Jeff…this one is for you. I know some players (Led for example) will use thumb and fingerpicks and some, like you, don’t. I don’t like to use them and I have tried to research how to shape the nails, what length is optimal etc. for both playing and fretting fingers. It strikes me that when so much emphasis is put on technique, there is so little info available on nail preparation.
Would appreciate your comments on this.
Mahalo nui loa
Thank you for your message. I like to shape my nails at an angle with a “ramp” from left to right that covers as much of the length of the nail as possible. I shape the nail with a nail file then use a very fine sand paper called Tri-Mite to finish it off. This sandpaper really makes a difference in tone. It warms up the sound. With the nails shaped with this angled ramp I can get a warm sound off the left side of the nail and a brighter sound off the middle and right side of the nail. A slight change of wrist position can change the sound which is great.
I learned from Scott Tennant (a great classical guitarist who taught at the USC Music School). Here is a link I found with information on nail shape a video from his “Pumping Nylon” series:
Let me know if this helps.
Mahalo Jeff….yes, I’d seen Scott’s video and wondered if this was of any advantage. I have tried to do the same with mine but have not used the Tri-Mite paper.
Appreciate your feedback.
Aloha. I’d like to inquire about fake nails as mine have issues. I’d see Mr. Kamakahi at the store when he’d come over and play Maui’s slack key da kine. He had something going on with his, epoxy nails or the like. Is there a substance you can build a nail with?
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