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Transition from Flamenco?   You are logged in as Guest
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Posts: 1
Joined: Apr. 24 2016

Transition from Flamenco? 

Hello everyone! I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this but I could use some advice on where to take flamenco next.

I have been playing flamenco for about 10 years now and I (obviously) love it! The problem is that I am currently a medical student in the US and plan to specialize in surgery. For obvious reasons, long nails are not allowed in the hospital, especially in surgery as they can pose a hazard to patients. So, I am stuck deciding what to do next.

Ideally, I would like to find a discipline similar to flamenco (maybe a subset of jazz?) where I don't need to utilize a pick and that features a similar structure to flamenco (if such a thing exists). I have tried using those "finger picks" and have to say I detest them.

Another problem is that I have learned flamenco in an "old school" way with my teacher since the start. I have mostly learned by ear and using tabs, so I don't understand any music theory. This scares me about going into something like jazz where there is a lot of emphasis on theory. Going into a surgical residency soon I don't know whether I'd have the time to learn this theory.

Has anybody been through a similar curcumstance? Are there any sub-disciplins of guitar/flamenco/jazz that you recommend? I am worried about where I'm going next, I definetly dont want to lose all the skill I've built up over all these years.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2021 15:52:10

Posts: 15028
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

I thought you have to wear rubber gloves?

Seriously, nails should not be so long as to be noticed by anybody visually, except maybe the thumb. If you trim the thumb but keep the others well filed you should be able to continue the path. Also I have seen people play flamenco with no nails...yes it is a warmer sound but still the character of the music is there. Tarrega and other classical players eventually developed callous pads on the finger tips that made a relatively bright sound. But what you are asking, to do a fusion genre or whatever is quite extreme IMO.


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2021 16:19:44


Posts: 2219
Joined: Nov. 21 2010

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

Román Vicente, who is the greatest guitarrist ever from Cádiz, told me: I keep my nails as short as possible and file them lightly every day. I have always followed his advice and nowadays I play flamenco, steel string and electric, all fingerstyle. If you are not a professional tocaor, you should follow this advice.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2021 16:40:59


Posts: 60
Joined: Mar. 9 2021

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

I agree with the above - unless you play professionally why worry about it? Just file your nails short and carry on playing flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2021 19:17:18

Posts: 333
Joined: Jan. 4 2019
From: Patras, Greece

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

Leo de Aurora, the late brother of Jeronimo Maya, played without nails. He played extremely well and extremely fast, just not as loud as Jero. No reason to stop playing without nails. Experiment with strings to facilitate you more. Check out videos of him in YouTube if you want to hear his no nails sound. No reason to give up flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2021 19:45:59

Posts: 2084
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

Surgery resident? You probably won’t have time to play guitar anyway lol! Or do vascular surgery and just use robot arms.

For the thumb nail, you can keep it really short but just have a little bit of nail on the side of the thumb that contacts the strings.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 29 2021 20:31:17

Posts: 137
Joined: Sep. 4 2010
From: New York area

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

Totally dropping out after so much time investment into anything is such a waste. I would just learn playing with minimal nails. Madrid guys at least some of them use very short nails which are almost none. The idea is to pick where nail comes together with the skin, and rather powerful sound can still be achieved. It is more difficult than doing it with nails, but trying this is easier than totally switching out.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2021 3:19:36


Posts: 632
Joined: Jul. 10 2010
From: Minneapolis, MN

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

Hey man, psychiatry resident over here. Obviously had to go through every rotation to get here, including surgery. I don't know who told you that you can't play flamenco while being a medical resident, I've run into the same crap before and it's patently absurd. Dudes like Tarrega played with no nails at all. The best way to go is to keep your nails relatively short, with the thumbnail a tad longer, and that's it. Anything longer than that is actually going to impede stuff like picado speed unless your nails are as strong as horse hooves or something.

For the record, I've been playing classical, flamenco, jazz, and Latin-American guitar music for about 22, 23 years now. Didn't stop me from pursuing my medical passions one bit, or vice versa.


Daniel Volovets
Jazz, Classical, Flamenco, & Latin-American Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 30 2021 16:16:38


Posts: 20
Joined: Jul. 29 2010

RE: Transition from Flamenco? (in reply to jpurrinos02

I just started my PT program this summer and will also be saying goodbye to anything but short nails in the future. At first I told myself I'd get some uv gel nails molded to fit and attach them when I wanted to play, but still be able to remove them as needed - I was telling myself something like old krazy glue would work, so the bond might be weaker. Who knows how what would've gone. Instead, during my zoom orientation the other day, I filed my nails very short, about 1mm or just over - to the point that they are barely or not visible when looking at them palm side. It's still enough to get a decent sound, albeit the angle of attack is slightly different. As stated above many top level players play with short nails or none at all.

I will add, I went through this same conundrum years ago, after maybe a year or two into flamenco, I got my massage license and chopped off my nails. After a long time without nails (5 or 6 years), I thought, maybe I can grow them out and adjust therapy techniques as needed. When this worked without issue I was happy, but also kicking myself for the playing time wasted. I say this hoping that you don't take an unnecessary hiatus like myself. That said, if you want to pursue other styles, jump on in!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jun. 16 2021 20:56:37
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