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To the female bass players out there

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Chickibass, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Chickibass


    Jan 24, 2008
    Penndel Pa
    I have a question if anyone knows it.. Im new at playing bass and i want to know if the female bass players out there cut there finger nails..weird question i know but i want to know!! lol.. Sometimes they just get in the way so i just might get rid of the regardless.. But its good to here some imput!!:bassist:
  2. Admittedly I'm a guy, but I'd say it depends mostly on you, and how you play, i know my fingernails have to stay very short or they get in the way all the time, feels like my fingers are tying into knots or something!

    Some guys on here use their nails to create a certain sound, but really, it's up to you. do you value your nails? i know some girls spend upwards of £20 to get their nails done over here... :rolleyes:
  3. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Go on YouTube and search for Lydia on Bass. Lydia is a great bass player and has been posting video or awhile. I bit hard to see, but looks like early videos see still had some nails, but they looks shorter in later videos.

    I would say its a personal and playing choice. Longer nails are going to force you to change your technique and flat more on the pad's of your fingers instead of tips. But on 5-string and wide neck basses you'll be doing that anyway. Like most things in music the bottom line is what works for you.
  4. Fretlessboy


    Nov 29, 2007
    St Augustine Florida
    Endorsing artist GENZ BENZ/HERCULES STANDS/XSonics
    honestly the biggest issue with longer nails is having them split. If you adjust your attack points you can let them grow fairly long. Just be sure to use a polish even if clear with a nail hardner in it...Sally Hanson is darn good. You can even file them in a manner that let's you use them as picks if that works for you style of playing.
  5. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    I seem to remember Tia Carrera having long nails when playing bass in "Wayne's World".
    Trust Hollywood. :bag:
  6. I'm female and usually keep my fingernails pretty short. If I let them grow out to any real length, I can't get the correct angle with my finger on the string.
  7. Bassgirlsara


    May 22, 2004
    I do cut my fingernails, but then again Im not the type that will sit and paint them everyday either :p I find it just gets in the way if theyre long.
  8. santucci218


    Jan 26, 2007
    a guy here as well. i generally keep all of my nails except 3 long...My right hand pointer middle and ring are all short.

    But, if im playing my acoustic guitar i have to keep my left hand nails short for chord playing .
  9. ok am a guy too but i have somewhat overgrown fingernails on my picking hand. i was playing classical guitar before i started out on bass so like a lot of classical/flamenco guitar players i play with nails
    hence i sound different and i have to eq differently
  10. Another guy here,
    I used to grow my nails (don't ask me why), but now I keep them all short.
    Here's my thought on my though why they should be trimmed.
    Fretting hand, it feels very annoying with certain grips if your nails touch the fretboard and may cause you to error.
    Plucking hand, thumb resting can feel awkward and may be less stable, because you might slip. Index-middle-ringfinger for fingerstyle, though you could keep them if you used to playing like that. My nails usually break in no time, so that keeps them short too. And for the pinky, it just always breaks when slapping aggressively. :p
  11. KrisH


    Nov 6, 2007
    New Jersey
    Yeah, I keep mine cut short. I like to fret with my fingertips, and that wouldn't work with longer nails, especially when playing guitar. My partner is always after me to let them grow, but not for any reasons I think are reasonable. :spit: And my daughter keeps saying I should at least paint them, but I think short, painted nails look dorky.

    I did wear them long during my hiatus, but now, I can't think of any good reason to maintain them that way except because of some twisted cultural sense of "sex appeal." I have too many things to do with my hands to tolerate that silliness any more.
  12. nsmar4211


    Nov 11, 2007
    I keep em short.......otherwise they bug the heck out of me when I feel em tapping on things (not just bass). Never was much for growing nails out and painting them, if I want to paint them I don't care if they are long or short-I'll paint them. Don't know any other female bassists in my area.. but I know most of the female guitar players here keep them short or they can't do chords well.

    Cut the silly things.......lot easier to keep clean when short... and you can still "do them up" if you want to.
  13. Chickibass


    Jan 24, 2008
    Penndel Pa
    :bassist:Thanks for the response ^_^
  14. Chickibass


    Jan 24, 2008
    Penndel Pa
    Lol i dont pant my nails ether its just annoying.. There just long and sometimes get in the way lol!!!
  15. In my 3.5 months of trying to learn how to play, I have discovered that keeping my nails short enough so that the make no contact with the strings whenI am plucking makes as much difference in the sound I get as anything I do with the controls on the bass or the amp. In other words, if my nails hit the strings, I get a twangy sound that I do not like.
  16. Phrogie


    Dec 26, 2006
    LI, NY
    I'm amused with the simple fact that out of all the replies, only one bothered to mention fretting vs. picking hands. :)

    On the other hand (er, no pun actually intended here. No, really)... in my case, it doesn't make so much of a difference: I keep the nails on both hands relatively short. I will admit, however, that part of that has to do with my job (constantly working with my hands, and when nails get to a certain length, they're just more liable to break... unfortunately from a vanity standpoint, that length threshold happenes to be at about the tip of my finger), but I've also found that this lenght also works quite well for my bass-playing. (I'm also of a habit of using fingertips on my fretting hand. Too many years back in school where I played cello... despite a good 15 years where I haven't played cello, that habit is very hard to break).
  17. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    Another guy here too. To me it's more important that the nails on the plucking fingers are short, but I always cut them all on the same time anyway, and as short as possible.

    I don't really understand the "thing" with long nails, whether you play an instrument or not. I don't see what's strange with painted short nails either. I would even hesitate to pick a gf that has long fingernails. To me it is an indication of shallowness and that she isn't very willing to work too much with her hands. I fail to see long nails being anything other than in the way for doing things. I don't even think they're that attractive. Well treated short nails are more attractive to me.

    Btw, long nails are not that common in this part of the world...
  18. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    I definitely cut my nails. I hit the strings real hard, and if my nails get long enough to extend, even a little bit, beyond my fingertip, they get chewed up real fast. They also affect my ability to fret the string with strength, and they affect my fingerpicking...they make me sloppy. All the nail I need on my picking hand is just enough so that when I curl my fingers just a bit, I can get an attack similar to that of a pick. That means just a little bit of white on the ends, that's it.

    I don't even paint my nails any more. Gave all my nail polish to my daughter five years ago, and never looked back. To paint my nails is a waste of time. Within the first song or two, the polish is already off the ends.

    I have girlfriends who bemoan the loss of my nails...they're naturally strong, and I never had to get them, you know, "done" in a shop. But none of those girls are musicians. My musician girlfriends understand totally.

    So...cut 'em! Trade in the nails for the strong and beautiful hands and fingers of a bassist, and never need a man to open a jar for you again. :D

    Cherie :):bassist:
  19. esoxhntr

    esoxhntr Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2007
    Markham, Ontario
    You may as well get used to the idea of cutting your nails. For most people long nails definitely get in the way, and if you don't cut them the strings will do it for you at times.
  20. basschic35


    Feb 29, 2008
    As a female bass player who's been playing for 20some years...you gotta cut those nails, both hands. Personally, I don't use a pick because I have more control that way and the nails get in the way if I forget to cut them. On the other hand, pun intended, I have to cut them as short as they will go. I find that if I don't, the tone changes and I don't get the sound I want. I even have to cut my thumb nails because they get in the way moving up and down the neck. Face it, becoming a female bass/guitar player means you'll be "one of the guys." Sad but true, this is a male dominated skill/talent.

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