Anyone not use nails?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
Smudger5150
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Smudger5150 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:15 am

davekear wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:52 am
Francisco wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:59 am
I
What point am I missing? What concepts am I not grasping? I am graspinng all the necessary concepts to understand that you are writing sheer nonsense over and over again, and most people could grasp this without even playing guitar. The fact that you deliver this nonsense with such cocksure presumptuousness does not make it less nonsensical. Either that or you are pulling everyone’s leg.
In any case, I find it amazing that you are a guitar instructor. If you are, you are doing your students a great disservice by scattering this kind of fertilizer all over their tender young minds, perhaps confusing them for life. Watch out, one day you may run into a pupil who might lack the patience and modesty to hold his tongue and will point these things to you face to face.

I need a teacher, you say? You mean someone like you? If I had a teacher who tried to feed me even a fraction of the drivel you've written here, I would dismiss him on the spot.
[/quote

Still missin it man. First of all I would start with not being so hostile and belligerent. That would be a good start. But even you I would be more than happy to help. But the first step would be to realize that you don't know it all, and that there could be a possibility that you could learn from those who play better than you. That's what it's all about. But you really should stop being so covertly hostile. That ain't gonna help ya. But sometimes it's tough over the internet like this. So I'll give you that. I wish you the best. Anyway, I've covered so many things here, that my only advice to you would be to re-read what I've said. Either that, or you can start in a new unit of time here and ask me any specific question you like. I'll answer it to the best ability I can. But make it a legitimate question oK? Not some covert attack on me. Thanks.
Not sure covert is quite the right word here.... :wink:
"Music washes away the dust of every day life." Art Blakey

"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it." Louis Armstrong

Francisco
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Francisco » Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:57 pm

ddray wrote:
Regardless, it isn't worth the rancor. I know a bit about music, and I stand by the basic points I've made (although I could've used a little more tact), but a cold hard fact as far as I'm concerned is that probably 99% of the people on the forum know more about the *guitar* than I do. It would suit me fine if this entire thread were deleted.
I agree, I agree, not worth getting all worked up over someone's opinions, no matter how stubbornly misguided they may be. You mention tact. Yes, tact is indeed essential, and I could also use a lot more of it, definitely. Tact actually connects well with the main theme of this thread, coming as it does from the latin word "tactus", meaning "sense of touch". For where does the sense of touch reach its finest level of discernment? On the fleshy part of the fingertips, at the center of the fingerprint. Right there. How do you say, for example "soft to the touch" in Spanish? You would say "suave al tacto" after you rub the thing lightly with your fingertips, to feel it. Perhaps when or if I finally switch to nail-less playing, my tact and manners will improve accordingly and I will become more gentle in my argumentations. Nails, we must acknowledge, are completely insensitive (tactless) body excrescences meant for attack and destruction, no wonder it takes so much work to keep them tame and velvety. I sense a vague theory emerging in me, to the effect that nail-less players are generally more tactful, well-mannered, gentler souls, than those of us who insist on using these rough weapons to play the guitar.
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Rasputin
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Rasputin » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:56 pm

This the funniest thread I've seen since a friend sent me a link to one featuring bodybuilders arguing about how many days there are in a week.

Smudger5150
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Smudger5150 » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:46 pm

And does anyone remember what the original post was?
:lol:
"Music washes away the dust of every day life." Art Blakey

"If I don’t practice for a day, I know it. If I don’t practice for two days, the critics know it. And if I don’t practice for three days, the public knows it." Louis Armstrong

James Stephens
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by James Stephens » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:02 pm

There was a local store called McFrugals and once someone I knew kept calling it McFYOUgals and I finally gently mentioned their error and that it was pronounced as it is because of the word frugal ect. They then proceeded to argue with me for ten minutes about how the r could be silent. I still chuckle about that.
James

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Tue Jun 06, 2017 3:21 pm

This topic comes up a lot here - check this out: http://classicalguitardelcamp.com/searc ... y&start=30
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

davekear
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by davekear » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:51 pm

