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niwenomian
06-09-2015, 06:25 AM
I am hoping to tap the collective wisdom of UU to help me with a new challenge to my uke playing.

A few months ago, I sustained a minor injury to my fingernail. The injury was minor, but the pain and damage was major. Of course it's my right index finger. This week, the nail finally gave up the ghost and what I'm left with is a mess. It hurts to strum with and sounds terrible picking.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a fingerpick that would allow me to pick and strum with my index finger until the nail grows back? I used to have metal fingerpicks in my guitar days, and they would work for the picking portion, but there wasn't anything on the top that would help cover the nail in order to strum.

I may order several, and try them out in order to find works well. Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks,

Nick

RichM
06-09-2015, 06:31 AM
Alaska picks might work for you:

http://www.alaskapik.com/

earljam
06-09-2015, 06:38 AM
epoxy on the fingernail

Rllink
06-09-2015, 06:45 AM
I tore the fingernail on my index finger last winter and it was in-op for just a couple of weeks. I got pretty darn good with my middle finger, and just moving everything over. After a few weeks I switched back, without much problem. I'll admit, that for finger picking, it was a long time until I got that nice clear twang back, but I did eventually. Adapt and overcome. I actually got adept enough switching around, that I still do it on occasion just to mix it up. It is kind of fun.

niwenomian
06-09-2015, 06:48 AM
epoxy on the fingernail

No nail left!

niwenomian
06-09-2015, 06:52 AM
I tore the fingernail on my index finger last winter and it was in-op for just a couple of weeks. I got pretty darn good with my middle finger, and just moving everything over. After a few weeks I switched back, without much problem. I'll admit, that for finger picking, it was a long time until I got that nice clear twang back, but I did eventually. Adapt and overcome. I actually got adept enough switching around, that I still do it on occasion just to mix it up. It is kind of fun.

This is what I've been doing, and it works. I admit, I kind of like the idea of having this constraint and seeing how I can adapt my playing around it. It's interesting, but it is, and I imagine would continue to be a lesser option for me than finding a pick that would allow me to use my index finger.

niwenomian
06-09-2015, 06:52 AM
Alaska picks might work for you:

http://www.alaskapik.com/

Thanks for this, I will check them out.

Nick

Rllink
06-09-2015, 06:56 AM
This is what I've been doing, and it works. I admit, I kind of like the idea of having this constraint and seeing how I can adapt my playing around it. It's interesting, but it is, and I imagine would continue to be a lesser option for me than finding a pick that would allow me to use my index finger.I just threw that out there. There is any number of options, and none are necessarily better than the others.

rance
06-09-2015, 07:14 AM
A Fred Kelly Freedom Pick should work just fine. It covers your fingertip like a fingernail. It allows for a downward brush stroke as well as upward single string picking. It's the next best thing to a fingernail. You can buy them on ebay.

Patrick Madsen
06-09-2015, 08:29 AM
Ralph Shaw mentioned going to a nail salon to have a fake nail put on when one of his broke.

dsummers
06-09-2015, 09:07 AM
I use the Alaska picks and they work for me great. You can get them at Elderly.

gregmchugh
06-09-2015, 10:08 AM
Not sure the Alaska picks would work unless you enough nail left to slide over the pick. There needs to be enough nail left to be able to get a grip on the pick. The Fred Kelly Freedom Picks seem like they have a better chance of working if you have no nail left.

spookelele
06-09-2015, 10:08 AM
I thought alaska picks were made to tuck under the nail?
If there's no nail does it still work?

The Fred Kelly picks wrap around the whole finger and would work but they're pressure fit... and kind of alot of pressure. It may hurt if your nail isn't there. You can of course heat them to open it and release the tension... but then they might not stay on. I suppose.. you could use a kelly, loosen it and then use some tape to hold it on.

I think.. because you have no nail.. and it's hurty.. a butterfly pick might be best. You can make your own or buy them on ebay. I'd probably just try making one..


