The Woodshed

Fingernail care…

1

I guess I am looking for suggestions and ideas...

To clip or scissor?

Metal or Emery board file?

Clear nail polish or ?

Knox Gelatin or ?

As I have gotten older my nails have changed. I can no longer just clip them without 20 hang nails arriving two days later.

Letting them grow works wonders, but then they get too long.

Using a fine metal nail file is great, takes forever...Emery boards really good, too, wear out quickly.

I get cracks from time to time along ridges running outward from my cuticles, mainly from household tasks, etc., sometimes from playing.

My wife's clear nail polish works well, probably should try super glue or similar.

Any experiences and recommendations greatly appreciated...for both fretting hand and picking hand.

2

Ha! I can't help you. I bite mine.

3

Don't we all...preferred hang nail extraction method.

4

Solar oil works well for splitting/cracking nails. It also softens cuticles nicely. I get really overgrown cuticles if I don't tend to them. I can also tell by my nail condition when I haven't been drinking enough water.

5

Nails are important to a fingerstyle player. For some reason, my nail condition has improved with age. I probably take better care of them now than I did in the past. I think filing is the best method. Don't let them get too long is another plus. Longer nails tend to catch on everything. Very important, I think, is to file the edges smooth, so that there is nothing to hang on or snag. I usually start with a diamond file to shape them and then go on to work them down where they are absolutely smooth, even to using a very smooth grit sandpaper. I have a file that has a very smooth surface that I finish mine with. I normally work on them every day or two. Keeping them shorter and smoother has reduced my accidents tremendously.

6

I need to find the dedication, filing always seems best to me. Stopping the hang nails completely, too, is enough reason.

I need more tools...

Ever take a supplement like gelatin? Or use a coating?

7

Drink more water for the hangnails. It's a sign of dehydration. I started cutting my nails shorter and though it took a short time to get used to, they are stronger and I play better too.

8

Nailene...get the deluxe kit with the primer. Best guitar picks on the planet!

9

Back in the day, 70's and 80's, when I was playing a lot out, I used to do all the filing and grooming and primping.

Not sure how long Nailene has been around, but I remember something similar back then when I would break a nail.

Since I developed my .5 mm tortex mini-teardrop picking style, my finger style has waned a bit. I still like to play several songs that way on the little Martin...I used to play a more finger style.

I do really dislike all the hang nails I have been getting these past few years.

Age has consequences...and I have been monitoring my hydration since moving South.

My doctor doesn't fully agree with the logic, but my blood and bp tests suggest chronic dehydration added to a few heat related events last Spring. Having my tongue turn white after exhaustion on the golf course started all the testing after last Mother's Day.

I figure about 3-5% less water weight, like 7-10 pounds, after my first year down here in Charleston compared to NYC. I also figure the air temp around my body is 12-15F higher on average all year long. I drank a lot more fluids in NYC. I make a pitcher of diet Tea every day about 9 months a year down here, still not enough I guess.

10

Dunno about all the oils and stuff, I'm sure they're good. I switched to a glass nail file and will never look back. No rough edges on your nails at all.

11

I cut my nails with a Gumby head shape with the taller portion being on the pinky side. This allow me to pick with either the fleshy pad of my fingers, or with a slight rotation of my wrist, the nails...I use my nails 90% of the time.

If I play multiple nights of long sets, I wear away too much of my nail and that's when they have the tendency to tear. If they tear, or if I think try are worn down too much, I use Kiss brand press-on nails...the ones with the glue already applied and cut them with clippers to my preferred shape.

Truth be told, I like the fake nails better...they have no grain, they're more wear resistant and I think they have better tone. They usually wear for about three days before the glue degrades.

12

My wife just offered up her glass nail file...I was playing the little Martin for her earlier...

13

Flora makes a product called Florasil that I've been taking everyday for 25 yrs now. Living in a cold climate, southern Ontario, my nails would become brittle and in my car, if I so much as touched my nail on any part of the dash or radio, they wouldn't crack, they just chip a chunk right off! I went to my local health food store and found this product. I showed it to my doctor, a real health nut who investigated what it does and he began recommending it to all his female patients as it's the finest source of calcium you can take. Calcium you consume is extremely difficult for the human body to absorb and can be hard on kidneys. This Florasil is a silicon derivative of the horsetail plant and is totally and easily absorbed by the body. After it has been absorbed, the body converts it into calcium and uses it for a variety of things, most notably, bones, hair and nails.

Once my nails grew to where they were completely replaced, ie the ends now being from when I'd started taking this supplement, the results were dramatic. They were stronger and at the same time very pliable. Even out in the cold I could push them against the hard plastic of the dash and they'd bend 90 degrees and not break at all. I told an out of town acquaintance I only saw a couple times a year when I travelled to his fab shop about this and he began taking it. When I saw him 6 months later he said he was getting the same results for his picking nails and also, he was now growing hair on his large bald spot that hadn't had hair in over 10 years!

This supplement is the safest and one of the most effective ways for women to deal with osteoporosis. My doctor was a top cardiologist and he liked it and it's worked beautifully for me over the years.