Smudger5150 wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:46 pm
And does anyone remember what the original post was?
:lol:
That's a good question. So in a nutshell, should you, or should you not use your fingernails when playing the classical guitar?
Let me put in a disclaimer here: When I say "all" or "every" I mean at least 999 out of 1000. There always will be exceptions here and there. Just ask the flat earth society. First I'll just list some facts, no opinion here, just the way it is:
All classical guitar teachers teach the use of fingernails when playing the classical guitar.
All classical guitar instruction books instruct on the use of fingernails when playing the classical guitar.
All classical guitarists who play in classical guitar societies all over the world use their fingernails when playing the guitar.
All professional classical guitar players and professional classical guitar teachers use their fingernails when playing the guitar.
All of the great classical guitarists of today who are considered the best in their field use their fingernails when playing the guitar.
There is a reason for this, and that is:
You get much better diversity if tone.
You get much better clarity of tone.
You get much better dynamics. (Volume control)
You get much better dexterity in your fingers.
Those are some of the main reasons classical guitarists use their nails.
Now some will argue, and they have, that is just subjective opinion. And yes, it is. It is the subjective opinion of every professional classical guitarist that plays on planet earth today. And with that much agreement, it of course then becomes widespread objective opinion. And it's a valid opinion. One thing you have to be aware of, is that when beginning classical students have trouble with their nails, they come up with all sorts of excuses. I know this first hand, as I've been teaching for over 45 years now. And if one is learning on their own, and they can justify not having to learn to use their nails, then I'm sure many will. And they will have a very hard time of it. If you're having trouble using your nails, get a good teacher to help you. And as I mentioned before, there are a few exceptions. Very few. I personally can play pretty good without nails. I've done it both ways. And I can tell you, I play much better with nails than without. So, you know there's no fingernail police. You can do what you want. But sometimes it's not bad to take the advice of those majority of professionals that are all in agreement about what works best.
Everything I've mentioned here also goes for using your "a" finger too. Don't let anyone tell you it's OK not to learn to use that finger!

MAK
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by MAK » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:52 pm

I've been reading this thread, and I understand where everyone is coming from. As a refresher, I'm not a performer. My current guitar teacher does not teach me to use nails. He teaches me how to practice to produce a good sound. He has no preference whether or not his students use nails, although I know some students of his who don't play with nails. My teacher does not currently play with nails and it's not because he cannot grow them.

My experiment progressed to filing off my nails, and so far, I'm enjoying it. I'd only grow them back equal to the curve of my fingertips if I decide to do so. I can't believe the time I've spent over the past 8 years trying to keep them at an ideal shape and length. It will take me time to fully develop a consistent sound, but I'm going to keep trying. It's not like I was consistent with nails, either, due to variations in the shapes of i, m,and a nails. I have tried to use a thumbnail and used an artificial one for a while, but it was awkward. My thumb can't bend back enough and I didn't like a long thumb nail. So, essentially, I've played without the thumb nail for the better part of 8 years.

I've also read Emilio Pujol's The Dilemma of Timbre on the Guitar and his biography of Tarrega. I find historical elements of guitar playing very interesting.

davekear
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by davekear » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:12 pm

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about here. If you go to Guitar Salon International's YouTube site, there are hundreds of videos of some of the world's great guitarists who have come by to play the world's finest guitars. Of these hundreds and hundreds of videos, see if you can find just one of these great guitarists who don't use their nails. I can't find any. It's because those who don't learn to use their nails are limiting themselves and their playing to a great extent. And all the great players know this. If you have a teacher who doesn't teach you the importance of using your nails, might be a good idea to find new teacher. Here's G.S.I.'s You tube page, check out as many videos as you like. Some great guitarists here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/GSIguitars/videos

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:39 pm

I have read this entire thread with great interest.

My conclusions from all of it are that it is certainly possible to perform to a high standard without nails, it has to be accepted that musical performance practice goes through trends.

It is currently an almost universal trend that the classical guitar is played at the highest level with nails, although there are doubtless thousands, or even possibly millions of people who play classical guitar for their own enjoyment at home or in non-classical situations without nails.

Out of interest, does anybody know of a player who has recently won an international guitar competition without using nails?

Some people disagree with the very concept of competitions, so maybe this is an unfair question, but would a non-nails player be able to compete on stage with others in a competition who use nails?

I think it is worth remembering another issue as well. The past 100 years or so has seen the classical guitar move from the parlour or drawing room to the concert stage. In my opinion, the high overtones produced by the nails in combination with the fingertips help to add to the guitar's projection.

Could a non-nail player fill larger room with sound? Could Segovia have forged a career by not using nails in performance?

In my opinion, the warmer, but less incisive sound of the no-nails approach is better suited to small rooms. Before somebody chips in with the comment that "amplification is always an option", I would add that many guitar audiences still prefer the sound of an unamplified instrument in medium sized halls (perhaps up to around 300 people).

