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View Full Version : NAILS! Do you grow them?



davoomac
01-29-2008, 05:04 AM
Hey I was wondering to what extent you ukulele players grow your nails? Do you find that it helps to have nails? which fingers do you grow them out on?

For me I've been growing my nails for about a year and they are now 4 inches long! haha just joking. I'm still waiting for my thumbnail to grow out longer so I can learn to fast pick like jake.

Solana
01-29-2008, 06:45 AM
Seems like every time I try to grow mine out, I get them going pretty well, then break one off very deep and painfully. Then I trim them all up and have to start all over.

ChiyoDad
01-29-2008, 07:04 AM
I'm working on a summary on nail-care for my blog. I'll let you guys know when I'm done.

I grow the nails on my right hand. They increase the range of color and volume that you can induce from a classical guitar and ukulele (playing fingerstyle, of course). That doesn't mean that you can't play without them.

This weekend, I chipped my thumbnail and had to trim it down. It's ruined my tone and decreased my speed. I guess the latter isn't a bad thing when you're practicing.

NukeDOC
01-29-2008, 07:12 AM
i grow all the nails out on my right hand for all the same reasons... the pinky is to pick my nose though hehe. but ive been looking for some nail cair tips to help with abrasion resistance.

my nail on my index finger wears away from all the strumming i do. it litterally looks deformed now.

ive tried clear nail polish... that wore away after one song.

i would like to try some press-on nails... but i hear the adhesive is crap.

and theres no way youre going to drag me into a salon to have my nails done!!!

really.

i wont do it.

haha...

seriously though, if i dont figure something out soon, i will wear away the nail so far that i will be exposing the nail bed. then im REALLY gonng be ticked!

E-Lo Roberts
01-29-2008, 08:33 AM
As for me, when I first started fingerpicking style guitar 20 years ago, I could'nt play a lick without growing my nails out on my right hand. It was always a burden to keep them long enough for decent, clean guitar picking. However, do a little work around the house; the nails breaks. Bang the guitar too hard one night; there goes another nail. I tried fake nails, super glue, etc, etc. However, what happened was as I continued to improve my techquiue over the years, my nails length has continued to get shorter to where now they don't even have to come over the skin part at the end of my finger tips to work just fine. (Sidenote:Check out the closeups of Jake's nail on his DVD or on the thumb/pointer lesson he did will Aldrine. His nails are not long at all.) Anyway, in my situation it's more of a half skin half nail techquiue that I've found sustainable. Since now that I also enjoy playing the ukulele, I've found this techquie works equally well on this instrument...with one exception: the single-note fast thumb picking. The down stroke is no problem: nice tone, etc. But the up stroke with the thumb gets more of a hollow "ping" sound than that nice fat tone I want. As of yet, I have not trying growing my thumb nail out for the above reasons. So I'm trying to develop my speed with a two finger techquie using my thumb and pointer finger. i.e. hold thumb and finger together like your handing a business card. Then pick down with thumb and then pick up with the pointer. It's starting to work well but as with any new techquie, it takes a lot of practice to be dead on fast and clean with it. For what it's worth... that's where I'm at with the nail length and the single-note fast picking thing...

Keonikapila
01-29-2008, 10:16 AM
I grow the nails on my thumb and first three fingers on my right hand because I tend to use four fingers when picking.

I keep a set of "Alaska Piks" (http://www.alaskapik.com/) and some sports tape (to keep em on) in my gig bag, just in case I break a nail. The Alaska Piks are pretty good, but they take a little getting used to...if you're a crazy strummer (lots of triples and rolls) they sometimes catch on the string, but if you cover the open areas with sports tape it's not much of a problem. The reason I like em is that one peice of the pick sits under your nail...so it "feels" kinda like a nail (as opposed to regular finger picks)

It's not as good or as natural as a regular nail...but it's better than nothing

NukeDOC
01-29-2008, 10:20 AM
I grow the nails on my thumb and first three fingers on my right hand because I tend to use four fingers when picking.

