This is driving me insane. I can only play well for the incredibly short period between my nails reaching the perfect size and then starting to chip, forcing me to start over. I don't know if there is a way to fix this.
Last edited by Lucbriggs at Oct 5, 2014,
Drink a lot of water, keep the nails well moisturized (almond oil or something brand name like hard as hooves), be very careful with how you use your hands, and keep them smoothed out. Use your non-plucking hand for most tasks, if possible.
I don't work outside a lot, so the main thing I do is drink a lot of water. Also, as much as possible, keep your hands (and nails by extension) clean.
Keeping them clean is also a good thing, make sure you moisturize them after washing with soap and water, however, as the soap will dry them out.
When I first started letting my picking hand nails get longer I had trouble with this. I guess I just got used to being more careful with the nails on that hand over time. For the first good while of me trying it out I had to constantly remind myself to not use my right-hand nails for anything that might damage them and be really careful, then after having it that way for long enough it just became second nature and I don't have to think about it.

I've also figured out that there is less chance of chipping if you constantly (about once a week or so for me) file them so that they don't get too long. Keep just enough to barely stick past your finger - the longer they get the easier they break. If I do get a chip I try not to mess with it too much until I can actually file it and smooth it out as best as I can.

I've never messed with using any kind of moisturizers or anything, but I'm sure it helps.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Oct 6, 2014,
If you find your nails chipping, it helps to get more calcium in your diet. Makes them wear down slower.
Aside from the diet tips above, unfortunately there's no real fix. Don Ross and other hard acoustic players have used fake nails professionally installed. Annie Difranco would tape fake nails on. Unfortunately, fake nails sound like shit on nylon string guitars so it's not a good solution for those.

My solution on electric ( when I was gigging a lot) was to simply play with a pick sometimes after a nail break or to simply play with the tips of my fingers ( you need to compensate the eq on your amp - crank the treble/presence to make up for the dullness of the tone coming from the finger tips). It helps to keep the nails shorter and well maintained.