So for me, the use of nails coincides perfectly with the demands of the guitar to be a concert instrument, not a drawing room instrument.
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ddray
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:07 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:39 pm
Some people disagree with the very concept of competitions, so maybe this is an unfair question, but would a non-nails player be able to compete on stage with others in a competition who use nails?
Put them behind a screen, then maybe. It's no doubt more difficult to get as loud a tone without nails, but there's also an undeniable prejudice against playing without nails. And I'm one of those who think "competitions" are silly.
Could a non-nail player fill larger room with sound? Could Segovia have forged a career by not using nails in performance?
Genuine question: how many players these days make their names via the "concert stage" as opposed to YouTube videos and other recording media?

So for me, the use of nails coincides perfectly with the demands of the guitar to be a concert instrument, not a drawing room instrument.
Which would be sort of like Chopin vs Liszt.
Last edited by ddray on Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ddray
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:09 pm

Duplicate.

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Adrian Allan
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:19 pm

ddray wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:07 pm
Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:39 pm
Some people disagree with the very concept of competitions, so maybe this is an unfair question, but would a non-nails player be able to compete on stage with others in a competition who use nails?
Put them behind a screen, then maybe. It's no doubt more difficult to get as loud a tone without nails, but there's also an undeniable prejudice against playing without nails. And I'm one of those who think "competitions" are silly.
Could a non-nail player fill larger room with sound? Could Segovia have forged a career by not using nails in performance?
Genuine question: how many players these days make their names via the "concert stage" as opposed to YouTube videos?

So for me, the use of nails coincides perfectly with the demands of the guitar to be a concert instrument, not a drawing room instrument.
Which would be sort of like Chopin vs Liszt.
I think we sort of agree on this.

To answer the question about Youtube stars, then certainly, it is a factor - and there lies the possibility that a Youtuber who does not use nails could become very popular, because take away the need to project, then there is nothing inherently worse about not using nails - it is just better suited to playing in a more intimate setting.

I think that as the guitar has evolved mainly under the guidance of Segovia, nails have certainly helped in making the guitar a concert instrument.

However, there are often opposing schools of thought - I see a very strong reaction against loud lattice guitars. Perhaps the world is waiting for somebody to re-establish the guitar as a non-nails instrument to be played in more intimate settings. What would then be interesting is if guitar makers would then re-think their design of guitars.

For example, I always associated no-nails with lightly build spruce guitars.

I wonder what no-nails would be like on a Smallman - it seems almost counter-intuitive.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

Rasputin
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Rasputin » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:42 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:19 pm
ddray wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:07 pm
Genuine question: how many players these days make their names via the "concert stage" as opposed to YouTube videos?
I think we sort of agree on this.

To answer the question about Youtube stars, then certainly, it is a factor - and there lies the possibility that a Youtuber who does not use nails could become very popular, because take away the need to project, then there is nothing inherently worse about not using nails - it is just better suited to playing in a more intimate setting.
But surely the people who are out there making their names on YT are doing it because they dream of performing on the great stages of the world, in which case they're bound to be very aware of the need to project. If it's true that nails help projection (sounds plausible to me) then this is going to be a reason to prefer nails.

Also the needs of a concert guitarist are not the same as the needs of a home guitarist who may have no desire to play for a large audience, and probably wouldn't get the chance anyway. Not everyone who plays does so because they dream of being on the stage. Those people are free to choose on purely aesthetic grounds without worrying about what works or doesn't work in a concert setting.

ddray
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by ddray » Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:59 pm

Rasputin wrote:
Tue Jun 06, 2017 8:42 pm
But surely the people who are out there making their names on YT are doing it because they dream of performing on the great stages of the world, in which case they're bound to be very aware of the need to project. If it's true that nails help projection (sounds plausible to me) then this is going to be a reason to prefer nails.
I'm not so sure about that. The goal I think is a recording contract, not a date at Carnegie Hall -- which more often than not seems to be something to put on the c.v. to get a recording contract. But of course there are those performers on any instrument who love playing for a live audience. I sometimes wonder though if the whole concert ritual might be outmoded. It's not really the primary way to propagate music anymore, the way it was in the 19th century. In any case it seems the classical guitar may be ill-suited for a large venue regardless of who's playing.

I'll put it this way: if I were a professional musician, I'd take 3 million views on YT over a date at Carnegie Hall any day of the week. It's today's Ed Sullivan show.

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