I keep a set of "Alaska Piks" (http://www.alaskapik.com/) and some sports tape (to keep em on) in my gig bag, just in case I break a nail. The Alaska Piks are pretty good, but they take a little getting used to...if you're a crazy strummer (lots of triples and rolls) they sometimes catch on the string, but if you cover the open areas with sports tape it's not much of a problem. The reason I like em is that one peice of the pick sits under your nail...so it "feels" kinda like a nail (as opposed to regular finger picks)

It's not as good or as natural as a regular nail...but it's better than nothing

hmm that might be something id be interested in.

Keonikapila
01-29-2008, 10:27 AM
hmm that might be something id be interested in.

They work pretty well, and you can customize them with a nail file and clippers. Straight out of the package they've got a uniform rounded shape, I take a little bit out of the left side to give it an "edge" (think of the end of the nail where it goes from shooting straight out and starts to curve around the finger) to pick with...that gives me the cleanest sound from em.

titoboy5
01-29-2008, 11:15 AM
yes! heres some tips for your nail care. soak your nails in warm water then trim it with a clipper, file your nails only in one direction, push in the cuticle to speed the growth process. i for one always file my nails every week so it grows thicker.

Fred Miu
01-29-2008, 11:41 AM
i grow my thumb, index, and middle finger out juuuust enough to pick. because i coach gymnastics, i cant stab my kids with my nails. BUT i dont just have my nails grow, i clip them, then file them into a picking look shape and round the top (so i dont hurt my kids)


and Nuke: if you coat with nail polish like 5 times, it stays longer haha, but thats soo much time going into doing your nails that people begin to think your are queer.

NukeDOC
01-29-2008, 11:54 AM
titoboy... thanks for the tip... ill give that a try to see if it strengthens my nails. i noticed that i never have to worry about my thumbail because its so thick and strong. i have a habit of pushing back my thumb cuticles with my index finger for some reason. so i guess that actually works!

on the other hand... im wondering how you know so much about nail care hmmm? hmmmmmm??? hahaha just kiddin. :p


fred... i had more than 5 coats on. hahaha

Fred Miu
01-29-2008, 11:57 AM
haha wow, i just stuck to not strumming so hard >_< i think that was why.

thumb picks are good too, but i hate picks with a passion. i can never use them

tripl3thr33
01-29-2008, 11:59 AM
haha wow, i just stuck to not strumming so hard >_< i think that was why.

thumb picks are good too, but i hate picks with a passion. i can never use them

same here, they always fall haha. i've never really tried growing out my nails.... maybe i should try.

grappler
01-29-2008, 12:30 PM
I grow my thumb and Index finger, Thanks for the tip.. I use t grow my middle, but i figured it wasn't essential... :)

davoomac
01-29-2008, 12:38 PM
As for me, when I first started fingerpicking style guitar 20 years ago, I could'nt play a lick without growing my nails out on my right hand. It was always a burden to keep them long enough for decent, clean guitar picking. However, do a little work around the house; the nails breaks. Bang the guitar too hard one night; there goes another nail. I tried fake nails, super glue, etc, etc. However, what happened was as I continued to improve my techquiue over the years, my nails length has continued to get shorter to where now they don't even have to come over the skin part at the end of my finger tips to work just fine. (Sidenote:Check out the closeups of Jake's nail on his DVD or on the thumb/pointer lesson he did will Aldrine. His nails are not long at all.) Anyway, in my situation it's more of a half skin half nail techquiue that I've found sustainable. Since now that I also enjoy playing the ukulele, I've found this techquie works equally well on this instrument...with one exception: the single-note fast thumb picking. The down stroke is no problem: nice tone, etc. But the up stroke with the thumb gets more of a hollow "ping" sound than that nice fat tone I want. As of yet, I have not trying growing my thumb nail out for the above reasons. So I'm trying to develop my speed with a two finger techquie using my thumb and pointer finger. i.e. hold thumb and finger together like your handing a business card. Then pick down with thumb and then pick up with the pointer. It's starting to work well but as with any new techquie, it takes a lot of practice to be dead on fast and clean with it. For what it's worth... that's where I'm at with the nail length and the single-note fast picking thing...

