Shredded Fingernail blues ...

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Shredded Fingernail blues ...

Postby Mississippi John » Sun Jun 11, 2006 1:42 pm

Much to my chagrin, I was born cursed with short fingers and weak, thin fingernails!!!! Years ago I learned a trick in a workshop taught by Canadian finger-style virtuoso Don Ross - he uses glue-on acrylic nails!! I tried it on and off for a years or so and it worked great, but looked awful. My wife made fun of me and students looks at me kinda wierd like!! So I stoppeddoing it and put-up with frayed nails and periods of frustration after I'd worn my nails off.

So, I'm wondering if anyone out there shares this shameful frailty and would like to share tips and tricks. Don't be shy!
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Postby allanlummox » Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:09 pm

I used acrylic nails for a few years - which REALLY helped my technique develop - and then switched back to fingerpicks for the volume.
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Postby 1four5 » Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:51 pm

I take needle nose pliers to dunlop fingerpicks...and bend them so that the tip is right where my fingernail would be. I make them countour along my fingertip, until they TOUCH my nail, and then bend just a small portion of the tip out. As a mechanic, I bust up my nails regularly, and can't rely on them. Once I tried the personal touch on the dunlops...and it works better than I could have imagined...It's all I've used ever since. Here's a picture.
http://www.pbase.com/jantuinstra/image/60901006
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Postby ricochet » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:54 pm

Badfinger hasn't been posting much lately. Last I heard, he was still using the artificial nails.
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Postby Mississippi John » Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:38 pm

Thanks for the reply, gents. For those who have or do dabble with the acrylic, did you do it yourself (i.e. the cheap bastard method) or did you actually have a professional do it for you?

And I try that customized dunlop method - looks great!!!
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Postby ricochet » Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:43 pm

bf goes to the beauty shop. I expect that would be very educational.
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Postby crowduck » Tue Jun 13, 2006 2:41 am

Natural fingernails can be strengthened and built by applying garlic oil, and/or Tetra Vita Shell which can be found at pet supply stores in the turtle section. Vita Shell is used to strengthen turtle shells of course, and works great on fingernails. The garlic oil is what some flamenco guitarists use, so I was told.

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Postby ricochet » Tue Jun 13, 2006 6:57 pm

Probably just because flamenco guitarists haven't learned about Vita Shell. :D
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Postby watertore » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:34 pm

I keep my nails trimmed short, and I like the way the skin sounds. I think all the years of playing with no picks (about 35), has toughened the skin. My friend who is a flamingo player, uses clear nail polish, and takes lots of gelitain. Walter
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Postby deltablues57 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:47 am

I would never even attempt to use fingernails(mine are weak) Why not try plastic finger picks. You put them in some real hot water and when they get soft you can shape them so they work for you. No one will think you are a fruit if you wear finger picks.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:10 pm

And if they call you one, you can scratch their eyes out.
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Postby maxx england » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:16 pm

ricochet wrote:bf goes to the beauty shop. I expect that would be very educational.


The beauty shop? It doesn't seem to have took very well.
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Postby ricochet » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:38 pm

Well, they can only do so much...
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Postby Mississippi John » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:42 am

Re the Beauty shop - I have no problem with going to the pros and getting in touch with my inner woman... I figure you get less wierd looks if it is done properly.

Re: plastic picks - I trouble is that I don't want the extra volume, and more importantly, need to be able to strum with my fingernails. What do you plastic pickers in a strumming situation?

Last: I ordered so of the open fingered propicks - we'll see how that goes before I head off to the parlor ....

Thx again.
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Postby ricochet » Tue Jun 27, 2006 12:55 am

Strum with fingernails? Never thought of such a thing. My usual way of strumming is with the side of my thumb. The way you do it with fingerpicks is a bit awkward. Strum down with the thumbpick, up with the fingerpick(s). Hard to control the volume, it can get loud. Takes a lot of practice.
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