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 Sep 08, 2017 2:22 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:45 pm
But all the no-nailers linked to in the earlier parts of the thread (and others cited by Rob) have sounded very unsatisfying, not least, somewhat amateurish in tone - by which I mean, I have several adult students whose tone I prefer to some of those noted, professional players.
Really?! Which ones have you listened to...out of curiosity..

As far as your 1995 concert goes, if he was mainly an early music guy venturing into modern repertoire...I'm not surprised that it was unconvincing. And you hit the nail on the head there with the 19th cen music - one of the turning points for me was when I first heard Sor played on a period instrument without nails - it was like the music came to life as never before.

Up until now, one of the best no nails sound that I've heard goes to Robert Barto (lutenist) playing Sor and Coste on a period replica. It's just an amazing sound - I'm not sure if I can post a video because of copyright but if you search YouTube for "duo rossiniane coste" the first hit is Robert Barto and Karl-Ernst Schroder playing a Barcarolle by Coste on period replicas by Gary Southwell.
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:38 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:22 pm
Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:45 pm
But all the no-nailers linked to in the earlier parts of the thread (and others cited by Rob) have sounded very unsatisfying,...
Really?! Which ones have you listened to...out of curiosity..
As far as your 1995 concert goes, if he was mainly an early music guy venturing into modern repertoire...I'm not surprised that it was unconvincing. And you hit the nail on the head there with the 19th cen music - one of the turning points for me was when I first heard Sor played on a period instrument without nails - it was like the music came to life as never before.
Up until now, one of the best no nails sound that I've heard goes to Robert Barto (lutenist) playing Sor and Coste on a period replica. It's just an amazing sound - I'm not sure if I can post a video because of copyright but if you search YouTube for "duo rossiniane coste" the first hit is Robert Barto and Karl-Ernst Schroder playing a Barcarolle by Coste on period replicas by Gary Southwell.
Its been quite a long thread so please forgive me if I don't trawl through the whole thing. There were several, actually I probably did not follow literally every link.
Re 19th century I was thinking more of people like Carulli, Molino etc. Sor seems to me easily good enough to work beautifully with either approach, Giuliani too.
You will be able to post links to Barto I am sure, please do so! To be clear, my dissatisfaction as previously discussed was not with early music practitioners - I greatly prefer no-nails on lute, vihuela, baroque guitar etc. One big favourite for is the occasional 'Camper Israel Golani.
Re the reviewed recital, the player in question was back then, regarded as a very strong player, though I think his time had kinda been and gone by then. It really wasn't a problem with the musicianship, the commitment, it was the concept and the tools brought to bear, esp the fingertip technique (I seem to remember it was a Torres copy, don't know why I remember such trivia such as the tourist!).
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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:09 pm

Stephen Kenyon wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:38 pm
You will be able to post links to Barto I am sure, please do so! To be clear, my dissatisfaction as previously discussed was not with early music practitioners - I greatly prefer no-nails on lute, vihuela, baroque guitar etc. One big favourite for is the occasional 'Camper Israel Golani.
I really enjoy Golani's playing as well, and I generally prefer those early plucked instruments played without nails as well. However, there are some very good players in the early music scene that play well with nails. Stephen Stubbs comes to mind...I'm pretty sure he uses a little nail, at least.

The Coste by Barto and Schroder (HIP sound)

Youtube
Last edited by tateharmann on Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:22 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:09 pm
...

And a more modern no nails sound. Manuel Cubedo playing the final movement of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Opus 99.
Oops! You didn't mention C-T, please remove that before the mods see it :desole: he's still in copyright ...
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:35 pm

Aw bummer! OK removed :) Did you at least hear it? lol
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:23 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:35 pm
Aw bummer! OK removed :) Did you at least hear it? lol
Cool. Yes I heard it. Yes that was one of the players I did catch.
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:54 pm

And you think your students sound better than that? Just to be clear here, I'm not a staunch advocate of either school...I currently play without nails but have a long history of nail playing...and I could go back to it again. I enjoy listening to both types of players.
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

davekear
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by davekear » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:54 pm

James Lister wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:26 am

To suggest that playing without nails is just for those who have a disability or who "just" play as a "hobby" seems a little insulting to those who have made that choice. That's all it is - a choice. Playing with or without nails are both perfectly valid, both historically and musically. I choose to play with nails, because I tried playing without nails once, and wasn't at all satisfied with the results, and I wasn't prepared to put the extra work in to learn how to play without nails (or to develop the calluses). There is no "better", just "different".

