Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
User avatar
ElectricLute
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:20 pm
Location: Midhurst,Ontario,Canada

Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by ElectricLute » Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:16 am

I was an electrician all my working life not by choice but by necessity . I thankfully realized very early that being a professional guitarist would not pay the bills .
I really enjoyed my career since it required a lot of thinking , problem solving and working with my hands . Much the same as playing guitar . However , using my hands everyday in physical tasks was terrible on my nails . I was always breaking them at the worst time when a gig was coming up . I would try to train myself to pick things up with my left hand but often I would forget.
Then I tried putting my right into my pocket and use my left but then most times I needed two hands . There goes another nail .
I'm retired now but I lost a nail the other day opening a beer can . Should have used the left . :cry:
Any other tradesman/guitarists who suffered through the work hazard of loosing nails.
1984 Paul Fischer
1975 Tamura
2000 Oskar Graf 10 string
Alhambra 9P CW

Roberta6
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:32 pm

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by Roberta6 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:14 am

Well ElectricLute, your post made me laugh(the part about losing a nail opening a can of beer), but I recently read comments in a forum on here where people were saying they have given up on having the nails long enough, have gone to playing without the long nails, which was quite surpriseing to me. My guitar teacher always wanted me to grow my nails, but they were constantly breaking, so I gave up on the nails.

davekear
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by davekear » Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:23 am

Again, you can have perfect nails anytime you want in about three minutes. If you break a nail it's no big deal, just put another one on. We do it all the time. Contact me personally and I'll be glad to show you. It's actually very easy once you know how. If you have any questions, you can ask me here.

rpavich
Posts: 717
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:23 pm
Location: West Virginia, USA

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by rpavich » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:29 am

I have worked in factories all of my life, for the last 15 years as a mechanical engineer at a desk, but even now...breaking nails is a fact of life even if I'm not actively building product. I use the Guitar Player Nails that Dave mentioned above...it's a necessity. I wish I had great nails that would never break but....
Asturias AST-100-heavily modified by Robert England.

davekear
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:12 am
Location: California

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by davekear » Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:58 am

We've now been doing this for over 25 years. And for many professional players it's not even a matter of necessity, it's just easier and has more benefits to use "fake" nails over real ones. I won't get into a long thing here, but you can actually customize your tone by bending and shaping artificial nails after they're applied. You can experiment with your feel and tone. You never have to worry about breaking your nails. You can have uniformity of tone with all of your fingers, all of the time. You can practice as long and hard as you want. If you wear a nail a bit too much, just put on another. I personally haven't used my real nails in almost 30 years now, and my natural nails are fine; perfectly healthy. And with the right tools and a little practice, you can remove an old nail, put on a new one, and be ready to play in less than 3 minutes. With the materials we have available to us today, and with the proper methods of application, it's a very easy and effective way to have great sounding nails.

RobMacKillop
Posts: 3683
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:24 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:05 am

Or don't use nails when playing guitar...There is a long history of flesh-playing on the classical guitar. See http://rmClassicalGuitar.com/players for more info.

Di Mauro
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:15 pm

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by Di Mauro » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:10 am

I’ve been A Firefighter for many years (volunteerFF, seasonal wildland FF, and now a FF In a city Fire dept). I’ve had big problems with nails. What I do is keep my nails as short as possible, which I believe is good for accuracy and practice. When I can grow them out a bit, all the time spent with very short nails has made my accuracy very tight. Another thing I do at work is wear gloves whenever I can. The last is I try to use my left hand whenever I can. I’ve had guitars finger nails for so long now I’ve adapted well to always being very aware of them. The first three to four years I was breaking nails all the time and as time has passed with nails I break them much less now.

User avatar
ElectricLute
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:20 pm
Location: Midhurst,Ontario,Canada

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by ElectricLute » Sat Apr 28, 2018 2:51 am

Di Mauro wrote:
Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:10 am
I’ve been A Firefighter for many years (volunteerFF, seasonal wildland FF, and now a FF In a city Fire dept). I’ve had big problems with nails. What I do is keep my nails as short as possible, which I believe is good for accuracy and practice. When I can grow them out a bit, all the time spent with very short nails has made my accuracy very tight. Another thing I do at work is wear gloves whenever I can. The last is I try to use my left hand whenever I can. I’ve had guitars finger nails for so long now I’ve adapted well to always being very aware of them. The first three to four years I was breaking nails all the time and as time has passed with nails I break them much less now.
I did the same , getting to the habit of using my left hand for picking things up , opening doors etc . I started doing this after reading of Bream breaking a nail opening a door and how he changed hands . It took a lot of time to get used to but the rate of breaking nails dropped drastically .
1984 Paul Fischer
1975 Tamura
2000 Oskar Graf 10 string
Alhambra 9P CW

simonm
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 8973
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:22 am
Location: Spain, IB

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by simonm » Sat Apr 28, 2018 9:47 am

Another option are finger picks. I met a guy years ago who had ultra soft nails, almost paper soft. Something happened his nails after a serious accident. He made his on clip on picks from white cable tubes. (don't know the technical name or the stuff) There is a commercial supplier of such picks but the tube is far cheaper. He said it took him about 6 weeks of practice to get the hand of the picks. He said his tone wasn't as good as before but he sound good to the people who heard him like myself.

User avatar
Mark Clifton-Gaultier
Posts: 1742
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:03 pm
Location: England

Re: Tradesman, Classical Guitar and Nails ?

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:04 pm

simonm wrote:He made his on clip on picks from white cable tubes.
Are you able to show us a picture of this stuff - describe its density, flexibility etc.?

Return to “Use of nails in playing the classical guitar”