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Playing away a fingernail

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GUEST,Skivee-guesting in from the Emer . Back-up C 02 Oct 12 - 11:00 PM
Bugsy 02 Oct 12 - 11:20 PM
alex s 03 Oct 12 - 07:06 AM
Bugsy 03 Oct 12 - 07:54 PM
Bobert 03 Oct 12 - 08:08 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 03:06 AM
Bugsy 04 Oct 12 - 03:30 AM
Will Fly 04 Oct 12 - 03:46 AM
Bugsy 04 Oct 12 - 04:23 AM
Bobert 04 Oct 12 - 08:05 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 08:13 AM
Will Fly 04 Oct 12 - 08:50 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 11:06 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 11:21 AM
Will Fly 04 Oct 12 - 12:16 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 01:29 PM
alex s 04 Oct 12 - 01:31 PM
johncharles 04 Oct 12 - 02:53 PM
Bobert 04 Oct 12 - 03:05 PM
Will Fly 04 Oct 12 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 12 - 04:43 PM
Good Soldier Schweik 04 Oct 12 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Larkin 04 Oct 12 - 05:52 PM
PoppaGator 04 Oct 12 - 05:59 PM
Bobert 04 Oct 12 - 06:06 PM
Will Fly 05 Oct 12 - 03:54 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Oct 12 - 06:56 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Oct 12 - 06:58 AM
Will Fly 05 Oct 12 - 07:44 AM
Bugsy 05 Oct 12 - 11:42 PM
Bobert 06 Oct 12 - 11:23 AM
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Subject: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Skivee-guesting in from the Emer . Back-up C
Date: 02 Oct 12 - 11:00 PM

I have played in bands at the Md. Renaissance Fair for a sea-dog's age.
Last few years, my right hand index finger nail is slowly gnawed away by my guitar strings as I play through the 9-week season.


Ive tried a few things...different picks and pick angles (but I always unconsciously revert to my old ways), superglue infiltration at the nail edge, nail coatings of various kinds, gelatin.

Any experience with this? Any solutions that worked?


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bugsy
Date: 02 Oct 12 - 11:20 PM

THere are several threads on the forum about this problem.

I go to a nail salon and get gel nails applied a every few weeks and let them grow off every couple of months. They work fine for me and don't wear down.

Now you'll get several posts telling you that they're bad for your nails, that they can't breathe etc. and several telling you about alaska picks etc.

All I'll say is try the gel nails and see what you think.

CHeers

Bugsy

ps. They feel a bit strange for the first day or so.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: alex s
Date: 03 Oct 12 - 07:06 AM

Bugsy, is that a UV treatment? How long does it take?


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bugsy
Date: 03 Oct 12 - 07:54 PM

They're applied the same as acrylic nails but they are thinner and more durable.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bobert
Date: 03 Oct 12 - 08:08 PM

I've played and performed for 20 years with a fake nail on the index finger on my picking hand...

Can't imagine going on stage without it...

B~


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 03:06 AM

It amazes me that EVERY bluegrass banjo player in the world uses fingerpicks, but so many guitar players have problems with them.
Having said that, I have seen some terrific guitarist's picks fly off in mid-performance.
And, of course, there is the question of tone, AND, the problem - with fingerpicks - if you want to strum down as well as pick up.
I've never gone down the false-nail path but I should, as so many great fingerpickers have taked that route.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bugsy
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 03:30 AM

If you are going to try them, take my advice and get them done when you haven't got a gig for a few days. that way you can start with them reasonably long and fashion them to the length and shape that feels best when playing. there's nothing worse than having them too long/short, or having them too wide at the base where you catch the strings in them. (You'll get the idea of what I mean about that when you start playing either hard or fast)

Good luck and let us know how you went.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 03:46 AM

It amazes me that EVERY bluegrass banjo player in the world uses fingerpicks, but so many guitar players have problems with them.

Different instruments, different techniques, different tonalities...

I find fingerpicks restrict the feel and pulse of what I play, particularly in varying the tone quality - and also because I often use the back of my nails to flick the strings and 'fill-in' some rhythm parts.

