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Mar 6, 2021 - 6:17:30 PM
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PHIL-

USA

49 posts since 2/26/2021

Lets see those finger nails, everyone is different. I'm still trying to figure out what feels better for me. When it starts to get to long, i notice more sloppiness.

I am kind of leaning towards just a little bit of white over the finger.

Mar 6, 2021 - 7:27:15 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)

USA

24584 posts since 6/25/2005

Mar 6, 2021 - 9:34:15 PM
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PHIL-

USA

49 posts since 2/26/2021

These moderators are weirdos. Anyone got any good advice? I think I trimmed my nail too short.

Mar 6, 2021 - 10:11:55 PM

Paul R

Canada

14205 posts since 1/28/2010

Welcome to the Hangout, Matthew. The answer to most questions here would be "it depends". Everyone is different, right down to the fingernails.

At least you're not asking the usual "index vs. middle finger" question. There are many, many threads on that topic.

Mar 6, 2021 - 10:43:15 PM

PHIL-

USA

49 posts since 2/26/2021

Thanks, that's what i was thinking. I tried finger picks, but it robbed me of the feel. Not a fan of picks at all.

I like using my index, I have more control of my index.

Mar 7, 2021 - 1:44:32 AM

AndyW

UK

742 posts since 7/4/2017

Good idea to learn to use both index and middle (or alternatively get comfortable with a pick).

Just for nail damage. A split for example takes a while to grow out.

Mar 7, 2021 - 1:56:40 AM

PHIL-

USA

49 posts since 2/26/2021

That's good advice Andy.

Many times, i find myself alternating to the middle especially on the first string. It seems to be happening naturally and is not hurting anything (i don't think anyway).

Maybe it was the wrong pick, i simply took a bluegrass pick and flipped it around. Didn't modify it any. Maybe i could experiment, but for now i carry on with finding my sound.

I'm so close to finishing that simple version of good ol mountain dew level one on ezfolk.

youtu.be/Y-DtssEOSgE

See my struggles. Its dark, i practice in the car

Mar 7, 2021 - 1:59:20 AM
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Hay-on-Wye

Wales

227 posts since 6/29/2015

I work as a gardener and constantly break my nails. I use ladies stick on nails on my index finger. I’ve tried ping pong balls and picks but the ladies French nails do the job. Get the piss ripped out of me at work with the “you have a woman’s hand M’lord, I’ll wager these dainty pinkies have never weighed anchor in a storm"

youtu.be/7hH4ADPaSTY

Edited by - Hay-on-Wye on 03/07/2021 02:01:57

Mar 7, 2021 - 2:00:47 AM

PHIL-

USA

49 posts since 2/26/2021

Still doing mostly excercises, that kind of stuff is just to break up the intense training. Im a noob

Mar 7, 2021 - 2:52:52 AM
Players Union Member

Edwards

USA

143 posts since 3/26/2014

I put Lee press on nails with super glue on my index and middle finger, they pop right off, when I shred them. It’s really hard to hide the fact that the nails are long, during advisory meetings, committee meetings, lectures or when I would bump into them on campus between classes. I had one older student asked me if the nails were for snorting drugs. You would think an adult college student would have more sense but I refer to that comment. I also have garden beds and a fairly big garden in my backyard. So I know what Mr. Wales is experiencing, they do tend to get beat up.

Mar 7, 2021 - 2:58:04 AM

1580 posts since 4/25/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Hay-on-Wye

I work as a gardener and constantly break my nails. I use ladies stick on nails on my index finger. I’ve tried ping pong balls and picks but the ladies French nails do the job. Get the piss ripped out of me at work with the “you have a woman’s hand M’lord, I’ll wager these dainty pinkies have never weighed anchor in a storm"

youtu.be/7hH4ADPaSTY


Totally agree Neil they work really well. 

Mar 7, 2021 - 4:47:12 AM

474 posts since 4/27/2013

I wrote up some opinions about an ideal nail shape on my blog a few years back (though the post was actually about trying to make a good clawhammer fingerpick) - still you may find this helpful:
 

https://www.jeffnormanbanjo.com/weekly-banjo-blog/making-a-clawhammer-banjo-pick

Mar 7, 2021 - 5:42:03 AM
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275 posts since 8/11/2007

It's best to keep 'em trimmed SHORT. Roscoe Holcomb didn't have no long sissy fingernails.

