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Post new topic Fingernails on Adjacent Strings?
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Author Topic:  Fingernails on Adjacent Strings?
John Goux


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 25 Mar 2020 10:38 pm    
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Do your finger nails hit adjacent strings?

I have always had acrylic nails to play acoustic guitar. On steel, they occasionally get hung up on an adjacent string, no big deal.

Yesterday I lost a nail, and can not get it replaced, because of the social distancing, all the nail salons are closed indefinitely.

I decided to file down all my nails to a very short size.

When I put my finger picks back on, it was like I put someone else’s picks on. I kept looking at the finger picks, but they were the same.

Looking closer, I realized, when I play, I lay my finger nails on the adjacent(higher) string like a rest stroke. Because the acrylic nails are so thick, I’ve never even felt this.
Now without long nails, I’m feeling string on skin, and my spacing is goofy.

Do any of you lay your nails against the next higher string?
Is this technically a bad idea?
John
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 1:20 am    
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No !

Being a guitar player as well, I trim my nails on gig day as close as I can without ending up in emergency room ! Very Happy
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Bill Duncan


From:
Lenoir, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 4:33 am    
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Sometimes it causes unwanted noises. Yes, I have that happen and when I notice it drives me nuts, like Tony, I trim the pick fingernails close.
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Dale Rivard


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 8:00 am    
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Hi John, I wear my picks fairly high on my fingers, with not a lot of blade extending past my finger tips. I play with my fingers(picks)dug fairly deep into the strings. Because of this, my fingernails will lay against the next higher string. I don't think it's technically a bad idea. Sometimes I will miss a string or pick a wrong string but I don't think it's caused by the way I wear my picks or how I place them in the strings.

Last edited by Dale Rivard on 26 Mar 2020 1:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Stu Schulman


From:
Ulster Park New Yawk
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 8:41 am    
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Years ago that used to happen to me,Not really sure of how I got it under control?
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 9:08 am    
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I like Dale’s explanation because I think John’s question is about how the picks are worn. If you leave a lot of pick blade extending past your fingertip, it probably won’t matter how close your fingernails are trimmed, and the back of the nail probably will have little or no contact with adjacent strings. With almost no blade extension, the fingernail length becomes more of an issue. That’s how I wear mine, and my fingertips dip at least 1/4” below the strings when I pick. I keep my nails way short, even for playing 6-string. The back of my nails almost always come to rest against the adjacent strings. No idea if this is technically incorrect, but it’s probably how it’s going to be for me because I can’t stand having a long blade extension.
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Dennis Montgomery


From:
Western Washington
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 10:06 am    
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Speaking as one of the few players here that doesn't use finger picks, I absolutely have to keep my nails trimmed. Once they grow out a bit I'm constantly grabbing the 'next string up' by mistake. Not only is that bad from grabbing the wrong string but it's doubly noticeable because I play with the soft part of my fingers not my nails. When my nail grabs a string it sends a zing through the amp and there's no way to pretend that's what I really meant to do Winking
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Ricky Davis


From:
Buda, Texas USA
Post  Posted 26 Mar 2020 11:07 am    
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It is all a matter of Hand/Fingers angle and position and the movement to follow.
I have through the years tried many techniques experimenting with what gives me everything I want. Unfortunately after suffering Traumatic Brian Injury 5 years ago; all that has changed and I'm back to trying to find what is the best for my coordination now....but I won't stop till I have it.
I would suggest the same for anyone not liking this; wondering about that; with they could do this or that.
Ricky
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Dave Manion


From:
Boise, Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2020 10:03 am    
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The back of my fingertips (the nail side) usually contact the next higher string, as I like to “dig in” quite a bit. I’ve been feeling like it’s a bad habit for pick blocking between the index and middle finger on adjacent strings. If the index finger is picking (and blocking) string 5, then when the middle finger goes to pick string 4, it doesn’t ring clear, due to the back of the index getting in the way.

End result is, I don’t pick block between my index and middle fingers on adjacent strings if I can help it. For now.....
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2020 10:41 am    
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Dave, rather than call one thing a bad habit, how about calling it two different techniques? If the back of your fingernail can be used for blocking, use it. If it needs to be gotten out of the way, keep it out of the way and use the tip of your finger to block instead of the back of the nail. Read the first two lines of the Ricky Davis comment again. That pretty much says it all.
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Dave Manion


From:
Boise, Idaho, USA
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2020 12:24 pm    
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Fred, yup I agree. Nothings black and white. It's a matter of being able to control if/when I want to keep the back of the finger clear of the next string. I was just saying FOR ME, I've been feeling like I might want to focus on adjusting that so the next string doesn't act as a "stop" for my finger.
I just can't decide how big of a deal it is to warrant adjusting my hand and pick position to clear those strings. Every now and then I play a phrase where I want to go back and forth between those two fingers on adjacent strings. Can't decide if it doesn't come up much because I don't like doing it, or if I've found other ways 'round it..
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 28 Mar 2020 12:39 pm    
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One of Joe Wright’s 3-finger roll exercises addresses this very thing, Dave. It’s just placing TIM on any 3 adjacent strings, and then picking with any finger repeatedly - TTT, III, MMM, and then moving to the next set of strings. It forces you to do a true pick block, with the blade of the pick, not the back of your fingernail. It made all my TIM rolls much cleaner. Even though I still suck...🤠
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Ian Rae


From:
Redditch, England
Post  Posted 30 Mar 2020 11:09 am    
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Here's how I wear my picks. Nail length is not an issue.




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John Goux


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Mar 2020 9:51 pm    
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Fred, I started doing that Joe Wright exercise, and it may have been helping my technique, but unfortunately it made my hand hurt, so I had to stop. I have since noticed some of our top pick blockers lifting their index when playing middle finger.
Guess that’s a bit off topic. Apologies to the OP.
John
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Dale Rivard


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 31 Mar 2020 9:14 am    
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Hi John, I'm predominately a pick blocker and generally do exactly as you describe. It's not a hard rule but sometimes when I play a string with my middle finger, when my index finger is on the adjacent string, I slightly lift my index finger up and out of the way so the string will sound. Another technique I use: When playing a string with my index finger, I don't necessarily block that string with the same index finger. Sometimes I will move my thumb up to block that string that was just played with the index finger. Especially if what I'm playing is moving towards the higher strings.
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