I also regularly wear down my index fingernail by hard picking - particularly after an acoustic session - which I put down to my poor pick technique. However, I also use hybrid picking - pick and two fingers together - to get round a worn nail problem. I'm too lazy to bother with false nails.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bugsy
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 04:23 AM

Whereas, I'm too lazy to learn a new picking style.
;0)
Cheers

bugsy


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 08:05 AM

I use finger picks on certain songs and not on others... There are songs where I need to stick in a hard strum between picking and that's what the fake nail is for... And there are songs that are all strumming for which the nail becomes a flat pick...

B~


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 08:13 AM

Well, guitarist Bob Brozman uses finger/thumb picks and gets an amazing range of tones, attack ... you name it. And, he seems to be able to do any combination of down/up picking.
I think most guitarist - for whatever reason - don't persevere long enough with fingerpicks.
I recall banjoist Pete Wernick, in one of his books, advising players to wear their picks as they go about their daily business as a way of bonding with them.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 08:50 AM

No offence, but I don't give a hoot what Bob Brozman or any other user of fingerpicks does or can do. I simply don't like the feel of them and - over 45 years - never have done. There's something about the combination of nail and skin which suits me. I just don't really want to persevere with something that doesn't appeal in the first place. :-)


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 11:06 AM

Oh dear Will, the "I" seems to be a very important word in your last post, but, you may have noticed, that the person who is asking advice, is a different "I"!

BTW, some of the most profound music in the world involves the use of fingerpicks e.g. the sitar, and the guzheng.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 11:21 AM

Another thought, one of the problems with playing fingerstyle - with bare fingers - is lack of volume.
I've been going to folkclubs for nearly 50 yrs and the vast majority of fingerstyle players simply don't play loud enough.
Countless times, I've sat in the audience, listening to a guitarist, and thought to myself, " If this person's guitar was 50% louder he/she would engage the audience a lot more".

Classical guitarist work very hard being able produce a sound which is loud and projects.
Folk guitarists, generally, won't have the same attention to such details.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 12:16 PM

Sorry, Tunesmith - no intention on my part to be cocksure and sorry if it sounded that way. I was merely responding to your comment:

It amazes me that EVERY bluegrass banjo player in the world uses fingerpicks, but so many guitar players have problems with them.

Which, to me, implied that us non-fingerpickpick users are just too lazy to get to grips with something that we really should be getting to grips with! :-)


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 01:29 PM

What I would say, is that picks for bluegrass banjoists are compulsory, but not so for guitarist; that means banjoists can't give up on the picks but guitarists can ... and more often than not, do give up.
I feel that the music should inform how you play - and what you play with i.e. plec VS fingers, bare fingers VS fingerpicks.
Learning to play - really well - with all the tools available would,I feel, make a lot of sense.
I've spent a lot of time working on the hybrid technique ( plec plus fingers), and I'm convinced that developing that style is a great idea.
That tecnique tends to be associated with electric country guitarists e.g. Albert Lee, but who are the well known folkie acoustic players that use hybrid technique?


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: alex s
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 01:31 PM

Looks as if Tunesmith doesn't understand the very different techniques of Bluegrass banjo v fingerstyle guitar. I play both and can assure him that the picks I use for banjo don't suit the guitar.

I thought Will sounded perfectly reasonable, btw.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: johncharles
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 02:53 PM

My mate varies between false nails and fingerpicks. the nails produce the better sound on his guitars.
John


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 03:05 PM

The decibel issue is an important one... Especially if not plugged in... I'd rather use the picks (plugged in or not) just because it's cleaner and you can lift the bass strings better with them...

BTW, I have been using the same 3 picks for the last 20 years... Plastic on thumb and index finger and metal on the middle finger...

I've seen Brozman pick and he's real good but what I haven't seen him do if throw in a strummed down stroke for accent between traditional claw hammer style picking... I do that and on those songs the picks gotta come off because that down stoke with a finger pick is too tricky and if you don't hit it perfect then the pick gets pulled off...

B~


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 03:13 PM

who are the well known folkie acoustic players that use hybrid technique?

Well, Richard Thompson, for one.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 04:38 PM

Well, I play bluegrass banjo, too! Well done me!
Now the point I am trying to make - with great difficulty it seems - is that fingerpicks - if perverved with - are a very useless tool for the guitar.
Of course, lots of folkies do use fingerpicks...from Joan Baez on down!


