Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
abelville

Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails?

Postby abelville » Mon May 05, 2014 1:42 pm

Hi Everyone,
I’ve had my nails for a while now and just love the tone of the nylon strings with my finger and nails. My thumb nail is at a good length for me and is at a point where I can angle it to attack the bass string with the nail or angle it to just hit flesh.
I’ve tried my thumb nail on quite a few CGs at Elderly and Guitar Center and find that no matter the guitar, I prefer the tone of bass note strings with thumb flesh only. I just love the fuller sound.
Anyone else have this preference?

If so, does thumb with flesh only limit the music you can play?

Sincerely,

Al

Side note: I took nail supplements and applied "Hoofer's Choice" moisturizer to obtain nice strong nails - finally.
Last edited by abelville on Mon May 05, 2014 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HNLim
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby HNLim » Mon May 05, 2014 1:45 pm

Me!
1978 Yamaha GC30A - S/BRW
2012 Esteve Adalid - S/BRW
2014 Sen #5 - S/BRW
2016 HNLim - S/BRW-
1974 S.Yairi 950 S/BRW - converted to10-string-2015
HN Lim 14-string - S/BRW - Very close to completion.
1974 S.Yairi 800 : Retired

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muirtan
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby muirtan » Mon May 05, 2014 2:42 pm

And me! I thought it was just something I did, so nice to find others.

strumalong

Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby strumalong » Tue May 06, 2014 12:08 pm

Really? I guess if you can still play with the thumb nail when plucking the trebles to match the I m a fingers tone on the trebles it should be fine?
Is this because you prefer a more mellow or warmer bass tone?

abelville

Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby abelville » Tue May 06, 2014 2:15 pm

strumalong wrote:Really? I guess if you can still play with the thumb nail when plucking the trebles to match the I m a fingers tone on the trebles it should be fine?
Is this because you prefer a more mellow or warmer bass tone?


I do prefer the warmer bass tone, but I also notice that the bass still seems defined well using just thumb flesh. Maybe its just because my digits are getting crusty (texture) like the rest of me at 54 years old. :?

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twang
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby twang » Tue May 06, 2014 8:42 pm

No thumb nail for me-- I find it helps further distinguish the bass voice.
"An amateur is he who takes up the study of an instrument as a relaxation from his serious occupations." -- Sor

strumalong

Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby strumalong » Wed May 07, 2014 2:25 am

This is quite interesting. I use my thumb nail but I prefer a warmer/deeper sounding bass. But I just like my strings a little older to get that bass tone (I hate the sound of brand new metallicy bass strings)

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tateharmann
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby tateharmann » Sat May 17, 2014 2:25 pm

I played for a long time with nails on a, m, and i - and flesh only on thumb. I'm considering going back to it - I hate having a long gross thumbnail!! I like the sound better with nail on the thumb though....I seem to get better note definition with it - cheers!
2013 Joseph Redman Lutz/Wenge
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Aram
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby Aram » Sat May 17, 2014 3:31 pm

So nice,
Actually I broke my thumb nail after almost 6 years now of practicing ,so I began to practice with my thumb flesh which was really difficult for a week. Now after 45 days I'm satisfied with the results :

1. I couldn't play without thumb nail then ,I can do with both now.
2. The bass was so weak then, it's strong with both now.
3. I've made up with D'addario bass strings after 6 years. :)

I think the best situation is to be able to play with both. So enjoy your playing with different techniques and colors.

Aram

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ashworth
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby ashworth » Sat May 17, 2014 5:12 pm

Good topic! For a long time I used nails on i,m,a and flesh only on p. I think there is good logic for this, as there is a good full warm bass below the more sharply projected upper notes. I also wondered if anyone else did this. I thought probably it was my invention. :)

The last couple of years, I've gone to having my p nail just long enough to play with a little nail on the bass when I want, but short enough so I can play just with flesh, too. I find this is a good compromise. It still feels more natural to play just with flesh, though.
- Donnie

sparrowhawk
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby sparrowhawk » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:00 am

I also do this! For me it is a number of contributing factors. I teach piano and cannot play the piano with a longer thumbnail. Also for some unknown reason my thumbnail constantly breaks about 8mm down from the tip. So those reasons are just annoying, but the most important reason is that I hate the sound of a nail on the wound bass strings. Much prefer the flesh only sound and go to some lengths to finger pieces so i, m and a don't play bass strings unless unavoidable. In which case I use a slightly more perpendicular attack so the grating sound is not so obvious.

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Mick the Ramirez Man
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby Mick the Ramirez Man » Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:53 am

I too had tried the thumb without nails. But, I found that I can get the same full tone on arpeggio chords by using the back of my m nail, which is really the only time I was looking for that full tone. So, now I have the best of both worlds. :)
Ramirez 4NE, Ramirez R4 and Ramirez R1

Luis_Br
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby Luis_Br » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:09 am

Great players like Barbosa-Lima, Segovia or Jorge Caballero use several different ways of playing with the thumb and they constantly use both nail or no nail according to the sound result they want.
An interesting point, Sergio Abreu told they played thumb with no nails in their first recording (from Duo Abreu). They had such a great tone I didn't notice it until I knew it. Here the first piece of that recording, a great version of Dowland's Sir John Langton's Pavan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALXgTmbWd_c

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mverive
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby mverive » Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:03 am

My thumb nail is fairly flat, but has a sharp curve to it, so it hooks the strings easily. My nails have deep longitudinal ridges, too, and the nail likes to split right where the flat and curve meet. So, from time to time I have to file it all the way down to let the split heal, and I end up playing with flesh alone. I like the warm tone, but find that I have to increase my thumb pressure to get the volume I need. Switching to different bass strings isn't an option, since I use my thumb on the trebles as well.

So, it's all nails for me...

Mike
"(P)Lay on, MacDuff, And damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!'"

HNLim
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Re: Anyone else prefer i, m, a, with nails, p, without nails

Postby HNLim » Sun Jul 20, 2014 3:48 am

1978 Yamaha GC30A - S/BRW
2012 Esteve Adalid - S/BRW
2014 Sen #5 - S/BRW
2016 HNLim - S/BRW-
1974 S.Yairi 950 S/BRW - converted to10-string-2015
HN Lim 14-string - S/BRW - Very close to completion.
1974 S.Yairi 800 : Retired


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