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Güiro

Posts: 158
Joined: Aug. 22 2008
From: Colorado

ramping the fingernails 

I have been trying a ramped shape for a few weeks. I first used shape #3 from the pumping nylon book

pumping nylon\

which seemed to work well for picado but not for arpegios since the tip of the nail would catch so I have switched to shape #4 which seems to work better all around. If you are ramping what shape are you using?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 14 2010 20:20:48
 
larrygraham

 

Posts: 28
Joined: Mar. 29 2005
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

Nail shaping is a hotly debated topic among classical guitarists because tonal quality is affected by nail shape.

Every nail is different, this is true even on the same hand.
There is no one right way to shape a nail.
The curvature of the nail is one factor which you cannot change.
Then there is hand playing position and angle of attack on the strings, and how you hold the guitar.
With the same nail finger, it may be even possible to change the angle of attack during playing to obtain a different sound.

I feel comfortable with the nail ramp on the left side [looking down at my right hand], that is shape 3.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 4:58:39
 
Güiro

Posts: 158
Joined: Aug. 22 2008
From: Colorado

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to larrygraham

I am switching back to shape #3. It seems to provide better tone and feels more natural than shape #4
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 8:38:48
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13342
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

i / 3

m _ straight

a \4

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 10:19:26
 
Güiro

Posts: 158
Joined: Aug. 22 2008
From: Colorado

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Ricardo

interesting. I never thought about ramping the fingers individually. I think I will try your method next since my a finger doesn't feel right when doing arps. I think switching to 4 shape will fix that.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 10:40:12
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13342
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

depends on wrist position, mine is bent to the side so I play face on to the strings, where as pumping nylon dude has a straight wrist and attacks with all fingers at an angle, so he needs em all ramped the same way.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 15:01:06
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2556
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

I don't know if anyone else does this but I take a long file and place my fingers on it in the same position they are in when touching the stings. I then move my hand back and forth a little just to get the shape started. Then do each nail following the shape the file made. It works for me.

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 15:08:33
 
mrMagenta

Posts: 942
Joined: Oct. 25 2006
From: Sweden

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

I don't know if it is because my technique isn't as solid as it should be, but my picado an arpeggios are very sensitive to nail shapes. As a result I've tried a lot of different ways to get them right.

This is the best I've found so far:

I start by filing my nails flatter from underneath so that they don't catch on the strings - i have nails that curve in all kinds of annoying ways. Then I do like Tom, but instead of using the file I do it with 1000grit sandpaper wrapped around a treble string, one finger at a time in regular plucking position i go side to side to get the angle for the ramp. plucking the string with the sandpaper also helps get the geometry right. Lastly I clean up with the finest grade and polish side of an emery board and smooth the 'release points' at the sides of the ramps a little.

I play with a somewhat straight wrist, so m is also slightly ramped in the same direction as a, but i get basically the same pattern as ricardo.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 16:20:36

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

Another huge consideration in how the nail is shaped is the fingertip itself,
and the way it is shaped, and how the fingertip tapers into the nail.

My wife has a beautiful taper from flesh to nail (i teach her some flamenco and classical techniques from time to time). I dont have that. My fingertips taper in a way that leaves a great distance between the tip
and the nail.
So even though we both have a curved "A" type nail, our shaping needs to be totally different.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 16:21:10
 
TANúñez

Posts: 2556
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
From: TEXAS

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to ToddK

quote:

My wife has a beautiful taper from flesh to nail


Dude! when did you get married? If you posted an announcement, I missed it. Congrats anyway.

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Tom Núñez
www.instagram.com/tanunezguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 15 2010 17:56:16
 
kozz

Posts: 1766
Joined: Feb. 26 2009
From: Eindhoven NL

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

Thanks for the tips.
I'd never paid that much attention to the nails, but yesterday I was bored after the fun Andalusian thread (again), and started filing and polishing.
Damn it does make a big difference, it sounds so much sweeter now.
I should take all the advises on the forum more serious immediatly after reading them.

So now I have ordered the Miros polisher set, looks pretty decent to me.
http://www.guitarrabuena.nl/webwinkel_product/1067

Thanks again.