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 04:43 PM

In answer to Boberts posting, I've used two fingerpicks (on fingers one and two) and used my third finger for "thwacking".
I've also tried fingerpicks on fingers one and three and used the second finger for thwacking.
Both ways work out pretty good.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Good Soldier Schweik
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 04:46 PM

nothing works for me, apart from a thumb pick, so i use my finger tips, i pick banjo and gutiar with fingers, with no nails and even do occasional rolls with fingers, why not?the only nail i can grow is index finger so i use that for frailing, for up picking its not necessary to have picks, i think picks are brash and interfere with my ability to pick with sensitively


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Larkin
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 05:52 PM

Gel nails are fantastic I've used em for 3 years and they give me great tone and a crispness I never got with my own nails


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: PoppaGator
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 05:59 PM

When I "graduated" from a nylon-string guitar to a graduation-present steel-string Martin, I began trying to learn to play with picks.

Shortly afterwards, I began playing long hours as a steet performer. I never caught on the using a flatpick because my hand would cramp up to soon. (Probably a symptom of bad pick-gripping technique.) After swaitching back and forth between the flatpick and a set of fingerpicks, dsepending upon the style in with I played each song, I eventually settled on using fingerpicks exclusively, gradually developing techniques for using the picks to "strum" (or, generally, play loud) with my set of two metal National fingerpicks and a plastic thumbpick.

The metal fingerpicks are carefully shaped to fit my gnarly arthritic fingers. One of 'em, for the middle finger, dates back to the eawrly 1970s. I haven't been so lucky hanging on to my index-finger pick(s); I seem to need a new one every few years.

I wear out the plastic thumbpicks. Need a new one every couple months.

I've always worn the picks to perform. In recent years, I've taken to playing barefingered more and more often when at home, and now I find that when I don't practive enough with picks, when I put them on for a performance, I'm likely to accidentally downstroke with a finger, causing the pick to pop off. Grrr!

I would consider abandoning the picks altogether, but only if I were to start using an amp and pickup for all public appearances. I don't feel that I can generate enough volume without either picks or amplification, one or the other if not both.

I'm quite confident that I can generate a nice wide spectrum of tonal qualities playing with my picks. But htat's just me, not necessarily the best advice for you. I've been at it since 1964 and have picked up a few tricks over all that time.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Oct 12 - 06:06 PM

If yer "thwacking" with yer 3rd finger as accent to claw hammer pickin', Tunesmith, then you are one heck of a player... Real estate gets mighty tight in there with picks on 1 and 2 fingers having to be lifted out of the "thack"... I'd kinda like to see that...

You got any YouTube of it???

B~


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 12 - 03:54 AM

Heartening experiences from Bobert and PoppaGator...

I've always thought playing with fingerpicks is like sex with a condom - reasonably safe but dulls the sensitivity...


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Oct 12 - 06:56 AM

Well, the players of all the following instruments have their sensitivity dulled I'm afraid: sitar, bluegrass banjo, fiddle, cello, guzheng, koto, etc!


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Oct 12 - 06:58 AM

And... every plectrum guitarist who ever lived!


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 12 - 07:44 AM

I think we must agree to disagree here - and no harm in that.

The point I would make is that, as far as the "sitar, bluegrass banjo, fiddle, cello, guzheng, koto - and plectrum guitar" - are concerned, they are not generally intended to be played with fingers, whereas the guitar can be played with fingers, picks or plectrum. How it is played is down to the performer. Some people can use fingerpicks - can't exist without them, even - others simply dislike them and can't get on with them.

And it's not for lack of trying - in the end, it's down to the individual and his/her interaction with the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bugsy
Date: 05 Oct 12 - 11:42 PM

So back to GUEST,Skivee-guesting in from the Emer . Back-up C.

Has any of this been of any value to you?

Let us know

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Playing away a fingernail
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Oct 12 - 11:23 AM

My thinkin' is that you should play what sounds best for the instrument and style of music...

I use picks exclusively on my Lowebow (see "Sidewalk Bob" You Tube)...

I also use them on my "Back Porch" 5 string "slab" geetar (see Ted Crocker guitars)

I alternate bare fingers and picks on my S. Yari and Washburn ES 10 Resonator depending on the requirements for the song...

The main thing is to play and sound as good as you can, ain't it???

B~


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