For today’s column, I’m going full metrosexual.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s discuss nail care. Specifically, let’s talk about files. Because the only thing that could possibly get me interested in the state of my fingernails is buying a new piece of guitar-related equipment to deal with them.
I have always hated nail files and their nasty sandpaper brethren, emery boards. Besides shredding the ends of my nails ragged, their grinding has the same effect on my nervous system as sitting through the entire Saw franchise. That’s why I’ve always used nail clippers instead, which work well enough for the fretting hand. But if you fingerpick with bare nails, getting them the right shape takes a bit more finesse than clippers provide.
The problems are that clippers tend to leave sharp edges, and they work so fast that you can’t always see what you’re doing. Plus, they’re gross—they spray clippings everywhere. And there’s nothing that says, “I’m single and here’s one more reason why” like that keratin snowstorm outlining the base of your toilet. That’s why fingerpickers tend to tough it out and use some kind of grit, file or sandpaper—it lets them shape nails and preserve relationships.
This is where glass nail files come in. I first found out about these nail- and relationship-preserving manscapers at an acoustic guitar exhibition. According to my extensive nail file research—Ha!—glass nail files were first developed in 1997 in the Czech Republic, where there’s been a cottage industry producing them ever since. The best glass files are made out of a hard, tempered glass called “Bohemian crystal” named from the region where it was first developed around the 16th century.
An important effect of the tempering process is that when you drop one of these files onto