So the key here is to play for 20 years and by then I should be able to do it. :) just jokin. Thanks for the explanation of how that thumb and index fast picking works. I wasn't to sure at first, but now its on my list of things to learn ^_^


Has anyone heard of "wonder nail" by revlon? What about "Onymyrrh" (used to strengthen horses hoofs). They were recommended by a fingerstyle player on this site: http://www.accentonmusic.com/article_1.html


Apparently they strengthened the nails really well.

Fred Miu
01-29-2008, 12:47 PM
NUKE! I THINK WE HAVE A SOLUTION TO OUR NAIL POLISH PROBLEM!!!!! haha

davoomac
01-29-2008, 12:57 PM
From what I understand, horses hoofs are made of the same type of material as human nails right? I need to order me some hoof strengthener!

UkuLeLesReggAe
01-29-2008, 07:00 PM
i grow my right nails. not my left

davoomac
02-03-2008, 05:38 AM
Has anyone else tried or heard of nail strengthening products other than the ones mentioned already?

Misguided Musician
02-03-2008, 08:59 AM
i grow my right nails. not my left
Yeah I do the same. I hate picks cuz it's just unnatural. I barely use it on guitar,but I only use it for electric sometimes.

KosLooney
02-03-2008, 10:08 AM
All my nails are short, cause I wear contact lenses.
I don't like to poke in one of my eye's with a long fingernail...:eek:

JosephBautista
02-03-2008, 10:11 AM
i grow my thumb index and middle and just like that one dude my index seems to always break and look deformed and...yeah it just broke -_- now i gotta start all 3 over again

Ndtitanlady
02-03-2008, 12:16 PM
haha i cant help it, like im a girl with freaking long finger nails.
its good for one hand, but for like my left hand its a pain haha.
these claws of mine grow so fast too
ahhh this sounds so gross, but yeah its true.

ChiyoDad
02-03-2008, 12:19 PM
haha i cant help it, like im a girl with freaking long finger nails.
its good for one hand, but for like my left hand its a pain haha.
So how do you fret? With the pads of your fingers? :confused:

UkuLeLesReggAe
02-03-2008, 06:58 PM
mine always break hahaa.. every time i do something, i even got my nail through my skin one time when i was plucking... don't know how, but i did.

titoboy5
02-04-2008, 06:57 PM
titoboy... thanks for the tip... ill give that a try to see if it strengthens my nails. i noticed that i never have to worry about my thumbail because its so thick and strong. i have a habit of pushing back my thumb cuticles with my index finger for some reason. so i guess that actually works!

on the other hand... im wondering how you know so much about nail care hmmm? hmmmmmm??? hahaha just kiddin. :p


fred... i had more than 5 coats on. hahaha

hahaha, aldrine told me about filing the nails and i was a temp dept manager for health and beauty at my work place! so yea , i know some stuffs!

dafamcallsmebj
02-04-2008, 07:15 PM
i only grow my right thumb and index nails....
but i know a couple ppl who use fake nails...

tsudawuda
02-04-2008, 07:53 PM
i use a pick. i cut my nails on my right hand so i can tap the frets on my electric guitar.

