#1
Hi, I want to get into more advanced fingerpicking on my acoustic guitar, but I don't want to grow out my nails. I'd much prefer to just use my fingertips, is this completely unheard of? Will the tone be that much worse?
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#2
It's a matter of preference. Some guitarists grow and shaped their picking-hand nails, and some just use the tips of their fingers. I prefer the latter, because long pick-hand nails are a bitch if you want to use your strumming-hand fingers in your playing (ie. tapping, artificial harmonics) The whole long nails thing is more geared towards Classical nylon-strung guitars, and not Steel-string acoustics.
#3
That'd be fine, I just use my fingertips. It's not outrageous really, the sound just won't be as 'sharp'.
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#4
I prefer to play with my fingertips. Mainly because I bite my nails.
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#5
Acoustic players don't grow their nails at all generally, whilst classical players do.

Most good acoustic players don't have nails.

Tommy emmanuel etc etc don't have any so you definately don't need them.
#6
its all preference dude.
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#7
I was thinking that nails helped with picking accuracy, but judging by your responses this must not be the case.

Awesome, thanks for the quick replies.
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#8
Nails are essential for classical guitars to get the proper tone, but for steelstring fingertips are actually better tone wise IMO.
#9
Most of my favorites to play are finger-picked country ballads from the late eighties/early nineties. Nails seem to ruin the "delicate" feel of the song, if that makes any sense. It's much warmer, though quieter, with fingertips. All goes back to preference.
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#10
i find it slightly warmer with my finger tips, i only ever grow my nails only so i can strum without a pick.

nails on steel strings are very piercing and bright.
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#11
I use my finger tips, ive never liked playing with nails, the tone you get from using finger tips is nice and warm.
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#12
I grow them but I don't have to use them. Sometimes in a song I'll altenate between using nail and not using them depending on what I want the tone to be like. So I say grow them anyway.
#13
Wow have i been doing it wrong then. I grow my nails for fingerpicking on my steel string acoustic... I did it because i wanted the sort of pick sound you get from having nails.
#14
That way is not necessarily wrong, or at least I didn't mean to say that. Tone preferences for me is a softer touch on solo songs. If you want more of the "pick" sound, by all means, enjoy it. I admit, I like the finger pads better for tone, but I wish I could get the same volume that I get with my nails. Kind of a balancing act for me.
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#15
I keep my nails trimmed, and I play both regular and classical acoustic (and electric as well, FWIW)- no complaints about my tone.
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#16
It all depends, steel string or nylon? Classical or more main stream stuff?

Ill say this, if you plan on doing classical stuff with a nylon string guitar, you gotta have your nails grown out........... if you dont your technique is gonna be shot to hell, plus most classical peices sound really muddy without nails.

Steel string, you'll probably be good with either
#17
Quote by Chaos Nil
Wow have i been doing it wrong then. I grow my nails for fingerpicking on my steel string acoustic... I did it because i wanted the sort of pick sound you get from having nails.


That doesn't mean you've been doing it wrong. It just means your getting a different tone. Its all about preference.
I play with my finger nails like giants, and i love that feeling.
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#18
Quote by bassmaniac101
I prefer to play with my fingertips. Mainly because I bite my nails.

man, im with you on that one
#19
Hmm, then I'd like to add that I like playing with nails because it gives more volume too. Playing with the pads of my fingers is just quieter. It also makes it easier to strum with just my fingernails.
#20
Quote by Chaos Nil
Wow have i been doing it wrong then. I grow my nails for fingerpicking on my steel string acoustic... I did it because i wanted the sort of pick sound you get from having nails.


You can't say "wrong".
I play with nails, mainly because i feel more comfortable, and my tirando and tremolo have more volume. it is also recommended for flamenco techniques like rascueado where you propably won't get the same sound without nails.
#21
well depends, things like tremelo picking and rasgueado are damn near impossible without the nails, but other than that using your fingertips is fine.
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#23
Having long fingernails just completely grosses me out. If you feel the same way or if you simply don't want to have long nails, then don't worry about it. It's no big deal.

People who say things like,
Quote by Sootinior
Ill say this, if you plan on doing classical stuff with a nylon string guitar, you gotta have your nails grown out........... if you dont your technique is gonna be shot to hell, plus most classical peices sound really muddy without nails.

are mistaken and should not be taken seriously.

You don't "gotta" have long nails in order for you to play better. It definitely helps for certain styles but they're not impossible without them. With time and practice you'll get the hang of any technique regardless of the length of your fingernails. Well, maybe not any, but you get what I'm saying.
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#24
Quote by marchoso


are mistaken and should not be taken seriously.

You don't "gotta" have long nails in order for you to play better. It definitely helps for certain styles but they're not impossible without them. With time and practice you'll get the hang of any technique regardless of the length of your fingernails. Well, maybe not any, but you get what I'm saying.


I have to disagree with this, for classical and flamenco it's pretty much impossible to get a good sound without finger nails (which don't have to be obscenely long like many people think, the points on mine only go out about 25mm from my fingertip) you can do many of the techniques, but they usually won't sound right.
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#25
Ah, but you even said it yourself, that it's "pretty much impossible."

Nails tend to produce a thin, plastic sound whereas fingertips produce more of an opaque sound. It may be beneficial or just plain easier to use your fingernails, but it's certainly not necessary. Some people are naturally blessed with the ability to play without them while others need them. It's not a factual thing.

Each player has a more or less unique way of attacking the strings.
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#26
that's true to a point, but I've never seen anyone pull of a decent rasgueado without using their fingernails, and that technique is essential for flamenco (and some newer classical stuff as well)
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#27
Quote by marchoso
Ah, but you even said it yourself, that it's "pretty much impossible."


Sounds to me like someone is splitting hairs. I'll say this

Without fingernails, you CAN play Flamenco/Classical stuff, but more often than not, it will be harder to do, and wont sound right on top of it.
#28
I always viewed it as optimistic rather than hairsplitting. We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.

I have never had long fingernails and I learned how to play flamenco just fine. I'm sure it's a rarity, but it happened.
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#29
classical guitarsists love long nails for a few reasons. one for accuaracy on notes on different strings , another is clearity and tone in general not to mention speed ferdanando sor liked playing with just his fingertips i my self alwats try to grow my finger nails i once had a talk with a well kown guitarts and she said use crazy glue another words what ever works
#30
Quote by marchoso
I always viewed it as optimistic rather than hairsplitting. We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as impossible.

I have never had long fingernails and I learned how to play flamenco just fine. I'm sure it's a rarity, but it happened.


okay, so youre a nit picking idealist. no offense, but please don't shine your beliefs on us. our opinions are just as valid as yours

that being said, good tone is subjective. i myself prefer to hear a classical guitar be played with fingerpicks/nails for that crisp sound, where for folk i really don't mind.

and that playing better stuff, it's non sense. we all know playing better comes with practice and time, not by growing nails out.
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#31
:p Im not saying if you grow out your nails you will become an Uber classical guitarist and thats that.

Its just a lot of stuf is easier if you have nails is all.
#32
I've been taught that a mixture of nail and finger works best and gives the fullest sound.
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#33
Using fingertips gives you that nice fat, warm sound. While if you use your nails it sounds way sharper. IMO shaping and growing your nails looks weird as hell, and it doesn't suit my mostly metal style.
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