#1
So my nails are perfect for most songs and give me great tone, but my I and M fingers keep snagging on one piece in particular I'm working on. If I file it down any more I feel like I'll lose some tone and won't have much nail to work with anymore. I've tried adjusting my right hand, but nothing is comfortable or seems to really work better. What have y'all found that works?
#2
My nails are getting brittle and split-prone, so I now keep them very short - 1 to 2 mm. - I have less trouble with hang-ups with short nails than I do with long ones. I think that your picking attack just changes naturally over time to compensate for the difference in nail length.
#3
May I ask what it is that makes this piece/techniques different from the others you play?
#4
I cut them down all the way, and play fingerstyle with my fingers, no nails, and never any picks.
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#6
I find nail length is all about tradeoffs. For me, tone is less important than what I can physically accomplish. But even then there are tradeoffs, like finger tapping and stuff like that.

I do think you need different techniques for different nail length. I like a hybrid length. I don't pick with the just nails themselves, but I grow them long enough where they do factor in and provide stiffness to the fingers as well as some grip, but also let me play a clean strum, and yet short enough to finger tap, and play piano without being annoying.

That made playing quickly a bit difficult, but I recently developed a new sort of position for how I fingerpick which lets me do fast runs without relying on hammer-ons.

So it's a tough question, and a personal one. Idk what's your difficulty with that tune, so I can't give you specific advice. I think you need to find out what you want to do, what style and techniques you want to use, and find what works best for you. You may have to sacrifice tone to some degree.

I find I get better tone strumming with a pick, but there's no way I'm gonna switch to using a pick. There are also lots of other advantages to other things, like long nails. You have to prioritize what's important to you, and find what technique works best for that.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Dec 5, 2014,
#7
I used to keep my nails quite long but they've gradually gotten shorter and shorter, I only play steel string acoustics and couldn't play too fast or too hard without worrying about breaking a nail. I feel short nails give me more options.

Why can't you play this certain tune? Are your nails filed properly?* Are you playing with your hand at a different angle than you do for other songs?


*Length, shape, smoothness underneath, etc.
Last edited by derek8520 at Dec 5, 2014,
#8
I have been working almost exclusively on fingerstyle jazz lately, and I keep my nails as recommended by classical guitarists.
This has just enough nail so that the string is struck by a combination of nail and flesh sufficient for a clear tone.
It's not long. My right-hand nails are 1.5-2mm or so.... A great deal has to do with shaping and beveling.

There's definitely a sweet spot... Too long and the nail scrapes across the string and is also easily damaged.
Too short and you get a muddy, weak tone.

You mention working with two fingers... You might give a try incorporating the ring finger which is also classical practice. This way, the attack on the strings stays more consistent as you don't need to reach as far for the upper strings.
#9
Quote by Bikewer


You mention working with two fingers... You might give a try incorporating the ring finger which is also classical practice. This way, the attack on the strings stays more consistent as you don't need to reach as far for the upper strings.


it also lets you play runs.
#10
You really do not need much nail at all for a great tone. My index fingernail probably goes past the flesh of my finger by not even a mm because I also use it for tapping, and it still sounds fine compared to my much longer nails on my ring and middle. Granted I play steel, and I'm assuming you're talking about classical, which is an entirely different ball park.
#11
If he's talking about classical guitar, then a nail is practically required. It's different for finger picking, the tone of the nail is distinctly clearer than the flesh of the finger.

I'd suggest trying to smoothen the nail, if you're referring to a nylon string. The length isn't likely the issue, as much as the shape of the nail.