James
I respectfully disagree. I think those playing without nails are limiting their potential. For all of the reasons myself and others have stated on this thread. Diversity of tone, dexterity, speed, feel etc. Again, there is a reason why just about all of the great professional classical and flamenco guitarists of today use their nails. And it's not just because it's different. It's because it has many more "benefits" than to not use nails. If one does not want to use their nails to play the classical guitar, then that's fine. That's a personal choice. But it's a choice that almost 100% of all serious students and players of the classical guitar don't make. And it's really not that hard to learn to play with nails. Especially today with all the nail products available if you need them. So no intent here to be insulting. Just realistic.

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Stephen Kenyon
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Stephen Kenyon » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:21 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:54 pm
And you think your students sound better than that? Just to be clear here, I'm not a staunch advocate of either school...I currently play without nails but have a long history of nail playing...and I could go back to it again. I enjoy listening to both types of players.
What I said was; "I have several adult students whose tone I prefer" and that is the case, hence, I said it. None of them have anything like that technique and facility, they are not as good players. And I can think of one or two nail-using professional players of recent times whose tone I would say the same about.
It doesn't actually matter to me personally how somebody is doing a thing, including their choice of instrument, strings, nails, choice of acoustic in making a recording, all things that greatly affect how I think about a player. I always think, we all have different kinds of musical sensibilities and sensitivities and that plays out as preferences writ large in various ways - and it gets passionate in this topic as we sometimes see rather too vividly. If I really let rip on my feeling about the tone made by a certain generation of in some cases extremely notable nail using players of the lute, the air would be purple for a long time. Tone is of course only one aspect of how one reacts to a performer, but for that kind of repertoire in your Tedesco clip ... we've been here so many times, no need to repeat :D
Simon Ambridge Series 40 (2005)
Trevor Semple Series 88 (1992)
Louis Panormo (1838)
Alexander Batov Baroque Guitar (2013)

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:48 pm

I know...we keep repeating the same thing over and over. I don't think that Cubedo sounds better than Segovia, for example...I just think they both made really good music. And so can new students, nails or none. If one were to ask me if they can play CG without nails I would respond with an emphatic "yes" explaining the long history of flesh players of the instrument and describing some of the advantages and disadvantages. If they ask Dave, he'll say "no" most likely emphatically also...and he's entitled to that. His students will still end up playing great music (probably). But at the end of the day each player will have to trust his own hands and ears.

Also, I don't think playing with nails is difficult, it came quite easily for me..and I have no nail problems. They grow fast, strong, and straight :)
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

BrunoB
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by BrunoB » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:27 pm

I don't play with nails now. I have played lute for the last twenty years and recently returned to the guitar without re-growing my nails. I think my tone is better now than it used to be with nails. I play a Ramirez 1a with D'Addario low tension strings tuned down to 430. Some players use Aquila strings that have a less polished surface that allows the finger pads a better contact. I have heard Rob play, excellently,
and indeed his website was my starting point for returning to playing. As a bonus it is easier to clean your septic tank with short nails. I should re-phrase that- it is easier to clean your septic tank with rods if you have short nails and three pairs of gloves!
BrunoB

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by tateharmann » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:10 pm

Indeed! Haha

It's also easier to tear into some chicken wings without nails, perform car maintenance, remain attractive to your wife....etc.

:)
"Speed is the enemy of emotion." - Emilio Pujol Vilarrubi

Elaionms
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by Elaionms » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:57 am

Hi, i don't play with nails. The truth is that i eat my nails since i was 10 years old and its a horrible bad habit. Its hard to stop it. Last weeks i've been fighting with it only in my right hand but didn't make it to play with the nails yet. I dont find it a problem to play without nails anyways. I would like to play some time with nails and then decide which way i like more. Thanks for introducing me to Rob, i dont know too many classical guitarist that play without nails.
As soon as i manage to let my nails grow and play with them i will post my opinion about both ways.
Elian

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James Lister
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Re: Anyone not use nails?

Post by James Lister » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:32 am

BrunoB wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:27 pm
I don't play with nails now. I have played lute for the last twenty years and recently returned to the guitar without re-growing my nails. I think my tone is better now than it used to be with nails. I play a Ramirez 1a with D'Addario low tension strings tuned down to 430. Some players use Aquila strings that have a less polished surface that allows the finger pads a better contact. I have heard Rob play, excellently,
and indeed his website was my starting point for returning to playing. As a bonus it is easier to clean your septic tank with short nails. I should re-phrase that- it is easier to clean your septic tank with rods if you have short nails and three pairs of gloves!
BrunoB
When I saw your introduction I was going to suggest you looked at this thread, and also checked out Rob's playing - glad to see you've already done both! Welcome to the forum.

James
James Lister, luthier, Sheffield UK

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