The guitarist's nails

  • The guitarist’s nails Alhambra Guitars

    Apart from a suitable polishing, the constant maintenance of the nails can be very difficult for the guitarist.

    For a classical or flamenco guitarist, nails are possibly one of the most complicated issues that he has to deal with day by day. In addition to the genetic part that determines their shape, thickness and hardness, our daily habits are very important and, as a result, the measures that are taken to prevent or solve problems.

    It is very important their hardness and the fact of keeping them flexible is interesting because it reduces the risk of breakage, but they must be hard enough in order to play a high-quality sound. We can set an example by drawing a comparison with the picks. If we take a soft pick and a hard one and we make them sound, we can stablish the same comparison with nails.

    Some tricks to harden the nails can be to use a suitable hardener with a formaldehyde base, accompanied with other components to control the irritation and infections or even to improve the blood circulation. However, this is a solution that can also dry nails up.

    Another option is to cover your nails with silk, gel or porcelain. This is a very personal choice that can even cause unpleasant sounds when hitting the strings.

    If this measure is provisional, caused by a breakage for example, we must be careful when removing the material placed, because the nail becomes weaker, so we have to remove the material progressively as the nail grows.

    In regard to form, due to the position of the hand when playing the guitar, the index finger nail is usually the shortest; therefore it increases progressively in the middle and the ring finger.

    Normally, by the curvature of the hand when playing the guitar, the inside part of the nails (one of the thumb sides) must be shorter, which also causes the shortest side to become harder than the long side. However, this provides structural stability to the nail.

    Daily habits as abundant water contact or the use of sauna can weaken nails, this is the reason why sometimes prevention actions must be taken.

    However, the most uncomfortable situation for a guitarist is when they break a nail by accident, especially before a concert.

    There are many tricks that guitarists have used to replace a broken nail. The most used is possibly the use of a ping-pong ball which is cut in order to form a piece with the right shape and it is stuck to the rest of the nail using contact glue.

    Nowadays, there are professional resources for guitarists that they use to fix a broken nail urgently. In regard to this, we would like to highlight the Nailkit Royal Classic, a set of accessories to replace the fractured element.

    However, we must not forget that prevention is the most important thing and, in this sense, it is very important to have good habits, eat healthy and to have a good nail maintenance which, along with fingertips, constitutes direct contact with the strings and, therefore, one of the most important elements to transmit the best sound possible.