Anyone not use nails?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
ddray
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Thu May 11, 2017 3:01 pm

First impressions after using nails to practice last night: arpeggio patterns are faster, scale patterns are slower, not much gained in volume or "color" that I can perceive, although the sound is a little sharper. But then again my guitar isn't exactly a high-end instrument, but is very playable and has a lovely tone. It's early on yet, but I'm thinking I'm probably just more comfortable playing primarily without nails.

User avatar
Jorge Oliveira
Posts: 318
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Cascais, Portugal

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Thu May 11, 2017 5:54 pm

I have very strong nails, fortunately, and I do use them, trimmed very short, in fingers i, m and a. I also have a somewhat longer nail in my thumb, but I tend to use its fleshy part (which gets reinforced by the nail, I guess). In fact, I don't like the sound of the bass strings when they are played directly by thumb nail, the sound comes out too harsh. Playing with the fleshy left side of the thumb, I get a velvety, more pleasant tone.
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

User avatar
tateharmann
Posts: 1199
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Location: Saint Paul, MN

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Thu May 11, 2017 7:52 pm

Cool! That's a another pretty popular way to play, we've discussed that one before here: http://classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewt ... 9340550554

"Velvety" is a good adjective to describe the tone when playing with the flesh only :)

Cheers
2013 Joseph Redman Lutz/Wenge
Antonio Aparicio AA70 Spruce
"I am not fast." - Baymax

User avatar
Jorge Oliveira
Posts: 318
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:17 pm
Location: Cascais, Portugal

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Jorge Oliveira » Thu May 11, 2017 8:54 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Thu May 11, 2017 7:52 pm
Cool! That's a another pretty popular way to play, we've discussed that one before here: http://classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewt ... 9340550554

"Velvety" is a good adjective to describe the tone when playing with the flesh only :)

Cheers
Thanks for the link, tateharmann, I was not aware of that thread (which is still alive and well :D) and surprised me to learn that so many of us have a particular preference in playing with the flesh in the thumb... :)). In my case, and as an example, you can see the tone I obtain in this rendition of Sor's Opus 60 #11 (posted as part of the TopicLet’s learn Sor’s Opus 60 together, shall we?).
Sor, Fernando - Opus 60 #7.wma
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Aria A558, 655 mm, Cedar, 1987, Nagoya, Japan
Hermanos Camps Master, 650 mm, Cedar, 2014 (Nº 3), Spain

ddray
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Thu May 11, 2017 10:21 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Thu May 11, 2017 7:52 pm
Cool! That's a another pretty popular way to play, we've discussed that one before here: http://classicalguitardelcamp.com/viewt ... 9340550554

"Velvety" is a good adjective to describe the tone when playing with the flesh only :)

Cheers
:lol: @ "I hate having a long gross thumbnail!!" Me too, and it ain't happenin' here, brother :D I'd just have to get by with a limited tonal palette.

User avatar
tateharmann
Posts: 1199
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Location: Saint Paul, MN

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Fri May 12, 2017 12:01 am

ddray wrote:
Thu May 11, 2017 10:21 pm
:lol: @ "I hate having a long gross thumbnail!!" Me too, and it ain't happenin' here, brother :D I'd just have to get by with a limited tonal palette.
Haha!! It really is gross ;)

I hate having gross nails on any finger ...short is good.
2013 Joseph Redman Lutz/Wenge
Antonio Aparicio AA70 Spruce
"I am not fast." - Baymax

chitarra1600
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by chitarra1600 » Sat May 13, 2017 2:20 pm

My first teacher taught me to play without nails. My second teacher complained greatly about this until I finally gave playing with nails a go. At university, because I was dabbling with early music, my teacher advised I cut them off for playing the baroque guitar. I refused at the time because I thought it would negatively affect my classical playing. After leaving uni and retraining as a massage therapist I now have no choice but to play without nails! :) I can see how this is beneficial on the baroque guitar (a greater area of flesh in contact with the courses), but it took me a while to get used to it on the classical instrument. At first my playing was very quiet, but I soon trained my hand to adapt. I honestly don't think one way is better than another. Each have their merits. I don't feel handicapped without my nails.

ddray
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Sat May 13, 2017 2:40 pm

chitarra1600 wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 2:20 pm
My first teacher taught me to play without nails. My second teacher complained greatly about this until I finally gave playing with nails a go. At university, because I was dabbling with early music, my teacher advised I cut them off for playing the baroque guitar. I refused at the time because I thought it would negatively affect my classical playing. After leaving uni and retraining as a massage therapist I now have no choice but to play without nails! :) I can see how this is beneficial on the baroque guitar (a greater area of flesh in contact with the courses), but it took me a while to get used to it on the classical instrument. At first my playing was very quiet, but I soon trained my hand to adapt. I honestly don't think one way is better than another. Each have their merits. I don't feel handicapped without my nails.
Well as I've said I'm not an expert, just a learner as far as guitar is concerned. But it seems to me that the best thing as far as tonal variety and color is concerned would be to have just enough nail that they can be used on occasion without interfering with using the finger pads on occasion as well. I think Parkening is a performance genius and he's the guitarist I most enjoy listening to...but I don't know how he plays with such long nails.

