For more than half my life, and almost all of my adult life, I’ve had longer-than-average nails on the fingers of my right hand. As a guitar player, it was easier than wearing finger picks, and resulted in a much cleaner sound. Longer nails are also amazingly useful tools, especially when tasked with opening something plastic-wrapped, stroking insistent cats, and scraping off the gray area on scratch cards.
The past few years has seen a change in the structure of my nails. They used to be firm and strong—I could go nearly a year without incident—but they have increasingly gotten thinner, more flexible, and annoyingly less structurally sound. The end result is that in recent years I’m usually sporting one or two nails that have chipped, split, or broken (hopefully before reaching the quick). Given that I go months at a time without having a chance to play the guitar, I decided to face the practicality of the situation, and I clipped the talons.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel at loose ends about it. My fingertips don’t feel funny. In fact, sporting just one short/broken one was more disconcerting than them all being short. So…my clear-sounding finger-plucking guitar days may have passed. Even so, it’s nice to not be worrying if every finger bump resulted in a fractured claw. That was REALLY getting annoying.