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Thread: Fingernail trimming and a Garlic mincer

  1. #1
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    Default Fingernail trimming and a Garlic mincer

    How do you guys keep your fingernails for ukulele playing?

    I grew my nails out because that's what the YouTube Uke players all seem to do. It worked great before I had a Uke and was playing on my guitar with a capo and the bottom two strings removed.

    I realized I don't like the sound of fingernails on the upstroke while picking the uke strings so I trimmed them. I went a bit too far and now my thumb and index are a bit painful. To make matters worse, some garlic got up under my nail when I was cleaning out the garlic mincer after making falafel the other day. I guess I should file them instead of trim them.

    Yes, i'm a baby.

  2. #2
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    I use one of those "Czech glass" nail files that Amazon sells. Don't use nail clippers now (except on my toes). The nail file leaves my nails stronger and more even then when I used to use clippers.

  3. #3
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    On my fretting hand, I cut the nails as short as possible. On the plucking hand I am slightly less fastidious. I keep them short--too short to use them as a plectrum--but not extremely short. My rule of thumb (and other fingers) is that if a nail snags a string, it is too long. Obviously I am a fingertip player.

  4. #4

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    My nails break easily, sometimes below the quick, so I patch things up with liquid bandaid, which is really just crazy glue with a nice brush. It's also good to cover wounds on fretting fingers where a regular bandaid would get in the way.

  5. #5
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    Same approach to nails as ripock here.

    I use nail scissors (or are they called shears? Not native english speaker here) rather than the clippers. I find them more precise and gentle to use.

    Edit:
    Dont cut chilies!
    Last edited by UkingViking; 12-28-2020 at 01:20 PM.
    Playing:
    Anuenue AMM tenor - Magic Fluke Koa Tenor - Cocobolo concert - Kamaka Tiki concert - Cort concert - Ohana LN soprano.

  6. #6
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    I confess, I use nail clippers. Because my nails grow rather fast. Then I use a nail file or the glass files to smooth them. For daily upkeep, which I forget to do, I use the files.

    The glass files I found on Amazon, come in various levels of coarseness. The finest are almost buffers. Some individual glass files come in a plastic case which is great for putting in my bag with my stand and other odds and ends.

    This is one of the single files with case I purchased:

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Last edited by Kenn2018; 12-28-2020 at 12:56 PM.
    There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing.
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  7. #7
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    Take up stringed instrument building as a hobby. You'll spend so much time handling sandpaper, files, rasps, and other slightly abrasive objects that you'll no longer need to trim your nails! As a bonus, you'll develop great callouses too!

  8. #8
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    The nail on my right forefinger is my main strummer, so I keep that long. I make sure the nails on my left hand are kept filed short so I don't scratch the fretboard.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!
    https://www.catskillukulelegroup.com/

  9. #9
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    Thumb, index, middle nails peeking over the tip of the finger 1-2mm. When looking at your hand, palm facing towards you, the nails slope slightly down to the right. Thumb goes the opposite way.

    A glass file is also a big part of maintenance. I've had the same one for over a decade. I'd resent anything else at this point. It's really so much better that I can't fathom how any uke player could operate without one!

    I realized I don't like the sound of fingernails on the upstroke while picking
    This probably has more to do with technique and nail shape/finish than the nail itself being a "bad" sound. There are a million angles and touches you can attack a string with and another million ways you could file the nail. I was of a similar opinion for a long time, but I experimented and worked at getting a better and better tone over the years and now it's just as good as the thumbnail.

    I'd encourage you to give it another shot. Make sure you've eliminated all abrupt edges from the nail "corners" and sit and observe how the nail strikes the string. Try different angles from above, below, side to side, etc... The rest stroke is probably worth studying a bit since it's the best bang-for-buck fingernail sound you can really get.
    Last edited by Brad Bordessa; 12-30-2020 at 05:27 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bordessa View Post
    Thumb, index, middle nails peeking over the tip of the finger 1-2mm. When looking at your hand, palm facing towards you, the nails slope slightly down to the right. Thumb goes the opposite way.

    A glass file is also a big part of maintenance. I've had the same one for over a decade. I'd resent anything else at this point. It's really so much better that I can't fathom how any uke player could operate without one!



    This probably has more to do with technique and nail shape/finish than the nail itself being a "bad" sound. There are a million angles and touches you can attack a string with and another million ways you could file the nail. I was of a similar opinion for a long time, but I experimented and worked at getting a better and better tone over the years and now it's just as good as the thumbnail.

    I'd encourage you to give it another shot. Make sure you've eliminated all abrupt edges from the nail "corners" and sit and observe how the nail strikes the string. Try different angles from above, below, side to side, etc... The rest stroke is probably worth studying a bit since it's the best bang-for-buck fingernail sound you can really get.
    I will try to grow them again if I don't like the tone I get from just picking with my fingertips. I had my nails similar to yours (sloping in the same directions) but mine were about 1/8". This reminded me of the tone of using an extermely thin pick on a guitar...too much pick noise. If I had thicker nails, I might not mind it so much. The tone I am going for is a much less poppy tone, in the style of guys like Kimo Hussey, etc... Chances are, I will never enjoy the sound of my fingernails, but I will give it another try using your advice. Thanks.
    Last edited by Mike $; 12-30-2020 at 06:49 PM. Reason: sp

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