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Blackdog131
12-03-2015, 05:07 PM
I've been growing out my right hand nails over the last few weeks, was wondering what kind of length and shape is best?
Do i aim to shape them as classical guitar players would, or is there a better shape and length to aim for for the humble uke?
Also how difficult is the transtion, coverting from the pads of your fingers to the nail?
Please can someone send in pics of there nails and offer me some advice!?

Happy picking people.

JustinJ
12-03-2015, 05:38 PM
Here you go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anMQb7_83vY This is the author of Pumping Nylon. This will show you how to pluck the string but also at the end, he goes into nail shaping.


You do not need to have real long nails. Watch the the video near the end. I actually play classical and do some athletics where I can not have long nails. My nails do not come out over my finger tips and I'm still able to get good tone.

kypfer
12-03-2015, 09:30 PM
In my experience, excessively long nails, certainly more than 1/8" beyond the end of the finger, can (but not necessarily will) be the source of poor tone. A lot of it will depend on the style of music and the stance of the player.

However, again, in my experience, short nails, unless they're completely broken off, are not a problem.

My recommendation would be to keep all your picking nails to a similarly short length and learn to work with that. A short nail is much less likely to snap than a longer one so you're much less likely to be without a nail whilst you wait for it to grow back ;)

My little finger nail isn't used for picking so I let it grow to a ridiculous length just to annoy people :biglaugh:

Whatever your preferred length ... and this may take some months, if not years to establish, do keep the corners of the nails sanded off, so they don't hang up on a string :mad:

hammer40
12-03-2015, 10:54 PM
My picking hand nails are only a few mm over my finger, so to speak. Initially, I thought thought they needed to be longer but that was not the case. For me, to long and they actually catch on the strings, almost like a hook would and snap off resulting in an unpleasant sound. It is interesting, how you can play with the sound with your nails and the pad of your finger.

actadh
12-04-2015, 04:39 AM
I am normally a short nail person. All my life, my nails were clipped short using nail clippers so little if no white is visible. A good stretch of my twenties was in the automotive repair field and I hated grease under my nails. It was just easier to keep them clipped short.

I grew them out on the right hand last year when I took up fingerpicking. Filing, buffing, shaping etc. was done all the time. I have recently gone back to short nails cut with nail clippers. Little difference in sound and I have much more control in technique. And, much less prep time.

natchez
12-04-2015, 05:13 AM
Here you go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anMQb7_83vY This is the author of Pumping Nylon. This will show you how to pluck the string but also at the end, he goes into nail shaping.


You do not need to have real long nails. Watch the the video near the end. I actually play classical and do some athletics where I can not have long nails. My nails do not come out over my finger tips and I'm still able to get good tone.

This was a very interesting and useful link, thanks much. The nail part starts towards the end of the linked video and continues into the next.

Nail growth patterns and shapes vary quite a bit depending upon the person. For example, my nails grow out in a fan like shape, rather than having straighter sides. So shaping my nails are quite different than it might be for you and others. I need to file the sides some, even when they are short. Besides the excellent shaping tips in the video JustinJ posted, the use of only a fine file was also a great tip.

JustinJ
12-04-2015, 05:34 AM
If you watch the beginning of this series, he has many good tips that apply to ukulele. I especially like how to hold and place your hands. Just preparing yourself before playing by shaking out your hands and relaxing. Also a very good tip is to practice how much pressure it takes to make a note. It's hardly any.

I'm glad you found it helpful.

Rllink
12-04-2015, 05:58 AM
Mine are all worn down from playing my ukulele, so I just trim them enough to keep them from being ragged and catching on the strings.

brimmer
12-04-2015, 08:53 AM
I use very fine grit sandpaper to smooth the edges, just the guy in Pumping Nylon suggests. I keep a piece in all my uke cases...

philrab66
12-04-2015, 09:11 AM
I've been growing out my right hand nails over the last few weeks, was wondering what kind of length and shape is best?
Do i aim to shape them as classical guitar players would, or is there a better shape and length to aim for for the humble uke?
Also how difficult is the transtion, coverting from the pads of your fingers to the nail?
Please can someone send in pics of there nails and offer me some advice!?

Happy picking people.

Something I find useful and gives me a better tone is to shape it like No4. Hold your nail on the string as to pluck it and look for the cross section where your nail meets the string. Well when I do mine it is very straight across the string. Then what I did is get a lead pencil and draw the angle of the string on your nail inside not out . Then file it to this shape with a little ramp as in No 4. Gives me a much richer tone because it pushes the string down.

Steveperrywriter
12-04-2015, 09:11 AM
Some years ago, on a classical guitar forum on Usenet, several of the professional players posted pictures of their hands, showing fingernail length. I was surprised at how short most of them kept their nails.

There is a fair amount of discussion about nails in such places, and not a few people who think no nails to pluck the strings work as well or better. Some great players have nails, some don't.

Lot of material out there on how to grow and shape and care for nails. Google came back with more than three million hits, last time I looked. (Guitar+fingernails).

spookelele
12-04-2015, 09:19 AM
Ok. I'll bite. Here's my nails.
Not saying its right, or wrong, but it works for me.
I still play with the fleshy bits. The nail hits the string on the way off the string and adds the pick tone.

86108

Steveperrywriter
12-04-2015, 10:10 AM
Ok. I'll bite. Here's my nails.
Not saying its right, or wrong, but it works for me.
I still play with the fleshy bits. The nail hits the string on the way off the string and adds the pick tone.

86108

I'd show mine, but over the Thanksgiving holiday, I managed to break three of them. Two, I could repair with layers of super-glue and Kleenex, that makes them functional, but not pretty. The other one snapped off, not leaving anything to repair.

I think it was Stan who posted a link to James Taylor's nail video, in which he shows how to do silk wraps (fiberglas Good for people who can't grow strong nails, but who want them for picking.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7BqISqpMRo8

Blackdog131
12-05-2015, 08:25 AM
Great advice..love UU..all my questions answered ..no excuse to be a bad player anymore with all the stuff we're spoiled with online.
cheers guys

Hikina
12-12-2015, 08:04 AM
No One needs nails!! they're a pain in the rear. Go to Rob MacKillops site he plays with no nails and has written a history of flesh pickers throughout the history of classical guitar. If ya want to go ahead and grow them but they are certainly not needed

Doc_J
12-12-2015, 08:57 AM
I recall a thread somewhere Gerald Ross mentioned he only uses the fleshy part of his fingers.

http://www.geraldross.com/

Gerald Ross
12-14-2015, 08:42 AM
True. I've never had very hard nails - it's just my DNA. I pick with the pads of my fingers and thumb.