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK7y3DDX7zg

The guy is wrong about hardening. The way to harden copper wire is, to get it red hot and then throw it in cold water.

bunnyf
06-09-2015, 04:11 PM
I also like the Fred Kelly freedom pick. Comfortable, secure, not crazy about the sound but good for when I need more volume or when my natural nail gets very worn down. Mus.Friend carries them 3/$13, free ship. Order larger than you think, they run small and are not so easy to adjust with hot water, better to get the right size. Easy to file tho, for length or tip contour.

kypfer
06-09-2015, 10:34 PM
Rather than a fingerpick, maybe the O.P. could try an "ordinary" plectrum. I use a Jim Dunlop 0.46mm nylon for melody work and a Jumping Cow artificial felt for strumming (as well as my fingers). Both types of plectrum have a different "identity" and may be easier to use than a fingerpick :)

actadh
06-10-2015, 01:22 AM
Interesting thread. I have been considering picks to use for that cool steel string Braguinha at Uke Republic, so this is good info.

The Fred Kelly site shows a Variety bag which is a multi-pack of different picks for a reasonable price.

Tootler
06-10-2015, 01:36 AM
I fingerpick with the fleshy part of my finger & thumb. Works well for me. If your index finger is too painful then maybe the middle finger instead. I just use thumb and one finger rather than thumb and two fingers.

theabsurdman
06-10-2015, 05:21 AM
I thought alaska picks were made to tuck under the nail?
If there's no nail does it still work?

This is my favourite type of pick for saving the nail on my index finger. It has a bit more "give" than other types or finger picks.
And yes it does work without tucking it under the nail. That's how I use it. It just has to be the right size.

niwenomian
06-10-2015, 06:48 AM
I've ordered both the Alaska and Fred Kelly picks as recommended. I appreciate all the suggestions, glad to have this community to bounce stuff like this off of.

I can still fingerpick just fine, although without the nail it sounds different. I miss the crisp attack, although I break fingernails so often that I'm kind of used to it when I have to pick with the fleshy fingertip only. The strum with the back of the finger is the thing that has been most negatively impacted. As spookele correctly described it, it's "hurty". I can get away with strumming primarily with the middle finger, but it's not nearly as agile. And then, where does the hurty digit go to get out of the way?

I also have considered using an ordinary plectrum in the interim until the Alaska and Freedom picks arrive. I probably have some fender med's lingering from my guitar days.

Tootler
06-10-2015, 02:06 PM
I saw a mention somewhere of strumming down with thumb and up with the finger - the reverse of the usual so that both strums are on the fleshy part of the digit. Might be worth a try as an alternative to a plectrum. I could never get on with a plectrum. I tend to hold it too loose and it falls out of my hand in time.

I've been thinking of trying the thumb down finger up myself as an alternative to my usual fingernail down thumbnail up to get a softer strum when I need one.

Nickie
06-10-2015, 02:44 PM
epoxy on the fingernail

Pardon me, but I'm a nurse, and I totally disagree with this. I'd advise NEVER, EVER apply epoxy glue to any part of the body, it has toxic chemicals in it. It's made for gluing wood and plastic, not body parts. I hope you were kidding....

niwenomian
06-11-2015, 06:55 AM
I would consider not using the finger tip in any way that will agravate the injury until it heals properley.

Hadn't really thought about that TBH. I was thinking that having some type of finger pick which would fit over the nail would allow enough protection to avoid any discomfort while playing, but it seems that it would also prevent further injury. Do you have any experience that would suggest this is not the case?

I have been continuing to play since the nail came off, although I've modified my style some. The picking part is relatively similar except for the sound of the nail being absent, but the strumming is being done by the middle finger which is clumsy at the moment, but it works.

Several have noted that this is an opportunity to explore other styles or techniques, and it reminds me of a story about a guy that I played trumpet with in high school. He went on to play professionally, performing in bands and on cruise ships, until a doctor told him that he had something wrong with his lip and would have to give it up. He did give up the trumpet, but instead of giving up music he learned piano and continued to play. For me, this story is an example of how we should not get too caught up in the instrument. It's simply a tool that we use to express the music within. The music will find a way to come out if we let it. It may take a while to train the fingers to play the keys on the piano or, for me, to figure out how to deal with my minor inconvenience, but at least you have a road map, having learned once before. If I was faced with not playing the ukulele for some unknown reason, I wouldn't think twice about it. Not playing music at all, though, would not be acceptable to me.

In this case, to better articulate the request made in the OP, I'm looking for options which allow me to play in my normal picking and strumming style comfortably and without causing any further damage. I am expecting both the Fred Kelly freedom picks and the Alaska picks to arrive next week and will share my thought on using those to accommodate a lost nail. In the meantime I may pick up a theory book as Bill1 suggests. I've been slowly working my way through "The Advancing Guitarist" at Brad Bordessa's suggestion.