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Author Topic: anji and my damned thumbnail!  (Read 1234 times)
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domhatch
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« on: May 04, 2017, 11:38:32 am »

so after a bit i'm getting back into fingerpicking. it's been a while since:
- i played acoustic with any real intent
- i used my fingernails for picking (they're soft as a baby's butt)
- i played anji, but i kinda have the basics down anyway

the problem is this; the way i play anji requires a lot of thumb work, and i keep catching my thumbnail (right hand) on the bass strings. often, it tears and then i can't use the cursed thing until it grows back.

i've thought of using a thumbpick, but i can't get used to how far the 'attack' is away from the strings. i tried to find one a bit 'shorter,' - futile. i now keep my nail shorter, - useless. no attack on the bass strings.

anyone know what i'm banging on about? anyone have any suggestions? or where i can buy a shorter thumbpick? or how to fashion a shorter thumbpick?

because this is about a lot more than just anji. it's about anything that requires a steady, almost percussive bassline that accompanies picking.

thanks all
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2017, 11:52:02 am »

Buy standard thumb pick, use wife's nail file and trim to desired length. Don't let her know you have been modding with the nail file Wink
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2017, 12:29:41 pm »

i've thought of using a thumbpick, but i can't get used to how far the 'attack' is away from the strings. i tried to find one a bit 'shorter,' - futile. i now keep my nail shorter, - useless. no attack on the bass strings.

anyone know what i'm banging on about? anyone have any suggestions? or where i can buy a shorter thumbpick? or how to fashion a shorter thumbpick?
Kinda - my thumbnail is now like steel - other nails do tear, especially on my index & middle finger. But they usually tear when they are too long and I havn't been maintaining them

There's is a regime of keeping one's nails in good nick - oddly enough keeping them moisturized (I use Coconut oil) and maintained (rounding edges, trimmed to optimal length) will strengthen them over time, there's a few tutorials around the web about keeping your nails in 'playing condition' .You could go acrylic nails & super glue - though I reckon that's for for peeps who have to gig regularly and they wear out their nails from a lot of playing.

Those dunlop thumbpicks (9023R - shell?) are always so long - I reckon to allow one to shape them down with some sandpaper. I'd try that? I've been re-shaping some flatpicks recently. I like the sharp tip of a Jazz III, but they are so frigging small and slippery - I went back to my standard pick and re-shaped to a sharp tip like a jazz III.
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domhatch
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« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2017, 03:59:21 pm »

thanks lads. think i'll lay into a few thumbpicks and shape 'em up. see what happens! and try with the moisturising and wotnot - used to use that pink hand n nail cream as well, worked well.

shotto
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 02:34:35 pm »

I got 2 words for you,: EAT JELLY !! EVERY DAY . !! in two weeks your nails will be hard as . . . .
If you're scared of all the sugar, get lo-cal jelly, or make your own using gelatine and cake flavouring.
From real soft nails, I now use my index finger nail for strumming!
There must be any number of websites to show how to shape your new cast-iron!  Cheesy,  nails so that thumb does not hook-up, but basically a long slope on the "inside" and normal rounded on the outside, - but I'm sure you know that after having fingerpicked before. 
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domhatch
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 09:16:31 am »

I got 2 words for you,: EAT JELLY !! EVERY DAY . !! in two weeks your nails will be hard as . . . .
If you're scared of all the sugar, get lo-cal jelly, or make your own using gelatine and cake flavouring.
From real soft nails, I now use my index finger nail for strumming!
There must be any number of websites to show how to shape your new cast-iron!  Cheesy,  nails so that thumb does not hook-up, but basically a long slope on the "inside" and normal rounded on the outside, - but I'm sure you know that after having fingerpicked before. 
bugger the sugar dude, i didn't get to this size following a lo-cal diet. Tongue i've heard the jelly trick before, never really placed much credence in it. shall give it a try -> especially considering that i simply adore jelly of most flavours.

i'll let you know what  transpires, thanks for the heads up
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 12:52:15 pm »

Way back when we had "national service" I met a player who claimed to have managed to maintain his nails through basics. He never mentioned lotions and stuff, but I took notice and started to look after my nails, neat filing every other day. Worked well for many years, the occasional chip and tear was of no consequeñce, I was playing for and by myself, chips self-repaired in a few days anyway.  My life changed to a very much hand-intensive style of mobility, and broken nails became the standard, not the exception. I struggled on for a while, but eventually snipped them off. Now my picking fingers look just like my fretting fingers - had to cut the picking ones real short to avoid the occasional nail plucking a string and messing up the timing. 

