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View Full Version : So while em waiting for my nails to grow?



mistydoo
06-26-2014, 04:53 PM
Lord.. I never thought I'd ask this.. But how do you guys do your nails? Mean if I wait a month to grow them and they break.. I well just screem!! hee.. Mean stamp my foot and lord knows what.. Really though, do you use nail hardening or what ever it is called? Does your wife catch you stealing hers.. Lol.. Just wondering??

Newportlocal
06-26-2014, 05:02 PM
Well there are different varieties of crystal nail files. I use one like this. Wouldn't be without it.
http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Glass-Inches-Carrying-Sassella/dp/B00283O7LK/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1403837881&sr=8-9&keywords=Crystal+nail+file
Occasionally, I use this. It has worked well when I needed it.
http://www.amazon.com/Nailtiques-Formula-Nail-Protein-0-5/dp/B004LC4MHK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403837948&sr=8-1&keywords=Nailtiques

Hope that helps.:D

actadh
06-26-2014, 05:08 PM
You don't have to have fashion model long nails for them to be effective. The white part of the nail just needs to be a bit over the fleshy pad of the finger.

I take four capsules of flax seed oil each day, which helps strengthen the nails and promotes growth. Good for you in other ways as well.

mistydoo
06-26-2014, 05:21 PM
You don't have to have fashion model long nails for them to be effective. The white part of the nail just needs to be a bit over the fleshy pad of the finger.
I take four capsules of flax seed oil each day, which helps strengthen the nails and promotes growth. Good for you in other ways as well.

Mmm.. Watching these Utube video, these guys nails sure are pretty..

Dane
06-26-2014, 05:23 PM
I put NO products on my nails. They will get stronger naturally. I have had mine grown out on my right hand for about 5 years now, and they are very very strong now.

Here are some tips for maintaining nails.

- Only have them as long as you need, the longer they are, the more fragile they become, and are more susceptible to being damaged from other things, like catching them on something.
-- TIP: A shorter nail allows more variety in tone, you can switch between using flesh, and using nail on the string.
- If you get a little bit of a cut in the side of one, FILE IT SMOOTH IMMEDIATELY. It WILL catch on something, most likely a shirt, and it WILL rip the end off.
- DO NOT CHEW YOUR NAILS
- Avoid using your nails for anything but playing ukulele. Try to avoid using them to open bags, and things like that. Picking your nose with them is fine however.
- Shape the nail so it is at the optimum pick angle for how you place your hand on the strings. For me this means slanting them off to the right (If looking at the back of my right hand)
- Avoid using nail cutters to shape them. Because of the way nail trimmers apply pressure across the nail, they can weaken it by flexing it in directions it doesn't want to go. Use a really gritty file to get rid of most of it.
- Remember to use a fine file on the top and bottom nail edges, and remember to get the UNDERSIDE of the nail, that's the part that makes contact with the string. If you remember to round the edges with a fine file, the nails will be less prone catching on things or tearing.

Tapping your nails is said to strengthen them as well.

EDIT: You can see in the photo how I have them trimmed for my optimum picking angle, with the exception of the index finger, as I use that like a normal pick often. If you were to trim them normally, the nail edge would slide along the string. But because they are slanted, they are more of a parallel contact on the string, creating a more aggressive pick. Making some form of a point will also help with the attack. If you leave the sides of your nail square, they are also likely to tear more often, and it makes picking the instrument more difficult.

http://i.imgur.com/GwcWV7D.jpg

kypfer
06-26-2014, 09:14 PM
EVERYTHING that Dane wrote above is good :)

Most importantly, nails do not need to be long to be effective, but they do need to be maintained at a consistent length, then learn to play with them at that length. One of the best amateur pickers I ever met is a stone-mason by trade, hands like shovels with nails kept to an absolute minimum almost by default, but because they were always like that, that's how he learned to play !

When Dolly Parton was interviewed by Michael Parkinson a few years ago, he asked her "How do you play guitar with nails like that?" ... "Easy", she replied, "I take them off!"

iamesperambient
06-26-2014, 09:18 PM
Lord.. I never thought I'd ask this.. But how do you guys do your nails? Mean if I wait a month to grow them and they break.. I well just screem!! hee.. Mean stamp my foot and lord knows what.. Really though, do you use nail hardening or what ever it is called? Does your wife catch you stealing hers.. Lol.. Just wondering??

I cut my nails as short as possible
to where the skin shows can't stand long
nails Estibans long nails always grossed me out

coolkayaker1
06-26-2014, 10:39 PM
http://liveukulele.com/gear/fingernail-care/

Thank you, Mr. Bordessa.

