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ukulelegal
12-03-2009, 04:56 AM
Does anybody else have deformed fingernails from playing or is it just me?:confused:

I've noticed that my index finger on my right hand is the worst from strumming and picking. Anyone have any ideas what i can do about it?

fergs1
12-03-2009, 05:06 AM
Greetings gal, I get that too. I just trim back and keep strumming. You could try a felt pick although judging by the rabble depicted in your youtube clips you might have trouble finding it amidst the chaos :) Looks like a fun household. cheers fergs

retrozombi
12-03-2009, 05:11 AM
Oh yeah. When my nails start to get too weird I just trim them back and start over. If it bugs you, you might try plastic finger picks.

leftovermagic84
12-03-2009, 05:14 AM
I remember reading somewhere that clear nail polish helps. I'd never try it though, because my playing isn't nearly good enough to silence the ridicule i'd face for wearing nail polish to play the ukulele.

ukulelegal
12-03-2009, 05:17 AM
lol...I have tried nail polish but it's a pain. I am not the type to polish my nails every two days...can't stand the stink...ugh. My fingernail is actually curving up at the edge...this is a new developement. Every time I cut them back they get shorter and shorter...pretty soon i won't have a nail at all...i should post a photo

Does anyone here play with false nails? I have thought about putting one on just my index finger...

uke5417
12-03-2009, 05:38 AM
I used to worry and think that I wouldn't be able to play as well when they got trashed. Now, I just clip 'em back and adjust until they grow out a bit. Works out fine. My only worry now is that I'm going to wear right through the nail surface. Anyone done that?

ukulelegal
12-03-2009, 06:13 AM
lol, ferg-they were my nieces and nephews, they went home. I have tried felt picks, I don't like them because you can't finger pick and strum at the same time.

I have also tried finger picks and can't stand the feel of them. I'm picky :D pun intended

"My only worry now is that I'm going to wear right through the nail surface." uke5417

this is one of my concerns also....I have cut my nail back and it keeps separating from the nail bed...i'm afraid to cut it back more because where does it end?:confused:

wearymicrobe
12-03-2009, 08:32 AM
I used to worry and think that I wouldn't be able to play as well when they got trashed. Now, I just clip 'em back and adjust until they grow out a bit. Works out fine. My only worry now is that I'm going to wear right through the nail surface. Anyone done that?

You can do this with a steel C string pretty easy. I know I have come close.

I just broke down and got nail hardener and use it every Sunday, it lasts about a week. I use silk and CA glue to reinforce when necessary.

Lanark
12-03-2009, 08:57 AM
I also think that you're better off filing and shaping rather than cutting. It just seems to me to help keep the nail integrity better. I have much fewer problems since I switched to just filing every couple days before I practice to keep the status quo.

If I get a burr or snag, I make sure to take care of it as soon as feasible so it doesn't turn into a break.

I'll use hardener once a week as well. I've taken the time to grow out and maintain a nail to play, I'm going to do what I need to then. I'm confident enough that I really don't care what other people think if a few of my fingernails are a bit shiny. That's no a problem. Trying to play with a broken nail, would be.

russ_buss
12-03-2009, 09:24 AM
i keep my nails very short so i don't have that problem. however, the skin on my thumb, pointer and middle fingers are all dry and thrashed from strumming. i wash my hands a lot and have to remember to use moisturizer every now and then.

SailQwest
12-03-2009, 09:37 AM
When we first started playing ukuleles, Rich had a lot of trouble with his index fingernail, too.

On someone from UUs recommendation he got some Sally Hanson's Diamond Strength (clear) polish and started using it on the bad nail, reapplying it as it wore off. After a few weeks the nail seemed much better and he didn't need it anymore.

bazmaz
12-03-2009, 09:53 AM
had a friend who used to build up a false nail by putting squares of single ply tissue on his nail - adding clear varnish (let dry) and repeating - then filing down to the shape of a nail. Looked hideous, but was tough as old boots for strumming

Kite
12-03-2009, 12:04 PM
Hm I dont run into this problem since my index nail is unusually harder than my other nails for some odd developmental reason. :confused:
But I heard somewhere that filing down the right side of a grown out nail works great for strumming and picking!
However I still haven't figured out which way filing my thumb works out best.

