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 Oh no, not fingernails again!
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Bing
Lokahi

USA
100 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  06:40:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bing's Homepage
Well, the subject may be miss leading but, here’s my story:

About two years ago I was having problems with my fingernails (due mostly to the low humidity in Idaho) so after reading several posts here on the Patch I tried acrylic nails, I know I know, I got pretty good at applying them myself and I really liked the sound they made. After a year or so of the hassle of dealing with keeping them up I decided to let my nails grow out. Naturally my nails were ruined, So while my natural nails were growing out (very slowly) I started using “Alaska Pics”. They were clumsy at first but after trimming and filing I got used to them and could play OK with them.

Now, my nails are long and strong but I’m not happy with the sound they make. I’m so used to the Alaska Pics, they have a much more mellow sound (my nails although long and strong sound tinny) My thumb nail is fine for the bass strings but I use the A Pics for my index, middle & ring fingers. The only drawback I’ve found is pulling off a false harmonic but I only do one or two of those anyway and I’m sure they will get better with time.

I wonder if any of you have found that Alaska Pics sound better than nails?

Bing

Admin
Pupule

USA
4525 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  08:49:29 AM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Send Admin an AOL message  Send Admin an ICQ Message  Send Admin a Yahoo! Message
Hi Bing,

I've just recently been experimenting with a thumbpick but still using finger nails for the index, middle, ring. Sorry, I have no input on the Alaska picks.

Mainly I just wanted to share this quote from Guitar, An American Life. Author, Time Brookes (p. 129) writes:

Ed Gerhard, a fine fingerstyle guitarist from New Hampshire, tells a joke that is the truest thing I heard in two years of asking people about the guitar: "You start off playing guitar to get chicks and end up talking with middle-aged men about your fingernails."

Andy
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Pua Kai
Ha`aha`a

USA
1007 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  09:30:25 AM  Show Profile
Aloha Bing - Hopefully Dusty will chime in here any minute now.
As far as having someone else listen, this is the perfect place to record yourself and listen to each side by side. I have tough nails - I just still haven't figured out how to actually use them instead of picking with the pads... but I'm Just a Beginner... and will get up to McCabe's one of these days to pick up a set so I can try out those things.
Have you left the high country yet? It's foggy/rainy thick yuck here today. but surf's up! or so I'm told...
n

Edited by - Pua Kai on 10/24/2005 4:39:44 PM
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Bing
Lokahi

USA
100 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  09:34:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bing's Homepage
jwn,

Last night I played the same song, to my wife, once with pics and once with nails. she said the pics sounded much better. I'll keep experimenting.

Bing
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Bing
Lokahi

USA
100 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  09:41:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bing's Homepage
Actually Nancy, I've been in San Diego watching the Womans Professional Longboard contest.
I'll be heading to Baja on the 30th. Good Idea, recordinng both ways, I'll do that. But just listening to myself the pics sound way better. And I don't have any issues with pinching. I can play for over an hour with no discomfort., You're right about the weather, it was downright cold standing on the beach all weekend.

Bing
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RobO
Akahai

USA
97 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  09:41:37 AM  Show Profile
This is a topic of interest to many of us....especially those of us who cannot grow our own nails. I fall into that category, they're just too soft and break before they even get 1/16 inch long. I use the metal Propiks, but can't really get the right sound or finesse that I feel is necessary. They're not very forgiving. I have tried Alaska picks, but not too impressed with those either. I have tried using just the pads of my fingers, but haven't been able to get consistent volume.... I do use acrylics from time to time and really like the results, except they destroy what weak nails I already have. So, I think I've decided that using the pads of my fingers is the best idea and I expect I will get better with control with practice....it seems to work well for many out there...practice, practice, practice is now my mantra.

a hui hou... Rob
"Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono"
Translation: Acquire skill and make it deep
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  10:39:15 AM  Show Profile
OK, the least good player will now chime in.

We are talking basically and Bing-origianlly about tone production, right?

Well, first there is de gustibus, with which there is no arguing.

Second, there are people like Andy who can make gorgeous tone with flesh, fingernails or icepicks.

Third, the only valuable thing I got out of "Pumping Nylon" was the two ways that you should shape your nails for proper tone production. No center points. Points hook and "maintain bad tone". Squarish, slanted out left or right. Peak on right gives loudness and control; peak on Left (inner side) makes your fingernail slide off the string and is hard to control, but gives gentle, lovely tone.

All this was designed for nylon strings but works for metal strings, too.

...Reid
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RJS
Ha`aha`a

1635 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  11:25:35 AM  Show Profile
Well, I play nylon strings, and have a definite prefernce for natural nails. If I break one and have an upcoming gig, I'll glue on an acrylic, but take it off right after the gig, hoping to minimize nail damage. Alaska pics are the pics I would choose if I were going to use them. However, I like the sound and the feel of "mano a mano." as it were,struggling with the guitar.
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  12:31:14 PM  Show Profile
Oh, yeah,

One other thing that the "Pumping Nylon" guy made explicit and which we, in our ignorance, were doing anyway. You touch the string with your flesh first, before you pluck through with your nail. That stops the prior note and sets you up for the stroke. If you are just whacking through with a nail or a pick, not stopping the vibration, you are gonna get some strange sounds.

...Reid
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Mika ele
Ha`aha`a

USA
1485 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  12:56:53 PM  Show Profile
OK you Wahines out there - some advice here. . . for us Kanes

Is there REALLY anything that we can ingest/massage/paint that can strengthen natural nails?