Mar 7, 2021 - 5:57:29 AM
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1679 posts since 7/4/2009

As Clifton mentions, most of the traditional players were laborers and wouldn't have been able to keep long fingernails.

This is one of those topics that comes up over and over again, like whether one or two fingers should be planted on the head for two-finger or "Scruggs" style. The only real answer is - do what works best for you.

I like a nail that's grown out just enough to be flush with my fingertip or beyond. I think it works for both guitar and banjo. If it gets too long, I think it sounds too "sharp" - not in pitch but texturally. I used to grow them longer but I work in a bar kitchen and I was tired of getting french fry residue under my nails.

Mar 7, 2021 - 3:40:58 PM
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KCJones

USA

1444 posts since 8/30/2012

Short trimmed fingernails sound better. You get a nicer pop and making the "cluck" is easier when you've got short nails. I used to keep long nails but once I trimmed them too short and realized that it was much better. I keep them as short as possible now and it works great. You can adjust your angle of attack to get more/less fingernail sound.

Mar 7, 2021 - 4:29:26 PM

PHIL-

USA

49 posts since 2/26/2021

Thanks guys. A ton of good information here.

Back to work, with my short fingernail. Lets make it happen.

Mar 8, 2021 - 2:20:11 AM

1580 posts since 4/25/2007

I'm not sure if it was my medication or that during the first lockdown I was playing for long periods on steel strings but I found I had actually worn right through my nail ! False nails came to the rescue. I'm not sure why I've also started painting my toenails though !

Mar 8, 2021 - 5:32:34 AM

609 posts since 10/9/2017

I had to file down one side of my right index nail before it split. Now the nail goes just up to the finger tip on the right side but leaves a lot of exposed flesh on the left (if you look at it with the fingers stretched out). When I strike a string I get two sounds: the initial tone from nail on string, and then a more percussive tone when the string hits the flesh. It sounds a bit like having a wood-block beat track - pretty cool in some cases, a bit off in others. If I wrap the exposed flesh in opaque Scotch tape, the issue goes away.

Mar 8, 2021 - 5:39:39 AM

AndyW

UK

742 posts since 7/4/2017

Kyle Creed used a pick. So certainly some old timers worried about not being able to keep nails.

Mar 8, 2021 - 12:41:45 PM

chrisnw

Wales

25 posts since 12/27/2007

My nails are never long / strong enough to be of much use, playing & tone wise. I use Fred Kelly Freedom Picks, which (IMHO) are not only a great nail emulation (easy fit /adjustable), the tone (for me) is just amazing - so clear & pure. They are available in three sizes and two different materials - delrin & poly. To me delrin has a more bright sound, poly a bit softer, I swap between them depending on the song in question or emphasis required. Honestly, well worth a try, sorry if this has been covered previously, Cheers Chris (North Wales U.K.).

Mar 9, 2021 - 11:09:54 AM
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Players Union Member

Lew H

USA

2615 posts since 3/10/2008

I had no nail problem for my first 35 years of playing, but as I got older my nails got thinner. Especially in winter they would become brittle and crack, split, and break. (Working on my tractor, cutting firewood and digging out driveway ditches sped that problem). I tried a nail salon, but the lady there would grind my nails thinner before applying tips and filler. This would have worked fine without physical labor: They were wonderful for playing with good tone and volume. However, carb cleaner and salon nails don't mix. I tried freedom picks and Alaska pics, which were too loud and harsh sounding. I often coat my nails with IBD brush on nail resin. This helps keep my nail tips from wearing out, say, during a contradance. I think this resin causes my nails to thin more: Maybe as it begins to chip off, it pulls tiny pieces of nail with it. Like some others mentioning here, I current am trying press on nails. Their adhesive is a soft, caulk-like gel that I hope will do less damage to my nails. I think a nail will stay on for a week or so, maybe more. The nails are thin, and not so stiff as salon nails or finger picks. My current one is a "French nail" with a white tip and a tiny silver line between the white and pink colors. Clifton Hicks , someday you might need to man up and be brave enough to wear these.

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