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View Full Version : What do you use for fingerpicking (nails/flesh/fingerpicks)



casarole45
02-16-2011, 01:07 PM
Hey people, I don't think I've seen this poll done yet, but I'm really interested to see what people are using when they finger pick so the more input the better, be it;

A) Fingernails
B) Using the flesh (pads of the fingers)
C) Finger picks

I've never grown my nails so I've not had much experience with that sound but I've found with using flesh I get a mellow soft sound...colourful, which works well some some ukes and not so well for others, whilst finger picks give a much louder glassy sound.

Cheers for the input :)

PedalFreak
02-16-2011, 01:13 PM
I've got a kind of weird technique. My index finger nail is somewhat short, just below the tip of my finger, my middle & ring finger nail is just over the tip.

When I do rolls with my index finger the nail catches the string, and i prefer the sound of just the flesh. So they are gradual lengths from index to ring.

If that made any sense :)

casarole45
02-16-2011, 01:16 PM
I've got a kind of weird technique. My index finger nail is somewhat short, just below the tip of my finger, my middle & ring finger nail is just over the tip.

When I do rolls with my index finger the nail catches the string, and i prefer the sound of just the flesh. So they are gradual lengths from index to ring.

If that made any sense :)

lol, I had to read it a few times, but yeah it makes sense =D

mm stan
02-16-2011, 03:17 PM
I shape my nails at more of at an angle so they don't catch.....put your nail against a string with the string under the nail and pull up slowly...and you'll see where it catches and work in the nail at that area..

Kem
02-16-2011, 04:39 PM
Flesh. It's simply the way I've always done it. I keep my nails short because I also play other instruments.

Chris Tarman
02-16-2011, 05:48 PM
I've attempted to grow my index and thumb nails out some, and have found that I can't really have much of an index nail and still be able to play bass (my main instrument). I can, however, fingerpick quite well without much of an index nail. On bass, I am used to using a bit of nail to dig in when I need to, and I carry that over to ukulele. So, generally speaking, I use the fleshy part of my index finger, with a bit of nail now and then for dynamics. Right now, ALL of my nails are pretty short, because they kept breaking and splitting a couple of weeks ago when it was ridiculously cold here.

TCK
02-16-2011, 05:57 PM
I tried nails- hated that...all fingers now. Might go back to a wedgie pick for some things- we'll see.
Used my lap steel picks today and that was fun (used them on my CBU so I did not care if I dinged it up)

rjamesak
02-16-2011, 08:07 PM
Both nails and flesh.

BobN
02-17-2011, 01:54 AM
Both nails and flesh.

I do the same. My nails extend about 1mm or so.

lozarkman
02-17-2011, 02:19 AM
Both flesh and nail, and sometimes a thumb pick. Really prefer my nails for sound but hard to maintain them. It seems that most of the really super players use nails. I think that is how they get the really clear distinct note sounds. I was watching some John King yesterday (UT) and his nails were quite long. Ukelele Bartt has very long nails (Acrylic). Jake and Aldrine seem to keep their nails pretty long. So I guess it is really what sound you are after, and sometimes the flesh pick sound does have a more muted, mellow sound, which is great for some songs and picking. Lozark

dkcrown
02-17-2011, 02:21 AM
Both flesh and nails here.

casarole45
02-21-2011, 03:46 AM
cheers some interesting feed back, yeah I reckon your right Jake etc do get that really clear sound through nails, unfortunately its something I'm never going to attempt to grow. I'm suprised that there is only one other person who uses fingerpicks.

Chris Tarman
02-21-2011, 06:11 AM
I guess if ALL you have to do is play ukulele, then growing nails specifically for that might be a viable option, lol.

Lori
02-21-2011, 07:01 AM
I always prefer playing with a little bit of fingernail... maybe an eighth of an inch at the most. But dry weather and other activities make it difficult to keep them from tearing and breaking. Lately I had to resort to finger pad for my index finger, but I like the clear loud sound that the nail gives me, and I feel like I am a bit more precise when I can get a solid pluck on the string.

–Lori

itsme
02-21-2011, 06:08 PM
Nails, definitely. They don't have to be super long, but you can't get that nice crisp sound with pads alone.

wickedwahine11
02-21-2011, 06:19 PM
Nails, definitely. They don't have to be super long, but you can't get that nice crisp sound with pads alone.

I second that. I used to keep my nails very short on both hands and then I decided to try to grow my nails on the right hand out. I found that the notes were much more clear and crisp that way. After a while I forgot the difference and ended up trimming them short again. Oh, what a mistake that was. I really regretted it and couldn't wait to grow them out again. For strumming it didn't matter for me, but for fingerpicking it made a huge difference. I did find that while I was re-growing them, the Alaska piks helped out though. I got a set for those times when I end up breaking a nail. They don't sound exactly the same as a nail, but they are pretty good. http://www.alaskapik.com/

scottie
02-21-2011, 06:39 PM
If I look at my hand from the palm side I can just see nail peeking over my fingertips. I also use a nail shape suggested by classical guitarist Scott Tennant, works very well.