Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Full Version)

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bb -> Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 5 2008 16:08:55)

It is well known that beginning guitar players who practice more than a few minutes a day generally develop sore left-hand finger tips until calluses form. I suffered through that a second time a year ago when I started practicing an hour or two a day after not having played for more than 30 years. I now have calluses thick enough that I can play almost any length of time without pain.

However, I have another sore finger problem that I haven’t seen discussed. Every three or four weeks I manage to tear one of my right-hand nails slightly away from its nail bed near the nail tip. The tear doesn’t heal and becomes worse if I continue to play. Healing takes several days. I lose playing proficiency if I don’t play for several days and several additional days of practice are required after that to get back to where I started.

I am wondering if this is a problem most flamenco players don’t have, and if so, whether it is due to the way I play, nail length, and/or my age. Human skin becomes increasingly thin, less durable, easier to damage, and slower to heal with increasing age. My 70 year age likely contributes to the problem, but maybe I need to back off and play with less gusto. I prefer old traditional styles of flamenco playing that leave no doubt as to the compas. Maybe I simply pick emphasized beats with too much force. Maybe it would help to keep my nails slightly shorter to reduce nail leverage on the nail bed. Maybe there is another solution.

Do any of you have that problem? Do any of you have suggestions?




Stu -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 6 2008 0:17:27)

Hi,
Sorry, I don't have that problem but thought I'd reply anyway.
I'm in fact quite the opposite and rarely have any nail problems caused from playing too much and I play at least an hour every day. I often break a nail (usually thumb) during some other activity but have never suffered broken nails or torn skin from playing too much and too hard.

I often hear stories of people saying they practiced so hard and there nails fell off and I often think maybe I am not practicing hard enough. but then I have to put it down to the strength of my nails.

Due to advice on this forum and trial and error at home I have finally found the right length for my nails and its a lot shorter that it used to be. Perhaps try shortening your nails a bit to see if that helps.

Stu




Doog -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 7 2008 12:30:12)

quote:

ORIGINAL:

However, I have another sore finger problem that I haven’t seen discussed. Every three or four weeks I manage to tear one of my right-hand nails slightly away from its nail bed near the nail tip. The tear doesn’t heal and becomes worse if I continue to play. Healing takes several days. I lose playing proficiency if I don’t play for several days and several additional days of practice are required after that to get back to where I started.

I am wondering if this is a problem most flamenco players don’t have, and if so, whether it is due to the way I play, nail length, and/or my age. Human skin becomes increasingly thin, less durable, easier to damage, and slower to heal with increasing age. My 70 year age likely contributes to the problem, but maybe I need to back off and play with less gusto. I prefer old traditional styles of flamenco playing that leave no doubt as to the compas. Maybe I simply pick emphasized beats with too much force. Maybe it would help to keep my nails slightly shorter to reduce nail leverage on the nail bed. Maybe there is another solution.

Do any of you have that problem? Do any of you have suggestions?


"Do any of you have that problem?"
I am in my seventies and if I play any flamenco with my natural nails, I shred them to the quick within minutes!


"Maybe there is another solution. Do any of you have suggestions?"

Definitely! http://www.guitarplayernails.com/

I have used this product for the past couple of years or so and am totally pleased with it. These nails are not the least bit phased by the most energetic and intense rasgueos.

There is a mild learning curve, but once you get the process down the results are excellent.

Good luck.

Doog




Ricardo -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 8 2008 3:45:11)

I would say too much resitance is pulling your nail away from the nail bed. All your ideas are probably right about contributing factors...age, way of playng too hard maybe, nail length. Not sure if you put glue or acrylic on, but that would be part of the problem too, because if the nail is too stiff, your skin gives away first.

OK, my advice is to get used to much shorter length, but at the same time you need to make a proper angle or shape when filing, so you don't have resitance. Not sure which of your techniques is causing the problem, but we can rule out rasgueado I hope (except index upward...ouch!). So if it is mainly picado or arpegios doing it, then I think nail shape will help. We have talked about that in past on here so you can search the archives. It is not easy to describe, you need to experiment a bit. But when you do techniques, you dont' want to "feel" your nail going against the strings, rather the string slides off a ramp, so you really feel the string with your finger tip. You don't want the string to dig under nail and tug at it, and also, with a flatter shape to the nail (less round, not litterlly "flat" of course), you get a crisper sound too.

