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Soft Nails Solutions - When you have to wear picks..

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Mar 25, 2020 - 11:37:52 AM
9 posts since 8/27/2019

So I have only been playing about 7 months. Started using my middle finger, about a month ago switched to my index. (dumb reason maybe - I didn't like my index finger waggling around! But also knowing how to play with both is probably good, plus, I like the sharper tone from my index) I have very soft nails and wear them out very fast. Today, after catching the strings on my cuticle - I dug out the pics I bought to try and doctored them up with a dremel tool. I had high hopes for the Fred Kelly pick (the large clear one in my hand) it gives a very warm tone, but is bulky, moves on my finger even with good fit and catches on the other strings, at least with the limited practice so far. The other small clear one works good, but the tone is tinny and I don't like it. The white Dunlop M on my finger won out. Sounds close to what my nails sound like and stays on my finger. I have some metal Dunlops I may try too..

PS. I have read most of the threads on nails and picks. Great information.


Mar 25, 2020 - 11:58:38 AM
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2189 posts since 9/16/2007

I make my own picks using handles from plastic milk/juice jug handles. Find one your finger fits snugly into, mark and trim. The best ones, i believe, are fairly thin and about the flexibility of a fingernail.  You can make the back a little longer and eliminate it catching on strings.

Edited by - mbanza on 03/25/2020 11:59:57

Mar 25, 2020 - 11:59:24 AM
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3791 posts since 3/11/2004

Connie, I am a big fan of the Fred Kelly Freedom picks, and I prefer the white picks (polycarbonate?) to the clear ones (Delrin?) in terms of tone. Have you tried the white picks? Also, I find that the picks run small, so even a Large pick feels tight to me. I'm surprised that you find them to be loose. I have tried several picks:

  • John Balch's design of picks from ping pong balls
  • John Balch's design of a brass Acri dobro picks filed down to match my nail more closely
  • Joel Hooks' brass thimble, which I prefer on nylon and Nylgut strings
  • Metal fingerpicks turned around to cover the nail

None do the job for me bettern than the white Freedom pick. I haven't tried an artificial nail but some prefer that approach. Keep looking. You'll find a solution.


Mar 26, 2020 - 8:08:26 AM
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827 posts since 3/23/2006

Fred Kelly white Freedom picks can be shaped larger or smaller if you heat them (eg, in very hot water).

Apr 2, 2020 - 2:42:23 PM
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178 posts since 2/23/2011

I have found that if you lightly file your picking nail every few days it becomes much stronger.
After a few weeks you will be delighted with the result.
Hope this works for you.

Apr 2, 2020 - 5:04:05 PM
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247 posts since 2/15/2015

Hard as Nails, several coats

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