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Fingernail follies (rant)

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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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If you've got skinny fingers, look into Dunlop's plastic fingerpicks. (Bob Brozman is a big proponent of those.) The "Large" ones totally cut off my circulation as shipped. My fingertips would turn black and slough off if I kept the picks on for an hour. The solution for proper fit is to heat a cup full of water to boiling or thereabouts in the microwave. (Don't scald your hide off with a superheated water flash-boil.) Let the plastic picks soak in the hot water for a while. Work next to the sink with cold water running. Fish a pick out of the hot water with a spoon. Jam it on your fingertip, and QUICK, stick it under the cold running water! Now you have a perfectly custom fitted pick that won't fly off or cause gangrene. If you use a set of two or three picks and get aggravated trying to keep track of which pick fits which finger, fit them all on the largest fingertip and they'll all fit well enough.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Ricochet
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WOO-HOO, I found my missing Pro-Piks Sharpie Fast Picks! :mrgreen:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Crow
 Crow
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Update: I'm about a month into the no-clippers/moisturizing regimen Scrybe described upthread. Since then there have been very few snags, & no serious snags at all. Thumbnail took a hit at one point -- split parallel to the thumb -- but the split was minimal, and it grew out/was sanded out in just a few days -- rather than the months it would have taken before. The index finger nail seems solid. Now I'm letting them grow for a while -- we'll see how they come out.

Instead of emery boards, most nail shaping is done with a small stack of wet-or-dry sandpaper -- progressively finer grits up to 1500. Moisturizing primarily with 100 percent aloe vera gel, then with an olive oil-beeswax combo (homemade).

Also practicing -- slowly and carefully -- with metal fingerpicks, put on "sideways" as Steinar suggested, and a small thumbpick modified to change contact angle with strings. These modifications have got me back to work, and that's a blessing. They are a viable option, after all -- but I'm hoping in the long run for usable nails.

(I'm keeping this thread updated because it's clear I'm not the only player who doesn't favor fingerpicks, & maybe someone else will benefit. You never know who's lurking out there....)

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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Ricochet
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I'm SO happy I found my Sharpies!

I already knew where my Reso Piks for lap style playing were.)

:mrgreen:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Crow
 Crow
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A final update: I played with my "new" nails for the first time this morning, adjusting pickup and bridge settings on a Charvel CHS3 strung with .009s. Gently at first, then digging in to check pickup response, then just letting the fingers roam... no problems beyond a bit of abrasion on index fingernail which cleaned right up... and it felt fabulous.

At last, I've got what I've wanted for years.

The advantages of fingerpicks have been well described upthread. The big advantages of bare fingers: availability of different tones from nail, flesh or any nuanced combination of the two; ability to mute strings with picking fingers; no need to carry utensils to the music store. Small distinctions, and it's totally a matter of personal preference. Everyone should play the guitar the way they want to play it. Myself, I think mostly I just like to feel the string directly.

If fingerpicks bug you, you CAN get good results from bare fingers & nails, with a little daily maintenance. Moisturizing a few times a day definitely helps. So does sanding/filing rather than clipping, I think, and rubber gloves for housework. Scrybe, thanks again!

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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Ricochet
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I think the people into whose bodily orifices I must occasionally insert my fingers or even more occasionally, a hand, would generally prefer that I stick to using fingerpicks rather than growing out my nails.

I'm glad you've found success with your nails!

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Crow
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Thank you, Ric!
I think the people into whose bodily orifices I must occasionally insert my fingers or even more occasionally, a hand, would generally prefer that I stick to using fingerpicks rather than growing out my nails.

They might prefer it -- until you lose a fingerpick in there. Ouchie! :lol:

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa


   
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Ricochet
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I often tell someone who asks about the three fingerpicks I usually wear that the other's up a nostril somewhere.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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Steinar Gregertsen
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:lol: :shock: :lol:

"Play to express, not to impress"
Website - YouTube


   
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