Hard nails are important in sarod playing where soft ones and easy breaking nails pose problems. Here is a brief discussion on this issue. Many sarod players use artificial nails. Earlier they used thick fish-scales. They used to glue the nicely shaped fish-scale over the nails. Then they put glue between the nail and flesh to give support to the protruded artificial nails. Here are some email back and forth between Suhas Mitra and Rajrupa Chowdhury [both my students] where I kept myself in between.
Suhas Mitra writes [Thursday, May 10, 2012 5:08 AM]
Since the last 3 months I have been visiting cosmetic outlets, barbers and nail manicure shops in order to find a suitable nail to play with. When I was in India you suggested to look for Korean nails but they don’t seem to be available here. Would it kindly be possible to find out from fellow sarod students where they procure the nails they play with?
Rajrupa Chowdhury writes [May 23, 2012 12:04:13 PM GMT+06:00]
The nail I was using is a Korean brand nail which I guess should be available at any cosmetic shop or manicure pedicure shop. The glue I used to apply is a strong adhesive which is not good for nails. Nowadays I have started applying nail hardener which is also easily available at any cosmetic shop. This helps but may be in concerts I would go for applying false nails unless my nails become that strong to take the pressure of a full concert.
Suhas Mitra writes [Friday, May 25, 2012 4:35 AM]
Thank you for sharing these details. It was interesting to read her experiences about the finger nails. There is a lot in common I guess for all sarode players. I will need to search more for the Korean finger nails (maybe from Chinese pedicure shops here).
Nails with the hardener tends to be fine for practice purposes. Usually practice intensifies before a concert and we even perhaps tend to apply more pressure on the plate out of nervousness.
It’s happened many times that by the time the concert takes place the nails are so badly damaged that the sound becomes totally blunt whereas it was reasonably fine during practice!! Maybe another way around is to only practice those items that are absolutely essential for improvement (but this maybe a bad idea as well) in order to save the nails.