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How To Shape And Take Care Of Your Nails for Guitarists

One of the most frequently asked questions faced by the guitarist is the shape, length and care of the nails of the right hand. Whether you hit the string from the right, left, or even the middle of the nail, the problems remain the same.

The length, shape and surface of the nails have a direct effect on the playing: nail care will affect the music as much as the practice. This is considered important because it affects the sound quality or timbre that the guitarist produces on the instrument.

The length of the nails

To check nail length, hold your hand with the palm facing you. You should see the tips of the nails slide down just past the fingertips (1-2mm).

Nail care

Many commercial products claim to strengthen and harden weak nails. But these are often very extensive and do not achieve the desired results. I can give you a few examples that you can try one after the other to take care of your nails.

In the first month, rub a little lemon juice on the nail and around the nail every night, in the 2nd month you can use deodorized paraffin in the same way, in the 3rd month do the same application with olive oil, and in the 4th month return to the lemon juice.

The shape of the nails

If you don’t know how to determine the angle of your nails, fold a piece of sandpaper over the first string, hold it with your left hand, and play on the paper in your usual hand position. Thus, the nail takes its shape by itself.

Note: Everyone has their favorite nail shape.

Of course, the nails of the right hand are not everything, these nails must be shaped and filed at an angle to give a pleasant sound.

So the best way to file nails is to start with a cardboard file. Hold the file towards your face (looking down its length), with the finer surface facing up. With your finger at a ninety degree angle (perpendicular) to the file, place the nail on the surface. The vector of your finger should be about forty-five degrees to the plane of the file so that the nail is filed slightly from below. File the nail by pulling the file back and forth evenly with your left hand, applying even pressure and guiding it into place with your right thumb.

This file gives the general shape of the nail. You can then use sandpaper depending on the hardness or weakness of the nail.

After filing the nail, the edge must be finely polished. Take a small amount of 1000 grit sandpaper and use a back and forth motion to rub the same patch of sandpaper along the edge of the nail, focusing especially on the left side of the nail. The surface of the sandpaper wears out during rubbing, so an increasingly smooth polishing surface is created. Rub until the edge is as smooth as the glass surface.

Regardless of the condition of the nail, the shaping should always be finished with 2000 grit paper, and then you can sand it with chamois leather mounted on a piece of wood.

Once you’re done, visually check the length and shape of each nail. Use the edge of the thumbnail to feel the edges of each nail for smoothness and imperfection. If your nails are properly shaped and the edges are finely polished, the ease of execution and the quality of the tone can be significantly improved. The procedure

  1. Cardboard file
  2. Emery Paper N2000
  3. Deer skin

How can I prevent my nails from breaking?

  1. Avoid getting your nails wet. Use rubber gloves when washing dishes, cars, etc.
  2. Get used to using your left hand to open doors/drawers, flip switches, or anything where you can catch nails.
  3. Make the thumbnail on the left a bit longer so you can scan instead of the right one.
  4. Use a file and ultra-fine sandpaper (about 600 grit) to keep the edge of the nail very smooth. This prevents the little tangles from getting caught in things and possibly tearing off the tip of the nail.
  5. Apply two or three coats of clear nail polish. Apply varnish to the protruding lower part of the nail as well.
  6. Don’t let your nails get too long. They can hinder play and break more easily.
  7. To protect my nails from chipping, I can also put tape on and under my nails if they’re too short, or usually before concerts to keep my nails intact. Works well.

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