#1
Hello everybody,

I'm new on this site. I see there's a lot of good info available.

I started out playing classical guitar, and when I got into electric I found the classical style of fingerpicking works well enough for me, even using my pinky. But using one's own fingernails is not a viable possibility, so I'm searching for attachable fingerpicks that are like fingernail extensions. All of the fingerpicks I've seen have the pick coming up from the bottom of the fingertip, not the top. Is there anything like that available? I think there should be, I mean, I think it's a good idea, even if it's not popular.

I got a couple of Vinnie Smith's "V-Picks" brand ( http://v-picks.com ) hard acrylic bar-slides, which are hollow tubes, with the idea of hand-crafting attachable picks out of those, but that would be a lot of work to develop and make such things like that (but maybe it's my only hope).

Do any of you guys have useful thoughts or suggestions about this? I would appreciate any helpful advice, please.

Thank you,

Tom
#2
There are a few companies that make fake nails specifically for guitarists; John Butler swears by them because he says the 12 string he plays just eats his natural nails.

Here's one example: http://guitarplayernails.com/ but I know nothing about them so it's worth doing a bit of looking around for more options.

There's also these: http://www.alaskapik.com/ which are fingerpicks that go in the same place as your nails (in fact I believe they go under your nails), I'm pretty sure Igor Presnyakov uses these for his playing and they seem to work pretty well.

Those should both be options that work pretty well I think, although which is better is obviously going to be entirely down to you, I don't know of anything else that does quite what you're looking for.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Dec 11, 2014,
#3
Thanks a lot, Zaphod_Beeblebr,

My work schedule got full to at least Sunday, so I won't be able to look into your suggestions 'til then. But they do look interesting. I've tried gluing carefully crafted pieces of lexan to my nails and that worked to some extent, but they'd eventually tear off, taking the outer layer of my natural nails off with them, causing my real fingernails to get thinner .... and thinner. Thus I had to give that up. So any fingerpicks that requires me to glue them to my natural nail is not an option for me.

But I'm looking forward to checking out your suggestions to see how they work. Perhaps you've provided the solution to my long quest.

Thanks!
#4
I currently play fingerstyle jazz on a semi-hollow electric using a technique that's essentially classical. I use flatwound strings and play with my nails, exactly as I would for playing a nylon string.

No need for picks.....I notice essentially no nail wear using this setup.
#5
Thanks for the interesting feedback information. I suspect the possibility that my nails may be not quite as tough as yours, but "essentially no nail wear using this setup" is quite intriguing. I'm open to trying to develop this ability, but I can't deny the thought that my nails may need a bit more hard crisp bite.
#6
I think the no wear that Bikewer is getting has more to do with the flatwound strings than anything else, I'm led to believe they sound quite different to other strings though so I don't know if that's going to work for you; obviously that's going to be completely down to you.

Also it'll depend on how hard you and Bikewer are hitting the strings, if he's playing fingerstyle jazz then I would expect quite a light attack on the notes, if you want more attack then I don't think that's going to be the way to go for you, but again that's a choice for you to make more than anyone else.
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#7
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I think the no wear that Bikewer is getting has more to do with the flatwound strings than anything else, I'm led to believe they sound quite different to other strings though so I don't know if that's going to work for you; obviously that's going to be completely down to you.

Also it'll depend on how hard you and Bikewer are hitting the strings, if he's playing fingerstyle jazz then I would expect quite a light attack on the notes, if you want more attack then I don't think that's going to be the way to go for you, but again that's a choice for you to make more than anyone else.


Never played flatwounds?

Yes they do sound quite different. I don't likey.

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#8
Flatwound strings are very popular with jazz players, who like a "clean" sound and like the somewhat mellower tone.
And as Zaphod indicates, most (including me) use a rather light attack. If you want more volume, turn the amp up...
There are dozens of different approaches to this, some folks like bare flesh (which does tend to callous after a while) to longer nails to fingerpicks to artificial nails.... Equally excellent players have used all of these approaches successfully.

I remember that Leo Kottke used fingerpicks for years but quit after he began to develop tendinitis.....
#9
Thanks for the details, guys.

I use flatwounds at times. I've got Thomastik-Infeld "Jazz Swing" 10s on two hollow-body Gretsches right now. But I like to experiment with various strings, and am not bound to flatwounds exclusively.

And even if I'm playing lightly (with the volume up), I often like to have the crisp attack of a hard nail or pick as the punctuating snap at the start of the stroke, which also seems to give the sustaining note a slightly brighter edge. No matter what, I like to have the wider spectrum of possible "attacks" available to mix in as suited. So I'm definitely determined to have attachable fingernail type picks as part of my gear.
Last edited by Honorism at Dec 14, 2014,
#10
Thanks again, Zaphod_Beeblebr, for suggesting the two possibilities. However, I find that both options I've already tried.

The "GuitarPlayerNails" are the kind that get glued directly to one's fingernails, and on me these eventually tear off, taking the outer surface of my natural nails with them. This did not work out for me.

I've also tried the Alaska Pik, and these too did not work out for me. I couldn't get them to stay in place sufficiently, and I think the plastic was too soft.

