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View Full Version : Broken nail leads to improved finger picking



hammer40
10-13-2012, 06:33 AM
Unfortunately, I have some manual labor in my job so I end up breaking nails more frequently than I would like. A couple of weeks ago I tore my middle finger nail pretty good, it went all the way down below the finger pad flesh. Now, I really enjoy finger picking and I use the three finger stye to do it, so I have a couple of patterns that always practice as I'm trying to learn this instrument. Suffice it to say, that when I tried to finger pick on that particular finger after that, all I got was a "thud" sound.

I've actually gotten pretty good at picking, if I do say so myself, and didn't want to not keep up with practicing it, so I figured I would give the two finger style, the thumb and first finger a try. Well, it was brutal, couldn't really string together any continuous pick at all and had a hard time just picking more than two strings in a row, let alone a "travis" pick of 4,1,3,2. I really had no choice, so I just kept at it and struggled through it. Surprise, surprise, I've actually gotten pretty good at the two finger style now, still break down eventually but only after a longer sequence. In fact, I think I seem to do better using just two fingers now for some pick patterns, so it's great to have two ways to try and play them.

Well, a couple of weeks later now and the nail is finally getting long enough to pick on it again but I will definitely continue to practice the two finger method as well. This may seem pretty simple to a lot of those experienced players out there but for a beginner it's a great learning experience. I guess the moral of the story for me is to not be afraid to try new ways of playing, it just might make you a better player.

Kem
10-13-2012, 07:04 AM
Interesting story. So you actually pick with your nails? Does everybody else do that too? I've always picked with the pads of my fingers, and I've never got a "thud" sound. (I also use a four-finger picking style.) I keep my nails short because I also play other instruments; I find longer nails affect the sound only when I'm strumming, not when I'm picking. Have you considered learning to pick with your finger pads so that you're not a slave to your nails? The "thud" sound will eventually go away (I promise). You may even find that your speed improves when you're not having to curl your fingers around to ensure that the nails always hit.

hammer40
10-13-2012, 01:21 PM
Interesting story. So you actually pick with your nails? Does everybody else do that too? I've always picked with the pads of my fingers, and I've never got a "thud" sound. (I also use a four-finger picking style.) I keep my nails short because I also play other instruments; I find longer nails affect the sound only when I'm strumming, not when I'm picking. Have you considered learning to pick with your finger pads so that you're not a slave to your nails? The "thud" sound will eventually go away (I promise). You may even find that your speed improves when you're not having to curl your fingers around to ensure that the nails always hit.

Well, it's not just the nail but a combo of the pad and nail. I like this sound better than just the pad, it's a bit brighter sound. They aren't super long either, just a bit over the flesh as you look at them from the palm side.

bonesigh
10-13-2012, 01:35 PM
Personally I love having the sound the nails make. I actually go to the nail salon and only have 3 fingers done with acrylic. Glad it worked out for you hammer40. Keep on pluckin'.