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Thread: Fingernails vs No Fingernails

  1. #1

    Default Fingernails vs No Fingernails

    Howdy,

    I am new to ukulele. My uke should arrive sometime this coming Tuesday.

    It seems to me that most of the uke players that I enjoy listening to (and enjoy their tone) have long fingernails. Ukulelezaza is an example. In preparation for getting my uke, I've been growing my nails out. I must say that I really dislike having long nails. Plus, I am already weird enough. I don't know if I am liking the idea of having a few long nails on one hand. My question is... are there any players out there that get a good "classic" soprano uke tone without nails? I am aware of products like aLaska picks, but I really don't care for those (I've tried them on guitar).

    Thanks in advance,

    Ryan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,795

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    I am "no nails" soprano player. Can't stand long nails and can control the sound of the ukulele much better without nails. You will find that the skin on your strumming/picking hand builds up a bit of calloused skin around the nail, which gets a good sound.
    - Laura

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Honolulu
    Posts
    313

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    If you keep the fingernails fairly short—about 1mm past the tip—you can easily vary the angle to use a flesh stroke or nail stroke tone. For the thumbnail, it needs to be a little longer—about 3mm—but it is even easier to alternate your tone between flesh tone and nail strokes. It's nice to have a choice and I love both sounds. One you have nails, they sound best with a rounded contour sanded to a smooth perfection (1000 grit plus sandpaper). I even buff mine with several grades of Micromesh.
    Last edited by gochugogi; 05-05-2019 at 06:14 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    739

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    I have very weak nails an for the past decade or so, have been visiting Lily's Nails, our local nail joint, to have acrylic gel nails applied. Like Segovia, I like them so that they're just visible over the end of my fingers. I get the index,bird and ring fingers done. I started doing this to only one nail to help with clawhammer banjo, but to keep my guitar playing fingers balanced, I got the other two done as well.
    Susan, the person who does my nails, knows exactly how I like them, and I have referred a couple of my friends and students to her.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    3,640

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    I don't think that long fingernails are required equipment.
    I don't want to live in a world that is linear.

    I just want everyone to understand that I am not a ukulele expert, even though it may look at times like I'm pretending to be.

    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...tective+Agency

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Palm Beach County FL
    Posts
    433

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    SE Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    729

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    I dislike playing my ukuleles without longer nails on my strumming/picking hand. The tone is much more clear and the volume is much better for me.
    Sopranos: Bruko No. 6; Kiwaya KS-1; Kiwaya KTS-4; Kiwaya KTS-4K; Martin S-O
    Concerts:Cahaya CY-0112; Kiwaya KTC-1; Martin C-1 (ca. 1947-1955); Musicguymic's Kolohe
    Tenors: Cordoba 24T; Kiwaya KTT-2K
    Baritones: Cordoba 24B

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Stone Harbor, NJ
    Posts
    985

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    Welcome Milwaukee, that is a question only you can answer. Start with short nails, then let them grow. See what you think. This is a personal choice, only you can answer this question. Enjoy and be patient.
    DEPENDENTS:

    In order of age:


    Martin C-1K Concert, C Re-entrant Tuning 4/2014
    Pono MTD-CR Tenor C Linear Tuning 6/21/2016
    Ko'olau Model 100 Tenor C Linear Tuning 7/27/2018
    Martin 2 Tenor Mahogany Style 2 C Linear Tuning 5/11/2019

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Posts
    287

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJFN View Post
    Welcome Milwaukee, that is a question only you can answer. Start with short nails, then let them grow. See what you think. This is a personal choice, only you can answer this question. Enjoy and be patient.
    This makes perfect sense to me, thanks I will try this approach
    Happy to be an Intermediate Newbie, Penny

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Posts
    351

    Default

    I can't handle long fingernails at all and I pick just with my fingertips. That feels great to me and is loud enough for rooms with up to about 20 people without amplification.

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