Duke
02-05-2008, 06:35 AM
i dont care about my left hand. the nails are very short for fretting.

the right hand i just file for about nearly 2 years now, and i feel very good with it.
all nails are as long as the fingers. this is enogh to get the right "kick" in the tone. don't need longer nails.
the thumbnail is 1-2 mm longer as the thumb. this is the right lenght i think for a good play and a good tremolo-thumb-picking

nails are not too round and not too spikey. i care that they are smooth (bottom and topside) for a good gliding over the strings.

tripl3thr33
02-05-2008, 10:07 AM
the right hand i just file for about nearly 2 years now, and i feel very good with it.


wow 2 years... i should try that. btw, its been awhile duke, welcome back :D

titoboy5
02-05-2008, 07:31 PM
i only grow my right thumb and index nails....
but i know a couple ppl who use fake nails...

i tried acrylics once because all my nails broke a day before a gig and i hated it! i paid $30 and was promised that it wouldn't break off, but it did half way into the gig.

davoomac
02-06-2008, 01:43 AM
i tried acrylics once because all my nails broke a day before a gig and i hated it! i paid $30 and was promised that it wouldn't break off, but it did half way into the gig.

How do the fake nails perform while they are on your fingers? did they fall off because you were rockin out hardcore?

titoboy5
02-06-2008, 09:14 AM
How do the fake nails perform while they are on your fingers? did they fall off because you were rockin out hardcore?

the acrylics feel like alaskan finger picks but more expensive and no it was a wedding,nothing but love songs!

kaeo7095
02-17-2008, 10:52 PM
Personally only grow out my thumb nail a little. But I play with my thumb,index and middle instead of hitting down with the nail I pick up i feel that its better for me.

LINK1416
06-13-2009, 05:34 PM
Two words; Nutra Nail.

...'plus green tea antioxidants' for the picky.

As you'd expect, the stuff is like a polish (goes on glossy and a bit gunky), but the whole focus of it is to seep into your nails and strengthen them. And it does.

And for those who fear of looking fruity by having the stuff, it isn't pink with flours. It's a clear white bottle with a logo on it. (You'll only look girly when putting it on and waving them around / blowing on them to dry.)

While it takes a while for the length of the nail to noticably strengthen to that of, say, your toenails, you'll notice that the nailbeds are much stronger after the first use. Just put a thin coat on, let dry, add a second thin coat, and repeat every other day.

Now, I won't lie; it'll make your nails look glossy. And yes, it IS possible to peel the gunky stuff off your nail. But fortunately, that's only if you REALLY try to do so, and it hasn't come off my nails on my strings from strumming so far. It'll just feel a little waxy to the touch, but suprisingly hard.

So yeah. Do youy nails a favor, and give yourself a MAAAAAAAAANicure. And paint them pink if you're so inclined to do so as well. (I don't judge.)

---edit---

By-the-way, this is mostly for those who always clip/bite their nails, and they are completely brittle and weak when grown out. Though I'm sure those with gorilla-nails wouldn't mind trying it as well.

Uncle-Taco
06-13-2009, 06:07 PM
How do the fake nails perform while they are on your fingers? did they fall off because you were rockin out hardcore?

I grow my nails (right thumb, index, middle) when I can, but mine hook downward and it's hard to straighten them.

One pro I knew showed me what to do: I use fake NYLON nails (acrylic breaks and nylon sounds better anyway; that's why they make picks out of it). I'll superglue them on and file them to where I want them, play the gig, then dissolve them off with acetone. I never had any trouble with that other than the glue and acetone sometimes making my fingers sore and my nails look like crud from the quick, amateur hack job.

Natural is healthier and I hate the nylon gluing thing, but if I have to sound good...

lolsara
06-14-2009, 03:17 AM
I cut my left hand short for fretting and try and grow my right hand... but it doesn't always work out too well. Interestingly enough, when I put on those DIY fake nails I could strum/pick so much better. So that is always an option! But not a great one for guys :p

Bratset
06-14-2009, 12:06 PM
I cut my left hand short, and try to have pretty long nails on my thumb for picking, and medium long nails on my pointer finger I like that for strumming, think it makes it a bit easier to get a good sound.

haole
06-14-2009, 02:17 PM
Nope. I do enough damage to the finish on my uke as it is, because I'm a furious strummer. If I had long nails on my strumming hand, I'd tear another soundhole in my uke!

The idea of owning an instrument with a glossy finish is terrifying to me. It'll look like crap in a matter of minutes.

