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Fingernails can certainly be problematic for some guitarists. Classical guitar fingernails, flamenco guitar fingernails, bossa nova guitar fingernails, Latin American guitar fingernails and jazz guitar fingernails--all are very basic and important to these styles of playing and require having good fingernails, whether they be natural fingernails or artificial fingernails. In addition, steel string guitar players who do not use fingerpicks will find RICONAILS very adequate for that style of playing. The nontoxic adhesive used in the RICONAIL sytsem will allow a guitarist to use an artificial nail with no harmful side effects. And they really do sound good, maybe even better than real fingernails!
You now have in your hands a kind of insurance policy. Insurance against that most dreaded of mishaps-breaking a nail. You've heard stories of concert players about to go out on stage and they slip, or something, and end up breaking a nail! With RICONAILS the problem is covered in the safest, simplest and most economical way. No super glue. No pipettes. No moulding forms. No UV lamps. No biweekly visits to the nail salon. No health risks whatsoever.
Now that you have decided to try something new, please bear in mind that the instructions I give here are important and you must be follow them to a "t". I developed my method through trial and error, and believe me, I know what works and why. There is a good reason for everything I utilize, so follow all the instructions indicated.
In the Emergency Nail Kit you are provided with:
The sizes of the nails provided go from 00 for the biggest to 2 for the smallest: 00 - for thumbnail; 05 - for male/female thumbnail/male finger; 0 - for fingers; 1 - for fingers; 2 - for fingers. Be sure and follow the instructions given below.
Each artificial nail must be shortened, trimmed, shaped and polished to the desired size as your needs require. This can be done the same way that one does it with a natural nail, holding the nail with one hand while shaping with sandpaper and files. I would do all four nails--thumb, index, middle and ring--to have them ready for any potential future emergency. These artificial nails are very long, which gives you plenty of leeway as you take material off. The thickness of these nails varies slightly from end to end, so exactly where you choose to cut and trim will affect the thickness of the resultant "edge".
The shape and size of the artificial nail should be such that it covers the entire surface of the natural nail, being just a wee bit longer than the free edge so as to overlap it. If your nail is short (or even absent) then the adhesive will still work on a diminished nail plate surface. Note: the false nail must overhang the free edge of the real fingernail enough so that the real nail is not involved in the release action of the string (two edges attacking and releasing the string are quite unmanageable). So make sure that the length of the artificial nail is always longer than your real nail.
The back edge of the false nail should fit snugly up against the cuticle with no gap. This is important because a gap can be problematic when doing a downward rasgueado (the edge can catch). So the total size of the artificial nail must be such that the back edge can fit flush up against the cuticle.
Depending upon the exact shape of your real nails, it may be necessary to make a slight adjustment to a false nail as regards the horizontal curve of your natural nail. You want the false nail to fit as closely as possible across the surface of your real nail. It is advisable to avoid having a big "air pocket" between the real nail and the false nail as this will make the adhesive less effective, though not ineffective. If the arch of the preformed nail is too extreme relative to your nail's shape, you may find it helpful to boil a small amount of water, about 1/2 inch in a cup, then drop the RICONAIL into the hot water, making sure the arched side is facing up. Then with a fork press down gently on the nail against the bottom of the cup while it is submerged in the hot water. The temperature of boiling water is just right to make the plastic material of the nail flexible, such that it will change shape without compromising structural integrity. You can flatten these nails to any degree desired, making it easy to match the false nail to your true nail shape (but do it gradually so that you do not ��over-flatten�� them).
1. Wash your real nails with alcohol.
Once the artificial nails are ready, you should then thoroughly wash your real nails with rubbing alcohol to clean them completely. Omitting this will make the bond of the false nail suspect and there is no guarantee as to how long it will hold. If you have any grease or oil on your nails or cuticles, it will diminish the effectiveness of the adhesive. So the alcohol wash is VERY IMPORTANT.
2. Peel off the adhesive dot and press it onto your real nail. With your real nails clean, here is where the adhesive comes in. You will notice that they come in sheets, 16 per sheet. Each blob of adhesive is centered on a rectangular square which can be torn off and dealt with separately. On one side of the adhesive dot is a whitish paper with the Glue Dots logo. The other side is a clear plastic material. When you peel them apart, the dot will usually adhere to the clear side, which makes it easier to see as you "center it" before pressing it onto your real nail. Circular in shape, about the size of a dime, the glue dot is pressed firmly onto the surface of the fingernail where it will adhere to it after a second or two, allowing the paper to be peeled away. Be sure and press firmly over the entire shape of the dot as you apply it to the fingernail. Let it sit a few seconds.
3. Press the artificial nail onto the surface of your real nail. Take the artificial nail and press it hard down onto your fingernail, making sure that it makes complete contact with the entire surface of the adhesive. As you press it, move it very slightly to "cement" the bond between it and your real fingernail surface. If done correctly, the nail will be firmly attached and will not come off easily, even for hours. Of course, while wearing these nails you should avoid getting your hand wet. I make no claim, but these nails can stay on for a good long while if you are careful. However, because the process is simple, fast and relatively cost effective, I only wear my RICONAILS when I practice or perform (as circumstances dictate). I may in the course of a long day, put them on and take them off several times, according to my needs. That's the beauty of RICONAILS!
But for a bit more insurance, a particular kind of tape can be used called Nexcare Flexible Clear (also called Transpore Surgical Tape) to cover the seam between the cuticle and the edge of the artificial nail. This is because when playing a forceful, strong downward rasgueado, the back of the nail could "catch" on a string as you strum, causing the nail to come off and go flying across the room! I experienced this and that is why I cover this seam. If you do not play much rasgueado, this can be omitted as punteado playing does not present this potential problem.
There are two ways you can apply this tape, depending upon how much "security" you want. Method No. 1 is to simply place a small piece of the Transpore tape across the back part of the nail and the cuticle. The width of the Transpore tape is 3/4 inch, so pull out a small amount, say 1/2 inch, and sever it off the roll on the blade provided. You will have a 3/4 by 1/2 inch swab of this tape which when placed carefully will cover the entire cuticle/nail edge area exactly. Don't be afraid to press this tape down hard, particularly at the edges.
Method No. 2 uses the Transpore tape in the same way as No. 1, but with this difference: a glue dot is first pressed directly onto the area of the fingernail in question, covering the seem that is formed by the false nail's abutment to the cuticle. Once this dot has adhered, then the tape is placed over it and pressed firmly, and this results in the strongest temporary bond possible. If you do all these three steps correctly, the nail(s) will stay in place just fine. Of course, it goes without saying that you must keep your hand dry and free from grease and oils if you expect the nails to stay on for several hours.
The adhesive is strong enough to keep the false nail in place while playing, but will allow you to take it off when you are done playing. Once you take off a nail, however, do not attempt to put it back on because the "tackiness" of the adhesive will have been diminished and the nail won't have a secure bond. As you pry off the artificial nails, the adhesive material will most likely stick to the false nail, but whether it sticks to the false nail or your real nail, removing the adhesive is not difficult. Here's all you do: take any pointed instrument (a cuticle removing tool from Revlon works best, but it could be a nail file, a pencil, even a toothpick-anything with a point) and stick the point of the tool into the glue dot material (which has been flattened and is adhering to the false nail). Then begin to twist slowly. The glue dot material is self-adhesive, so as you twist it will start winding itself around the tool and eventually lift entirely off the false nail, coming off smoothly and cleanly. The key is the twisting motion. The used adhesive material can then be taken off the point of the tool and discarded. Once this is done, the false nail will be "clean" and ready to use again. And there you are, back to normal instantly, with no bad side effects to your "living" nail.