Given up on fingernails...

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
billchivers
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Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:17 am

Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by billchivers » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:56 am

Very interesting thread, I have been playing for about two years (this time round) and while my nails are OK, I have been thinking of trying no nails after hearing the beautiful music of Rob MacKillop.
One question: does Andrei Krylov use nails? Listening to his "Medieval Celtic Folk Music" album (on Spotify) it sounds to me that he does not, especially listening to his tremolo.
Bill

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tateharmann
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by tateharmann » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:08 pm

I'm pretty sure he's posted here before that he uses very short nails so that he can produce both flesh or nail sound at will while playing.
"One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

billchivers
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by billchivers » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:14 am

Thanks tateharmann, I will try to find the post.

2lost2find
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by 2lost2find » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:16 pm

I've always had thick, tough nails... I can nail-pick a steel string all day with no trouble. But lately I've been getting, for want of a better word, a plasticy sound from my nails. I'm not doing anything in terms of nail care and shaping that I have not been doing for twenty years. I checked out a cellphone recording of my performance last Saturday and I can hear it there as well although my GF insists that she can't hear what I'm talking about and it's all in my head. If i can't figure out what's going on I might cut the damn things off and see what happens.

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tateharmann
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by tateharmann » Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:44 am

You can always try cutting them off - worse case scenario, if you don't like it they will grow back. I cut mine off over 3 years ago and haven't looked back since :)
"One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

Kevin Clark
Amateur luthier
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Kevin Clark » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:22 pm

Im currently nailless since Ive came back to classical guitar. My nails are useless, especially in winter in the building trade! I'm finding it very difficult to get any clarity though, everything sounds very muffled. I'd love a good set of nails I can put on at night and take off again!

davekear
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by davekear » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:39 pm

Kevin Clark wrote:
Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:22 pm
Im currently nailless since Ive came back to classical guitar. My nails are useless, especially in winter in the building trade! I'm finding it very difficult to get any clarity though, everything sounds very muffled. I'd love a good set of nails I can put on at night and take off again!
You can have great nails all of the time, anytime you want. Takes less than 5 minutes.
We've been doing this for over twenty five years now. Lots of professional players use artificial nails.

Kevin Clark
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Kevin Clark » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:10 pm

Thanks davekear but having longish nails at work is no good for me, I’d end up ripping them off. I look forward to retirement!

davekear
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by davekear » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:45 pm

Kevin Clark wrote:
Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:10 pm
Thanks davekear but having longish nails at work is no good for me, I’d end up ripping them off. I look forward to retirement!
Sure, I understand. A couple of other folks contacted me, and anyone else who is having problems with their fingernails, just let us know, we're more than happy to help. It's really so easy once you learn how. And the result is you can have perfect fingernails all of the time, any time you want. Which is a nice thing to know how to do.

davekear
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by davekear » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:36 am

Here's a short demo I made showing the diversity of tone and timbre you can achieve using artificial fingernails. I haven't used my real nails in over twenty five years now. I have great nails all of the time. They do not hurt or damage my natural nails, and I never worry about what happens to my nails. There are no nail emergencies. I can work cement all day long if I want. If I screw up a nail, I can remove it, replace it, and be ready to play in less than 5 minutes. The only thing I do is keep my natural nails short. This was recorded directly to an inexpensive video camera.

Alyamepi
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by Alyamepi » Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:44 am

Help, I am struggling to get a good sound without nails, especially with my a finger.
I picked up my guitar again after 3 years of not playing. Before that, I was beginner or early intermediate at best, but I was able to produce a decent sound, with nails. Now I want to play without nails, but I find it hard to get the sound right. Any tips?

(And no, artificial nails are not an option ;-)

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tateharmann
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by tateharmann » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:24 pm

1. Lower tension strings
2. Rectified or natural gut have a rougher surface that may help
3. Hand moisturizer can help
4. Change right hand angle of attack (see how lutenists approach the strings)
5. See Rob MacKillop's site: https://rmclassicalguitar.com
"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 » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:50 pm

What Tate said!

davekear
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by davekear » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:32 pm

Alyamepi wrote:
Fri Dec 07, 2018 9:44 am

(And no, artificial nails are not an option ;-)
Yea, if you're going to go nailess, then Rob MacKillop is the guy to listen to. Of everyone I've ever heard without nails, he's the best.
But don't ever feel artificial nails are not an option. I've never met anyone who can't benefit from them. Some of the worlds
greatest guitarists use artificial nails, including: William Kanengiser, Jason Vieaux, Eliot Fisk, Grisha Goryachev, and many more.
Personally I haven't' used my real nails in over twenty five years. Here's my version of J.S. Bach BWV 0996- Gigue, of course done with artificial nails on all fingers and thumb. See what you think.

RobMacKillop
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Re: Given up on fingernails...

Post by RobMacKillop » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:26 pm

Cheers, Dave.

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