Hybrid pickers question

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by scottlr, Sep 19, 2006.

  1. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    What do you do, if anything, to keep your right hand nails in condition for this style? Mine are quite brittle, and while so far, I have managed to keep them going with constant manicuring them, sooner or later they will shatter! One guy I know says he goes to the nails place and gets 2 fake nails put on his right hand, and they last forever. I am thinking about doing this to see for myself.
     
  2. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I solved the problem by cutting my nails off. It'll take you 6-9 months to get the callouses hard enough to have the right sound but it's worth it in my opinion. I can go back and forth between bass and guitar without worrying about nails clicking, chipped nails, etc.

    I've been playing sans pick for almost a year now. Don't miss it much. The only time I have missed it was in playing funk rhythm but after seeing/hearing Reggie Wooten I'm convinced you don't need it for rhythm either. It's just a matter of repetition.

    Oh yeah...And one of the big benefits is you get that "wes" and/or Albert King type of sound all the time!
     
  3. GtrWiz

    GtrWiz Member

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    I use fake nails too, the tone is a bit brighter than plain fingers but I like it.
     
  4. bluesmain

    bluesmain Member

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    I keep mine cut short for the mello sound
     
  5. bobgoblin

    bobgoblin Member

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    I'm w/Jaz on this one, no nails on the right hand, all finger callouses. Easier to maintain & (imho) a little more control over the tone & technique.
     
  6. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    +1 on bare fingers.

    My finger nails would never hold up when I'm gigging a lot -- and once I started playing lap-style dobro the thick strings would just chew my nails right up anyway. The dobro pretty much forced me to start playing bare fingers. So now I keep 'em trimmed and have the added bonus of not having to worry about them anymore. :AOK

    I only wish that it had occurred to me sooner.
     
  7. e-z

    e-z Member

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    The acrylic nails and the glue will leave your natural nails more brittle than they are now. There is product I just read about (on the Classical Guitar forum) but haven't tried called onymyrrhe. Supposedly it makes brittle nails much stronger and it is totally natural. It takes sixteen weeks. Here's a link to one place that sells it. I'm going to try it.

    http://www.thetetracorp.com/products/onymyrrhe.asp
     
  8. mikeo2

    mikeo2 Member

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    +2 on bare fingers. It did take a long while to get comfortable doing this, but I'm extremely glad I did.
     
  9. jspax7

    jspax7 Member

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    Bare fingers here! I use flatpickpick/fingers hybrid a lot. Thumbpick and fingers for Travis picking.
     
  10. Mullet Kingdom

    Mullet Kingdom Senior Member

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    I tried a thumb pick for a while, when I started playing dobro, but I actually got a lot better once I got used to playing without it. Obviously it's not as loud, but it's not as tinny either.
     
  11. BuddyGuit

    BuddyGuit Supporting Member

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    I take calcium (did I spell that right) and use clear nail polish on the nails I use. The calcium really strenghtened my nails.
     
  12. tak

    tak Member

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    Me too. I tried keeping longer nails before but it seemed to be a major hassle. After keeping them short for a while, you will build up a good deal of callous that gets a good sound (IMO).
     
  13. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    Well, I am doing OK keeping them sort of short, but still long enough to get a piece of string. For me, the nail seems to get a sound more like the pick, so I like that better than the bare meat. Sometimes I'll put the pick down or palm it and just use fingers. But the pick/finger seems to feel the most natural for me.
     
  14. gennation

    gennation Member

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    I don't worry about them too much. I just cut them normal early in the week and they're pretty much the perfect length for me by the weekend. Then I cut them again at the begining of the week again. I don't like them long, I like to dig in a little more than just pick with them I guess. And yes, the more you do it you wll get callouses...for a week or so though you can get blisters on a st of fresh fingers. So, stay at it and toughen them up.
     
  15. rhp52

    rhp52 Supporting Member

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    I've found that it depends on what kind music you're playing. For me, since I play a lot of fingerstyle blues, ragtime, and chord melody stuff i need the nails. I also use a thumbpick to get the chunk for bass lines.I agree the tone with nails seems to be more uniform. IMHO
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I don't agree. Have you heard Richard Bornman play? (Fingerstyle no nails). You'd never know he's not using a pick. Very bright and solid attack and very even and uniform. Mine is coming along but not quite where Richard's is (yet).

    I play chord melody just fine with bare fingers. For the record, so does Wes, Rodney Jones and Kevin Eubanks... :AOK
     
  17. rhp52

    rhp52 Supporting Member

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    To each his own
     
  18. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Agreed but what is the point in posting that? My point is that you don't need nails do what the original poster is asking.
     
  19. scottlr

    scottlr Member

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    It's not that I don't like nails vs finger meat. I have been playing for 40 years and although I haven't used my fingers constantly over that time, I have used them, so they are not super fresh ;) I do want to keep the pick, and my observation unplugged anyway, is that the nail matches the pick better. Plugged in and cranked, it might not be much of a difference. But I tend to practice unplugged most of the time. I am finding that just slightly longer than I'd normally have gives just a little bit of nail that I can actually dig in with if I want. I have not been cutting them at all, just filing them every couple of days to keep them the same.
     
  20. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

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    This is enlightening. I always wondered how fingerstyle players with no nails got any attack. If I understand jzucker right, it's callouses. Now I know!

    Martin
     

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