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runningplanet 01-27-2022 11:32 PM

Nail or flesh
Do you fingerpick with your nails or flesh? I’ve always used flesh because I’ve never been able to get consistent results using my nails. It may just be a flaw in my technique but I seem much smoother and in control using only flesh.

perttime 01-27-2022 11:57 PM

Flesh - with the edge of the nail possibly touching the string too.

Some of my nails are prone to self destruct without any reason, and I am NOT going to build them up by any artificial means.

blews 01-28-2022 12:08 AM

Bare fingers / flesh….100% of the time….

Acousticado 01-28-2022 12:14 AM

I’m up to a 5-digit bare fingerpicker depending on the number of digits required, and use the tops of 4 fingernails in a flicking motion for downstroke strumming. To me, it’s as intimate and connected to the guitar as I can get...and it feels good. I like the mellower tone as well...picks sound harsh to me when I play, though I don’t seem to mind it when listening to others who play with picks.

skoshi84 01-28-2022 12:23 AM


Originally Posted by perttime (Post 6918230)
Flesh - with the edge of the nail possibly touching the string too.

I love playing this way. There is a sweet spot when you catch both just right. I don’t like just nails or just flesh. But both together are great.

I trained for classical guitar and my guitar professor in college would probably cringe to hear me say that. We had a high standard for maintaining our fingernails in that program.

Big-E 01-28-2022 12:27 AM

Always picked with flesh and sometimes a thumb pick until about 9 months ago. Grew my right hand nails and now pick with the thumb nail and flesh/nails (with nails protruding about 1-1.5mm above the tops of my fingers.

MBee 01-28-2022 12:44 AM

I have very soft nails. So flesh always when finger picking. I do use the back of the nails for strumming though.

stormin1155 01-28-2022 12:46 AM

Flesh. My fingernails don't get long enough, and fingerpicks just don't feel right to me. I also like the softer sound. If I want a sharper attack I'll flat-pick.

Dustinfurlow 01-28-2022 12:47 AM

Gel acrylics, pinky left out. Wouldn't look back now!

pieterh 01-28-2022 12:52 AM

I’ve been fingerpicking with nails ever since I was a teenager. The only time I have my nails relatively short is when I am doing bass gigs or tours; the click with bass is not always ideal. Even then I have some nail protruding as a kind of support for the fleshy part otherwise the flesh gets blistered too easily when first doing a lot of bass playing!

The only time I use the fleshy part is if I break a nail…

Doug Young 01-28-2022 12:59 AM

Acrylics for decades.

JayBee1404 01-28-2022 01:15 AM

My own nails are very ‘girly’, soft and they tear/break very easily, so I used acrylics/gel/fibre-wraps on my finger nails for years, but had to give them up when my own nails thinned and became very painful. My nail-technician advised me not to use them again, for fear of doing permanent damage.

I tried flesh-only, but I hate the lack of attack and volume, and the dull, muddy tone of flesh-only, so I tried all manner of finger-picks before finally settling on Propik Fingertones, which allow the flesh of the finger to touch the string and warm-up the tone they produce. Those are my go-to now, with a thumb-pick (BC, Dunlop ‘Heavies’ Calico, or Golden Gate Ivoroid), and I’m very happy with the volume, attack, and warmer tone I get with them.

s2y 01-28-2022 05:56 AM

My nails are too thin and wimpy. I tried adding some sort of acrylic back in the day and playing bass still ripped off the nails.

EZYPIKINS 01-28-2022 06:04 AM

Short answer is Yes.

Sometimes flesh, sometimes nails.

All depends on what the song is asking for.

ismaelbelda 01-28-2022 06:06 AM

Flesh + nails, thumb pick. Although sometimes, if I have been playing too savagely, I run out of nails and have to give them some rest to grow back (flatpicking for a while). I don't like the sound or the feel or only nails or only flesh.

By the way, does anybody know of some strenghtening product for nails that works? My nails are not super wimpy, but, as stated above, sometimes I am disconsiderate with them. (I won't do the acrilic thing, as it weakens your natural nails, so you have to stick to it for life).

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