What Nail Products Do You Use?

 

 

Participate in Our Survey!

 

For classical guitarists, nails are a crucial part of the right-hand technique, impacting tone, precision, and overall performance quality. This week's Discussion of the Week focuses on the various nail products and care routines that guitarists use to maintain and enhance their nails. Let's share our experiences and recommendations on:

  • What nail products do you swear by for strengthening and maintaining your nails?
  • Do you have a specific nail care routine that you follow?
  • Have you tried any unique or unconventional products that have worked well for you?
  • What are some common problems you face with your nails, and how do you address them?
  • Are there any DIY tips or home remedies that have proven effective for you?
  • How many of you play without nails, and what techniques or products do you use to adapt your playing style?

Join us in this discussion to exchange tips and tricks for keeping your nails in top condition, or for playing effectively without nails. Whether you're a seasoned guitarist with a well-established routine, someone looking for new ideas, or a guitarist who prefers to play without nails, this conversation will provide valuable insights to help you achieve the perfect right-hand technique.

Participate in Our Survey!

We are conducting a survey to learn more about the nail preferences and care routines of classical guitarists. Your input is valuable and will help us understand the community's approach to nail care and playing techniques. Please take a moment to participate in our survey by clicking here.

36replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Jojoba oil and 500 grit fine sandpaper 

    Like
    • Debbie
    • Debbie
    • 3 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    No nails, baby! No nails! 馃槀

    Like 1
    • I have used nails from GPN (Guitarplayernails.com) since 2008. I have used a variety of nail types and glues, and used to get GPN glue, but regular Krazy glue is way cheaper and holds longer. It takes about 10 minutes to completely replace a nail, with a reasonable amount of shape and polish refinement after that during regular practice hours.

      Before GPN I used a china silk paper with hardener which took forever to make a nail, and it was really hard to get a polished tone with it.   I discovered GPN on the day of a concert in 2008, and wished I'd known about it before that.  never went back to china silk.  

      I have not used my regular nails in more than 20 years.  

      Like
    • Debbie I watched Brandon Acker's no nails in 10 days video recently.  very interesting, and to be honest I'm a little envious. I would love to liberate my life from nail care and break paranoia.  

      I left the business in 1980 and loved not worrying about nails. when I came back and started worrying about nails again, sheesh.  :-)

      Like
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Dave McLellan liberated is a good way to put it, Dave. I gradually filed my nails off just a tiny bit one day at a time to allow myself to get used to it. At first I struggled to find a good tone but I sought out Virginia Luque for lessons and haven't look back. I much prefer the feel and tone now and it's so nice not to have to worry about nails breaking. I recommend giving it a try ;)

      Like 1
    • Dave McLellan am thinking about buying his course specifically for nail free tremolo but on the fence, I play with nails when they are intact and with no nails when they are not but I find tremolo a waste of time when my nails are too short.

      Like
    • Steve Garfinkle I hear you.   if you listen to Brandon's tremelo, it's pretty darn good for no nail sound.  my flaky real nails are why I've used fakes for 16 years now.  not going back to real nails, and I might consider expermenting with no nails some day.  Good luck!  

       

      BTW: I do tremelo in reverse:  p-i-m-a, not p-a-m-i.  FWIW.   

      Like
      • Dean
      • Dean
      • 11 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Debbie I'd love to hear what you learned from Virginia Luque regarding playing without nails. Please share if you can.

      Like
      • Debbie
      • Debbie
      • 10 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Dean Hi Dean, I first contacted Virginia to see if I could get a few lessons on how to approach playing without nails. Ten months later I鈥檓 still taking lessons with her and don鈥檛 plan on stopping anytime soon. She is a first class virtuoso, an extremely dynamic and powerful player, arranger, composer, conductor, the best sight reader I鈥檝e ever seen, and interpreter of music. Honestly the list goes on and anything I try to say will not do her approach to playing justice. She鈥檚 more than just a no nails player. She formally studied Acoustics and to her, playing without nails is the best tone possible. So learning to play without nails, how to attack the string, at what angle, how to escape the string, hand position, etc..is not something I can easily explain in a few words. It is a journey. I hope Martin will get her on for a livestream but in the meantime, I suggest you contact her yourself. She loves to teach and would be happy to answer any and all questions you might have. Sorry if I鈥檓 not answering your question. It鈥檚 just that I don鈥檛 want to misrepresent her method of teaching. I would never presume. But I can recommend! 

      Like
  • I have had difficulty maintaining my natural nails. They hook at the end on the m & a , are striated and break easily. I started using artificial nails from guitar player nails in CA . They last about 3 weeks and the tone is great.

    Like 1
    • Matt
    • Matt.5
    • 3 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Glass file from Thesoundfile

    500 grit sandpaper from same source

    Micromesh sanding squares to polish, 1400 grit to 6000

    A Tiptonic artificial nail for my "a" finger, since it's always been hard to maintain

    Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Matt I have been dealing with nail issues for the last 8 - 10 years. I have tried a wide variety of hardeners / strengtheners and artificial nails. Nothing seemed to work for any length of time. I went nailless for a while but was not satisfied with the results (perhaps prematurely).

