Anyone not use nails?

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

Post by tateharmann » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:20 am

Johnny Geudel wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:14 pm
As a rule flesh only players have a major problem with speed, amateurs and professionals.
Who made that rule? Lol

Emilio Pujol, Renata Tarrago, Manuel Cubedo (among many others) had no problems playing standard repertoire at speed and were all professionals :)
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

Johnny Geudel
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Johnny Geudel » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:14 pm

The rule applies to you also , as I hear in your otherwise excellent recordings.
And, for that matter, to all flesh only players on this forum.
With regards to the players you mention (Emilio Pujol, Renata Tarrago, Manuel Cubedo),
it is impossible to know their standpoint as they are all dead.

davekear
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by davekear » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:48 pm

Johnny's right about this. Just the physics involved makes it so that those without nails have to use more effort to draw out a tone. And because of this those with nails, for the most part, will have more speed and dexterity. Not to mention way more diversity of tone and clarity.
I've heard a few good players that play without nails. None of them are up to the level of those talented guitarists that do play with nails.
There really is a reason why almost 100% of all great players use their nails.

Wckoek
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Wckoek » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:25 pm

In the age of gut strings I believe there are much more players if not most of them play without nails, due to longevity issues on gut with nails, lute players play without nails.
I cannot be certain that most classical guitarist in the post WWII nylon string era started to play with nails, but there are evidence that the Tarrega school and the gut era players do play without nails.
Personally it can be a to tone, guitar and strings as well as practicality also. I do not like the "all nail" sound for players like David Russell, but I do not like dull sound too.
With carbon strings we can play with less nail and didn't use as much effort to draw out tone, I disagree that nails will provide more diversity of tone, in fact I hear more "all nails" player sounded similar without much individuality.
It's a matter of preference, having a combination of both is good.

davekear
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by davekear » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:52 pm

Wckoek wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:25 pm

Personally it can be a to tone, guitar and strings as well as practicality also. I do not like the "all nail" sound for players like David Russell, but I do not like dull sound too.
With carbon strings we can play with less nail and didn't use as much effort to draw out tone, I disagree that nails will provide more diversity of tone, in fact I hear more "all nails" player sounded similar without much individuality.
It's a matter of preference, having a combination of both is good.
David Russell does not have "an all nail sound" That's a ridiculous thing to say. He's one of the greatest guitarists alive, and I can guarantee you he can get any sound he wants to. And of course nails give more diversity of tone. And absolutely it's a combination of both, that's the proper way to use your nails; a combination of flesh and nail.

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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Wckoek » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:27 pm

Maybe you have better insight if you have seen his live or in person, for me I have heard a few of his recordings, his tone just didn't appeal to me even though I agree he have tremendous technique.

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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Wckoek » Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:36 pm

To say my point of view, people like Tarrega back then didn't play with much nails for practical reasons (gut strings), and there are people today have to play without nails for practical reasons (being a surgeon, professional, or playing keyboard instruments).
Does nails help in tone production? Absolutely, but it wasn't necessary in the production of good tone, or even enjoyment of classical guitar.
A lot of factors come into play, it is possible to play great classical guitar and even great music without nails, it was purely dogmatic to advocate just to play with nails, speed and dexterity and other technical factors than enjoyment of guitar and the music itself.

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:02 am

Oh boy here we go again lol. I play slow, period. Even when I played with nails :)

Go to YouTube and search 'Manuel Cubedo Fandaguillo' - the first hit is him playing some Turina. It's fast, tastefully done, and generally a fine interpretation (IMO but also in the opinion of many others.)

I'm not a staunch no-nails advocate who thinks that flesh playing is the only to play. I also really like nail playing, especially David Russell, he's one of my favorites! I just think that both ways are completely valid ways to play...even at a professional level. I feel like this is something we've lost throughout the course of time.