So it can work out for you. In the mean time, my friends who get the same tears sometimes from hitting their acrylic nails or catching them when strumming too hard up wards, they put Krazy glue on the wound and squeeze it together. That closes it up so it can heal faster and they can still play, though it will still hurt and you should take it easy.

Ricardo




johnguitars -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 8 2008 10:06:01)

DOOG

Do these nails rip up your real nails? Do you leave them on all the time?




Doog -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 8 2008 13:05:59)

quote:

ORIGINAL: johnguitars

DOOG

Do these nails rip up your real nails? Do you leave them on all the time?


I leave my nails on all of the time. When one finally does come loose and drop off I replace it immediately.

Using GuitarPlayersNails does not "rip up" the natural normal nail, but when they come off the surface is a little disrupted with some mild flaking. However, if the artificial nail is left off, the nail quickly assumes a normal healthy appearance.

I have been using a variety of techniques to 'correct' my fragile nail problems for several years and this is the best product that I have found. Once in place, I put a couple of coats of Sally's Nail glue on the nails and they become virtually indestructible.

Doog




bb -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 8 2008 14:00:48)

Thanks for your various comments and suggestions.

I will keep my nails shorter, which probably will help. I play better when they are rather short, but there are a couple reasons I haven’t been keeping them shorter. One is that even though I am semiretired, I have more interests and things I want to do each day than there is time for and I have been reluctant to use part of my guitar practice time each day to optimize nail-length before playing. I often realize they are a little too long, but I am anxious to play and decide to take care of that problem the following day. The next day I am apt to make the same decision and then continue like that several consecutive days. Of course, that strategy is counter-productive if it results in a torn nail-bed that keeps me from playing for a considerable amount of time. It also is counter-productive if I don’t play as well during practice as I otherwise could. I do check for nicks or rough edges each day and carefully sand and polish as necessary to keep the edges smooth, because I have learned that makes a big difference both to my playing and nail durability, but I haven’t been taking time to shorten my nails slightly each day.

The other reason I have been keeping my right-hand nails somewhat long is to avoid sore finger and thumb flesh. My fingers and thumb become sore when my right-hand nails are short enough that the flesh and nails both routinely strike the strings. Thick calluses have formed on my left-hand fingers, but that hasn’t happened on my right hand even during periods when I have kept my nails short. Maybe my flesh will eventually become callused if I suffer through playing with short nails long enough, but it has seemed in the past that it simply continues to become increasingly sore rather than callused.

I have been shaping my nail ends similar to flesh curvature. I will shape them a little flatter to find if that enables similar sound with a less force.

I have been tempted to try Krazy glue for torn skin repairs, but haven’t because of health-safety concerns. I understand the medical profession now sometimes uses similar glue instead of stitches to close wounds, but I haven’t known whether the glue they use is actually they same and even if it is chemically the same, whether Krazy glue is sufficiently sterile to be safe to apply directly on torn blood vessels.

Thanks to Doog for the guitarplayernails.com link. I hadn’t seen that product before. However, it seems that its effect is to reinforce and stiffen natural nails which might actually make my nail-bed-tearing problem worse. Is there an easy way to remove them so they can be replaced as your natural nails grow longer? What advantages do they have compared to acrylic nails?




cathulu -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 8 2008 16:49:31)

Don't have an answer for you but glad to hear your back playing after 30 years. You got a long way to go with your playing yet, so get your fingers and nails back into shape! I here Les Paul was playing well into his nineties.

Makes me wonder who is the oldest foro member?




Ricardo -> RE: Right-Hand Sore Finger Problem (Mar. 8 2008 20:04:10)

Just want to say, over time you WILL get callouse on the right hand under the nails. Sometimes hard playing, or shorter broken nail I have gotten a blister in the past, that when it heals is pretty tough skin. In the meantime you can use vasoline to get more slip and grip. Probably will prevent blistering too.

Krazy glue is usually just the Cyanoactrylate, which is the same stuff. Be careful of some super glues that add formaldehyde, etc. I use a product that has a brush and is designed for nails specifically. It is non toxic. Like I said, my friends use krazy glue on wounds and have not yet gotten blood poison. Now the same stuff is over the counter "liquid bandaid".




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