PS: I am in now way related to Miros

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2010 1:32:54
 
mrMagenta

Posts: 942
Joined: Oct. 25 2006
From: Sweden

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

I use Miros set too! It's the best I've come across! I also use his excellent glass file for shaping and his onimyrrhe, and his silk nail repair stuff. I'm not related to Miro either, except that he's a friend of my father and the guitarist that endorses his products has the same name as me except for one letter!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 27 2010 7:31:42
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to mrMagenta

I dont quite understand the pumping nylon description on the use or benefit of the ramped types. Does it imply that it is beneficial when the nail is "attacking" the string at an angle that is not perpendicular to the string?
I thought that it was correct to do picado at a perpendicular angle(finger/string) so that the nail attacks the string straight, and doesnt slide along the edge of the nail before releasing(which might be though normal in classical?) Can someone tell me if I got it right?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 22 2012 12:34:38
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13342
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to tele

quote:

ORIGINAL: tele

I dont quite understand the pumping nylon description on the use or benefit of the ramped types. Does it imply that it is beneficial when the nail is "attacking" the string at an angle that is not perpendicular to the string?
I thought that it was correct to do picado at a perpendicular angle(finger/string) so that the nail attacks the string straight, and doesnt slide along the edge of the nail before releasing(which might be though normal in classical?) Can someone tell me if I got it right?



THe main point is you need to let the sides of your nail grow out so you have more surface area. That means don't follow the contour of the finger tip. There should be more white part on the sides than in the center ( or on the positive incline side of the nail if you ramp). THe ramp has to do with the position you plant your fingers (touch then to string before playing) depending on wrist angle, so that you don't hook the string UNDER the corner of one side of your nail...which ever it might be. Putting krazy glue helps the nail shape curve a bit more to the ideal shape (A type nail in Pumping Nylon).

Ricardo

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www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 22 2012 13:37:06
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Ricardo

thanks that was what I was thinking but the talk in the book made me confused. (such as the pic of the playing position and the talk of it causing scratching sound on the basses etc)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 22 2012 17:27:00
Guest

[Deleted] (in reply to Güiro

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 23 2012 0:47:21
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Guest

I found one way of "discovering" the correct angle of nail shape: I use sandpaper(600-1000) and wrap it around a string and do some picado, after a while the nail has worn from the picking point so that it's flat there, then use some sandpaper to complete the shape. This requires a bit of extra nail that can be removed obviously. I am surprised how difficult it's to get a nice full tone for picado (thumb is way easier)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 23 2012 17:49:05
 
FlamencoD

 

Posts: 113
Joined: Apr. 7 2012
From: Portland, OR

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

I have type C nails...hooks, and pretty thin. I've always used the round approach like shape #1. I had a heck of a time when I first started playing with my nails catching on the strings. I eventually compensated and was able to cut down the catches significantly, but still struggle with it from time to time. Tonight I filed my nails similar to #3, more like a hybrid #1 and #3, and wow, what a difference. Almost no more catching - big improvement! Thanks to Guiro for starting this thread! After playing for an hour or so tonight, I've noticed it's really helped my arpeggios and rakes, particuarly. It's helped tremelo as well as picado. All around improvement.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 24 2012 4:48:35
 
Yojimbo

Posts: 176
Joined: Feb. 7 2011
From: Toronto, Canada

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Güiro

I have struggled with nail shape ever since I took this up about a year and a half ago. It's sort of encouraging to hear that others have had the same type of trouble.

As a couple of others have said, I find the best thing for me is to wrap some sandpaper around a treble string and then play picado and some free strokes. I'll then move the paper to a base string and repeat.

I have also found that what Ricardo says about not shaping the nail to the finger contour but instead letting the side grow out works for me. This is what happens anyways with the sandpaper on a string approach.