Vagrant
06-27-2014, 01:09 AM
I've been trying to grow my nails since picking up the uke a few months ago - after a lifetime of keeping them very short I'm finding it difficult, as I do a lot of hand-heavy work so keep tearing/sanding/filing the edges off by accident!

I keep wondering how all the old finger-picking blues players managed, as manual labour doesn't seem to fit with nail care - did they just have super-tough fingertip calluses they used instead?

anthonyg
06-27-2014, 01:43 AM
Depends on your nails. When I was younger I didn't have to harden them. in recently they have been a little weaker so I've had my picking nails reenforced by acrylic. They paint on the acrylic rather than glue them on. My thumbnail has always been strong enough so I reenforce only the nails that I use for picking.

Anthony

kypfer
06-27-2014, 02:50 AM
I keep wondering how all the old finger-picking blues players managed, as manual labour doesn't seem to fit with nail care - did they just have super-tough fingertip calluses they used instead? ... exactly :) ... that and a slightly different "angle of attack". It's all down to how you learn in the first place ;)

Telperion
06-27-2014, 03:09 AM
This is a good thread. I think there are definitely misperceptions regarding the need for long nails. I really agree with Dane and the other posters above about keeping them long enough to barely extend past the tip of your finger. I too would like to stress the importance of not using nail clippers to shape the nails. I basically keep everything on my left hand, and the pinky on my right hand as short as possible (some people pick with their pinky, but mine only works for nose picking, not uke playing). My thumb, first, middle, and ring fingers on the right hand only get filed. I typically use a cheap emery board to really shape and file down the nail close to where I want it, then I switch over to one of these:

http://elderly.com/accessories/items/ONS.htm

The Oasis nail shaper is great for attaining a nice smooth and polished nail edge. I believe they are made with four different grades of Micro-mesh polishing cloth, so you can work your way from medium coarse to super fine. Polishing the edge can really help to reduce any potential snags, and also can improve how clean the nail sounds on the string. I would like to try some of the glass files out there, as they are super durable, but I'm not sure they would be a total replacement for my Oasis. The Oasis shaper is not durable, which is why I recommend only using it for finish work. It is still very good, though, and I do recommend it overall. The Micro-mesh is mounted on a thin bed of soft foam, which allows the Micro-mesh to sort of flex and help achieve a nicely rounded edge.

-Steve

coolkayaker1
06-27-2014, 03:23 AM
If one gets nervous and bites their nails like a woodchuck, and because their fingers are chubby, they end up playing with just the protruding meat on the end of their digits, will that do anything to their sound other than diminish the volume? I have a friend like that who blames the low volume on the warmth of the Koa wood.

mm stan
06-27-2014, 03:39 AM
Make sure to file your nails too as they grow to take away and sharp edges that may catch the strings on your attack... :)

stevepetergal
06-27-2014, 04:06 AM
I have two things working against me in the fingernail department. I have nails that are soft, weak, and that peel up in layers. Add to that a profession that requires me to work my hands to the bone (sometimes literally). I've found the cure. I treat my nails with Vaseline at least twice a day. I rub it on the nails and into the cuticles (kind of scrub it in with just my fingers). In addition, during the winter, I treat my whole hands with a generous amount of Vaseline (again rubbing it into the nails and cuticles) before bed and sleep wearing cotton gloves. The results have been remarkable. I do still get the occasional work-related, catastrophic breakage, but the nails never flake and are far stronger than ever. When I started doing this, it took a month to get the full effect, (I suspect the nails had to grow out all the way to shed the old, weak portion). But, all winter long, never a break or flake.

Telperion
06-27-2014, 04:19 AM
If one gets nervous and bites their nails like a woodchuck, and because their fingers are chubby, they end up playing with just the protruding meat on the end of their digits, will that do anything to their sound other than diminish the volume? I have a friend like that who blames the low volume on the warmth of the Koa wood.

I actually think it can make a big difference. There is a crispness and brightness that comes from playing with nails that "protruding meat" just can't achieve, no matter how hard the strings are plucked. In fact, I think nails are an often dismissed element in discussion threads about "which strings sound best." I have had ukes that I really only liked to play when my nails were good. But, inevitably, I would break one or would need to cut them back, and I just wouldn't even want to play that uke because the sound was too mellow for me. So, I would just wait until they grew back, and I would play something else instead. In fact, I might go so far as to say that I am more of a strummer with very short nails, but when I have nice shaped nails, I'm mostly finger picking.