14

Well, my toenails, while not yet trained to pluck guitar...could use some help, too!

My big toes are battered and tattered....a horror movie.

I started taking the Flora Udo's Super 5 probiotic last year. Raspberry flavor chewable tablet. I'm not so big on yogurt anymore. Add that to a Centrum Silver and a Folic Acid supplement, I'm falling apart at a substantially slower rate...

15

Well, my toenails, while not yet trained to pluck guitar...could use some help, too!

My big toes are battered and tattered....a horror movie.

I started taking the Flora Udo's Super 5 probiotic last year. Raspberry flavor chewable tablet. I'm not so big on yogurt anymore. Add that to a Centrum Silver and a Folic Acid supplement, I'm falling apart at a substantially slower rate...

– Twangmeisternyc

Can't abide yogurt.....texture of colic! Every multi-vitamin has calcium but most of it just passes through your body and isn't absorbed. Florasil takes an end-around tactic. Rather than try to force calcium into the body via high doses or whatever, it gives the body a raw material and lets the body's pharmacy convert it into calcium downstream of the absorption process and make full use of all of it and with no adverse effects. Cool stuff!

Sorry to hear your toenails are a nightmare. Probably a good thing they aren't plucking your guitar!

16

I exaggerated...

The big ones do crack a lot, though, always banging into things with bare feet. Both were made black and blue helping the Mother-in-Law last Mother's Day.

The left is still in recovery...10 months later.

17

Paul Yandell was an advocate of gelatine for nail care.

I don't do anything but not let them get too long and keep them smooth edged as possible. As pointed out by others the glass nail files are the best for finishing smoothness

18

My mom did the Knox Gelatin packet all the time, ...must have been really popular back in the 50's and 60's.

19

Well, I have been using the glass file the last week or so, usually while zoning out a bit during hockey games on TV. I could be more ambidextrous, the left doesn't do the right as well but I'm getting better.

I did somehow, someway...crack my right thumbnail again since my last post. It happens every couple months now, either thumbs or big toes...

And, it was time to go do the blood work test along with cholesterol and PSA. That turned out better than the one from last June after I had my May dehydration spells. I figured doing it before the heat and sun come on was a good idea.

Apparently, internal family turmoil, brain in overdrive, losing weight due to a dental mishap, driving too much back and forth to WNC, drinking too much (now deemed Vitamin A)...

...is very good for your health!

20

Now, three weeks on using the glass file. I also found a flat, small tungsten file that helps the rough in.

Still getting hang nails, but a lot fewer. And I found my wife's special clipper...it's more a side sheer versus the classic half moon.

I cracked my picking thumbnail, yet again...I can never figure how or why.

My current strategy is to keep a dot of clear nail polish at/on the fracture site all the time. The nail is splintering, like a strand of bamboo, along the axis about 1/3 from the right side, from top into the underside.

Very much a nuisance.

21

Now, three weeks on using the glass file. I also found a flat, small tungsten file that helps the rough in.

Still getting hang nails, but a lot fewer. And I found my wife's special clipper...it's more a side sheer versus the classic half moon.

I cracked my picking thumbnail, yet again...I can never figure how or why.

My current strategy is to keep a dot of clear nail polish at/on the fracture site all the time. The nail is splintering, like a strand of bamboo, along the axis about 1/3 from the right side, from top into the underside.

Very much a nuisance.

– Twangmeisternyc

If you had taken my suggestion earlier in this thread - # 13 - your nails would've started getting stronger by now. Believe me, there isn't another product out there that will strengthen the actual structure of the cells in you nail (and hair too) like this product. My nails are tough and hard for fingerstyle (I use a thumb pick too) yet they'll bend and not break. They stand up to a lot of use in my work and I haven't broken a nail in over 6 months.

If the nails on my fretting hand (left) get a tad too long I'll clip them then file but I only ever use a series of files for my right hand. I, like Richard, keep them short and touched up every few days. I use a regular diamond file if they're long and need re-shaping but then finish with the wider salon files with the thin foam in the middle that have 3 different grades of grit.

22

Haven't had the time to find the Florasil, but I will...

I did find two new tools, though, and the discipline to stay with the regular filing.

23

Richard, when you play your guitar, to what extent are you using your nails to pluck the string? Are you actually sort of hooking the string between your fingernail and the end of your finger to play it? Or does the nail simply reinforce the pad or end of your finger in playing the string? I can use my nails quite easily on a nylon-string classical guitar, but it doesn't feel quite right on a steel string guitar. Let me know how you use your nails when playing.

24

Haven't had the time to find the Florasil, but I will...

I did find two new tools, though, and the discipline to stay with the regular filing.

– Twangmeisternyc

You've got half the problem solved The sooner the better for the Florasil though as you won't notice the effects on your nails until what's under the quick now, when you begin taking it, grows and becomes the ends of your nails and that's at least 3 months. At that point, your entire nail will have the effects and benefits in them. Slow to begin seeing results but oh so well worth it! FYI, I take two capsules a day.


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