RevWill
06-14-2009, 02:53 PM
The old musician's joke: "I started playing the guitar so I could get girls, and I ended up talking to other grown men about fingernail care."

specialmike
06-14-2009, 03:59 PM
I'm still experimenting with what combination of grown nails is ideal. As of right now, the thumb-nail is pretty long for tremolos and picking. I cut the pointer a few days ago. And the middle finger is still growing. But over all, I want to be able to move all three fingers in an efficient manner so that I don't hit the fret board and still pick the notes I need.

Daionsavage
06-15-2009, 04:43 AM
I play upright and fingerstyle electric bass (and work in a microbiology lab during the days) so growing nails is not an option, but I have grown calluses from hell instead. Works alright for me, and if I really want to pick with something nail-like, theres always fingerpicks: http://www.nordicstrings.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/f/i/fingerpickplast_1.png

LonnaB
06-15-2009, 06:50 AM
I keep all my nails trimmed short. It's an occupational thing- I work with small children and they often come running at me.

I use the top of my nail for strumming and sometimes the pad of my thumb. Picking doesn't seem to be too big of a problem, but then again I'm not getting going as fast as most of you.

Gelatin is good for hair and nail growth. So, eat your Jello!

Also, there's a reason hippies have long hair and it's not just because they want to stick it to the man. I'll leave that at that. ;)

Craig
06-15-2009, 04:25 PM
My nails are a life-long concern for me: Too short, too long...then when the break?! I've finally found the right balance for me, but this isn't a standardized thing...so much of one's nails depends on one's genes. My 85-year-old mentor has a gianormous thumb nail that never breaks....and he gold mines on the weekends! I've found that by taking 3,000 mgs of Glucosamine with MSM, daily, has allowed my nails to be stronger than ever.

I hope you can glean some info from my rambling...

ichadwick
06-16-2009, 01:10 AM
Nope. Fingernails cropped to the quick. Even a hair's breadth of nail annoys me. I play with my fingers and fingertips. Nails are vulnerable to cracking, tearing, splintering, bending and scraping.

Much easier to keep clean if they're too short to allow junk underneath.

The fingertip gives me a wider range of pressure and surface to apply to the string than a nail allows. I can just do a short pluck, or pull a larger part of my fingertip over a string for a different effect. I can pick very lightly and softly with my fingers, or loudly and aggressively.

With my fingertips, I feel the string, feel its surface and its resistance; I can sense if it's rough or smooth, clean or dirty.

If I want the sound of a nail, I can play with a pick. Don't like finger picks that act like artificial nails, either.

RoccoW
06-29-2009, 12:06 AM
I vary, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

RevWill
06-29-2009, 03:40 AM
I grow my fingernails out just a little bit, just enough that they make a difference in the sound of my fingerpicking. I try not to let them get so long that they look creepy.

sukie
06-29-2009, 04:41 AM
Also, there's a reason hippies have long hair and it's not just because they want to stick it to the man. I'll leave that at that. ;)

Oh, come on. Do tell.

veep
06-29-2009, 07:08 AM
I vary, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.

beeejums
06-29-2009, 09:35 AM
I grow out my right hand, but just a tiny bit. I play electric bass, and I haven't quite figured out what to do when I don't feel like using a pick there, since I usually do about 50/50 picking and fingerstyle/slap. It depends on the tone I want for what I'm playing.

I do have a creepy long thumbnail. I can't tremolo without it, and it doesn't get in the way on my bass.

This reminds me, I really need to file my nails. And have a cup of coffee.

Jimmy
06-29-2009, 01:26 PM
I try to grow them but I'm always biting them. I'm still experimenting with different fingernail lengths for different sounds, I think I like a bit of length for the thumb nail and less for the other fingers but I'll keep growing them and see what happens.

ukulele2544
06-29-2009, 05:36 PM
I don't grow my nails...

