Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
el_guitarrero
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Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by el_guitarrero » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:00 pm

Hello,

Maybe someone with experience can answer this:
I play with very hard natural nails, they are rounded and not very long.
When playing with my solette guitar, strung with old EJ45, i can blast through the pieces, especially with the right hand.

Well, i prefer the loud tone of medium/ high tension strings, but can not play with the same grip on the right hand. So i am considering to sacrifice some tone and therefore to achieve better control and „fluidity“ for the right hand... does this make sense?

mvisscher
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Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by mvisscher » Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:06 am

Hi, I'm not sure if I understand your question, maybe you can clarify?
ie; - Do you play on a standard guitar as well as the soloette?
- can you describe what you mean by sacrificing tone to achieve control/fluidity?

I think most players find that tone, control and fluidity will all improve with some work on right hand security and finger independence, regardless of the string tension.

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guitarrista
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Location: Victoria, BC, Canada

Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by guitarrista » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:09 am

el_guitarrero wrote:
Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:00 pm
Well, i prefer the loud tone of medium/ high tension strings, but can not play with the same grip on the right hand. So i am considering to sacrifice some tone and therefore to achieve better control and „fluidity“ for the right hand... does this make sense?
What do you mean, grip on the right hand? You don't seem to be a lefty, so you are still talking about your string-picking hand. Are you talking about grip of each finger, i.e. sensation of friction when you play through the string? Usually people don't want more of that as it slows playing down.
Konstantin
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1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

el_guitarrero
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Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 7:33 pm

Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by el_guitarrero » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:25 pm

Hello , sorry for not clarifying my post. Blazing through the strings with the right hand I think it has to do with my hard nails on the right hand and the resistance of the strings... The other guitar I play is a Bernabe m10, strung with medium high tension. The Soloette is strung with Ej45 medium tension.

I do not know why it feels better or easier to play fast pieces with the right-hand for example Villa-Lobos arpeggios Etude Nr1.

I play with quite short nails, btw

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guitarrista
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Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by guitarrista » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:50 pm

It sounds like you are just used to the 'give' of the medium tension strings, with whatever combination you are used to of nail hardness, shape, length, and dynamic use of the three finger joints in the process of plucking a string.

You can verify that it is the tension difference on your Soloette (with the medium tension) where you feel comfortable playing fast. Try moving your right hand a few centimeters towards the bridge and play again the same passage. This will simulate 'higher tension' strings because it will feel harder to displace the strings because they are stiffer.

If so, you'd have to adjust your stroke for the higher tension strings - trajectory, impulse force, how stiff or loose your tip joint is; how deep your fingertip sits when prepped on a string before a stroke; nail length and shape adjustments if needed - so that you start performing a stroke which, relative to the string, resembles what happens when with the medium tension strings. This should result in a measurable improvement in ease.

I personally went through something similar a couple of years ago in order to be able to play with ease on Savarez Cantiga/AllianceKF high tension because I really liked their brilliance and feel. It is doable; there is nothing inherent in high tension strings that makes one get stuck and not able to play fast.
Konstantin
--
1982 Anselmo Solar Gonzalez

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joachim33
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Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by joachim33 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:22 pm

What are your medium-high strings? D’Addario doesn’t do medium-high sets. What one brand’s low tension (e.g. Hannabach)is comparable to another brands high tension (D’Addario/Savarez).

I currently own two guitars. Using the same strings on both of them, my left hand has to work way harder on the one than the other.

Unless you start comparing strings from the same product line (e.g. EJ45 with EJ46) on the same guitar you will not get to the bottom of this.

It could be string tension, string brand, the two guitars or a combination of these, which give the effect you are experiencing.

celestemcc
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Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by celestemcc » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:41 pm

Also wondering if your Soloette might have a slightly shorter scale than your regular guitar, which can affect string tension feel.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
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valiata
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Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by valiata » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:53 pm

Even with two guitars of the same maker / model the result can be vastly different using the same strings.
There are too many variables in top / body stiffness, vibration patterns, harmonic response. No two guitars are the same IMHO. We are always comparing a combination of string and body response.

That being said, my personal preference is medium - high tension nylon, I don't like carbon strings that much.

el_guitarrero
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Re: Hard nails = soft strings (low tension)?

Post by el_guitarrero » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:57 am

Thanks to all for those great ideas. I think that to focus on loosing the tip joints helped a lot.
I will try to improve my technique in future, thanks again! :bravo:

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