#1
Mine changes drastically from day to day. I'm starting to wonder if my nails just aren't suited to fingerstyle and i should switch to a plectrum. It's so frustrating to sound flat one day and full the next.

what am i doing wrong?
#2
is it possible that your nails aren't so much the problem as the room humidity where your guitar is kept? that's what it sounds like from your description. acoustic guitar tone varies a lot in environments where the humidity changes, as wood absorbs moisture.

consider this: your nails don't get thicker and thinner from day to day or change density.

you could be varying your attack from day to day or change the angle you're playing at, so some days you have more contact with your fingertips, not just your nails, where other days you are only contacting the strings with your nails. for that matter, if you change your position from day to day, more or less of the back of the guitar could be contacting your body, which could mute the tone more or less.

btw, do you change strings often?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Jul 4, 2013,
#3
Quote by patticake
is it possible that your nails aren't so much the problem as the room humidity where your guitar is kept? that's what it sounds like from your description. acoustic guitar tone varies a lot in environments where the humidity changes, as wood absorbs moisture.

consider this: your nails don't get thicker and thinner from day to day or change density.

you could be varying your attack from day to day or change the angle you're playing at, so some days you have more contact with your fingertips, not just your nails, where other days you are only contacting the strings with your nails. for that matter, if you change your position from day to day, more or less of the back of the guitar could be contacting your body, which could mute the tone more or less.

btw, do you change strings often?


I change my strings about once every 2 months.

It could be my attack, but it seems like when i have a day that i'm happy with my tone i can strike the strings in any way i like and still produce a pleasant sound. It's a problem i have with every guitar i've ever played/owned, both laminate and solid bodied guitars.

The problem goes right to the basics too, even down to plucking single strings.
#4
like i said, sounds like a humidity issue. do you have a tested hygrometer and do you humidify/dehumidify the room you keep your guitars in or the inside of your guitar case(s), depending on the reading you get from your hygrometer?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#5
Quote by CricketBat
Mine changes drastically from day to day. I'm starting to wonder if my nails just aren't suited to fingerstyle and i should switch to a plectrum. It's so frustrating to sound flat one day and full the next.

what am i doing wrong?
Well, humidity has already been touched on, but I'll add that that hot, wet, dead summer air kills tone.

The days you sound good, what's it like outside?

Then there's mood. Some days all you hear is the mistakes, others only the good stuff. Then there's the third category of day where you shouldn't even try.

Ambient noise is a big problem. You become immune to it, but in the meantime, it's wiping out, (masking), entire bands of frequencies from the guitar.

I like to play at 3:00AM, (I live alone), and everything sounds great!

Then there's "location, location, location". Try and find someplace with a live sound field. If you can't, you can always plug in and push some reverb, chorus, or delay into the signal.

You don't need a lot of volume, just a touch of sound reinforcement to make the room sound bigger and livelier.
#6
I notice a difference in sound quality when using different glue on nails. The cheaper nails are harder and sound better but not as good as natural nails. I just can't go natural as my index nail thins and splits. When you mention the radical difference in sound were you playing in the same location? I always get better sound in the studio than in the living room. Thought about setting up a mic in the bathroom.
#7
The problem doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason. I can sound good or bad in almost any location. the garden is an exception. Guitars always seem to sound nice outside. I think I've just got to not let it get to me. When i know that i can sound better i get so frustrated that my technique falls apart
#8
If you've played with your fingers enough to develop callouses, there is a chance that washing your hands right before you play will soften them, and change your tone.

How much, I'm not sure. I suppose it depends on how sensitive you are to it.