Given up on fingernails...

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
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Petemayo
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Petemayo » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:34 am

MAK wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:39 am
Beeswax--interesting. I'll have to try it. I use shea butter, a combination of oils, and creams, but I still have rough fingertips. My hands are in water a lot, even though I use rubber gloves for dishes. Thanks for the beeswax tip.
What about gloves for playing. Left hand with pads for holding strings down and right hand with tips for plucking. I have seen left hand gloves but not such right hand gloves.

Victoria Ferrell
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Victoria Ferrell » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:00 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Mar 27, 2016 7:25 am
Well, it's nice to be mentioned under this subject, but as my website will show, there are and have been many classical guitarists playing at a high level without nails. I'm just one flesh player among many. For sure, it's a minority thing, but that's utterly irrelevant. What matters is the music you make, and the joy you have in doing so. I've had some strongly-worded, even abusive, emails and messages, from some nail players who feel I'm out to destroy civilisation as we know it :-) but it is the poetry that matters, not the tools we use to create it.

http://rmclassicalguitar.com
I am still a beginner but I have noticed the difference in sound when my fleshy thumb hits a note as opposed to a fingernail. I tend to thuink the flesh sounds better. What are the main arguments for and against playing with nails/flesh?
I don't want to play like other guitarists; I want to give voice to the song of my own soul.

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tateharmann
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by tateharmann » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:13 pm

BreathingSince72 wrote: I am still a beginner but I have noticed the difference in sound when my fleshy thumb hits a note as opposed to a fingernail. I tend to thuink the flesh sounds better. What are the main arguments for and against playing with nails/flesh?
Oh boy...do you really want open that can?? Haha just kidding. A simple approach would be to read Sor's method to discover arguments for flesh. Then you could read Aguado's method and find arguments for nails. Or you could check out Rob's site or this thread: viewtopic.php?f=87&t=112328

Better yet, play both ways and decide for yourself :)
"One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

RobMacKillop
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:42 pm

Here's a direct link to my non-commercial website, half devoted to me, half to non-nail players: http://rmClassicalGuitar.com

PhilR

Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by PhilR » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:07 am

Nails! I've always had a problem with them. Mine are slow growing and weak, and I tend to nibble on them. Nice to know that you can without. Narciso Ypes!

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Petemayo
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Petemayo » Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:22 pm

[/quote]

I am still a beginner but I have noticed the difference in sound when my fleshy thumb hits a note as opposed to a fingernail. I tend to thuink the flesh sounds better. What are the main arguments for and against playing with nails/flesh?
[/quote]

Nails give crispier sound. Finger tips give more of a sound scrape. At least the way I do it.

RobMacKillop
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:08 pm

Finger tips need not scrape!

Scott Phillips
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Scott Phillips » Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:32 pm

Breathingsince72,
I used to play fingerstyle steel string and the nails had to go because they were breaking. But I have discovered that with nylon, I can get away with a little bit of nail. I have them just a small amount beyond the finger tips. I get a surprisingly good tone this way, and if I have a bass gig, I can sand them to the point where I can play bass with out the nail hitting, and have enough nail in a few days to go back to playing classical guitar with a very small amount of nail. Nail, or flesh, it’s all about what YOU prefer. Check out Virginia Luque on U tube. She plays flesh, and has an incredibly beautiful sound.

Stan
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Stan » Sat Apr 07, 2018 4:21 pm

I'm brand new to classical guitar but have played steel strings from many years. I always used my finger tips for fingerpicking but now that I"m attempting to play classical guitar I"m trying to grow out my fingernails and it's been a struggle. For some reason it's usually my ring finger that breaks. I want to try at least to get my nails a little past my fingertips just to see what effect it has on my playing/practicing. I like the clear tone that I hear real classical guitarists get from nails but if It's not meant for me to have usable nails I will have no problem going back to just playing with my finger tips. My goals are to just play for my own enjoyment and I will never perform, plus I also have always liked the mellow warm tone of playing without nails also.
The steam that blows the whistle never turns the wheel.

wsleight

Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by wsleight » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:04 pm

Hi,

I have thin nails that split easily, and worse wear unevenly so that the develop a hook shape after a few hours of playing. However, I have found that by keeping the nails short and playing mostly flesh with just a little nail to nip the string at the end of the stroke works well. Plus it makes transition from rest stroke to pluck stroke easier. Lately I have been experimenting with taking 1 table spoon of gelatin daily, taking a hair and nails vitamin supplement that has B vitamins and biotin, and applying a cream called healthy hoof which is for horse hoofs ( it is suppose to help strengthen the hoof). I have been doing this for a months and I see a difference. The nails are tougher and they don't wear down as unevenly. I also wear gorilla gloves (home depot) a lot working around the house and in my wood shop to protect my nails from abrasive damage.

Bill

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Tonyyyyy » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:05 am

Laudiesdad69 wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:32 pm
..... But I have discovered that with nylon, I can get away with a little bit of nail. I have them just a small amount beyond the finger tips. I get a surprisingly good tone this way, and if I have a bass gig, I can sand them to the point where I can play bass with out the nail hitting, and have enough nail in a few days to go back to playing classical guitar with a very small amount of nail. Nail, or flesh, it’s all about what YOU prefer. .....

True.You very clearly listen carefully and experiment. We can get our unique sound by various subtle adjustments. I go from classical guitar to lute and adjust the angle so my (shortish) nails work on guitar but dont catch on lute. Some bad tone days, but generally I can get a good and varied sound.

What you or I do maybe wouldn't work for others, but months and years of experimenting can lead to interesting tonal breakthroughs

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Tonyyyyy
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Tonyyyyy » Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 am

Petemayo wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:22 pm
Nails give crispier sound. Finger tips give more of a sound scrape. At least the way I do it.
[/quote]
While playing we are much more aware of slight extraneous sounds than a listener. But scrapy fingertips can be sorted.... Hand cream(but not just before playing as it will get onto the strings and fretboard) and fine grade wet-and-dry sandpaper maybe?

Scott Phillips
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Scott Phillips » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:35 am

Tonyyyyy wrote:
Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:22 am
Petemayo wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:22 pm
Nails give crispier sound. Finger tips give more of a sound scrape. At least the way I do it.
While playing we are much more aware of slight extraneous sounds than a listener. But scrapy fingertips can be sorted.... Hand cream(but not just before playing as it will get onto the strings and fretboard) and fine grade wet-and-dry sandpaper maybe?
[/quote]

I use bag balm on my finger tips. Used to use it every other day at night, but now every night as I have to poke my right hand finger tips 6 x a day to check my blood sugar. It keeps them soft. A can will last a lifetime ha ha.

I play flesh and nail. When I pull the strings I get a better tone when I can touch them and get just a bit of nail clarity. I used to play with really long nails, but it sounded more like a guitar pick. I have more control this way, and a better tone to my ear. Oh, and I also sand my calluses occasionally.

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zupfgeiger
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by zupfgeiger » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:21 am

I have strong nails and they rarely brake. nonetheless I dont let them grow overly long as my teacher does. Just enough to play in the good old Segovian style with flesh and nail together. I find the tone produced by nails alone to be too harsh and sweetless, piano-like. Only my thumb has a longer nail. Some months ago I damaged the thumb nail while cooking and I was struggling for a while. My Bach pieces sounded awfull. Bass lines need a strong attack to get the balance right.
Fritz Ober, Torres/Hauser model, 2010, spruce/maple
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Eric

Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Eric » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:49 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:08 pm
Finger tips need not scrape!
Very true. When experimenting with nail-less playing, I'd found that skin conditioners or even a light sanding with finer micro-mesh can make for smoother tips.

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