      How long have you been using Tiptonic nails and are they easily removable? If so, can they be removed and applied just for practice and performance, rather leaving on constantly?

      Like
      • Matt
      • Matt.5
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart Tiptonic is a fantastic product--far better than any other artificial nail I've used. But as I said, I've only used them for my "a" finger. Several things.to note.

      1.  They come in many--and I mean many--shapes and widths.  There's a starter sample pack you can order that should get you close to what you want.

      2. They can be semi-permanent--see the website--or temporary.  I only use temporary.  That means they attach with Glue Dots.   Get the "permanent projects" Craft Dots.  It's only a few dollars for several hundred on Amazon.  They'll hold for several hours of playing.  And they're easy to get off.

      3. If you were playing a bunch of rasgaedo or other aggressive strumming, I bet they'd come off.  Also, maybe you couldn't play a super-fast arrepeggio piece.  Otherwise, they're a vast improvement over most natural nails.  They have a small gripping structure at the front, which makes them more secure.

      4. I clean my nail and the artificial nail with rubbing alcohol before applying.   That seems to make them hold better.

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Matt The videos I have watched on Tiptonic nails seem to show they have height at the cuticle side which looks like it might catch on a string if strumming. Do you have any issues with that?

      Like
      • Matt
      • Matt.5
      • 3 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Jack Stewart I only use them on my "a" finger as an ongoing matter, and avoid using that finger for strumming.  (I use them on other fingers only when I have a bad break.)  So it's hard to say.  My impression is that they'd come off after a bit with rasgaedo or other aggressive strumming.  Generally they stay on for a few hours.

      Like
    • Matt I use tiptonics as well, they are great for most pieces but very clicky when trying tremelo

      Like
      • Jack Stewart
      • Retired
      • Jack_Stewart
      • 2 wk ago
      • Reported - view

      Matt Thanks for the information Matt. I just discovered yesterday my nails were just long enough to use if I am very accurate ('m' and 'a' nails don't extend beyond my fingertips but if I am very precise I can still use them). However, this morning I chipped off some of my 'a' nail. 馃槶There might still be enough to use but I guess I'm still not 'out of the woods".

      Like
  • A sapphire file for shaping and Micromesh 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12000 for smoothing and polishing.

    Like 1
  • Old school here... different nail files and sandpaper grades, also raw shea butter for hands and nails. I would like to try a nailless approach at some point but I find it hard to see how I will succeed in producing the layers of simultaneous timbres that I am used to using... even the sets of strings enough versatile in timbres are few in number. 馃槄

    Like
  • Nailtiques Formula 2. Available on Amazon for about $16.00.

    My nails are like paper & over the years I have tried every method under the sun to strengthen or support them from artificial nails to acrylic nails to gel nails to silk wraps etc. etc. & on & on ad infinitum and by far the best thing that I have ever used is Nailtiques Formula 2. It's amazing stuff! It's just a clear nail polish but the first time I tried it I put on one coat & my weak floppy nails were instantly like iron. It dries really fast & I apply a fresh coat about every 3 or 4 days and one coat is enough (I have found that if I have too many coats on my nails it tends to peel off). They make 3 other formulas; Formula 1 (which I have not tried), Formula 2+ which seems to be just a thicker version of Formula 2(hence it has a greater tendency to peel) & Formula 3 which is designed for nails that chip & peel so it has an emollient component that feels sort of oily. Anyway, I love this inexpensive & easy to use product. 

    p.s. I'm now almost 78 years old & I've been playing since I was a teenager & back in the day I remember a lot of Flamenco players that used to put airplane glue on their nails. !Oy Vey, Ole!

    Like
    • Jan Bardine I second the Nailtiques Formula 2. I've been using it for a couple of years. I keep a few coats on and replace them every couple of weeks. I can tell a difference in my sound since it's a little thin without it on. Plus, I haven't had a split or broken nail in years. 

      Like
    • Steve Price I'm glad to hear that you discovered Nailtiques. I can't remember how I discovered their products but the strengthening & protective properties of the Formula 2 has helped me so much. The stuff really is incredible & I hope other people will try it & that it works equally well for them too! 

      Like 1
  • My nails are too weak and brittle to grow and I refuse to get false nails. Even though my guitar teacher is wanting me to do. Personally I like the sound of the guitar played without nails. 

    Like
    • Ronnull
    • Ron.3
    • 3 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    I use a glass nail file and micromesh sanding squares which go up to 12000. I also a small piece of flexible micro mesh sheet to polish the back of the nail. Like others I do have problems with weak nails - particularly a. I keep my nails fairly short which helps (also helps with the hook on my fingernail). If I look at my fingers end on, they are each twisted to some degree from the knuckle which means I need to shape them differently, so I'm constantly trying the find the optimum shape for each!

    Like
    • Ingo
    • Coach
    • Ingo.1
    • 2 wk ago
    • Reported - view

    Nail file + micro mesh sheet 2400, 4000, 8000 and even 12000.

    Sometimes nail hardener just for the tips of i and m.

    Like
Like Follow
  • 9 days agoLast active
  • 36Replies
  • 268Views
  • 26 Following

Home

View all topics