Fingernails - from weak to strong!

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My guitar and ukulele life has been transformed. I can now fingerpick in a way I could never do before. I have exceptionally weak and useless fingernails - they can bend and break in a strong breeze. When I play for long periods they wear away and leave my fingers covered in a blood smeared mash that hurts for days. All this until I went to a nail bar! For just two British pounds per finger I now have bionic gel covered battle-picking fingers that sound and feel so different. I'd tried a lot of things before from special diets to some unsavoury old time remedies and none of them worked. But now with a brush of gel and a few seconds of UV hardening I'm off on a whole new picking adventure. Does anyone else have any stories about fingernails that need to be tougher?

I fingerpick using the tips of my fingers and never use the nails. I get a softer sound that I love doing it that way. The only time I use nails is for strumming. Strange thing is I had used a plectrum all my life until 5 years ago when I learned to play banjo in a clawhammer style without picks and also a fingerpick style. Once I learned that I stopped using a plectrum for all acoustic instruments!

When I had my nylon string I just used clear coat to strengthen the nails on the right hand. Worked okay.

I use a plectrum sometimes here in the studio but more often out and about. I wonder why that is?