There are folks, Dionisio Aguado and Graciano Tarrago (to only name a couple), that chose to play with nails but saw flesh as a completely valid approach as well. What happened to people like that? Pujol also...he chose to play with flesh but viewed nail playing as valid. What's the word for that...reasonable! !? Ha, whatever...just do what sounds good...like...tape some picks to your hand if you want. I'm sure in the right hands (or hand lol) it would sound fine.
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

davekear
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by davekear » Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:19 am

tateharmann wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:02 am


I'm not a staunch no-nails advocate who thinks that flesh playing is the only to play. I also really like nail playing, especially David Russell, he's one of my favorites! I just think that both ways are completely valid ways to play...even at a professional level. I feel like this is something we've lost throughout the course of time.
It's all valid, if you want to play with no nails, I'm all for it. But in this day and age to play without nails will hinder you, and you will not be on equal ground with those who do play with their nails. It's really not that hard to figure out why 99.9% of all professional players and instructors today play with their nails. Well maybe I should say it shouldn't be that hard to figure out. But apparently for some, it is. I've listened to those who are regarded as the some of the best of those who play without nails. I think for the most part they sound colorless and drab compared to those great players who do use their nails. No comparison in my book. But that's subjective. The fact that it's expected by 99% of all professional instructors of those students who are serious about the instrument TO use their fingernails is not. Although the figure may be a bit higher than that.

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:18 am

I guess the actual end goal of our playing has much to do with how we decide to play. For example, I love the history around the instrument and I'm very interested what people call H.I.P. (historically informed performance). Don't get me wrong, I really do enjoy the modern CG scene as it's what got me into the repertoire. But after a while they all start sounding the same to me like cookie cutters. I find it refreshing to hear other approaches to interpretation of the repertoire. Think about this...MUCH of the repetoire we play was composed before nylon came around in the 1940s. Before that gut was the only choice for guitarists unless they wanted a steel string guitar. So would Tarrega's playing of Capricho Arabe on gut strings sound just like David Russell's modern interpretation? Hardly! But would it sound bad? I doubt that - it's just different. A different way to approach a mutual goal: beautiful guitar music :)
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

TKO
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by TKO » Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:08 pm

As an answer to the original question - I don't use nails. I simply don't like them long and they would get in the way on the Jiu-jitsu mat (which I try to practice weekly).

I also feel that I get the sound I want for my music out of my guitar without them, so I don't really even feel a need to get them. I would point out, though, that I don't really aim to do any classic/traditional classical guitar material - just my own music. And for that no nails give me the sound I hear in my head.

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Fri Sep 01, 2017 12:35 am

Yes, and that's what matters most for many of us :)

If anyone is curious as to what level of musicality can be achieved without nails, check out Manuel Cubedo playing Castelnuovo Tedesco's guitar concerto opus 99. I recently posted it on YouTube, just search "Manuel Cubedo Tedesco" in YT and it should be the first hit.
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

Fixin2
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Fixin2 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:53 pm

Isabelle Frizac wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:01 am
I play also without nails For 50 years.

My teacher José-Maria Sierra-Fortuny, a disciple and friend of Pujol, taught me to play without a nail.
And this method suits me perfectly. I also taught it to my students.

:limaeunghie: :guitare:
Thank you for your input. I believe that playing without nails produces a warm, rich sound that cannot be duplicated with nails.
-Tim

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:26 pm

Wckoek wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:36 pm
To say my point of view, people like Tarrega back then didn't play with much nails for practical reasons (gut strings), ...
I think you'll find that he started out with nails and stopped using them because they weakened due to health reasons - as many of us find as we get older, though in fact he suffered some quite bad health issues in his time. But that is the sort of question that often cannot be readily stated with definitive confidence, after all as we know in our own worlds, people often have a complex set of reasons for doing even quite simple things or making simple decisions.
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by italian_job » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:08 pm

In my humble opinion, playing a classical guitar without nails it's a bit like playing violin without bow.
It can still be done but I guess a large part of the fun is lost, I'm talking about the timbral modulation and purity of sound.

of course you can still have fun without finger nails, but it's like having a ferrari that runs on 1 cylinder.
that was my last metaphor!

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