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Care of the guitarist's nails

In previous publications, we have discussed how to keep the fingernails, but do you know how to polish them and what shape should they have?

The guitarist's nails are elements which have to withstand an important pressure, in some specific situations, touching the string can be compared with hitting the table, because the strength which is generated by the finger is very high. Due to this reason, the “attack position” must be appropriate, at the same time as the state, the shape and the polishing of the nails must be the correct ones.

In previous publications.

Previously we have mentioned different solutions to keep the guitarist's nails. On the one hand, the use of hardeners or rose-hip oil is useful to harden the nails and stimulate blood circulation. This fact will keep the nails in the best conditions.

In addition, we have also discussed the possibility of replacing the nail by means of porcelain or gel, or using some resources which save the nail temporarily until it grows again.

An example is the Royal Classic Nailkit. It is a very good temporary solution, which offers false nails or the silk.

About filing and polishing

It is very important to file and polish to ensure the best maintenance. For that reason, we must choose the most suitable way. A method that, on the other hand, must be linked to the way of playing.

Generally, unless you play the guitar very sporadically, the guitarist's nails are not cut, they are just filed and polished.

For filing, we could use several types of file: the metal ones, which are the most common; or the cardboard ones which are covered with sandpaper. Although it is possible that the most recommended nail files are made of glass, because they last a long time, they are easy to clean and the most common ones among specialists. They only have one problem: if they fell, they would break.

After filing the nails, there are many guitarists who continue filing progressively, filing using files with a thinner grain.

It is something that depends on each one preference, although the important thing is to polish using a very fine sandpaper, (i.e. a file 2000 grain), which means getting a very delicate polishing.

This degree of polishing will avoid getting hooked. Furthermore, the contact with the string will produce the desired effect.

Finally, if you want to get a very "velvety" effect, you can use leather. Simply by cutting a piece of a high thickness and using it to polish your nails. The result is very interesting.

The shape of the nails

Regarding the shape of the fingernails, there are many things to take into account. Nevertheless, above all, it depends on the type of performance and the technique which the guitarist uses.

Generally the nails have a medium length. There is about one millimeter on the inside, and about three on the outer part. There is a longer length in the outer part because it provides more resistance to the nail and for the support on the string.

What is more, there are also guitarists who have fully rounded nails in order to avoid getting hooked.

And a shape that is quite common among classical guitarists consists in having a very short length in the inside (i.e. 1mm) and very long outer part.

Regarding this last option, we can find some researches of the guitarist David Rusell, who explains a right hand technique where the nail rubs the string using all its profile, like a bow on a violoncello. It is something which produces a very sweet and powerful sound.

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