Do I miss nails? Yes, but I have come to accept the lack of volume and sharp tone, and the precision.  There is stuff I cannot do anymore, but that's just the way it is.  I cannot find my rythm these days, but then, I do not play an hour or two per day, and I think my "standards" and expectations have increased, leaving my abilities way behind.  Just the way it is when other stuff takes priority and time, and you start to seriously question the way you play, without help or guidance to fix the "problems".

You have choices here, adapt or struggle.  But keep playing...
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domhatch
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2017, 11:28:02 am »

You have choices here, adapt or struggle. But keep playing...
shew. that hits hard. and that's where i am in my life. i'm never going to be an almightily great guitarist. but i believe i owe it to myself and whatever power it is that saw fit to bestow some modicum of talent upon me to do just that. to keep on keepin' awn.

so thanks man. not only for 'nailing' the advice. but for nailing that last bit

cheers
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2017, 09:46:54 pm »

For what it's worth, i've battled with this issue for a few years and started taking it seriously 2/3 years ago. I will never have indestructible nails, but they have improved considerably since I started doing the following:

* Never do any washing up without gloves - repeated/prolonged exposure to detergent is an enemy of strong nails
* Invest in at least one good nail file, with at least one side which is v smooth. Crystal nail files are good and there are some guitarist's special types out there. The second you feel a nick or split, gently smooth it out. The edge of your nail should feel like glass.
* Biotin supplements - widely available. Also omega 3/fish oils. I used to eat jelly too, never entirely sure how effective this was, but some people swear by it.
* Good oils - rub in regularly, before bed is a good time, or when you know you won't be getting your fingers wet for a while. People swear by different oils - olive, coconut, almond. There is a blend called Flexinail which is highly rated, don't know if it's available here but even in the UK it was around R400 equivalent for a tiny bottle, but it does last ages.
* Moisturise as often as you need to - but beware doing this shortly after or before exposure to water, the combination can have a weakening effect
* Get plenty of sunshine on them. Mine have definitely improved since coming to SA from northern Europe.
* Plenty of You Tube and book tutorials on the ideal shape, which differs according to whose advice you're taking. Don't always assume that a perfect rounded curve is the best shape.
* Avoid (if possible) playing bass guitar or playing hard on heavy gauge strings. They will shred your nails.
* Just my personal opinion: using your nails (especially on the gentler nylon strings) helps strengthen them. Leaving them idle doesn't.

Hope that helps. Good luck.
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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 08:40:55 am »

For what it's worth, i've battled with this issue for a few years and started taking it seriously 2/3 years ago. I will never have indestructible nails, but they have improved considerably since I started doing the following:

* Never do any washing up without gloves - repeated/prolonged exposure to detergent is an enemy of strong nails
* Invest in at least one good nail file, with at least one side which is v smooth. Crystal nail files are good and there are some guitarist's special types out there. The second you feel a nick or split, gently smooth it out. The edge of your nail should feel like glass.
* Biotin supplements - widely available. Also omega 3/fish oils. I used to eat jelly too, never entirely sure how effective this was, but some people swear by it.
* Good oils - rub in regularly, before bed is a good time, or when you know you won't be getting your fingers wet for a while. People swear by different oils - olive, coconut, almond. There is a blend called Flexinail which is highly rated, don't know if it's available here but even in the UK it was around R400 equivalent for a tiny bottle, but it does last ages.
* Moisturise as often as you need to - but beware doing this shortly after or before exposure to water, the combination can have a weakening effect
* Get plenty of sunshine on them. Mine have definitely improved since coming to SA from northern Europe.
* Plenty of You Tube and book tutorials on the ideal shape, which differs according to whose advice you're taking. Don't always assume that a perfect rounded curve is the best shape.
* Avoid (if possible) playing bass guitar or playing hard on heavy gauge strings. They will shred your nails.
* Just my personal opinion: using your nails (especially on the gentler nylon strings) helps strengthen them. Leaving them idle doesn't. EDIT: Idle hand do the devil's work, I guess, huh?  Cheesy

Hope that helps. Good luck.
thanks bud. some i do, some i don't. will give consideration to all. going into winter, everything up here gets more brittle... sigh... one of the things i (used to and am trying again to) swear by is that vaseline/someone else hand and nail cream in the pink container. sinks into the hands/nails/feet/err'tang like nobody's bizznizz.

