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Fingernails and Popin'

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by CaseyCorr, May 22, 2005.

  1. CaseyCorr


    May 22, 2005
    Olympia WA
    I've been playing for little over a year now and have started to get serious about my speed with slapping and poping, thing is as I play faster its wearing down the fingernails on my right hand (pointer and index fingers). I like to use them when I pop becuase it gives it a neat sound (and is a little faster than using the fleshy part of my fingers), is there something I can do to keep the nails from wearing down? Or am I doing something wrong and need to change my technique?
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I'd be afraid of breaking or tearing off my nails if I used them to pop with. Classical guitarists use them, but popping is a generally much more aggressive technique than classical fingerpicking. I'd try to learn to pop with the end of your fingertip-not you fingernail though-to get a faster attack when popping. I try to keep my nails clipped pretty low just so they don't get in there when I'm popping.
  3. Jean Baudin pops with his fingernails. Maybe he'll chime in with his technique.
  4. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    I've been told a few times (when I was starting) that this was a bad technique... but it works for me.... and lets me slap/pop anywhere on the fretboard (above the frets etc.). I haven't had any issues with them wearing down... The only problem I have popping with my fingernails is that they occasionally break and if that happens I use the next finger... if that one breaks, I go down one more... I've had several gigs in a row where my nails kept breaking and I had to pop with my ring and or pinky... the plus to this is that I can actually pop with my middle, ring and pinky at anytime and mix and match - although, I don't slap/pop too much these days.

    The benefits to popping with your fingernails is that you can mix with tapping much easier and you won't be hindered by the bass (regular popping with the finger requires a space between the fretboard and the neck pickup). I think you should stick with it... I've never seen anyone else besides me slapping/popping that way.. try slapping/popping over the fretboard (like 5-12th frets) and mix with tapping. fun stuff. I've shown the technique to students and they always came back with "I can't do it that way... it hurts too much!".

    Just a note, I can pop the regular way too, but it does seem a bit limiting/hindering to me.

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