The Acoustic Guitar Forum

The Acoustic Guitar Forum (
-   PLAY and Write (
-   -   Nail or flesh (

koko61 01-28-2022 06:19 AM

I use nails and meat together, with very short nails. I learned to play classical guitar like this and I like the sound I get.

buddyhu 01-28-2022 06:32 AM

Played with Propik fingerpicks (on two fingers) and a thumb pick for a number of years. Switched to flesh only (3 fingers and thumb) about a year ago at the urging of my guitar teacher. As I have developed calluses on my picking fingers and get more precise with the right hand, I am really like if the results.

ewalling 01-28-2022 06:37 AM

Flesh just catching the nail for a little extra definition.

However, with steel string guitars these days, I often use a plastic Kelly thumbpick with three metal Dunlop fingerpicks. These provide even more definition plus added volume. They also save my nails from cracking or wearing down. For nylon string guitars, I never use picks.

The Bard Rocks 01-28-2022 06:56 AM


Originally Posted by Acousticado (Post 6918238)
Iím 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, itís 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 donít seem to mind it when listening to others who play with picks.

I frequently use the back of my nails in a down strike, which makes fingerpicks go flying. It gives me volume and speed in some instances. I also blame if for why the fingernails on my right need a lot more attention than those on the left, which in turn has something to do with the use for flesh instead of nail in melody notes.

Bob from Brooklyn 01-28-2022 07:08 AM

I am a 100% flesh player. I have a nail clipper nearby, ready for the first hint of any nail in my playing.

Nymuso 01-28-2022 07:42 AM

Plastic thumb pick and two brass finger picks.

Oh, I tried growing nails back in the day but found out very quickly while working on my car the pitfalls of long fingernails, and decided I didn't want to go through life like that. Bare flesh? Really don't care for the tone, but that's the way I play bass.

mattwood 01-28-2022 07:53 AM

Flesh and a little nail is what gives me the tone I'm looking for. The key is very short nails that are maintained regularly with a Wolfram nail file

AndreF 01-28-2022 07:59 AM

Regular nails, which are pretty strong.
But, there's absolutely nothing wrong with playing without them. Just listen to Laurence Juber. His tone is fantastic without them. And so is the classical player Rod MacKillop.
You don't need nails to be musical in your playing. That's a fact. You just need to pluck the strings with technique and conviction. If you don't it will sound thin and unappealing, but that's true of nails too.

TBman 01-28-2022 08:00 AM

Usually just bare fingers. Sometimes I can manage a bit of nail, but that doesn't last long.

fazool 01-28-2022 08:44 AM

flesh with a little strengthening by nails backing the flesh

Jim Comeaux 01-28-2022 08:44 AM

Neither nor, I am a recovering banjo player and I just got used to the three finger rolls of Scruggs style playing. ThemScruggs style rolls donít really translate to a melodic guitar type sound, but I am going to experiment with it. I am just starting to try fingerpicking, having played with a flatpick on both guitar and mandolin, so all of that is subject to the learning curve (no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy) I use a brass thumbpick and two steel fingerpicks. I just like the sound of that combination, but again we will see how it translates to the guitar.

JERZEY 01-28-2022 02:38 PM

Its different for everyone. We all have different finger sizes, shapes and nail variations. I have to file every day or its brash city. I used to use acrylic powder. I also used super glue gel. I just dont have the patience for any of it anymore. I still have to file daily so that I do. Sadly I dont have a choice. If I cut my nails I have no attack. Its thud thud thud.

Ck1994 01-28-2022 03:42 PM

Depends on what sound you're going for
I think it really depends on what sound you're going for ĖĖI find that flesh gives that softer, sweeter sound and nail gives a harder, more energetic sound (each are good for different situations).

In general, I usually find myself playing rhythm stuff more with the nails and lead stuff more with the flesh.


Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
Christopher Kenji

dspoel 01-28-2022 03:53 PM

Flesh and a thumb pick. If it is good enough for Tommy Emannuel it is good enough for me [emoji1]

Llewlyn 01-28-2022 11:06 PM

I changed my technique several times, going from nails to pure flesh, to flesh+nail. To me it's much easier to get a nice tone with nails, but flesh is what I prefer.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:10 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, The Acoustic Guitar Forum

vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=