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-   -   Classical technique for steel strings (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=603132)

Andyrondack 01-06-2021 08:12 AM

Classical technique for steel strings
 
Hello, I only play steel strung guitar but thought I would ask this here as classical players have to cope with a much more demanding repertoir.
When playing arpeggios at speed is it better for control and accuracy to allow the fleshy part of the finger to contact the string first and then follow through with the nail or just sound the string with the nail ?
I ask because I am trying to work up the speed of a jig called The Irish Washerwoman, the melody is mostly a few simple triads picked accross the strings with some strings played twice in succession, there is no opportunity to use the fretting hand to sound notes via hammer ons and pull ofs so the picking hand has to do all the hard work. Strugling to play cleanly much faster than 100bpm at the moment.
Thanks for any comments.

AndreF 01-06-2021 08:55 AM

Quote:

When playing arpeggios at speed is it better for control and accuracy to allow the fleshy part of the finger to contact the string first and then follow through with the nail or just sound the string with the nail ?
I would say the former is your best bet. Also, the shorter the nail length, the more fluid and clean they will be.
As far as arpeggios go, the speed killer is nail length. You're looking for even execution of all notes. Too long a nail invites snags and sloppiness to creep in, unless you slow it down.
If you play both nylon and steel, finding the right nail length is more challenging. You need a compromise. I try to go for as as long as I can get away with, but admittedly, it's not that long in deference to nylon, which I play more often.
I hope that makes sense.

Andyrondack 01-22-2021 02:56 PM

Well an update on how I got on with this, someone else may have the same problem and find this usefull.
I don't actually play with nails but fingerpicks , nevertheless nail technique is still relevant.
I shortened some picks down to 1mm so I could feel the flesh of fingertips brush the string before the plastic followed through, that felt more like I was getting better control but I still struggled to increase the speed of this jig much without sometimes miss hitting strings , felt too much like the picks were snagging, remembering something I had once read on Classical Guitar Shed website I studied the site again, filed some picks to 2mm and focused on pushing down on the strings instead of plucking, not so much room between the strings on a steel guitar to do this but it straight away it made a big difference . Got it up to 115bpm now which is fast enough to sound like dance music.

rick-slo 01-22-2021 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andyrondack (Post 6611718)
I shortened some picks down to 1mm so I could feel the flesh of fingertips brush the string before the plastic followed through...

? Are you wearing the picks backwards?

Andyrondack 01-22-2021 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rick-slo (Post 6611773)
? Are you wearing the picks backwards?

Not that sort of pick, Alaska picks.

rick-slo 01-22-2021 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andyrondack (Post 6611781)
Not that sort of pick, Alaska picks.

Never took to those. I did use metal fingerpicks when I used to play banjo. On guitar always natural fingernails where I feel I can vary the volume and tone more readily. Whites of nails around 2 millimeters.

Andyrondack 01-22-2021 04:09 PM

I got no choice, useless thin nails that hook round as they grow.

Carey 01-23-2021 10:19 PM

My nails hook quite a bit, too, and what (mostly) works for me is to take
the advice given for that type of nail in Charles Duncan's very fine book 'The Art of Classical Guitar Playing', and file them pretty much straight across , starting at a slight angle from beneath the nail. A little hard to describe, but if you think about what the string "sees", it might make more sense.

Otherwise, I agree with the advice above that the flesh has to touch first at least a little bit, both to stop string "sizzle", and to really know where the string is.

Andyrondack 01-24-2021 03:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carey (Post 6613184)
My nails hook quite a bit, too, and what (mostly) works for me is to take
the advice given for that type of nail in Charles Duncan's very fine book 'The Art of Classical Guitar Playing', and file them pretty much straight across , starting at a slight angle from beneath the nail. A little hard to describe, but if you think about what the string "sees", it might make more sense.

Otherwise, I agree with the advice above that the flesh has to touch first at least a little bit, both to stop string "sizzle", and to really know where the string is.

Bizarely a scientific study was carried out on hooked nails, the nail boffins concluded that it was due to stresses originating from the nail corners as the nail grows and not letting the corners grow out was key to preventing the nail hooking round as it grew, well I tried it , regularly rounding the corners off but it made no difference to my nails, might work for others though.

ObiWanSymbian 02-01-2021 02:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andyrondack (Post 6611781)
Not that sort of pick, Alaska picks.

Im about to shorten my Alsakans.
What technique did you use?
What is the end curvature of the edge?

Andyrondack 02-01-2021 03:12 AM

I prefer to not change the playing tip as I like the clear tone of the virgin picks, so I put a wide hardboard nail file in the slot where the nail fits and filed the slot deeper so the pick slides higher up the finger.

Carey 02-01-2021 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andyrondack (Post 6613276)
Bizarely a scientific study was carried out on hooked nails, the nail boffins concluded that it was due to stresses originating from the nail corners as the nail grows and not letting the corners grow out was key to preventing the nail hooking round as it grew, well I tried it , regularly rounding the corners off but it made no difference to my nails, might work for others though.

I've tried that nail shaping approach too, but no luck. ;)

What's working best for me is a little "ramping" in 'i';
straight across (per Charles Duncan) on 'm'; and no nail
on 'a'- callus only on that one, which makes for a nice pure
tone on the top string, but at the cost of having to play
a little more firmly with that finger. Practicing with the
little finger helps, too.

Aspiring 02-02-2021 11:30 AM

I was actually just working on some speed tips from my guitar teacher last week.

His key tip to me was to move my right hand arm position back further so I could get my fingers straighter such that I was using the top knuckle primarily for moving the fingertip rather than the second or third knuckles.

This seems to help a lot.

Andyrondack 02-02-2021 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspiring (Post 6623023)
I was actually just working on some speed tips from my guitar teacher last week.

His key tip to me was to move my right hand arm position back further so I could get my fingers straighter such that I was using the top knuckle primarily for moving the fingertip rather than the second or third knuckles.

This seems to help a lot.

That's interesting, sounds pretty much what I found after some trial and error, keep the finger straighter so the nail ( or the pick in my case) pushes down on the string instead of playing with more curled fingers that result in the string being 'snatched' which slows it all down as the playing tip can't easily roll off the string.

rick-slo 02-02-2021 12:07 PM

If you are just doing some run on the upper strings you often can steady your hand with the thumb on a base string. Wrist bounce is one factor that can slow you down.


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