ChamorroDT
12-03-2009, 12:35 PM
Hmm...I don't think I've ever had this problem before but it is interesting to know that it's happened to others. Very strange - to me at least.

psesinkclee
12-03-2009, 01:28 PM
I keep my nails trimmed short short. But I do get white spots on my pointer and middle finger nails, apparently its due to hard impacts according to WebMD hahhaa.

ukulelegal
12-03-2009, 02:50 PM
Everyone thanks for the advice. I also feel better knowing I am not alone in my fingernail freakiness :D

I think I will try wearymicrobes idea of the silk wrap. I didn't even think of this. Prior to playing uke the most I would do to my fingernails was file them!!! The things we do for our music... :p

Paul...i think the silk would be a little nicer but thanks so much for the tip!

fivetide
12-04-2009, 04:06 AM
I just have longish nails on my right-hand thumb and forefinger (pointer?), and average length ones on the rest of that hand. My left hand nails are cut short as short can be.

I don't like those two long nails in most circumstances - I get soil under there when picking veg and coal dust and soot under there when sorting out the grate. I also find them annoying when typing. But I can't go looking for gloves when doing chores, and typing brings in my salary.

But it's all worth it for playing. When they get snagged I clip 'em with clippers then scrub on my jeans :)

KoloheBoy
12-04-2009, 12:04 PM
I like to let my nails on my right hand grow out a little. But sometimes they can peel or break from strumming or something else and end up being jagged.
I usually just use a file and round them out. I noticed that my nails become thicker the longer I let them grow, then you can trim them and have good nails that aren't too long and strong. But that's just me.

PeformanceUke
12-04-2009, 12:06 PM
I devolved a ingrown finger nails from playing to much ukulele i had to cut them out.

Melissa82
12-04-2009, 12:21 PM
I also think that you're better off filing and shaping rather than cutting. It just seems to me to help keep the nail integrity better. I have much fewer problems since I switched to just filing every couple days before I practice to keep the status quo. This helps me as well. I used to just trim my nail and leave it kinds square but it would catch on strings and my nail got mangled. I then looked at aldrine's fingers and saw that they were shaped like and upside down U (curved) so I do that now and have had no problems.

Lori
12-04-2009, 12:42 PM
This time of year causes special nail problems for me. My nails get very dry and brittle, and often start to tear below the end of the finger. I am just growing out one of these nasty rips, and started using a brush on nail polish strengthener to prevent any new ones from developing.

The length of my fingernails is very important for my uke playing. The right hand nails don't have to be really long. Just 1/8 of an inch is enough to do the job, a 1/4 inch even better. The left hand nails must stay very short. My guitar teacher used to show me how to file the underside surface of the right hand nails, for a clean, smooth sound. Instead of filing your nails squarely across the tip of the nail, you aim the emery board (the fine side, not the coarse side) so it is smoothing from the underside of the nail, at an angle. The idea is to smooth the surface of the nail that contacts the strings when you pluck them.

My broken index nail is making my notes muted, and awkward. In a few more days, it will be closer to normal though. I hope the nail strengthener works.

–Lori

spots
12-04-2009, 12:44 PM
I may be the odd person (P.C. word) out, but I don't strum or pick with my nails.

My nails are kept short, and this allows me to strum and pick with the tips of my finger pads, or the side of my finger. Maybe I have unusually long and pointed finger pads or something.

ukulelegal
12-04-2009, 02:23 PM
I devolved a ingrown finger nails from playing to much ukulele i had to cut them out.
Ouch!!! :P

mailman
12-04-2009, 04:21 PM
I have lots of fingernail trouble this time of year. I work outdoors, with fingers usually exposed, and they become very brittle (presumably from the cold). Any impact....even clipping....will cause them to shatter.

I also juggle, often breaking nails in the process. The only answer seems to be to keep them trimmed very short. Doesn't affect my strumming, as I tend to strum with my thumb....

clayton56
12-04-2009, 08:50 PM
I'm more worried about my nails gouging the fingerboard than not being pretty. I give myself regular manicures at work on the grindstone.

Remember your nails keep growing even after you're dead so I figure there's plenty of time for long nails then.