Fingernail Maintenance

oldunc

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I at least touch them up every day. I've been using the same Revlon diamond file (as recommended by Michael Lorimer) for 40 years, finish up with 800 grit paper. There are sets of varying grit sharpening pads (a small piece of abrasive on a stick) available from woodworking stores that can be very useful.
 

oldunc

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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.

Or, as I was taught, follow the shape of your finger tip, but it's hard to know what exactly that means until you pretty well have it down. Also worth pointing out that the classical stroke has flesh and nail crossing the string simultaneously, though the final release is from the nail. I find that I tend to use more nail most of the time on electrics.
 

basher

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I keep mine clipped to about 2 or 3 mm. My attack is about half and half flesh and nail. If I used more of a naily technique I'm sure I'd be fussier about it, but I haven't used a file since my classical days.
 

Jazzcaster21

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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:
I clip my fretting hand nails as soon as I can see a little bit of a nail. I have big fingers so even the slightest nail will impair my note clarity. When I was playing a lot of classical guitar I was VERY meticulous about my picking hand and and tried a number of options. I never cut my picking hand nails now unless the nail is torn and it needs to be clipped and I don't want to tear it off. I have not used a glass file through; I have never heard of it.

When I shape my nails for finger style I typically have a routine of:
1.file with a regular emory board that's got a lot of grit.
2.shape the nail with a file that's a bit worn.
3.make it nice and smooth with some very fine grit sand paper. A fret polisher works well too.

I also try to keep my nails strong by taking biotin every day and using the "hoofer's choice" nail cream. Both together seem to help them last a bit longer than they used to.

When I chicken pick and I don't really use my nails that much but instead use the meat of my fingers. It might not be as spanky as with a nail but it's certainly easier.

While I have used both acrylic and fake salon nails in the past, I have since stopped that practice because I learned that will only make your natural nail weaker.

The best option that I have found for temporary fake nails that don't damage your real nail is using glue dots (not nail glue!) to keep the fake nail on for as long as a I need it and then removing it when I am finished. The fake nails can be reused for a while too. Guitar Player and Rico Nails are two options for this. They are stronger than the regular press-on nails you find in stores and produce a richer sound.
 

loopfinding

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Or, as I was taught, follow the shape of your finger tip, but it's hard to know what exactly that means until you pretty well have it down. Also worth pointing out that the classical stroke has flesh and nail crossing the string simultaneously, though the final release is from the nail. I find that I tend to use more nail most of the time on electrics.

I tend to keep the flesh/nail thing, but I have to shape for the electric since my hand is angled differently for it so I can mute strings. If I’m playing both electric and classical stuff at any given time, usually my nails will have two different ramps for each style (so my nail shape looks kind of trapezoidal), and I’ll taper/radius the transition. It works out okay.

with the finger tip/flat surface angle i was talking about before (if you are doing it away from the guitar with a file) something like this, looking down at the file and your finger:

angle.png


i think the first (which i do on my left hand) ends up with more breakage, though that can be a plus when i need to get pesky material out of the way on that hand quickly.
 
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