– Or break ranks and become the first nailess wonder guitar player of the 21st century
Smooth them with fine emery paper on the edge and underneath the surface.
Shape them so that the area that comes into contact with the string is lunar shaped.
Eat well and sleep well. Keep to a diet that suits both you and your nails.
To avoid wear and tear weak nails should be shorter than strong nails.
Develop a technique so that the finger tip is as relaxed as possible. Tense playing chips at the nails and wears them out more quickly.
The angle of contact with the string should be more parallel than sideways. Unfortunately this is counter to good tone. Seeking a satisfactory compromise will drive you potty, but your nails will be grateful.
Don’t practice loudly all the time. This will wear out the nails more quickly.
Avoid high tension strings if possible.
Lower the pitch of the guitar by a semitone. This saves the nails, and besides, the guitar sounds good too.
Although only a few minutes may have passed since you last smoothed your nails don’t allow the slightest imperfection to take hold – file the nails until they are completely smooth again on the edges and underneath.
This has been my rough guide to keeping your nails in good shape. If your nails are next to useless don’t despair. Good players using false nails have deceived my ears on various occasions. Try the R C Nail Kit for starters. Alternatively play without nails and join a select company with the likes of Tarrega, Sor, and many more. The world is waiting for a classical guitarist to break ranks and become the first nailess wonder of the 21st century.
28th September 2014, London