Finger Nails?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Jiro, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Jiro


    Mar 15, 2004
    I heard someone live and he forgot to cut his nails before the show and it sounded annoying! Does anybody actually like the sound of the nails plucking the strings?
  2. 555


    Jun 21, 2003
    Arghh i hate playing with long nails, it gives a metal sound when you play the bass with your fingers, as soon as i hear it, i bite my nails off :D
  3. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    somtimes you can get a real nice twang if you play by the bridge on occasional notes which i think sounds pretty cool...

  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I use my nails, cut fairly short, but only because I also play nylon-string guitar. If I didn't, I would cut them, because I actually prefer the sound of no nails on bass. However, at this point I probably wouldn't know how to play without nails, and I'm not giving up what they do for nylon-string guitar anyway, so c'est la vie.
  5. I can't stand the sound of my nails hitting strings. I always keep them very short for that reason.
  6. I *wish* I had to cut mine. I bite my nails, which is pretty annoying. Even starts to give me jaw problems.

    My first bass teacher was also a classical player. Every once in a while he'd use the nail on his thumb kind of like a pick. Sounded pretty weird to me, but not annoying. I don't see how you can 'accidentally' pluck the string (or maybe I just have a bad plucking technique?).
  7. Vox Populi

    Vox Populi Reggae Loving Honkey

    Jan 27, 2004
    Poulsbo, WA
    Ahh, my biggest bass pet peeve. The "nail noise". I hate it. I always make sure my nails are cut now. And it sucks if you're playing aggressively and you miss your mark and break your nail. I hate the feeling of the nail bending back. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.
  8. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Hmmm here is my problem with this! When i was a teenager i was in a fire! I had 3rd degree burns all over my hands and fingers. When i finally got better enough to grab my bass again i noticed that my index finger had slightly been melted or just heeled at a strange angle! Not much just enough to really notice when i played! Soo it has me to were if i didnt want that nail sound i would have to cut my nail down to the point of blood letting! :bawl: So i have had to teach myself ways of comming into attack at a diff angle. But i can say that i have crated a cool sound using either my middle finger to get a smooth sound or my index for a nasty sound! But most of the times i ise both and it works great! But i have played so long that those 2 fingers kinda have a brain of there own! Each finger will hit the notes how i want them without much thought!
  9. Waabs

    Waabs Employee, Musical Instrument Retail

    Aug 1, 2004
    I have tiny bit of finger nail exposed for a little bit of attack when I play. It's a bit of a habit from when I was in a heavy rock band. It allowed me to cut through a better.

    It can be a little bit of a problem when I want to play something say like a motown line.
  10. All my life I chewed my nails and now, when I play bass, I quit...typical
  11. Andre_gt7


    Jan 4, 2005
    Atlanta - GA
    lol thats EXACTLY what i do, i did it on stage once, i waited for a slow song and just played with tapping/hammer ons while i bit one of my right hand fingernails off.
  12. iheartbass


    Jan 19, 2005
    I always make sure my nails are cut before playing... excess nails get in the way!
    I also make sure I don't paint my nails, (because im a girl) or else when double thumb slapping nail polish chips off ands sticks to my dear strings.
    So yes, you should make sure you have your nails cut..
  13. dobbo


    May 19, 2004
    i allways cut my nails as soon as i can hear that anoyying sound they make. i also cut my left hand nails because if they are to long they get in the way sometimes. and if your a guy why arent you cutting your nails anyway?
  14. Ditto!
  15. ok, im the only one who's gonna go against the grain.

    i keep my nails fairly short, but have a little bit on my index plucker cos i like to be able to throw in a "growly twang" every now and then. It sounds magic on a Jazz. Its a technique thing, and a tool when you wanna change up the sound. Listen to geddy, he does it all the time, just little inflections that hit you hard in the nether regions and make you cry.
  16. 6-3-2


    Sep 20, 2003
    I keep them short, and if I want the twang I play with a pick. That's right a pick.
  17. spidersbass


    Nov 29, 2004
    Downtown L.A.
    my ears are buring... the "p" word!!!

    i hate that nail plucking noise. i always keep a nail clipper in my case if i ever forget to cut my nails before a gig... helped a lot this last one of friday.
  18. CurbowPete


    Aug 28, 2004
    I'm experimenting with nails now that I'm a classical guitar major in college (I started bass long before guitar). I've found that at least with MY basses I can get a very clear sound with nails. I'm working a lot on right hand control and I'm really excited by the possibilities. If you work hard at it you can dramatically reduce nail noise and still get a nice full sound even in the low register. It might not be for everyone but I guess solo players like me are a different breed to begin with.

  19. fr0me0


    Dec 7, 2004
    Winnipeg Canada
    I cut mine really really short. I play with a really light touch and my amp turned up real loud and when a nail catches its really loud and out of place.
  20. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    blech! i knaw them down to bloody stumps