Modernising No-Nails Technique

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RobMacKillop
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Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:44 am

I often record at low pitches, using gut strings, on a Torres-related guitar, etc. People say, nice, but that won't work with modern guitars and strings. You might be right, but I'm going to try to persuade you otherwise...

Here is Tárrega's Endecha and Oremus played on a carbon-fibre lattice guitar, with modern nylon strings - Savarez White Card - pitched at 440, and played with rest strokes here and there (not something I normally do).

Now, does it work or not? I won't be hurt if you think it awful!


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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:19 am

No need to convince me Rob - I've just sent two more "fleshies" for their Grade 8s on modern instruments - but I am slightly confused - you mentioned playing at a lower pitch. The recording's at 440? Do you simply mean nail-free on modern gear?

Sounds great anyway. Job done. Do you know the original Schumann?

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:31 am

Yes, nail-free on modern gear at 440, not something I often do. But I think it works well. The Schumann piano solo is much faster, and Tárrega has been quite creative with it. Like I mentioned in an earlier thread, the "performer is king" mentality can throw up some interesting things. Good luck with your students!

crazyrach97
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by crazyrach97 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:53 am

Sounds great to me, but what do I know?

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:54 pm

All you need to :-)

powderedtoastman
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by powderedtoastman » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:26 pm

Sounds very good!
I may have to think again about filing the nails down and giving it a try... I have always been wanting to get rid of the nails but hesitant to take the leap into re-working my technique. I'm big on mostly free strokes, initiating the stroke from the big knuckle with a little bit of follow through into the palm (less so when going faster) and that's kind of the most important part to me.

It looks to me in this video like there is motion in the big knuckle and since you're playing rest strokes it just means your hand is positioned such that the stroke is stopped by the next string, so if you just moved your hand about a cm down toward the first string, you could clear the next string and get a good free stroke follow through.
That can work for me if I can find the right sound, I just don't want to go as far as putting my hand at a drastically different angle such as the nearly parallel to the strings approach that many classical period guitarists and lutenists would do.

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:13 pm

There are as many ways to play without nails as there are to play with nails. You'll find your way, if you take the plunge. And if it doesn't work out, you can always go back. But if I were you, I'd be willing to give it a six-month trial. Most people give up after a week, which is just a waste of time. The pads need time to be comfortable with their new role. Either way, good luck.

mainterm
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by mainterm » Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:55 pm

I think it works really well.

I'm really glad you posted this - quite timely for me personally. I've always liked nail-less guitar sounds and began to feel more strongly about this some years ago after meeting and working briefly with Carlo Barone (that was very fun and interesting). A seed was planted.

And recently I've been toying around with the idea of returning to a childhood love - rock climbing...

then there's my lute over there sitting with a frown on in the corner.

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tateharmann
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by tateharmann » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:07 pm

Of course it works well - it worked well for players of yesteryear (but not too long ago) like Renata Tarragó and Manuel Cubedo. Cubedo played with modern nylon strings at "concert" pitch on an Ignacio Fleta and Renata with the same setup on an instrument made by Enrique Garcia. They both lived into the 21st century and were still making great records into the 1970's.

Now, personally, I prefer the sound of gut strings on a smaller bodied instrument - it's a sound I could listen to all day (either flesh or nails). But that's just me - this is also very nice.

It's great to hear some up-and-coming students playing with flesh - maybe we have another Cubedo/Tarragó in the making?

There's also Liam McManus and Eliot Nordqvist who have achieved a very nice modern sound without nails.
mainterm wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:55 pm
I'm really glad you posted this - quite timely for me personally. I've always liked nail-less guitar sounds and began to feel more strongly about this some years ago after meeting and working briefly with Carlo Barone (that was very fun and interesting). A seed was planted.
I'd not heard of that name before - more info please!?
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mainterm
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by mainterm » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:28 pm

tateharmann wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:07 pm
mainterm wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:55 pm
<snip> Carlo Barone <snip>
I'd not heard of that name before - more info please!?
Carlo is an Italian musician, conductor (and very skilled guitarist) who is an expert on 19th century Italian performance practice, vis-a-vis guitar I think his main focus/specialty is Giuliani. I recall seeing some stuff out there on the interwebs, but I seriously doubt any of it really does him justice.

Anyone interested in what a 19th century Italian performance practice expert thinks about how Giuliani was played in Giuliani's time should try to get their hands on a recording of Carlo. It's a wild ride.

Not sure what he is up to these days, it was 10+ years ago that I met him, but I would expect he's following his passions with gusto wherever he is!

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RobMacKillop
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by RobMacKillop » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:34 pm

Tate, those guys were still playing traditional Spanish guitars. I was showing the technique on a modern lattice guitar, and according to Pepe Romero, nylon has changed since then. Cubedo's son was in touch with me this week, thanks, I think, to you.

I know Barone's work. Exclusively 19th century stuff, I think.

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tateharmann
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by tateharmann » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:11 pm

Fleta built extremely heavy tops (thick) with heavy bracing (9 fan braces instead of 5 or 7) so I think he was at least looking in a modern direction :)

But yes, lattice guitars are a whole different animal!!

I've played both lattice and double top guitars with modern strings at 440hz and it sounds just fine without nails...not as good as you...but passable haha.

I thought the original nylon recipe from DuPont hadn't changed much since the 40s...of course there are new strings like fluorocarbon and titanium. But those sound good with flesh technique too. So do steel strings...pretty much everything does haha!
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tateharmann
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by tateharmann » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:12 pm

mainterm wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:28 pm
tateharmann wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:07 pm
mainterm wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:55 pm
<snip> Carlo Barone <snip>
I'd not heard of that name before - more info please!?
Carlo is an Italian musician, conductor (and very skilled guitarist) who is an expert on 19th century Italian performance practice, vis-a-vis guitar I think his main focus/specialty is Giuliani. I recall seeing some stuff out there on the interwebs, but I seriously doubt any of it really does him justice.

Anyone interested in what a 19th century Italian performance practice expert thinks about how Giuliani was played in Giuliani's time should try to get their hands on a recording of Carlo. It's a wild ride.

Not sure what he is up to these days, it was 10+ years ago that I met him, but I would expect he's following his passions with gusto wherever he is!
Awesome - thanks!
"One should always eat muffins quite calmly. It is the only way to eat them."

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Michael.N.
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:35 am

No nails on a lattice, what will they think of next! Actually perfectly valid. Playing no nails on a lattice might take some of the undesirable edge off the sound, at least the lattice examples that have a bit of a grating sound. I'm not suggesting they all sound like that though.
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DaveLloyd
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Re: Modernising No-Nails Technique

Post by DaveLloyd » Sat Jul 14, 2018 12:25 pm

Very nice Rob!

I break my nails with monotonous regularity. Sometimes wonder if I should try without them . . . You've got me wondering now . . . . !

PS the very first version of Concerto de Aranjuez I ever owned (on vinyl) was Manuel Cubedo's when he released it in 74. Still have it in pristine condition.

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