not -- in fact, it becomes a habit that you do almost unconsiously, like drumming your fingers on a table top or twirling your hair around your finger. If you do this for a while, and drink lots of water (staying well hydrated is the best way to keep your nails from cracking), you'll have the best nails you can have -- and then if they're still not working for you, you'll know that you have to try something else.

Sorry for the long posting, but as I said, I've been doing this forever. Hope it helps.


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: GUEST,Midchuck upstairs
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 09:07 AM

Proper Conduct involves playing the steel-string guitar with a flatpick.

This entire discussion is hopelessly immersed in Error.

I declare it ended.

Peter.

(Well, I tried to do the right thing - I'll probably get nothing but abuse, as usual.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 09:33 AM

Fingernails every time. Fingerpicks get stuck up my nose...;-)

Dave the non-guitarist Gnome


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 10:13 AM

I agree with Rick and Dave although Dave brings up an idea that might be useful for people troubled by snoring.

My brother learned to play using a type of plastic fingerpick that is no longer made. For all intents and purposes, he no longer plays. He has been unwilling to relearn his style with different picks or bare fingers.

Learn to ride without the training wheels.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 01:19 PM

There are those who equate fingerpicks with Condoms (hope they also know basic anatomy).

If you DO practice "safe picking" here's a little suggestion: Use a Dremil (or file and fine sandpaper) and cut down the sides (picking area) of your Dunlops. For me, the smaller surface the better. The edges will polish up faster with repeated use and they'll feel less intrusive on your fingers. I always use the heavy guage (.025) 'cause when you play hard for a while they actually (sort of) "melt" and the stiff ones hang in better.

Hope this makes sense....It does to me, but that doesn't mean anything.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Ferrara
Date: 02 Apr 01 - 10:48 PM

A useful thread! I'm going to try the trick of constantly smoothing my nails.

I actually gave up and started using fingerpicks on my MacArthur harp, because every time I was scheduled to perform, I would practice more than usual (not hard to do, for me) and my nails would start going down like dominoes.

I now use brass fingerpicks, which are very soft. This has the advantage/disadvantage that I can keep adjusting them slightly. I'm sure they would melt down under hard use, though. But I can get them adjusted for maximum resemblance to the touch I use with bare fingernails.

Also, for my left hand, I use a plastic fingerpick which I put over the fleshy side of my thumb (not the nail). You'd have to see a MacArthur harp being played, I guess, to understand this.... oh well. But anyway this thread has inspired me to give my nails another chance.

I know I have to eat Jell-O, if I want to keep my nails and my hair, but I have to watch my blood sugar (because of the transplant medicines) and I hate artificial sweeteners. I sometimes fix gelatin with crushed pineapple in juice, mandarin oranges, Kraft light cream cheese, and some nuts and cottage cheese. It tastes good to me, anyway! -- It's based on a recipe of my mother's, who used lime jello instead of the plain gelatin. I include this for anyone who is looking for various ways to get gelatin down....


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: GUEST,murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:34 AM

And don't forget the trick attributed to John Renbourn. Cut up old ping-pong balls into small pieces and cement them to your nails, or some say under your existing nails.

Sounds like a form of Chinese torture!

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Iguanaguy
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 08:59 AM

Interesting thread...I've used fingerpicks, thumbpicks, and the ol' fingernails...I happen to have very strong nails(I can even use 'em as screwdrivers for light jobs & my wife hates me for it, as hers are forever breaking) 'cause I drink a lot of milk...right now I just flat pick because I mostly play acompaniment to a choir... Speaking of olive oil & its "properties"...I'll venture to "go there" & say that I used some to get rid of mites on an iguana of mine during Christmas one year, and he soon ran up the Christmas tree, followed by the female...two months later I had a clutch of eggs!


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 03 Apr 01 - 09:40 AM

I have posted my recommendation of acrylics so many times I am not going to repeat myself, but one thing I remember is that when I played with my natural nails (which were actually quite strong in their own right), most of the breakages I had occurred while opening car doors. So I got into the habit of always opening doors with my left hand.

With acrylic nails. of course, you can open doors, pocket-knives, cans of beer or whatever with absolutely no risk of breakage.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: GUEST,Jim Bob
Date: 07 Feb 03 - 11:07 AM

I've found blow torching a section of side panel off a roadside grader, steam shovel or steam roller(Caterpillar is best)and filing down that metal to fit your fingers gives a nice earthy tone to a resonator guitar. For some reason regular wood* guitars sound better using the rear housing of International Harvestor Cleat tractors.

*Never KOA


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Subject: RE: Help: Fingernails vs. Fingerpicks
From: breezy
Date: 07 Feb 03 - 11:54 AM

Nickel-silver/metal Finger picks when tailored to fit and shaped to pluck/pick are consistent.
You learn not to lose them,its all part of the discipline.
Thumb pick by anyone other than Fred kelly speed pick gives a dull dead sound on the bass strings.Made from delryn, and I only learned of them last june, took me 0-30 minutes to realise that they take the sound to a new level, as long as you've a reasonable guitar.
I've imported a life-times supply!!!
I've used picks for 40 years and it took a while to settle into my present arrangement having tried plastics I now use metal ones since 30 years.
One gets a clearer sound and can play quicker than without.
Flesh sticks to the strings, nails break.
If they fly off then if its due to low temp outdoors use elastaplasterfirst aid strips.
You can obtain greater volume while also learning to play very softly, thus giving a greater range of volumes
But one has to be prepared to stick with them,


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