For me, it turns out that my i finger is almost straight, my m finger has a slight reverse ramp and the a finger has quite a marked reverse ramp. The i tone is usually the best with the a tone the worst - so I still haven't quite found the perfect shape for me. And it seems whenever I get close, the corners start to catch and I have to file them back a little and the tone suffers.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 24 2012 9:31:46
 
attila57

 

Posts: 51
Joined: Oct. 27 2012
From: Budapest, Hungary

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to Yojimbo

I used to have problems with picado (apoyando) strokes when I started. I read Pumping Nylon and started experimenting with shapes. Now I file my p-i-m-a nails to the #3 shape with a well expressed slant towards the thumb. I round the outer corner down a little, too. I let my e (little finger) nail grow.
No more problems with apoyando stroke!
I've figured out how works: the string can easily slide up from the flesh to the shorter inner part of the nail, then it easily travels along the ramp to the outer corner, the actual release point. Maybe Scott says the same, but his explanation is a little confusing.
A longer nail on my little finger helps me even out my rasgueos, as I often use eamii or ieami.

I am a part-time classical/flamenco guitarist. I hold my right hand more or less perpendicular to the strings, the 'Tárrega way'. A lot of classical guitarists frown on that angle now, because of the Pumping Nylon guy (Scott Tennant), who actually holds his right hand at a 45-degree angle to the strings, i.e. he holds his wrist dead straight. He says the tone he gets is fuller that way because the stroke is slanted, i.e. the fingertip travels along the string, too, not just across them. So the contact time is longer, this gives the fuller tone.
Lots of very good classical guitarists follow his track, but I've found that they very rarely use apoyando, in fact they play almost all the scales tirando. Apoyando is reserved for very strong accents or for sweeter tone in their case. And when they use picado, they bend their wrist a little, too.
As for the scratching, Scott Tennant himself says that the wrist angle has to be adjusted towards 90 degrees attack on the bass strings if you don't want to hear your nails scratch on the metal-spun strings.
I'm satisfied with the 90-degree angle. I've found that the link is stronger between sound and nail shape than between sound and wrist angle.

Some more personal findings with nails: I used to have very weak nails that often broke to pieces, especially in winter. Accidentally, I started eating more animal fats, and my nails marvellously became strong, dense and unbreakable.
Now I'm on a steady bacon-and-red-meat diet and I can even do the washing-up.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 31 2012 21:45:05
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to attila57

quote:

I am a part-time classical/flamenco guitarist. I hold my right hand more or less perpendicular to the strings, the 'Tárrega way'. A lot of classical guitarists frown on that angle now, because of the Pumping Nylon guy (Scott Tennant), who actually holds his right hand at a 45-degree angle to the strings, i.e. he holds his wrist dead straight. He says the tone he gets is fuller that way because the stroke is slanted, i.e. the fingertip travels along the string, too, not just across them. So the contact time is longer, this gives the fuller tone.
Lots of very good classical guitarists follow his track, but I've found that they very rarely use apoyando, in fact they play almost all the scales tirando. Apoyando is reserved for very strong accents or for sweeter tone in their case. And when they use picado, they bend their wrist a little, too.
As for the scratching, Scott Tennant himself says that the wrist angle has to be adjusted towards 90 degrees attack on the bass strings if you don't want to hear your nails scratch on the metal-spun strings.
I'm satisfied with the 90-degree angle. I've found that the link is stronger between sound and nail shape than between sound and wrist angle.


I suppose this "nail attack angle" is only a thing of the classical players?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 2 2012 14:37:30
 
tele

Posts: 1462
Joined: Aug. 17 2012
 

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to tele

When approaching the strings at about 45 degree angle in picado the sound is much rounder indeed, but is this approach used at all in flamenco?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 3 2012 16:55:52
 
attila57

 

Posts: 51
Joined: Oct. 27 2012
From: Budapest, Hungary

RE: ramping the fingernails (in reply to tele

quote:

When approaching the strings at about 45 degree angle in picado the sound is much rounder indeed, but is this approach used at all in flamenco?
I suppose this "nail attack angle" is only a thing of the classical players?

Well, classical guitarists are very sensitive - maybe too sensitive - about these issues. And they tend to frown on anything different from the school they follow.
Lucky thing is that in flamenco we need a drier, more rustic sound.
As for me, I've found that the amount of flesh I use in conjunction with the nail has more effect on the sound quality than the actual attack angle.
Ramping, however, helps me a lot with my picado stroke, because my nails used to catch on the strings easily.
Attila
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 4 2012 18:28:12
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