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Thread: RIP frailing fingernail

  1. #1

    RIP frailing fingernail

    Was out shooting hoops with my kids last night and of course ripped the end of a perfect frailing nail off. I might have to see if I can learn to play with a clipped nail. I do find it annoying to keep a nail on one finger, even though it is not very long. Maybe I rely too much on a longer nail for getting crisp clear notes and should change my technique? Does anyone here play with a metal pick worn backwards?

  2. #2

    Re: RIP frailing fingernail

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Baker View Post
    Was out shooting hoops with my kids last night and of course ripped the end of a perfect frailing nail off. I might have to see if I can learn to play with a clipped nail. I do find it annoying to keep a nail on one finger, even though it is not very long. Maybe I rely too much on a longer nail for getting crisp clear notes and should change my technique? Does anyone here play with a metal pick worn backwards?
    I sometimes use a plastic pick backwards, cut to about half length. I round and smooth the edges. Much more pleasant sound than metal, but it does take some getting used to.

  3. #3
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    Re: RIP frailing fingernail

    I've tried the metal fingerpick worn backwards, but the tone was unsatisfactory to my ear. It really drowned out the 5th string played with the thumb. It would work in a pinch, though, just to get you by until your nail grows back.

    You *can* play without a nail or pick. I don't keep my middle fingernail long enough for frailing (I'm an index player), but I like to switch to it sometimes just for variety. It starts to annoy me since I don't get crisp notes or consistent sound. But if I had to play like that, I'd get used to it.

  4. #4

    Re: RIP frailing fingernail

    Yeah, I guess I will just continue the cycle of growing the nail (with the ease of playing and tone improving as it grows), breaking it, and re-growing it. I also tend to use the time between fingernails to revisit some three finger picking, so there is an upside.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2016
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    Re: RIP frailing fingernail

    If it's a recurring problem with breaking or ripping your nail, you might get the best result from permanently switching to a banjo thimble. These will work much better than an ersatz solution of turning a finger pick backwards. I've see them made from brass, plastic, and all kinds of materials that would suit the tone you would want.

    Then there's the option of using cut-up ping-pong balls and tape to make a fake fingernail that you put on before playing. Or just go to the salon and get a fake fingernail installed (though this would be prone to damage during non-banjo use just like your real fingernail).

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