Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
guit-box
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Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by guit-box » Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:52 am

I remember seeing a drawing of various fingernail shapes in a classical guitar method, but can't seem to locate it again. I'm thinking it was in the Aaron Shearer books, so if you have it, please post that image.

One of the images showed fingernails shaped in reverse ramps and some of them used standard ramps for i and m but reverse ramp for a. I also noticed that Kanengeiser uses a reverse ramp for his a finger. See his GFA tutorial on nails.

What has me curious is whether these players who use reverse ramps also pluck with that finger so the string glides over the nail from right-to-left instead of the usual way (left-to-right), OR are they simply using more supination of the forearm, ramping from left-to-right, but starting the contact point a little closer to the middle of the nail. If you use a reverse ramp for any of your i,m,a fingers, please describe how you pluck with that finger and why the reverse ramp works best for you.

Btw, left side of the index finger means the thumb side of the fingernail.
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Lovemyguitar
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by Lovemyguitar » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:15 am

In addition to Shearer's Book 1, Scott Tennant's Pumping Nylon also has images very much like those you describe. I will not post the images, because the books are under copyright.

guit-box
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by guit-box » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:04 am

At 17:00 he talks about his a finger having a reverse ramp, describing the reason for the reverse ramp being the natural orientation of his a finger being at an angle to the strings that is opposite of the i finger.



reverse ramp shape on the right
Image
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Alexander Kalil
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by Alexander Kalil » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:59 pm

guit-box wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 12:52 am
If you use a reverse ramp for any of your i,m,a fingers, please describe how you pluck with that finger and why the reverse ramp works best for you.
I have a reverse ramp on my little finger, and used to have one on my a finger too. In both cases I still pluck in the standard fashion from the left nail side.

The reverse nail shape results from removing the right portion of the nail that would catch on the string when the finger plucks tangentially from underneath. This happens when the finger is naturally oriented in reverse, as explained by Kanengiser, or/and when you play with a pronounced right tilt (suppination) of the forearm.

guit-box
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by guit-box » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:18 pm

Yes, that's how I suspect most players who pluck more tangentially to the strings are using a reverse ramp. Filing a reverse ramp to eliminate catching on the right side makes sense to me to remove some of the curved cross section on the right side. I've been trying various straight ramps for years, but have just recently gone back to the rounded nail shape (somewhere between a U and a rounded V shape) that I was taught before methods from Kanengeiser and Tennant came out promoting the straight ramps. For players who pluck more perpendicular to the strings, I wonder if any of them are plucking right-to-left with a reverse ramp shape (a la Ida Presti).
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Jason Kulas
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by Jason Kulas » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:16 pm

guit-box wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:18 pm
Filing a reverse ramp to eliminate catching on the right side makes sense to me
You subscribe to tonebase, don't you? Beg them for some videos? :P We want high-speed close-ups of fingers/nails interacting with strings. Viloteau uses a reverse ramp on some fingers. Or at least he did in 2014:
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Charles Baldour
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by Charles Baldour » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:11 pm

I've found that a slight "standard" ramp from left to right works well for my p, i and m fingers. On my "a" finger I use a reverse ramp to try and counteract the "v" shape of that nail. With the reverse ramp, I am able to get a closer sound to what is produced with my other nails, rather than the brighter/thinner sound it creates with the standard ramp shape.

SkinDoc
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by SkinDoc » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:57 am

Some interesting points - I tried a reverse ramp on my a finger, which approaches the string as an almost mirror image of my i finger, however I was trying to use the opposing right-to-left attack. I've been struggling with ulna wrist pain for months and have actually cut my nails right down to eliminate them from equation. I think the pain resulted from my a finger and I plan to try the reverse ramp with the conventional L-R attack. Fingers crossed!

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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by guit-box » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:09 am

SkinDoc wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:57 am
Some interesting points - I tried a reverse ramp on my a finger, which approaches the string as an almost mirror image of my i finger, however I was trying to use the opposing right-to-left attack. I've been struggling with ulna wrist pain for months and have actually cut my nails right down to eliminate them from equation. I think the pain resulted from my a finger and I plan to try the reverse ramp with the conventional L-R attack. Fingers crossed!
It's possible that some players with a reverse ramp on the a finger are playing right-to-left, but from what you've described as a radial positioning of your i,m,a fingers, I suspect that you're still playing left-to-right on the a nail but just starting the stroke more mid-nail. A closeup video of your right hand playing would be informative.
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drmdjones
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by drmdjones » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:09 am

Please excuse my ignorance, but does reverse ramp mean the nail is longer on the left side as you look at the back of your hand?

guit-box
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by guit-box » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:43 pm

drmdjones wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:09 am
Please excuse my ignorance, but does reverse ramp mean the nail is longer on the left side as you look at the back of your hand?
Yes
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Luis_Br
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Re: Reverse Ramp Fingernail Shape

Post by Luis_Br » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:16 pm

I don't use ramps, because I think it restricts tone variation, I think I dig in or make up a ramp through arm rotation and the way finger plucks, rather than using too long nails.
But my ring finger nail is shorter on the right side (as a reverse ramp). I think reason is it reaches the string in a small reverse angle while other fingers are more perpendicular. I also generally play with 'a' finger contact point a bit more to the center of the finger while others might play more from the left for the "default" sound type. It is also important to notice my 'a' finger nail is more detached from fingertip and I use it longer than other fingers.
I am a thin person, may fingers are thin, the 'a' fingertip has weaker flesh compared to the others. If I try to play 'a' finger from most left point of contact, as with other fingers, I think overall string contact area with finger/nail becomes too short, generating thinner sound.
So I use a kind of reverse angle trying to find a way for increasing contact surface. IMO the bigger the contact surfece, the fuller the sound. You can check this noticing that the finger slip stroke generates fuller and rounder sound than a regular stroke, and I think the reason is because the lateral movement extends contact surface. I think Presti's technique generates fuller sound also because of some sort of lateral motion used together with the pluck, as you can see Artzt teaching (my impression from concerts I've heard from some of those playing this technique).

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