15
Apr
10

Nails As Hard As Nails

I trained for a year in classical guitar and learned then how to take care of my fingernails.  But using a steel string guitar will significantly eat through fingernails compared with the nylon strings of a classical guitar.  When I got back into playing, I used guitars with light strings.  I was able to get by using some Sally Hansen products…they were okay for awhile.  However, last year I started playing on medium gauge strings and my nails would disappear in an hour of practice.

I poked around the internet and in drugstores wherever I went.  At first I used a silk nail wrap which I covered with Crazy Glue and then nail hardener.  It wasn’t great.  Finally I found Guitar Player Nails here.  What they suggest is a combination of a thin acrylic over the top half of the nail with a thin fiberglass layer overlying the bottom edge of the acrylic.  The acrylic is bonded to the nail with a strong form of Crazy Glue, as is the fiberglass.  There are a few variations.  The bottom line was, though, that I could play for several days to a week without losing nail.  They generally fall off after several days to a week.  You can extend the life by monitoring them and adding tiny amounts of glue when needed.  I have found it much better to let them naturally fall off than to try to grind them off as they suggest on the website.  That being said, the website has decent video instructions.  But there is a steep learning curve…it’s not easy figuring out how to be ambidextrous and not glue yourself together.  Tip…cut the acrylic longer than you need (it should look like a square or rectangle before you apply it.  In other words, don’t try to make it exactly the size you need before you glue it on.  Much easier to work with a longer piece of the stuff.

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