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Hybrid-pickers: How long do you tend to keep your fingernails (if you use them)?

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by buster poser, Dec 29, 2020.

  1. Jay Isler

    Jay Isler Tele-Meister

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    I’ve been using clear glue on nails. I cut them in half so my whole nail isn’t covered and taper down the back end. They stay on for about a week and I can pull them off any time I want. Shaping them is kind of trial and error to get the attack I want but once you get it dialed in they work really well. I file them just long enough to grab the string. I do hybrid picking but I’m also using the B Mason picking technique with a thumb pick.
     
  2. Telebra

    Telebra Tele-Meister

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    Danny Gatton had a fingernail file inlaid into the body of his TELE so he could get them just right while playing..... See Charlie Rose interview
     
  3. billy logan

    billy logan TDPRI Member

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    Anybody ever superglue a thumbpick to your thumbnail? For the purpose of down-up-down-up picking w/o the thumbpick flying off, or rotating helplessly around the thumb. Might work with a shorter thumb picks like the Fred Kelly.

    Nail glue, for example "Instant Nail Glue" by Sassy+Chic, that the ladies w/the very long and fancy nails use? Seems to have superglue, Ethyl Cyanoacrylate, as a main ingredient.
    Instant Nail Glue ingredients: Ethyl Cyanoacrylate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Hydroquinone.

    Maybe Walter White can whip you up a batch.

    Back on topic, similar to Paco de Lucia's method posted on the 1st page by loopfinding, this French gentleman, Thomas Viloteau, has an involved, but effective, way of getting his nails "just so" for classical- he puts cloth-like, flexible sandpaper on the strings so the sandpaper sags down between the strings. Then he finger picks at his personal fave finger-angle.

    Both of these videos, wish they had protected their guitar's finish better from the abrasives! Like slide a manila file folder under there. sheesh.



    "Ongles" is French for fingernails. Doh. He added English subtitles since I first saw this vid :)

    btw he's VERY crisp, forceful, fast. My guess is he's going for straight-across nails (minimizing the natural arch of the nail, coz, well, strings are straight?)(no I can't play anything remotely as good as him)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  4. pippoman

    pippoman Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I’m with Hawk on that. I tried using my nails but they would always get just a fraction too long and chip and I would have to start over. After a few years of going back and forth, I just clipped them short and for many years I’ve used just the meat. In fact, I would prefer to use the side of my thumb so I’d have my fingers free for volume and tone, but arthritis makes that really painful.

    FWIW, Brent Mason said in an interview that he uses glue on nails and keeps them very short. Still back to what Hawk said: “too much hassle.”
     
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  5. rough eye

    rough eye Tele-Meister

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    max about .080" although my thumb nail might be a tad longer. I keep the ring finger nail a little longer than middle and index, which are usually maybe .050 - .060" and use wet sandpaper (800 i think) to smooth them so i don't get a scraping sound. always file or sand from underneath, because that's the side that comes in contact with the strings.
     
  6. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    Clear fingernail polish saves the day
     
  7. TeleBrew

    TeleBrew Doctor of Teleocity

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    I can't have long fingernails in my line of work (brewing, which is essentially working with your hands all day) so my tone tends to be a little more muted than if I had long nails, but I just go with it.
     
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  8. Rustbucket

    Rustbucket Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Like a few others, I like to keep my middle/ring nails just long enough to give a snap on the strings so the tone is comparable to my pick. My wife says they are like girl nails but I don’t think they are too bad.
    C3273762-B2A8-4143-9201-207C89D44B82.jpeg
    I bit my nails ridiculously bad for years, so I have a shorter base than I should. Any longer and one might break or tear. Right now my middle is growing back so I’m favoring the ring finger shown here when I’d normally use the middle.
     
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  9. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Thanks for the continued follow ups everyone.

    I'm under the impression that 'builder gel' type products are significantly less damaging to your nail bed than what I imagine is regular ol' glue that ladies generally use. I'm still not sold on that approach, and if I do it, I'll have it done after we're through the current state of social distance and pay attention to how the nail person does their work.

    Really appreciate this photo... about the length of my nails right now and about the depth of my nail bed. Think I can make it work, we'll see how they hold up.
     
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  10. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I try to keep my right picking hand nails just longer than my fingertips.
    I try, but life breaks and damages them.
    I inherited my Dad’s soft nails.
    I try to keep my thumbnail a little longer too.
    It’s difficult for me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
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  11. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

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    I've been lucky to be born with diamond hard nails.

    I keep the nails of my index, middle and ring fingers relatively short. I don't like the sound of nail on string alone, but rather a bit of flesh in there as well. Looking at my nails, I file them so that they slope to the left (towards the pinky)and I keep them beveled on the underside like a pick so that the strings don't scratch or catch when plucked. A wound G string will sound raspy if I don't make sure that my index nail is freshly beveled before I fingerpick.

    Note: I don't use my pinky and when I fingerpick I use a thumb pick or, rarely, the flesh of my thumb. I tried letting my thumbnail grow once and I couldn't stand it. I hybrid pick as well.
     
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  12. darkwaters

    darkwaters Friend of Leo's

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    Picture..... thousand words etc.

    upload_2021-1-6_13-40-17.png
     
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