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Finger picking and fingernails

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Pure.Fusion, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. Pure.Fusion


    Dec 12, 2010
    Hi all.

    Bass newbie here - you've been warned.

    18 months in and I'm developing a style of sound that I like (flowing from my idols of course).

    It ends up being a more bridge pickup type sound with the strings played closer to the bridge.

    When I concentrate, I can manage to pluck the string witih "all skin" on my fingers, giving that beautiful round sound. But when the string catches the nail, it cops a load more treble and stands out from the rest of the notes.

    I've also noticed that some bass players have a noticable lacking of fingernails on their picking hands - you know, like it's crept back over the years.

    Is this the case? Will I only stop the nail/string thing with time?

    For now, when I cut the nails short and play long enough, the finger just opens up and get really sore :meh: Is this normal?

  2. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    I just cut mine around every two weeks or less. It is not normal for your finger to be opening up and getting sore. I just get craggy spots on the skin and calluses.
  3. Pure.Fusion


    Dec 12, 2010
    I should simplify, and ask to confirm that...

    When you play finger style, your nail shouldn't touch the string, yeah? This is 'the norm'?

  4. Its up to you. whichever sound you like more is what you should use. and for the record, i cut my nails everyday.
  5. Tupac


    May 5, 2011
    Yeah, that's the norm. VERY few people actually incorporate their fingernails into fingerstyle. Les Claypool strums with them, so he must have found a happy medium.
  6. randysmojo


    Jan 14, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I trim nails to a length where if I play with regular hand positioning, my nails don't touch, but if I want I can make ten barely catch when digging in for a more percussive and bright sound. It's all on preference.
  7. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    When you've got grape sized calluses on your fingers, sore fingernails are the least of your worries...

    Unless you have oddly shaped fingers, getting the nail out of the pluck shouldn't be an issue. It's probably just beginners pain. It'll pass. I trim my nails so there's just a teeny bit of white left on 'em.

    Good luck!
  8. I use my nails. If you don't want nails in your tone, you will probably need to keep them really short.
  9. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    I sort of use my nails. I try to keep them cut pretty short, though, as keeping them long enough for my original liking was too much of a bother.

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