But in googling "attachable fingernail picks for guitar," I found this:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1577369660/the-ultimate-fingerpick-guitar-banjo-resonator-pic

"The Ultimate Fingerpick." This looks very promising to me, and I can't wait to have them. These could be what they claim them to be, and I must say, I'm pretty excited about them and eager to get them!

Check this out: http://ultimatefingerpick.com/

I ordered a couple of three packs. Can't wait!
Last edited by Honorism at Dec 14, 2014,
#11
My "Ultimate FingerPick" fingerpicks arrived a few days ago, and although I've had only a little time to devote to them, I can tell you I'm absolutely thrilled with them and strongly recommend them to anyone with a predilection for using your fingernails as picks!

They're not quite Perfect, but obviously the makers' intelligence and integrity are in the right place and they have come out with an amazing product that IMO puts anything else WAY BEHIND.

The worst problem for me is that although the stickiness of the marvelously thin (and quite strong) rubber sleeves perfectly adheres the fingerpicks to one's fingers, the rubbing of these sleeves on the adjacent rubber sleeves somewhat impedes the movement of independently moving fingers. And even the little bit of thickness these rubber sleeves have significantly widens the fingers enough that this is a bit of a problem for the free movement of my fingers. I believe having a seamstress friend of mine make little silk sleeves to wrap around them should solve this problem as well as eliminate any perceived "butt-ugliness" of the grayish rubber sleeves by providing some subtle color.

The fact that they do provide perfectly shaped picks where one's natural nails "should be," opens the door to developing this style of fingerpicking like never before.

So far the makers have not made any mention of planning to eventually provide a thumb-pick version of these picks, but I did mention in my first communication to them that I do need this as well. It seems to me that they will be compelled to provide thumb-pick versions as more and more fingerpickers implore them to do so.

So far they only have the smallish (for me) "medium" size, but as more sizes become available, and more and more fingerpickers get back to the makers with their criticisms and suggestions, I think this brand of fingerpicks is only going to be improving with modifications suggested by the first-hand experience of those of us who use them.

Even with the stickiness of the sides of these rubber sleeves, these fingerpicks are quite excellent and can assist anyone in developing finger-style picking like never before. I strongly recommend these fingerpicks for anyone who has a desire to use your fingernails as picks.
Last edited by Honorism at Dec 25, 2014,
#12
I found another brand of attachable and detachable fingernail-like fingerpicks. These are called RICONAILS and can be found here: http://www.ricoguitarnails.com

These have the advantage of being simply fingernail extensions that are attached to the top of one's own fingernails with a removable adhesive. This allows a better freedom of movement than the "Ultimate FingerPick" brand does, and they allow you to feel the strings directly with your fingertips, whereas the "Ultimate FingerPick" does not. My only question is how well can they withstand the rigors of intense electric guitar playing.

I went ahead and ordered their starter kit, and am eager to find out how well they work. We'll see!
Last edited by Honorism at Dec 28, 2014,
#13
Everyone always complains about that but I never have that issue. For me the trick is pluck with your fingertip, and just strike it softly with your nail. Same sound, but not all the load is on the nail.
#14
Thank you, Bacon Man, for relating your fingerpicking style that works for you. I tried it (again) which reestablished the fact that my fingernails are just too fragile for that to work for me. I cannot reliably let my fingernails grow long enough to even just barely touch the strings as I pluck them. My fingernails crack and tear long before they're able to get to the strings past my fingertips.

Thanks for the tip, - I wish it could work for me. But I don't mind. I suspect that with these fingernail-like fingernail extensions of the "RICONAILS" brand, and maybe even of the "Ultimate FingerPick" brand, I will be able to play with more vibrance and brilliance than I would have been able to using my natural nails even if my natural nails could be made strong enough to function properly.
#15
I've tried almost everything. My own nails is what seems to be what I can almost rely on. But of course they aren't strong enough. I found the Ultimate Fingerpick as close as any plastic add on, but they are just too bulky. Maybe I could get used to them. What has worked is beauty parlour acrylic nails. Thick enough and strong enough to handle the riggers of round wounds. The only down side is nails grow out and these have to be 'filled' or replaced about once a month. I keep them fairly short so they aren't particularly noticeable.
#16
I can't stand the tone from plastic or other synthetic materials and fingerpicks are so uncomfortable.

I prefer to play with nails - keep them shorter than usual - and simply play with the flesh of my fingers when they grind down or if they chip. You can get a great tone from the flesh of your fingers, but you need to adjust the treble and presence on the amp to compensate for the duller sound.
#17
I don't get it. I play with nails on acoustic and never noticed any wear. I'd have though lighter electric strings would be even less wear. And I play 2hrs a day. Maybe your diet is lacking in nutrients that help with strong nail growth?
#18
I started on electric and picked up classical a couple years ago and sometimes I play my classical or celtic songs on the electric, fingerpicking them. I dont use my nails on either guitar, I just use my fingers and it works for me. You can use a special pick, but for me personally, I just pretend my electric is like my acoustic. Of course, itll be weird to fingerpick at first, cause the strings are closer together and are steel. So just go for it with no pick or nails or anything like that. If that doesn't work, then try the picks and nails.