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  #1  
Old 01-15-2019, 08:39 PM
LiveMusic LiveMusic is offline
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Default Best guitar for fingerstyle with no nails

Just curious if anyone had a Eureka! moment when they found a guitar that was awesome when playing fingerstyle but you have no fingernails. Which is me. Nails would give more volume and a crisper sound but, it is what it is! I haven't yet found finger picks that I liked. I have a Collings OM3 and it's better than most for this style of playing.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:42 PM
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I don't think it's restricted to any particular guitar brand or model. I play fingerstyle the same as you.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveMusic View Post
Just curious if anyone had a Eureka! moment when they found a guitar that was awesome when playing fingerstyle but you have no fingernails. Which is me. Nails would give more volume and a crisper sound but, it is what it is! I haven't yet found finger picks that I liked. I have a Collings OM3 and it's better than most for this style of playing.
Hi LM

My 1992-93 Olson Dreadnought, EIR/Cedar, and my 2005 Bashkin OM fanned fret Myrtlewood/Italian Spruce are really excellent at all-flesh-fingerstyle play.

I think the key to great sounding/playing all-flesh-fingerstyle guitars is have a guitar with great projection, quick responsive, better than average volume without pushing it hard, a lot of sustain, and balanced tone across the strings.

I use mostly all-flesh with just a hint of nails for accent now and then. And I don't use a thumbtack either. Not every fingerstyle player wants the attack of nails. Others do, and it's again one of those differences which keeps us being intrigued with how versatile these acoustic instruments are!

I DO strum with the backs of my nails (fingers 2-3 for downstroke and thumbnail for upstroke).



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Old 01-15-2019, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TBman View Post
I don't think it's restricted to any particular guitar brand or model. I play fingerstyle the same as you.
I also play fingerstyle the same way and agree with TBman .... however my Huss & Dalton MJ really stands out for it's responsiveness and volume.

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Old 01-15-2019, 09:25 PM
johnnydobbers johnnydobbers is offline
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My ladder braced Fraulini loves fingers without nails!
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:27 PM
Cameleye Cameleye is offline
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My '51 Martin 00-21 is my best sounding fingerstyle guitar.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:28 PM
tippy5 tippy5 is offline
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The older you get, if you are anything like me, the more one realizes that less volume has its place.
After decades as a younger player looking for deep bass lines or soloing with a large dynamic range I am good with lighter guitar support.

I have enjoyed trading songs in my local song circles. Sometimes my big sonic guitars just get in the way.
I noticed some of the best players had 00-17 vintage Martins, or some new Washburn, or Ovations etc..... that let them sing away.

I bet that Collings 3 is a pleasure as you ratchet down your output expectations.
It is still nice to have loud output for the times you want or need it. Maybe you can use some finger picks or plug into an amp?
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:37 PM
merlin666 merlin666 is offline
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Yes I had given up on fingerstyle for years because I didn't like the picks anymore. Then I got an Adamas and now I'm back picking just with the fingers.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:38 PM
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I play the same way as well. Lots of guitars will give you all you need—just gotta find it. OM to SJ sizes seem to always work best for me.

Technique makes a diff for me as well. I get more volume by plucking the strings with bit of a outward pull if that makes sense. And when I want max volume, I plug into the amp.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:08 PM
Skip Ellis Skip Ellis is offline
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Been playing fingerstyle for most of 60 years (Folk,Chet,Merle, Rags etc.) and have never used nails - I don't care for the sound or the feel. I do use metal finger picks on pedal steel and banjo. Getting into DADGAD and will be using flesh on my newly acquired Brook Torridge.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:04 AM
godfreydaniel godfreydaniel is offline
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I mostly play country blues and rags, but I use my nails and prefer smaller bodied guitars with short scale lengths.

I’ve noticed two outstanding people who play my style of music but with a flesh only attack - Stefan Grossman and Woody Mann - usually play OM or larger guitars with long scales.
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:11 AM
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The most responsive guitar I’ve ever fingerpicked with no nails was my Ibanez AC240. Solid mahogany top that was as loud or soft as you could want. Lovely guitar! And for only $299!

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Old 01-16-2019, 08:14 AM
AndrewG AndrewG is offline
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Tommy Emmanuel gets a good tone out of his Maton guitars using just flesh. (Ok, he uses a thumb pick, but his volume seems consistent with calloused fingertips).
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Old 01-16-2019, 08:40 AM
Dino Silone Dino Silone is offline
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Doesn’t it really depend on what sort of music you’re playing and what circumstances you’re playing in? (Acoustics, solo or with other instruments, which other instruments)? Also, is “fingerstyle” a particular thing, or does it include a bunch of different styles of playing that don’t use a flatpick?

I thought it was all “fingerpicking”, then saw a particular style - usually more either “jazzy” or “not rootsy-folksy”, using the thumb and three fingers on the right hand referred to as “fingerstyle”, so now I’m not sure anymore. I still just call whatever it is that I do, “fingerpicking”.

Just throwing out a few names here:

Mississippi John Hurt.
Elizabeth Cotten.
Etta Baker.
Robert Johnson.
Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Mary Flower.
Dave Van Ronk.
Tommy Emmanuel.
Chet Atkins.

And I know the list doesn’t really contain any of the more jazzy, non-rootsy kind of finger players. And the list is heavily skewed towards solo (rather than ensemble) performers. And it totally leaves out nylon string styles. But I don’t think that, even in the list above, the same guitar would be “best”.

Maybe, ideally, you’d have more than one guitar...
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Old 01-16-2019, 09:26 AM
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I think if I were looking for projection due to lack of nails I'd be playing a Taylor 818(e). It has that typical Taylor crispness but a booming sound, less muddy than the 814ce. Alternately, if you want something a little smaller, I really like the Taylor 714ce. It doesn't hold up to hard strumming as well as some of the other models. A nice middle of the road guitar is the Taylor 614ce which I believe is more well-rounded. There are three iterations of this model. 2015, pre-2015 and 2018. I would avoid the new V-braced model at all costs. The other two are different from each other, but both good in their own way.

Collings makes some beautiful guitars that would present well with finger style. I haven't yet found a Collings that I wanted to bring home, but that's all personal taste. And then there is Bourgeois. If you find the right one you'll fall in love.

Now probably the best sounding finger style guitar I've ever heard (sadly on recordings only) is the Olson that James Taylor plays. But he has acrylic nails... and Olsons are quite pricey- but worth it if you can justify the cost.
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