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|How to play when your fingernal is damaged|
Have you ever had to pick without a fingernail? Ripped my middle nail off yesterday.
I can't really pick without nails – no clean attack or volume level, not to mention the loss of accuracy in hitting the right strings! You can go to a nail salon and they can put a fake tip on it and then overlay acrylic. The fake tip will grow out, but by then your natural nail will be back. Personally, ever since 2002 I've gone into the nail place about every 3 weeks for a complete acrylic 'fill' where they clean up my first 3 nails and apply a new coat of acrylic. The overall nail is now about 4 times as thick as a natural nail and is not only way more durable, but the added material and the thickness of it gives you better tone - like a super thick pick does (providing you keep your nail tips polished really smooth).
But... here's the down and dirty 'field repair' for a broken or chipped nail. Grab a pair of scissors and a white coffee filter. Cut out a half circle that is the diameter of the width of that fingernail. Get out the superglue and a toothpick. Put a drop of glue on your nail near where it's broken. Then apply the coffee filter to your nail positioned so as to create a nice round fake nail tip. Use the toothpick to help position and tamp it down. Immediately put more glue over the top of the entire filter section and move it around with the toothpick to cover and saturate the whole tip. Blow on it and stand around and wait til it dries hard (takes a few minutes). At that point it's gonna look ugly, but what you've done is to create a miniature fiberglass fabrication - the glue is the resin, the filter is the fiberglass material, get the idea? Once it's hard, you can sand it down smooth with a nail file, even out the edges and so forth until you almost can't tell it wasn't done at the salon. Pretty amazing, actually. I learned this over 35 years ago from John Shelton, a great flamenco guitarist and builder in Portland. I've fixed my nails in the field many times over the years this way...
All the best,