nail noise

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.

nail noise

Post by freebooter » Mon Aug 22, 2005 10:12 pm

my nail noise is very loud, especially when I am playing tremolo. I tried to make it shut up for years, but seems no progress. Can any body help me analysis how this noise come from and how to avoid it?


Post by cprovinse » Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:44 pm

Try shortening your nails. Scott Tennett's book "Pumping Nylon" has detailed instructions on grooming your nails. When I shortened my nails, on the advice from a teacher, my right hand noise quieted down. What you use to file your nails, and the shape of your nail is also important. "Pumping Nylon" is a very good book for classical guitar. You can order it with a DVD that I found really helpful. Good luck, I hope this helps.


Post by Fingernail » Tue Aug 23, 2005 9:06 am

Shorter nails improve accuracy and speed for me as well. I also make sure that there is absolutely no white nail on my left hand, to prevent catching on the strings when slurring for instance.


Post by freebooter » Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:05 pm

Thanks :D


Post by Gorobete » Sun Sep 18, 2005 12:31 pm

Aloso you can buy some polished strings but they are a little mor expensive than regular ones.


Post by Marie-Claire » Sun Sep 18, 2005 1:06 pm


I read somewhere that a bit of hydrating cream on the top of the fingers can help. I never tried it by myself. Someone else did?



Post by hicitronella » Sat Oct 01, 2005 8:54 pm

Yeah the pumping nylone book along with numerous other method books (including Noad) have details on correct nail grooming. But i kind of enjoy hearing a little nail noise because it gives the recording a raw sound.


Post by Bandersnatch » Mon Oct 03, 2005 2:48 pm

Hi freebooter

Since you posted on the Home Studio thread I will assume that recording is part of your interest so I will give my answer from that point of view. Try changing the position of the microphone. If it is pointing to the bridge then by moving the mic to point toward the 12 fret(away from the nail sound) and a little further away may minimize the nail sound. Another suggestion is to minimize the high frecuencies using EQ or upgrading to a better mic/pre amp system but only if the noise is very noticible. I would say that decreasing the high frecuencies with EQ would be a last resort thing. The rule of thumb with EQ acoustic instruments in general is to eliminate a "wolf " sound in the 100 - 250 Hz and sometimes increase in high frecuecies a lttlle to add"sparkle" but this has nothing to do with the nail issue. Of course its all about compromises and personal taste and only you can decide what is "the right sound " for you.

Cheers :D


Post by horbquartag » Mon May 22, 2006 10:24 am

thanx :D :D :D

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Ted O'Farrell
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Post by Ted O'Farrell » Thu Jun 01, 2006 3:10 am

very good advice, I also have found using nail sandpaper
over your nails helps tremendously. You can get it at
Guitar Solo Publications in San Fransico

tedguitar :)


Post by Hybrid » Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:51 am

This topic should be in the Strings and Nails section in my opinion.

It really is about nails, and technique.

Trying to tweak the mic angle to lessen it, is like sweeping
dirt under the rug, instead of getting out the dustpan.

Get your nails so the tip is even with the tip of your finger,
as Scott describes in his awesome Pumping Nylon video.
A must have for starters imo.



Post by Hybrid » Fri Jun 02, 2006 7:01 am

Im now recalling something David Russell said, wich helped
me alot many years ago.

"To get rid of nail noise, you have to first fully understand
what causes it"

I think he also asks the question, "Can you make the noise

I take this to mean, that if you cannot make the nail noise
purposely, and it happens only by accident, then you
dont Really know what is actually causing it, therefore,
you cant get rid of it.

Learn how to nail click, and this will teach you how not to.

But as was said earlier, if you keep your nail tips even
with your fingertips, you should have good results.


Post by Fingernail » Fri Jun 02, 2006 9:44 am

It really depends on how instrusive it is.

There are many passages in Yamashita's recordings that are very "naily" but you filter them out, don't focus on them, because of the music.


Post by Hybrid » Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:05 pm

Fingernail wrote:It really depends on how instrusive it is.

There are many passages in Yamashita's recordings that are very "naily" but you filter them out, don't focus on them, because of the music.
I tend to shy away from "naily" players, like Yamashita, Fisk, etc..

For me, it takes away from the music. Its a distraction, and
it doesnt Need to be there.

Just my opinion of course.


Post by wchymeUS » Sun Jun 04, 2006 1:16 am

I recently played with Savarez strings and their texture (for the first 3 strings) is really unique and I found them "dry" and often I could hear my nails. I switched back to a set of Augustine Blue and I have no problem now.

So maybe, other than what was said, strings you're using could have some influence.

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