What Nail Products Do You Use?



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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.

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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.

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  • I have been trying the Hard as Hoof product also I saw this product called flexnail and saw the main ingredient is jojoba oil, I think the idea is to keep the nail moist and use gloves when doing work with hands. Have put finger

    covers on as well.

  • I generally practice / play for around 90 minutes to 2 hours a day - classical and an increasing amount of flamenco and have been doing so for the past 18 months (came back to guitar after a 50 year break!). 

    I eat a cube of jelly once a day, rub vitamin E oil into nails once a week and use a ‘mr Green’ file and 800 grade wet and dry paper when needed - about once a week ish. 

    Nails are fine with this - pretty strong. I just need the rest of my playing to be as good!! 

  • I use two types of cream: ISIS nail care; and Novophane Crème de angles. 
    But the product that really helped me to get a strong nails is Collagen peptides Vital Proteins. After a month or so I could see the difference. Very strong nails. 

    With these things my nails hardly get broken. They are very thick and strong. Before taking collagen I had once in a while a broken nail. they were kind of brittle. 

    • Doug
    • Doug.2
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    I use my nails not very long they just show a little over the tip of my fingers and filed to the same shape as my fingers, I smooth them after with a leather book marker. I am blessed  with having good nails and never seem to break except on the odd occasion when I’m gardening 😊

  • I just use a nail file, 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper, and an old baseball to smooth and buff my nails. Over time, my 'm' finger developed a crease, which causes me some issues with hooking on the string when using certain attack angles. I tried ramping like Scott Tennant, which helped a little, but I discovered that ironing the nail with my tuning fork and a soldering iron relieves the problem for a couple of days. 

    • Tony Gunia
    • Retired IT Java App Server Administrator
    • Tony_Gunia
    • 1 mth ago
    • Reported - view

    I take Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin, & Nails gummies daily to strengthen my nails.  Use a glass file to ramp my nails and keep them the proper length for me.  Then use an Oasis OH-19 Nail Shaper and finish off with 500 grit paper.

  • I use Stew-Mac brush-on superglue to reinforce just the corners of my nails: https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-and-supplies/supplies/glue-and-adhesive/glues/stewmac-super-glues/stewmac-brush-on-super-glue/ -cut the brush to about 3mm length for better control-you don't want it going everywhere. I drink collogen and use Biotin 10,000 mcg daily (it's a pill) to strengthen my nails. I use a revlon grit file, an etched glass file from Strings by Mail https://www.stringsbymail.com/strings-by-mail-crystal-glass-nail-file-5-25-inches-5762.html#reviews-tab There are other vendors, but the best ones are made in Czech Republic. NEVER CUT NAILS! File only! I use an emery board and then 1,000 and 1,500 grit 3M 'wet-or-dry' sandpaper that I purchase in auto shops, made for doing auto body work. Insist on 3M-others don't work as well. When not playing, wear gloves! I swim every day and always dip my finger tips in vaseline and wear scuba gloves to protect my nails-the edge of a pool is not forgiving to nails. When working around the house, wear work gloves. I have gloves scattered all over so that I am never tempted to skip putting gloves on because it might be inconvenient. For repair (which I rarely need if I wear gloves doing house work, cooking and auto repair) I use Stew-Mac thin superglue https://www.stewmac.com/luthier-tools-and-supplies/supplies/glue-and-adhesive/glues/stewmac-super-glues/stewmac-super-glue and some bits of tissue to reinforce it. This all becomes an automatic part of life that gets executed subconsciously. Ignore all this nonsense about playing without nails because the sound without nails is just dead, and keeping nails available and in good shape 99% of the time is relatively easy.

  • I play electric, bass, steel string acoustic and classical. I haven't had my classical studies out on the stand for around 10 years until last November 23' when I decided pull out the stack of music and get my classical chops back. I started with no nails, grew them to a point with good tone, using only diamond file and 500 grit paper, but then just yesterday, filed them all back to "no nail" status. I have to in order keep a warm tone on bass and hybrid picking on acoustic steel chews em up. I can keep my A fingernail a bit longer, but choose to file back but not as far as I and M. 


    I was afraid my tone production would suffer, but so far I am digging the tone, especially playing my Torres copy with rectified strings. 


    I may experiment with Tip Tonics. So far we haven't heard from anyone using them for I, M and A combined. They look like they might be too thick?


    Good luck all!

  • "Healthy Hoof" (very inexpensive; available at Amazon.com) cured the issue I had with "flaking" or "delaminating" as I call it of the nails.  For shaping I use only the REVLON "Shape 'N" Buff (can also get these on Amazon).  This file has 6 grades of abrasive from coarse to super fine, plus all abrasives are on a rigid stick sort of thing so this one tool works great for shaping and finishing.  Be sure to ONLY use the "REVLON" product.  There are some knock-offs at Amazon that are totally worthless.

  • I take 5,000 mcg of Biotin Daily. Over time this will make a more solid nail. At minimum lightly file the nails daily to keep any burs from becoming breaks. Hand cream or olive on my hands daily at minimum, more in the dry winter. 

    For prevention of breakage, sometimes I add a protective layer of clear nail polish when I know I may be hard on my nails with things like yard work or working on a car. And always wear gloves when doing rougher work like that. Sometimes Nitrile gloves and an outer heavier work glove. 

  • Basically a nail file that I try to use at a 45 degree angle to get it to the inverted U shape that I like and then fine sandpaper to polish and refine.  Look forward to reading what others do, as their routine.

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