That reminds me of another bit of advice. My nails, in particular, tend to grow somewhat warped and can hook when they get too long. Sometimes, if I let them go too long, I find it is best to just start over, so I trim them all the way back and go from there. This is usually more of an issue in the winter when everything is so dry and nails can become brittle. To counter that, I have used vitamin E oil on my nails and cuticles to help prevent problems. You can brush it on and just rub it into the nail and cuticle and it can really help to even strengthen the nail. I'm not sure it will help to grow thicker nails, but it certainly helps with chipping and breaking. I have always stayed away from any type of nail clear coat or polish.

-Steve

Doc_J
06-27-2014, 04:35 AM
Well there are different varieties of crystal nail files. I use one like this. Wouldn't be without it.
http://www.amazon.com/Crystal-Glass-Inches-Carrying-Sassella/dp/B00283O7LK/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1403837881&sr=8-9&keywords=Crystal+nail+file
Occasionally, I use this. It has worked well when I needed it.
http://www.amazon.com/Nailtiques-Formula-Nail-Protein-0-5/dp/B004LC4MHK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403837948&sr=8-1&keywords=Nailtiques

Hope that helps.:D
+1
The crystal nail file makes a really smooth edge. A smooth edge is so important to prevent catching, snagging , or tearing my nails. This file is works great.

ralphk
06-27-2014, 06:37 AM
"Avoid using your nails for anything but playing ukulele. Try to avoid using them to open bags, and things like that. Picking your nose with them is fine however."

I'm sure glad that my daily routine is OK from the nair strength standpoint!

janeray1940
06-27-2014, 06:52 AM
Just my two cents' worth re: nail strengtheners (Nail Envy, Nailtiques etc) - these actually *weakened* my nails, since they need to be removed with nail polish remover and reapplied weekly. Nail polish removers are absolutely brutal when it comes to drying out nails!

As others have said, they don't have to be super long. I still have awful nails that break and peel with next to no provocation, but have had a bit of success using this Sally Hansen stuff from the drugstore (http://www.sallyhansen.com/nails/nail-care/strength-growth/vitasurge%E2%84%A2-growth-gel). It's not a polish, it's a gel that you rub into the nails, and it really has made a difference.

mistydoo
06-28-2014, 06:03 PM
Thanks Dane, ur post is very helpful. My problem is I play rough. Like playing in dirt, n the rough side of using my hands. Been using a Nylon pick the las three days sinse I got my first Uku and so far really liking the results. But after watching so many incredable Utube vids of folks finger picking. Deff the way I want to go as the pick, seems to limit one as the finger picking open just endless variations..

mistydoo
06-28-2014, 06:06 PM
Yes I rad where some nail harding cleay coating works.. In my case I may need Crazy super glue. But I have a ways to go as my bails are flat right now. But good to know they don't have to ne very long. As I well see when they start to feel comfortable in time. then stay with that size and shape..

armchair_spaceman
06-28-2014, 11:37 PM
"Hard as Hoof" works well to keep my nails in good condition, seems to help them along a bit with growth but that might be illusory. There's aLso a French product called "Herome" that my nails seem to tolerate well.

When I do break or tear one badly enough to have to cut it back (as happened a week ago, grrrr) I use an alaska pik trimmed and shaped as close as I can get it to my usual nail.

peanuts56
06-29-2014, 10:23 AM
I am still experimenting with the length. I've only been fingerpicking since Sept. I teach band/violin at an arts magnet school. I get all kinds of questions/comments from the kids on why my nails are long on my right hand. I use a simple metal nail file and never have had a problem with them braking. I also play keyboard and it drove me pupule for a while. Click, click, click!!!!!

mistydoo
06-29-2014, 11:25 AM
Yes em going to give it a try. As the keyboard part is deff on my mind too. Remember many years ago I tried those Alaska piks when I was out one night. May try them again n just keep the thumb nail long. Well see, be fun trying.

bnolsen
06-29-2014, 05:15 PM
yard work and unicycle riding rip mine short. just keep on picking and strumming.

Dane
06-29-2014, 05:45 PM
yard work and unicycle riding rip mine short. just keep on picking and strumming.

Ooh another unicyclist! What do you ride?

I'm mostly mountain, with a bit of coker just for fun around town.

I've never had issues with Muni and my ukulele nails once I started trimming them as short as I photographed page 1.

bonesigh
06-29-2014, 05:55 PM
If someone has already said this, sorry, I'm not reading the entire post but, go to the nail salon. I've been told by a few that they do guys nails all the time that play guitar (: Get acrylic nails on just the three digits, thumb, first and middle finger. Costs me about 30 dollars a month and it's totally worth it not to have to worry about broken nails at all.

Down Up Dick
06-30-2014, 01:45 PM
I read somewhere what bonesigh's talking about. It said that if one has problems with his nails he should go to a nail salon to get some glued on.