Maybe I'll get myself a pare on finger-picks.... ^_^

TerryUkes
06-30-2009, 01:55 AM
I have a little bit long thumb (2-3mm), index (~1mm), and middle (~1mm) nails.
I always keep their length by filing and buffer.

I used to have very long thumb (~5mm) and index (~5mm) nails like Ohta-san.
But as it was hard for me to make intonation with nails, I shortened them recentrly.
This way I can use finger or nail.

Though my nails are healthy and strong by nature, I have started using hand and nail lotion a few times a day.

Terry
http://www.youtube.com/terryukes/

hawaiianmusiclover06
06-30-2009, 03:17 AM
I grow out my right thumb, middle, and fourth fingers. Helps me to pick faster. To harden my nails I use a clear nail polish.

Hankthetank
06-30-2009, 11:35 AM
:shaka:I don't have the patience to let my nails grow out. They bother me they get too long, so my nails are short. I seem to do ok that way. But come to think of it, I am not a very good player-so growing them out might help. Whatever you are most comfy with is what I always say.

Lanark
07-03-2009, 03:43 AM
I've grown out some nails. Use strengthener now and again. Keep them filed to a good length and take care of things as soon as I can if I feel any kind of snag. (that's where I always run into trouble.) It's not really a whole lot of maintenance. Just a certain amount of conscientiousness in establishing a status quo.
(I personally have never been able to use fingerpicks. I just prefer to actually feel the strings with my fingers when I play.)
When it comes down to it, you really don't need to grow anything super long. All it really needs to be is just slightly higher than the finger pad to be effective. It's a matter of adapting to having them if you're not used to such things. It's taken me a while, but even I've managed to do it and I'm certainly not much more disciplined that the average human.

And from a playing perspective I've found it to be a whole different experience. There's a pretty stark jump in terms of volume, precision and clarity over fingertips. I can strum faster and pick leads. It opens up an entire other level of playing possibilities. Notes just ring louder and longer. (and my cat is happier and I can scratch the itch on my wife's back she can't reach a lot more effectively as well.)

It's also worth it for me in terms of a performance perspective in that we do play live. I need/want to have that little extra bit of projection for a show but which might be less essential if you're just plucking away around the house for your own amusement. But growing some nails does have a time, place and purpose for playing. If you can, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it.

My only problem is that somewhere down the line I developed a weak spot in my thumbnail that grows up vertically from the bottom in a line. It's like a permanent vertical crack that keeps me from growing that out like I'd like to.

Link
07-03-2009, 07:26 AM
Nope. Fingernails cropped to the quick. Even a hair's breadth of nail annoys me. I play with my fingers and fingertips. Nails are vulnerable to cracking, tearing, splintering, bending and scraping.

Much easier to keep clean if they're too short to allow junk underneath.

The fingertip gives me a wider range of pressure and surface to apply to the string than a nail allows. I can just do a short pluck, or pull a larger part of my fingertip over a string for a different effect. I can pick very lightly and softly with my fingers, or loudly and aggressively.

With my fingertips, I feel the string, feel its surface and its resistance; I can sense if it's rough or smooth, clean or dirty.

If I want the sound of a nail, I can play with a pick. Don't like finger picks that act like artificial nails, either.
Testify!!! Amen, brother.

Raygf
07-05-2009, 02:25 PM
Being a guitar player of over 30 some years I do grow nails on my right hand thumb, index, middle and ring fingers. They are not what I would consider long. I tend to mainly use a flesh and nail combination. I have had problems with breakage mainly in the winter until I started using Nail Tek XTRA. My nails are so much stronger now, even when I play steel string acoustic guitar.
Regards,
Ray

hugmepleaze
07-17-2009, 06:17 PM
I grow mine out but I'd feel weird only having some fingers long and some short. However I guess I can get away with long nails easier :D

Skrik
07-29-2009, 02:12 AM
Short, or I snag my thumbnail on the G-string as I'm strumming, giving a loud rubber-band-like twang, and everyone laughs.