User avatar
tateharmann
Posts: 1199
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Location: Saint Paul, MN

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Sat May 13, 2017 2:47 pm

chitarra1600 wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 2:20 pm
At university, because I was dabbling with early music, my teacher advised I cut them off for playing the baroque guitar.
You've brought up another very valid point: many (perhaps the majority) performers of early plucked instruments play without nails. You can certainly play the lute, baroque guitar, and vihuela with nails (and plenty do, J. Bream for example)...but many teachers will advise against it.
2013 Joseph Redman Lutz/Wenge
Antonio Aparicio AA70 Spruce
"I am not fast." - Baymax

User avatar
tateharmann
Posts: 1199
Joined: Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Location: Saint Paul, MN

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Sat May 13, 2017 2:51 pm

ddray wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 2:40 pm
But it seems to me that the best thing as far as tonal variety and color is concerned would be to have just enough nail that they can be used on occasion without interfering with using the finger pads on occasion as well. I think Parkening is a performance genius and he's the guitarist I most enjoy listening to...but I don't know how he plays with such long nails.
And remember, that's only the best thing for YOU (happens to be the best thing for me too haha). I think a great thing for students to do would be to explore both and then once they have picked one..stick to it. You can make great music either way :)
2013 Joseph Redman Lutz/Wenge
Antonio Aparicio AA70 Spruce
"I am not fast." - Baymax

Streuer17
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 2:07 am

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Streuer17 » Sat May 13, 2017 3:35 pm

Virginia has some beautiful CD's to listen too.
Rob's site is wonderful, tons of information and his video of his playing is so inspiring of his no nails technique.
Robt

ddray
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Sat May 13, 2017 6:28 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Sat May 13, 2017 2:51 pm

And remember, that's only the best thing for YOU (happens to be the best thing for me too haha). I think a great thing for students to do would be to explore both and then once they have picked one..stick to it. You can make great music either way :)
Oh yeah, true enough. Individuals are different and have different hands, obviously. And guitars are different. Although I would like to hear one of these great longer-nailed virtuosos play with shorter nails and see what the difference is.

User avatar
Matt Molloy
Posts: 778
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:06 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Matt Molloy » Sun May 14, 2017 12:48 pm

No nails player here. Converted (by a combination of Rob MacKillop and Emilio Pujol) after a few decades of playing with nails.

As far as the appeals to the authority to the likes of Mr Shearer, Mr Parkening, et al. I suppose it depends on whether you view them as greater authorities than Mr Pujol, Mr Tarrega, Mr Sor and many more. I don't so such arguments don't carry much weight at all for me.

In terms of tone, I find no-nails to be preferable for me. I had a nice enough tone with but, once I got rid for good, I found I could get a perfectly good tone without and one that I preferred.

I terms of volume (the *self-censored* measuring of Classical Guitarists), I find no problems there either. Firstly, my Lister guitar is quite loud anyway (can easily be heard all the way through my flat and into the next - Well done James, sorry neighbours :lol: ) and secondly, if I wanted to play any kind of theatre, I'd use a set up like Carles Trepat. It has been remarked a few times (not least by Julian Bream if memory serves) that Segovia's eschewing of amplification meant that, sometimes, all the people at the back could hear was a bit of a rattle from the guitar, so Mr Trepat's way of doing things seems evidently better to me.

as for...
eno wrote:
Tue May 09, 2017 7:37 pm
Try to play Leyenda without nails :D
I much prefer Leyenda without nails. None of that nasty clacking on the keys. :smorfia:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OU0q6eA4ec

Let's not forget which instrument it was composed for. That goes for Granados too. Of course, if you're going to limit yourself to the, rather inferior, transcriptions... :smorfia:

Cheers,

Matt.
"I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morcambe

Proud member of the LGCI.

Guitar: James Lister 2009 SP/MP.

User avatar
Matt Molloy
Posts: 778
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 12:06 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Matt Molloy » Sun May 14, 2017 12:49 pm

*Double post*
"I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morcambe

Proud member of the LGCI.

Guitar: James Lister 2009 SP/MP.

ddray
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:10 pm

Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Sun May 14, 2017 3:09 pm

Matt Molloy wrote:
Sun May 14, 2017 12:48 pm

as for...
eno wrote:
Tue May 09, 2017 7:37 pm
Try to play Leyenda without nails :D
I much prefer Leyenda without nails. None of that nasty clacking on the keys. :smorfia:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OU0q6eA4ec

Let's not forget which instrument it was composed for. That goes for Granados too. Of course, if you're going to limit yourself to the, rather inferior, transcriptions... :smorfia:

Cheers,

Matt.
:lol: Well, touché. Albeniz and Granados were pianists, not guitarists. The thing that bothers me about it is that there are some people who can probably play better without long nails, but the "rule" is that you HAVE to have the nails and probably a manicurist and blahblahblah. The codification stifles individuality. I'm finding that the "classical guitar community" can be really "anal" about some things and probably goes overboard in fetishizing guitars. On the other hand though I've never seen a music community that has so many people who selflessly help and teach.

Return to “Use of nails in playing the classical guitar”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot], dfl3tch3r and 3 guests