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My nail I hitting the strings... Help

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by duderus, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. duderus

    duderus Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2012
    Hello all. I've been playing for years and my index finger nail is really destroying my sound when it hits te strings. I like playing with both fingers however when it hits it sound like I'm playing with a pick. Now I know my technique is good but what could I do to put over it to mellow the clipping? I don't want to play all right hand middle finger. I like the feel on my index and middle together. Thanks!
  2. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Time for a fingernail trim??
  3. duderus

    duderus Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2012
    I do and I do it often. I don't have much skin left it seems (flesh) anymore. It's weird. Right near tip. Suggestions other than the obvious to cover it up?
  4. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    that is weird ....i too hate nail sound but never have a problem if i just keep em cut ....and i never feel like i'm chopping my nails off too short!
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    In that case, there should not be any problem. :confused:
  6. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    The only thing I can think of is refining your technique to compensate for that finger.
  7. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    I have the same problem as the OP. Some of us have fingertip shapes that slope up almost to the nail bed so that, even if trimmed, the nail will hit the string.

    If you trim it back even further so it doesn't, it becomes painful to play.

    First, I adopted a pick and abandoned using fingers alltogether. Then later, inspired by fingerstyle guitarists and banjo players, I started experimenting with actually playing *WITH* the nails and also a thumbpick.

    Once you learn to lighten your touch, It's amazing at how much more control and agility it gives you.
  8. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I don't want to sound rude but could we see a picture of that finger.
  9. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    Yes a pic would be helpful to help asess your dilemma.

    My Wife has said before that my nails look like they would hurt (but they don't), as they're clipped about an 1/8" below the fingertip ... any longer and they get in the way when playing fingerstyle. Her nails go right to the edge of the tip of her finger.
  10. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    If you can play one note, however slowly, without hitting the nail then you can develop technique with practice to never hit it.

    Try curling your fingers like a classical guitarist.
  11. I have a similar problem with my middle finger. If I keep mine trimmed regularly, then the nail bed seems to reseed, which allows for an even shorter cut. You may try a file also, just to shape the nail down.
  12. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Don't curl your fingers. Try angling them more with them more extended and playing a tad to the side (kinda like on upright, but not as much). You can also cut some frequencies to curtail the clack. I play with my nails on purpose, keeping them short, though. When I don't want any clack I turn down the high mids, even the highs sometimes.
  13. TDP333


    Jan 10, 2013
    +1 to not curling your fingers, although it may work for guitarists with bass strings your heading for a world of hurt. I had a friend who moved from guitar to bass temporarily and after a few months of that exact technique he developed serious repetitive strain and his Dr advised that it would likely develop into carpel tunnel if he didn't develop anther way of playing.
    I like the suggestion of a slightly angled upright style +1 to that! :)
  14. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
  15. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I chimed in the linked thread and I stand by my point that your fingers should curl when plucking. By curl I do not mean all the way, I just mean a straight edged finger is bad, have some bend.
  16. Play with a very thing glove on your plucking hand. Then after gigs you can tell girls to "smell the glove"
  17. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead!

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Lightening how hard you pluck the strings may help with this as well. Otherwise you could use it to your advantage...that's one of the ways Geddy gets his sound, playing with this fingernail.
  18. TDP333


    Jan 10, 2013
    Sorry, I should clarify. My guitarist friend was curling his fingers around the strings slightly (almost underneath) or at least that’s what it looked like, he was then plucking in a more up and back motion, sorry its quite hard to describe. It also looked to me as if he due to this he wasn't striking through the string at an angle that allowed him to bring his finger back to rest on the neighbouring string.
    So I guess it was almost a pop type motion except he was playing fingerstyle like this all the time and instead of his whole hand/wrist contributing to the motion as most do when they pop a string, in his case all the work was being done by the tendons in his fingers.
    As long as you are playing through the string and coming back to rest on the neighbouring string and its comfortable I'm sure you'll be fine.
    I don’t have any corroborating evidence, other than it looked unnatural, uncomfortable and his Drs advice was stark.
  19. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    Curling your fingers too much will make it hard to play "rest stroke" (finger resting on the next string). Plus, you could get some string noise if the direction of pull is too upward. I'm not saying have your finger straight either, but rather only slightly curved.
  20. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    Russell L and TDP333, this brings up more questions for me but I don't want to hijack the thread so I'll start a new one.

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