Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
guit-box
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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by guit-box » Wed Jul 19, 2017 2:22 am

Tom Poore wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:16 pm
glassynails wrote: Should may nails only go to the end of my fingertips and not over? I also think that Scott Tenant also says something similar in his series.
Tennant indeed says this in “Pumping Nylon.” (At least in the 1995 edition—maybe newer editions have changed.) But in this specific case, he’s flat wrong. In fact, in the same book he elsewhere illustrates correct nail shapes in which the nail clearly extends beyond the fingertip. I’ve never understood why this obvious contradiction was allowed into print.

You can see this for yourself in the following video. Skip ahead to the 2:04 mark.

[media]https://youtu.be/qFpLo2HtE5A[/media]

Tom Poore
South Euclid, OH
USA
Haha, yeah good call, if the nail is ramped like the pictures then part of the nail IS going to extend past the flesh and part will be below the flesh. There are lots of contradictions in Pumping Nylon.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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spanishguitarmusic
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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by spanishguitarmusic » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:37 pm

I also basically play with the nails to the tip of the fingers. They may go over a bit sometimes, but usually I find I like the sound when I play with a little more finger flesh.

A.Arcese
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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by A.Arcese » Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:47 am

I'm not sure this was clarified in the discussion. My understanding of what Segovia told Virginia Luque, the guitarist quoted in the OP, was specifically for her because she was a "flesh" player. He told her to grow enough nail to support the tip of the finger, but not so much that it would contact the string as it would for a nail player. He was not saying that all players should have nails that don't extend past the fingertips.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by Rognvald » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:15 pm

Luis_Br wrote:
Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:29 pm
Your sound taste defines a lot the nails you want. Talking about mechanics, I think it varies with your nail curvature, tip flesh consistency and curvature, and specially how far from fingertip nail start detaching from finger and generates space between finger and the nail (the size of nails white part out of flesh). Several methods do not talk about this last point, which makes a lot of difference in my humble experience. Nail thickness and flexibility also has a lot of influence on size choice.
Well said, Luis. Playing again . . . Rognvald
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

guit-box
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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by guit-box » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:34 am

Another thing to factor into Segovia's rounded fingernail shape that followed the contour of his fingertip is the fact that he played off the right side of the nail (ramping from right to left). I just studied several of his youtube videos and slowed down closeups and it's true, most people insist that Segovia played off the left side of the nail like most modern players do. He did that too, but his default technique seems to be off the right side and that affects how and why he shaped the nails how he did and/or why they are so short.
An eyewitness will often only see what he already believes to be true.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by doebringer » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:34 pm

For the Scott Tennant thing about nails extending past the tip of the finger, I always interpreted it to mean that the nail at it's longest is or should be as long as the flesh at it's longest, but since the nail's longest point is towards one side (so it's ramped instead of rounded), and the finger's longest point is in the center, then obviously the nail will extend past the flesh on the one side.

The illustrations seem drawn with a slight exaggeration.

It would be informative to see pictures of Scott Tennant's hands.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by BellyDoc » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:20 pm

I think the reason that Tennant's comments appear potentially contradictory is that the appearance of the length of the nail at rest is not the same at rest as when striking a note. Although the free margin of the nail may appear to extend beyond the tip at rest, it turns out that when the soft tissue is compressed against the nail as it is when the finger crosses a string to strike a note, the end of the flesh and the edge of the nail line up. I don't think there's any contradiction in that at all.

The FEELING of a non-overhanging nail is what to strive for. It will FEEL like there's no overhang to the nail while playing (no "catch" or delay in the note, warmer rather than brighter tone) while at rest there will be a small visible amount of nail extension. The "ramp" shape is useful because the string compresses the flesh in a straight line or plane and the flat ramp supports all of it across the contact patch. The unfortunate problem is that not all the fingers contact the strings at the same angles, and the same finger will be at different angles at different times.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Sir Isaac Newton

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by slidika » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:49 pm

My nails are rounded and to the edge of my fingertips. I have tried longer nails, but they did not 'work' for me. However, I have seen some flamenco players with quite long nails. So, IMHO, to each his/her own.
Whenever I am not ready for my music lesson, I call it 'facing the music'.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by davebones » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:58 pm

Since I asked the question in June about how foundational longer nails were to classical guitar playing, I will now share that after fourteen weeks and an appropriate increase in the length and shape of my nails, I can report that, for me anyway, nails are very helpful and seem to contribute substantially to getting a good sound out of my guitar. I am slowly learning how to use my left hand for many operations that a longer set of right hand nails makes difficult. But I'm very happy that I have tried the long nail approach and will most definitely continue.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by RobMacKillop » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:51 am

This:

A.Arcese wrote:
Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:47 am
I'm not sure this was clarified in the discussion. My understanding of what Segovia told Virginia Luque, the guitarist quoted in the OP, was specifically for her because she was a "flesh" player. He told her to grow enough nail to support the tip of the finger, but not so much that it would contact the string as it would for a nail player. He was not saying that all players should have nails that don't extend past the fingertips.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by msa3psu » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:34 pm

My finger and nail shape seems to require a very short nail on all fingers for normal playing but I feel that this compromises a really crisp rasgueado as the flesh behind the nail damps the sound almost at the same time as the nail plays on the downstroke. I keep them short though as rasgueado is relatively infrequent in the classical repertoire. Unfortunate because the works with significant rasgueado also seem to have a lot of fast rest stroke scales. I want longer nails for the former and only short nails work for me in the latter.

