January 10, 2022 – Live Lesson: Nail Care For Ukulele Players

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    Live Stream: Tuesday, January 10th at 3:00pm EST (check your local time zone)


    Hey guys, we are back with Live Lesson EP050! This month’s topic is: Nail Care For Ukulele Players.

    In this session, we’ll discuss how fingernails (regardless of length) can shape your tone. We’ll also cover the basics of maintaining your nails.

    This month’s topic should stir up some great questions! So please post all you have below and I hope you guys join us for the live stream. 🙂



    Q: What happens in a live lesson, how long is it, and when does it occur?

    A: Live lessons are usually 30-45 minutes in length, but can extend until all questions are answered. The first 20 minutes will comprise of the lesson, while the next 10-25 minutes will be a Q&A session for premium members.

    Live lessons take place every second Tuesday of the month at 3:00pm EST (check your local time zone).

    Q: Can I submit questions beforehand?

    A: Absolutely! Basic and premium members are welcome to post questions that are related to the topic in THIS thread.

    Q: Who can watch the live stream, how do I watch it, and how do I chat with Matt and other members?

    A: Premium members will be able to tune in and watch the livestream. Premium members will also be able to chat live with Matt during the broadcast.

    To watch the live stream, simply navigate to the Live Lessons Page. You will see a YouTube video embedded on the page (if you don’t see it, double check that you are logged in).

    If you do not wish to participate in the live chat, you can stay on the page and watch the embedded video. If you do wish to participate in the live chat, you will need to sign up for a YouTube account (100% FREE).

    To participate in the live chat, click on the embedded YouTube video’s title. This will open up a new tab and take you directly to the video on YouTube’s website. The live chat box can be found to the right of the video (on desktop). For mobile and tablet, the live chat is embedded inside the video and can be turned on or off.

    For further clarification, here is a video showing how to do the above (for desktop).

    Q: I can’t make the broadcast. When will live streams be released publicly?

    A: The live lesson will be released for everyone to view the day after the broadcast (second Wednesday of the month). If you cannot make the broadcast, no worries; you’ll still be able to watch the lesson. Don’t forget that you can submit questions for Matt to answer beforehand (see the above FAQ).


    Things I never thought I’d say: I’ll wait to cut my nails again until I hear the advice of a ukulele gentleman on the internet. 😅

    This should be pretty interesting indeed!

    The main “nail issue” I’ve had with ukulele is with the tremolo technique. It isn’t just the nail length, but if the nail “bypasses the finger” which mine doesn’t enough on my thumb; it creates that harmonic sound. Maybe I still don’t have the hand angle right or something though?

    Sigh, I used to have such nice nails before I started playing ukulele and working in a wealthy baron’s basement dressed as a marshmallow…


    I used to do martial arts, so I couldn’t grow my nails. Now I do pottery, so I still can’t grow my nails. I’ll just have to make do for my uke playing.


    @tbb – Dressed as a marshmallow?


    @robinboyd, hahaha, well, not literally a marshmallow. Just a protective suit that makes me look like a marshmallow or a CSI or an Oompa Loompa, depending on who(m) you ask.

    😂 Sorry.

    It seems like with many creative ventures nail length / integrity is a factor. Pottery is one for sure. Even with drawing, longer nails get in the way or just get stained with material. Although with ukulele, I noticed that Taimane Gardner actually had nice manicured nails in one of her concerts, so maybe all hope isn’t lost.


    @tbb I’m curious now.. What work do you do that requires protective suits 🙂 Sounds exciting..

    Nails.. I keep the second, third & fourth finger nails neat and tidy (No longer than anyone else) as I find I get a nicer sound when strumming with nails. I did try to grow my thumb nail but:

    1. I made the mistake of shaping it as you would a normal nail which when you do this your filing down the sides which makes contact with the string. Meaning you need to grow it even longer to make it useful. By the the I worked that out I just had a big pointy nail which was at best odd 😂

    2. Taimane – I’ve heard her mention a couple of times her nails are acrylic. It creates a different sound and also won’t wear down against a wound string. She also uses a thumb pick you can often see it hanging next to her tuning pegs.. If I’m doing anything which requires a nail on the thumb I just use a thumb pick (cut the pointy weird thumb nail).

    Looking forward to the lesson 👀


    @surferjay, hahaha, the overly long pointy nail, that’s quite an image! 😅 I also tried to grow out my thumb nail longer than usual for the tremolo, but because of the shape of my thumb it didn’t help much either. So, I switched to my index finger.

    Oh that’s very interesting about Taimane and her acrylic nails! I need to look into that ASAP. I like having nice, fancy nails, man! But I need to get a different job because my job, as “an industrial antique cleaner,” stains my nails too much, so I also need a different job. I have a lot to do this year–including starting that blog. 😂😅

    Same. I love these live lessons; they’re kind of like the ukulele club meeting I always wanted, and so much appreciation to Andrew and Matt for putting these together and wading through all the verbose tomfoolery. I. I think that’s partly my fault. Just partly. 😅


    I’ve been lucky to have strong nails which do grow very fast, so I’m filing them often. Did you know the middle finger nail grows the fastest? As I’ve gotten older my middle finger nail especially doesn’t have as nice a curve as it use to so I “ramp” my nail (shorter on the thumb side). It slides off easier that way.
    Taimane uses a Herco thumb pick, especially on her insane double string tremolos. She rests her index finger against it, so the motion is basically replacing an index finger tremolo.
    These live lessons are pretty great.


    I have shallow nail beds, and as I’ve gotten older, my nails are more brittle so they break easier. It’s hard to grow them long. I just have to play them as is, although sometimes I’ve tried to time their growth with when I record my rock class challenge. Doesn’t always work!

    Have you ever seen the video that James Taylor made on his nail care? He uses fiberglass tape to strengthen his nails.


    This was a great workshop Matt. Thanks.

    This video by Jeff Petersen has been a go to for me as well for nail care. He explains the importance of nail angles, etc.


    Very helpful workshop, Matt.
    It’s nice to know a bit of the science of nail growth.


    Very helpful workshop, Matt.
    It’s nice to know a bit of the science of nail growth.

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