Fingernail Maintenance

Muddyshoes

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The question I have to all is, how offed do you have to file your fingernails to feel that they are at their playing optimal?

For myself I like to file them about every three to four days. My index finger seems to be my barometer, I feel that one first out of all the others if it's a touch to long.

P.S. Do any of you use a glass file? I have been just using the cheap boards for years but I'm thinking maybe I will buy a high quality glass file......Hum, I will have to hide it from the wife....I can hear it now.... " Where did you get this.... Oh I like this" :mad:
 

sloppychops

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The question I have to all is, how offed do you have to file your fingernails to feel that they are at their playing optimal?

For myself I like to file them about every three to four days. My index finger seems to be my barometer, I feel that one first out of all the others if it's a touch to long.

P.S. Do any of you use a glass file? I have been just using the cheap boards for years but I'm thinking maybe I will buy a high quality glass file......Hum, I will have to hide it from the wife....I can hear it now.... " Where did you get this.... Oh I like this" :mad:

3 to 4 days if you're diligent about it. I let them go until I suddenly realize they're way too long. Only use it on my right hand fingernails. Supposedly, using a nail file instead of clippers is it will help prevent nail breaks.

I don't know what a glass file is. I use a steel DiamondDeb that has a crushed diamond surface -- rough on one side, smoother on the other. It's a great nail file and it lasts about forever.
 

StrangerNY

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I trim and file them before and after every gig.

My nails - especially on my right hand - get absolutely chewed up because of how I play. It takes constant maintenance to prevent getting a nail hung up on a string, which is no fun at all.

- D
 

schmee

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Weekly for sure. I have a lot of trouble with cracking and breaking. Ugh.
 

Midgetje94

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Yea I’m one of those nail biters. Kicked the habit back in late teens. Lost a good friend of mine in the military. Started again as a nervous tick thing. Now just habit. Don’t realize I do it half the time now.

buuttt reading this. Sounds like a lot of work. Maybe there’s at least one plus side lol.
 

JL_LI

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A glass file? What’s that? I play finger style using the pads of my fingers. I file my nails with an HBA aisle emery board whenever I hear the timbre of a nail scraping on a string. I use my wife’s Amope, a motorized callus grinder, on my fretting fingers. Ungroomed, there’s too much of a chance of an unintentional pull off. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Well maybe not, but good grooming is essential for playing guitar.
 

Muddyshoes

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A glass file? What’s that? I play finger style using the pads of my fingers. I file my nails with an HBA aisle emery board whenever I hear the timbre of a nail scraping on a string. I use my wife’s Amope, a motorized callus grinder, on my fretting fingers. Ungroomed, there’s too much of a chance of an unintentional pull off. Cleanliness is next to godliness. Well maybe not, but good grooming is essential for playing guitar.


My bad, I should have said a Crystal file
 

WingedWords

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Bob Womack

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I hit 'em every other day or so plus whenever they fight me. I, too learned classical and use my fingers for every genre alongside flat picks. I get acrylic resin and beads applied because playing just destroys my natural nails and I need to be ready whenever there is a studio call.

Bob
 

SRBMusic

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If your nails are thin and break easily, try taking Omega-3. I’ve fought fragile, brittle nails my whole guitar-playing life. My doc told me to start taking Omega-3s to correct a deficiency. About six months in, I noticed my nails were a lot thicker and stronger. Bonus! Good stuff.
As for care, I use a diamond file and buff ‘em on my jeans. About every 3-4 days works for me unless I’m gigging, which hasn’t been a thing lately, lol.
 

Wallaby

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Approximately once a week or if I need to smooth out a rough edge.

I use regular cheap emery boards from the grocery store.
 

Butch Snyder

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I trim and file every few days. Over the years, I have been cutting them shorter and shorter. Just enough edge to actually use them. Then I will feel a little burr start and know if I don't take care of it pretty quick, the string will. I'm thinking very seriously about going acrylic on my index, middle, and ring fingers.
 

PhredE

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Classical guitar background here as well..

Here's a few pointers:

* Maintain them well (and often) -- you can use any nail file with a folded over small pieces of fine sandpaper -- 600, 800, 1000 grit works good for this.
* Don't let them grow out any longer than necessary; file, don't clip them.
* Learn to play by striking the string between the fleshy 'pad' (under the nail) and the nail itself. You'll reduce wear and tear to the nail and become more accurate in your plucking strokes as well.
* Breaks and wear & tear happen. What it does, file it down/clean it up ASAP and keep on going.

Hope That Helps / Good Luck
 
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Boxla

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If I have a show, I'll cut them about 2-3 days before just in case I go too short. I definitely have a perfect length. Many PGA Tour players will cut their nails the exact same day(s) every week so they never have a different feeling.
 

loopfinding

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I do them about once a week. I hold the file parallel next to the strings (while holding the guitar) and strike the file at the angle I strike the string to get the line started.

This method basically, but since I know what I need nowadays, it’s faster with the file:



When using a file, if you hold the flat surface to your nails perpendicular you’ll take too much meat off of them and maybe introduce some weak spots. You have to hold it at the angle your finger makes contact with the string. Ideally the nail is just like a reinforcement at the tip that strikes and longer elsewhere, the string kind of “ramps off” of the nail shape.

And then of course, get one of those 4-in-1 pads to buff after you’ve gotten the shape and length down. You can use the denim of your pants in a pinch, but the buffing pad is faster.
 
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old soul

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Clip once a week, file every few days as needed on my left hand. The glass/crystal files are excellent! I got my wife a set several years ago, and I've used them more than she has
 

SRHmusic

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I use one of these

https://wolframslides.com/precision_crystal.php

Worth every penny, but I still use a 4 way buffer to polish as needed - maybe several times a day.

https://www.boots.com/boots-4-way-buffer-10278878

But then I come from a classical guitar background where nails are a major obsession.

https://www.classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewforum.php?f=87&sid=1bf6e660c7b4527034bedc217900688e
A classical teacher and performer I worked with had a pad of very fine nail finishing paper. He'd keep a small piece on his music stand and use it every so often if a nail started to get rough. Guitar Solo in San Francisco used to sell large pads/blocks of it, but I'm not sure where to get it now.

He could easily hear the sound of rough nails and could tell I used a metal diamond file instead of sand paper(!). For my more usual steel string playing I still just use the small metal diamond file. 🤫
 
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