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quapman

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All I can say is:

 

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaak!!!!!

 

So I tried.

 

I grew out my nails,, I put clear nail polish on them, much to my kids hysteria thank you, and I painstakingly maintained them to the best of my ability. Bought a fancy file. Researched different filing techniques and was adapting the "ramp".

 

Things were going along fairly well for some time until they just kinda started to deteriorate.

I don't know why but they kinda just started slowly losing layers until I was left with a very thin sharp flimsy nail.

 

Not sure at what point they started to break down but they were very robust for several weeks and I was really really

enjoying playing with them and the tone I was getting out of them.

 

I did, for about a week,, stop playing, and then resumed,, and it seemed at that point they started to degrade.

 

So,, any of you nail pickers have any experience of this?

What did I do wrong?

Poor diet, maintenance?

Do you have to occasionally start over?

 

As nice as it was to have real nails for fingerpicking I don't think it's worth the hassle.

I'm a low maintenance guy. I cut my hair with clippers and can be ready to go out the door in 10 minutes.

I don't think I'm cut out for nail maintenance.

 

So,, I have just ordered the propiks Darling uses.

I figure what the hell.. give them a try.

 

So now I am back to just flesh and damn,, they are wimpy and tender.

Why the faaaaaaak did I even want to fingerpick in the first place?????

lol...

 

FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAK!!!!

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Quap...

 

Here's the deal as I see it - and I've been fingerpickin' in a number of styles for ages. I use fingerpicks only on banjo for "Scruggs" pickin', on the 12-string and on an autoharp which I haven't had for ages.

 

But for using fingertip/nail combination as with classical guitar, the fingertips and nail cut to fingertip length just brush the strings horizontally literally like a paintbrush with the last finger joint "loose." They don't "claw" the strings at all.

 

That's also true for your flamenco players who have usually much longer nails for a more percussive effect either with a brush-stroke upward toward the thumb or downward for a strum (or several fingers downward for a rasgueado).

 

When I started, I played the games with some clear nail polish, with a product called "hard as nails" clear polish, etc.

 

Then... as technique got closer to "classical," I discovered the real trick is that the fingers just brush the strings instead of clamping onto them. Actually that's also the case if you do use fingerpicks.

 

So now every cupla weeks I clip the nails and file 'em smooth. That's it.

 

m

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Do you guys fingerpick on your electric guitars as well?

 

I was using my fingers on everything.

 

And I don't think I was 'clawing' at them. Certainly wasn't using any classical or flamenco

technique but I wasn't plucking them. And I was using both flesh and nail as well.

or both.

 

I will give them another go but they just seemed to need to start over.

I really quite liked using them. I didn't like maintaining them.

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I very seldom use a flatpick. When I do it's for "old time" music on a big flattop.

 

Been doin' it for decades 99 percent fingerpicking.

 

Dunno the problem.

 

Actually classical technique is exactly what longtime bare-fingered fingerpickers do whether they think of it that way or not. I've watched carefully at Joe Pass' jazz and about anything Chet did... Leo Kottke... and I'm seeing roughly the same thing regardless that many of "us" were self taught as opposed to "schooled" in the art.

 

The only lessons I had were a cupla classes under a well known classical guitarist back in the '70s. His concern wasn't with the right hand "picking," but with the approach to the fingerboard. So... not that I'm even a "good" picker, the thing is that I think after hours and hours, one ends up naturally doing certain kinds of stuff "correctly" simply because it works better. As to the left hand... I think that also has to do with style one's playing as much as "correctness," especially given that the "classical guitarist" criticism was largely, "You look like you've been playing too much bluegrass..."

 

m

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Do you guys fingerpick on your electric guitars as well?

 

I was using my fingers on everything.

 

I don't "fingerpick" on the electric like I often do on the acoustic. However, I do use my middle and ring fingers a lot with the pick on the electric - Travis picking I guess you'd call it (though I hesitate to call it such since Merle was good at it and I'm probably not). I don't think about it - just do it automatically on certain licks. I've tried abandoning the pick altogether, especially for slide ala Duane, but I'm more comfortable with the pick and extra fingers when needed approach.

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As I recall from tales and from vids, Merle used thumb and index finger only.

 

I started out "Travis Pickin'" with thumb and all three fingers with little or no double thumbing. Then went to mostly thumb, index middle - now thumb and all three fingers depending on what I'm playing and what sound I want.

 

A buddy used to use flat pick and two finger picks, middle and ring, on a Jazzmaster. Used the whammy and pinky finger work on the volume pot and sounded as much like a pedal steel as a pedal steel.

 

I think McGuinn tended to use the flatpick and two fingerpicks too.

 

m

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A buddy used to use flat pick and two finger picks, middle and ring, on a Jazzmaster. Used the whammy and pinky finger work on the volume pot and sounded as much like a pedal steel as a pedal steel.

 

I think McGuinn tended to use the flatpick and two fingerpicks too.

 

I believe you are right about McGuinn - and quite a few of the other "country rockers". While I started out with fingerpicks on the banjo as a youngster, I could never quite get used to them on the guitar - electric or acoustic. Seems like they would work great on a Tele. Maybe I should try again.

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