SeanKy671
07-29-2009, 06:27 AM
I grow my thumb..
My parents think it's gross lol, but idc
I keep it trimmed haha
It makes a difference when you have it

molokinirum
08-07-2009, 02:42 AM
Seems like every time I try to grow mine out, I get them going pretty well, then break one off very deep and painfully. Then I trim them all up and have to start all over.

Got a tip about the nails from a great guitarist. He uses the fake nails and he stated that the best ones (and he tried them all) he got from the dollar store!!! The are hard nails and easily stand up the both steel and nylon strings!;)

schuermurrman
08-07-2009, 03:04 AM
Got a tip about the nails from a great guitarist. He uses the fake nails and he stated that the best ones (and he tried them all) he got from the dollar store!!! The are hard nails and easily stand up the boyh steel and nylon strings!;)

Man I LLLOOOVVVEEE the dollar store. And I want to have that thumb nail. Me and patience aren't very tight though...so I always end up biting it off (yes groady I know....) but a fake nail....there we goo...Thanx for the tip I'll have to look into that one!!

eerteep
08-07-2009, 03:16 AM
my nails only get in the way...i keep'm trimmed often...gives me a softer sounding strum when i play with a 'fleshy finger'...
i don't pick much, if i did, i'm sure i'd grow the thumb nail...
before i started trimming my nails in true OCD fashion, i managed to gouge out my first fret at the E string with my finger nail...my nails are ridiculously hard—hancock hard...
...so i trim 'em.
: )
p.

UKISOCIETY
08-07-2009, 04:35 AM
You don't need nails to pick a uke. I use the fleshy part of my thumb and fingers, as demonstrated in my last video. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n68yOUEl2Sw) (At :58 into video)

ukeshale
08-07-2009, 04:40 AM
I'd been biting my nails for over 10 years up until about 2-3 weeks ago. i used the idea of playing with them as incentive to stop biting. They're longer than they've ever been this side of the millenium. I'm enjoying them so far as i seem to find it easier to strum with my finger tips when i've got nails - go figure

veep
08-07-2009, 07:30 AM
I have trimmed mine cuz they get long fast .

ihavenotea
08-07-2009, 11:42 AM
Short, or I snag my thumbnail on the G-string as I'm strumming, giving a loud rubber-band-like twang, and everyone laughs.

When I first let my thumb nail grow out a bit I had the same problem… filing the corners carefully to remove the part of the nail that made a little hook fixed it for me.

I am still trying to figure out how useful having three longer nails is. On the one hand it certainly does add volume to my picking… on the other hand my wife hates them (and I have tried to keep them just barely longer than the pad of my fingertips).

I may end up trimming them, as I will get less grief and Alan has shown that you really can pick quite well without them.

I am worried that I won't be able to do some of the fancy strums that Coveywoo (http://www.youtube.com/user/COVEYWOOD)d likes to demonstrate… but I can't do those anyway (they are way beyond my skill level at the moment).

edit: Yeah, I may keep them… this seems attainable (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTgqW6hqpfA&feature=PlayList&p=BCC2AA5CA9CDC2E5&index=0) with practice and harder without a little thumbnail.

ihavenotea
08-07-2009, 11:44 AM
You don't need nails to pick a uke. I use the fleshy part of my thumb and fingers, as demonstrated in my last video. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n68yOUEl2Sw) (At :58 into video)

Is something like this strum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTgqW6hqpfA&feature=PlayList&p=BCC2AA5CA9CDC2E5&index=0) doable without thumbnail?