Gelatin?
Some type of nail paint?
Horse Hoof Moisturiser?
Cuticle Creme?

Like a dummy, I went into one of those nail places with women being tended to by all sorts of Far Eastern Maidens (and a few I wasn't so sure about). I asked this question. All I got from them was a few funny looks and a strong sell to get me to buy a nail polish.

E nana, e ho'olohe. E pa'a ka waha, e hana ka lima.
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wdf
Ha`aha`a

USA
1128 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  1:12:20 PM  Show Profile
Hey Bing, tie down the ol' skirt because here comes some smoke

For me, Alaska Piks work great and sound as good as nails. I do use a thumbpick, too.

Its all a matter of personal preference.

Dusty
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RJS
Ha`aha`a

1635 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  1:26:23 PM  Show Profile
Lots of things promise stronger nail, and you undoubtably will find someone who loves a particular product.
The overall consensus among players and professionals seems to be - save your money and eat a balanced diet, or at leastr take a good multi-v
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Pauline Leland
`Olu`olu

USA
783 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  1:39:51 PM  Show Profile
Wahine here, but I don't know if I have any great news.

Last winter, my nails kept cracking in the same position, especially my index finger. They'd grow out a bit and then re-crack. Come spring & summer, slightly more humid air, my nails held up better. Now the furnace is on, and my nails are going bad again.

On a classical guitar board, someone raved about Nutra Nail strengthening gel. I went to buy some (Walgreen), but ended up with a different product, Jessica Cosmetics Bend Don't Break. In the 4 days it's been on, it's worked. That's a pretty small trial period. The instructions also say to use a solvent to remove it; don't peel it off. That's taken a lot of will power, LOL. It's shiny, BTW, not matte finish.

Another thing I've noticed is that my nails develop sideways swales/valleys/dips, if I paint over their moons. Bend Don't Break instructions say to cover the whole nail, but I don't.


Pauline
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Reid
Ha`aha`a

Andorra
1526 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  3:19:30 PM  Show Profile
Dusty, wheah you get da kine kewl graphics? Your students' assignments? You make um up on your spare time in a few minutes? Luv da sparkle teefs. Put um on a real public place,you rich! You are wasting your time here.

I gotta get Kawika to teach me to surf in Feb!





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Karl Monetti
`Olu`olu

USA
756 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  3:34:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit Karl Monetti's Homepage
Now just wait a minute here, Reid, I thought I was the worst player here!
Can;t grow nails either. Threatened to try acrylic last year but was too lazy to do it. I feel quite comfortable with just the flesh on thenails. I used to play my 12 string fingerstyle with metal picks befoer i stopped biting my nails. I liked the sound. But now, with the short nails i can grow, i like the mellower sound on both 6 and 12 string. I was playing a lot of slide Kottke stuff (sow it down a little and i can actually do some of his stuff....sort of) several years ago and had a local open mike night i was asked to play at. I practiced hard for weeks, then 2 days prior to the gig a dog bit my right thumb and the whole nail came off. Not only was my picker gone, it hurt like heck, too. DUct tape to the rescue!!! I fashioned a new pick/owie guard out of a 20 cc syringe case, filed the edge so it stuck out a bit for that Kottke base and taped it to my thumb. I did this the night it happened, 2 days prior to the gig. It worked so well, i just left it on the next 2 days...i feared i might not get it back on the same way if i took it off. It also gave me 2 days to figure out how to use it instead of the real thumb. Well, it worked great, but after 3 days i removed it and the whole thumb looked like a prune. So, I guess this would not qualify as a good alternative to good nalis, eh?

Karl
Frozen North
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Pua Kai
Ha`aha`a

USA
1007 Posts

Posted - 10/24/2005 :  5:02:58 PM  Show Profile
Hi,
Today, Kumu handed me his thumb pick to try out and recommends Alaska picks... OK OK I'll go buy them! One more thing to learn... besides language, funny tuning, new tunes, lotsa picking patterns... no wonder music helps you keep your brain sharp in old age - either that or drives you totally insane earlier, I'm not sure.
But here's my question: If you use thumb pick, does that sound louder than it should vs the treble strings?
John (jwn) - alias "chopped livah" - I just never heard you play, and Dusty plays the most nahenahe music I've ever had the pleasure of listening to - and he uses the alaska picks.
Reid - I'm going to be very impressed if a) you find any surf at Kaupoa worth surfing and b) your back and you continue to have an understanding after you submit it to the relatively cold water and Tough Work. Suggestion: Get sparkles for your teeth - they glue on with the same glue as the nail falsies.
Putting junk on your nails: it's all bad. When it comes off, your nails are worse than when you started (think taking off only the top layer of paint on the kitchen cabinets - those of you who actually do those sorts of things). My mom swore by gelatin - her nails were always thin and broken and she always drank it. So I'd say that doesn't work. Lots of things leach moisture from your nails including salt water (surfers), doing dishes, paint solvents and most cleaning chemicals. Use a good moisturizer - for those of you who are desparate, put on white cotton gloves at night. Bag Balm works miracles, but it definitely stains everything it touches. And if you have ridges and bumps in your nails (before using chemicals on them), it's a vitamin deficiency.
Whew! maybe that helps someone. or not.....
Yup, community mantra: practice practice practice, then practice some more.....
n
Oh, and Uncle Karl, you are a long way from the bottom of the heap. I am very impressed with your ingenuity, given the tools and products in your cache.

Edited by - Pua Kai on 10/24/2005 5:08:31 PM
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