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by Qsound » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:24 pm

I studied with a teacher for 6 months in 1976 at U. Of Idaho who had been a student of Segovia's for 5 or 6 years in Spain. I moved and could not continue lessons and I wish I remembered his name.
1st lesson was all about the nails. He looked at my hands and said, " oh these will never do"
My history at that time was electric and steel acoustic.
So he studied my hands and set forth the following that if I wanted to continue I would follow and he meant it and I followed .
Left fretting hand fingers trimmed low, well below, really as low as could be trimmed. This of course to fret proper and not place divits in the fret board. String fingers, your file must lay flat on the top of finger, notice how the file sits, you want a slight angle up so the finger nail just tops the bulb of the finger tip. To use the nail if needed, it is a support. You must carry clippers and file with you at all times if you wish to keep your nails.
20 minutes of my hands being carefully manicured by this tall man with longish hair and beard to match wearing flannel and jeans. He stated I must find in my diet items that would strengthen my nails, he suggested a glass a day of whole milk and good cheese from whole milk twice daily with meal or snack. He suggested I wear gloves until my nails got thicker if I was outside doing labor. So noticed in two weeks I had nails to file and shape void of cracks and chips. At the end of first month, perfect nails filed and shaped according to him. I'm still working on proper technique etc. when I forget to do what I was taught I end up with cracks and chips and go through my monthly files, milk and cheese. Ok so yes I'm a new guy, I'm 61 and you guessed it I talk a lot. I've tried calcium supplements as well which would be easy in comparison. Well we all know, nothing is easy.

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guitarrista
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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by guitarrista » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:59 pm

msa3psu wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:34 pm
My finger and nail shape seems to require a very short nail on all fingers for normal playing but I feel that this compromises a really crisp rasgueado as the flesh behind the nail damps the sound almost at the same time as the nail plays on the downstroke.
Strange, I would not have guessed that short nails would affect rasgueado sound (I also have very short nails but no issues with rasgueado). I wonder if it is a matter of the rasgueado stroke being executed too parallel to the plane of the strings (i.e. what I would call "like a strum"). What happens if you try to do rasgueado strokes a bit more angled into the soundboard (just a bit) so the nail is what strikes the strings rather than a combination of nail and flesh?
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by msa3psu » Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:43 pm

guitarrista wrote:
Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:59 pm
msa3psu wrote:
Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:34 pm
My finger and nail shape seems to require a very short nail on all fingers for normal playing but I feel that this compromises a really crisp rasgueado as the flesh behind the nail damps the sound almost at the same time as the nail plays on the downstroke.
Strange, I would not have guessed that short nails would affect rasgueado sound (I also have very short nails but no issues with rasgueado). I wonder if it is a matter of the rasgueado stroke being executed too parallel to the plane of the strings (i.e. what I would call "like a strum"). What happens if you try to do rasgueado strokes a bit more angled into the soundboard (just a bit) so the nail is what strikes the strings rather than a combination of nail and flesh?
I'm not sure of what you mean. My nails do strike the strings as I shoot the fingers but if I try to strike all six or even five strings, then as the shooting finger straightens the flesh behind the nail begins to contact the second or first string after the nail strikes because the finger position is more at a right angle to the plane of the strings at that point. Thanks for thinking about it.

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guitarrista
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Re: Segovia said the nails should only come to the ends of the fingers, never over?

Post by guitarrista » Mon Oct 30, 2017 9:28 pm

msa3psu wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:43 pm
My nails do strike the strings as I shoot the fingers but if I try to strike all six or even five strings, then as the shooting finger straightens the flesh behind the nail begins to contact the second or first string after the nail strikes because the finger position is more at a right angle to the plane of the strings at that point.
Right, so try to strike a bit more downward into the soundboard so that the striking angle for the last string you strike does not quite reach the right angle you talk about. Also don't try to strike all 6 strings with a rasgueado especially if you are still learning the technique - the rasgueado notation is a bit misleading that way. You might end up sounding all six as a consequence from time to time, but don't aim to strike all six (or five) - and in many cases you are not supposed to despite how it is notated. Instead, practice aiming at the middle 2-3 strings, then the base strings only, then the trebles only. You will still get some of the neighbouring ones, some or most of the time, but this will focus your rasgueado and hopefully correct the angle a bit.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

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