mrplatypus70
08-07-2009, 04:15 PM
I played finger style guitar for quite a while before picking up the ukulele (not classical mind you but John Hurt, John Fahey, Leo Kottke type stuff). This is my take on fingernails, the longer they are the more volume and stronger attack you get. The trade off is you also get more string noise and if they get real long they get awkward and hang up on the strings. If you play with a low wound string you will also find longer nails make scratchy noises on the wound strings (more of a problem on steel string guitars). Also when you grow your nails real long I find women tend to make fun of you, ask you if you would like them to put polish on them etc... I never got this kind of abuse from men (I guess it would be kind of gay to admit you noticed another guy’s fingernails!!). Anyway what works best for me on guitar and ukulele is a rather long thumbnail, over 1/8 of an inch past the flesh when looking at it from underneath then the index middle and ring nails just over the tip of the finger. This allows you to get some of the extra attack from the nail bur also use the flesh of the fingertip, which gives a rounder smother sound. You can then learn to control the amount of nail vs. fingertip used in the attack to get a huge variety of sounds. I hope you were able to stay with me through my long and rambling post because somewhere in there I think there was some useful information!!

Island_Uke
08-30-2009, 09:30 PM
My right hand fingernails were almost an inch long until it got ugly so I cut it

DogBisquit
08-31-2009, 09:22 AM
I'm just beginning to use picking, so I think I'll teach myself to do without the nail(s). If and when I get to the level of some of you guys are playing at I'll make that call then.

God forbid someone should question my nail length. Currently I'd be hard pressed to justify longer nails. They might ask to hear me play!

Ukeval
08-31-2009, 08:41 PM
I'm playing without nails (even guitar and, of course, lute) works fine on the uke too...
V.

Lori
09-01-2009, 06:29 AM
The right hand nails don't have to be too long. 1/8 inch is plenty. Keep the left hand trimmed short though. Nails get in the way of fretting the strings. I found that longer nails are subject to breaking and tearing, which is not good.

–Lori

Citrus
09-01-2009, 12:39 PM
the only time I've had to worry about how long my nails have been is when I'm using my right hand to fret and I need to pick with the fingers I'm not using to fret, like if I'm picking some notes on G2 C(12) E3 A (12) and I need to do some pick on those top 12's I need nails to get a clean pick. Of course some people like the sound of nail picking too but meh. You can get fake nails at most larger guitar stores, I can never grow mine out to any decent length

Ser-T-Fide
09-12-2009, 03:54 PM
i heard somebody say super glue.

Tucunaré
09-13-2009, 06:19 AM
I have very weak nails, they break really easily. The problem is that I struggle to pick without them. I found a grea product by Sally Hanson called Hard as Nails. Only problem is that it is glossy, so I have three glossy nails on my right hand. But, it really works. Makes the nails super strong.

Ser-T-Fide
09-16-2009, 04:42 AM
I have very weak nails, they break really easily. The problem is that I struggle to pick without them. I found a grea product by Sally Hanson called Hard as Nails. Only problem is that it is glossy, so I have three glossy nails on my right hand. But, it really works. Makes the nails super strong.

It works great, thanks. I live and work with children with disabilities so there is a lot of outdoor activites and work. This stuff makes your nails mega strong. get the "Hard as Wraps" version.

dirk.li
09-17-2009, 03:59 AM
I keep the nails on my right hand longer. I cut the white part of the nail down to about 2 mm. It is enough to ensure that they don't break easily and they don't get in the way of everyday work. Also 2 mm is enough for me to fingerpick nicely.
I have some felt picks but don't know really how to use them. Using my fingers for playing seems to be more natural... Have you ever tried using a felt pick?

I cut the nails on my left hand very short, since - as being said here - longer nails get in the way when fretting. Especially when you fret chords that require all 4 fingers on the lower fretboard.

Sambient
09-20-2009, 12:59 PM
I just saw something on a guitar store's site that was nail filing paper. What's that all about?

djny
09-21-2009, 02:42 PM
I have very weak nails, they break really easily. The problem is that I struggle to pick without them. I found a grea product by Sally Hanson called Hard as Nails. Only problem is that it is glossy, so I have three glossy nails on my right hand. But, it really works. Makes the nails super strong.

I have weak thin nails, too. Hard as Nails works great for me (when I remember to use it.)

UkuLeLesReggAe
09-21-2009, 07:07 PM
I have thick, wide strong nails. But I always bite them because I see they are long, and get tempted to rip em off