the only problem i have is playing bass. just bought one so i could add dinkum bass lines to my songs/compositions. but that makes sense. so i guess it's bass picks from here on out... Cool

shot again
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2017, 10:47:08 am »

I have a similar problem with soft nails. One part of the solution is to keep them only as long as they need to be. I use the nail to support the fingertip, rather than to produce the notes. There's no need to use the thumb nail on every note, after all, it's the most powerful digit. It might take a while getting used to, but it's served me well, giving extra tone colour. The other thing that might help is that apparently almonds help your nails. I can't guarantee it, but in the 2 years I've been eating 4 a day I've had less trouble with my nails than I've ever had- after spending a fortune on Onymhyre and the like. I also use Mavala Nail Hardener, expensive, but lasts for ages. At the same time I went vegan, but that might be a bridge too far for you, and I have no evidence that it's helped in any way, only that it hasn't made things worse. Good luck, I hope this helps. All the best, Bruce.
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2017, 11:20:33 am »

I have a similar problem with soft nails. One part of the solution is to keep them only as long as they need to be. I use the nail to support the fingertip, rather than to produce the notes. There's no need to use the thumb nail on every note, after all, it's the most powerful digit. It might take a while getting used to, but it's served me well, giving extra tone colour. The other thing that might help is that apparently almonds help your nails. I can't guarantee it, but in the 2 years I've been eating 4 a day I've had less trouble with my nails than I've ever had- after spending a fortune on Onymhyre and the like. I also use Mavala Nail Hardener, expensive, but lasts for ages. At the same time I went vegan, but that might be a bridge too far for you, and I have no evidence that it's helped in any way, only that it hasn't made things worse. Good luck, I hope this helps. All the best, Bruce.
thanks bruce. will give the almonds a bash (love 'em!). and i also think i grew my nails a little long, especially the thumbnail. but, having had a look at the price of mavala - think i'll be steering clear! Cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2017, 10:47:21 am »

My secret to to healthy nails: Tea Tree Oil!
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domhatch
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« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 11:04:28 am »

My secret to to healthy nails: Tea Tree Oil!
yeah, have definitely heard that one. more than once. in the interim, have been keeping my nails as short as necessary, and that seems to have helped a lot. eating the almonds (or any nuts, really) has also helped apparently. without getting into the nitty gritty, i've been a lot more, ahem, careful doing up the ol' zipper. it's helped with the index fingernail, which has also been a bit of a bugbear.

i'll get a wee bottle of tea tree oil. i assume one applies directly? perhaps before sleep?

cheers
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 11:43:55 am »

My secret to to healthy nails: Tea Tree Oil!

yeah, have definitely heard that one. more than once. in the interim, have been keeping my nails as short as necessary, and that seems to have helped a lot. eating the almonds (or any nuts, really) has also helped apparently. without getting into the nitty gritty, i've been a lot more, ahem, careful doing up the ol' zipper. it's helped with the index fingernail, which has also been a bit of a bugbear.

i'll get a wee bottle of tea tree oil. i assume one applies directly? perhaps before sleep?

cheers
dh|


Actually I stumbled across it in desperation, after a nail fungal infection. The doctors prescribed all sorts of medication (expensive medication) which helped but did not cure it. So after 3 months I googled and came across Tea Tree Oil, and though what the heck? Within two weeks my nails were perfect and healthier than they had ever been before. At Dischem you get Thursdays Plantation Brand, which is the purist and IMO the best. Its truly remarkable, I use it for everything now. I started off with a drop on each finger everyday, anytime. even just before I play guitar. I let it sink into my fretboard from my fingers. My nails grow so quickly and strong now, I'm cutting them more than doing drops. Now I only do the drops maybe 1 to 3 times a month. I sound like a commercial Cheesy, but it changed my view on homeopathic medicine. I try a natural remedy before I go to the doctors now. I'm eternally grateful for this little bottle. its about R70-80, (there's also a larger one for about R120) both are worth their weight in gold. If I recall the prescription medicine in the same size bottle was something like R350.

It has a little nozzle you drop at the tip of your finger between you nail and finger.

They sell other products, but just get one of these little bottles, its a natural antiseptic, so you can treat it as such.

http://www.thursdayplantation.com/product-categories/australia/the-essentials-100-pure-oils/tea-tree-oil/
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