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  1. #1

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    Great video :

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    My experimentation with no-nail playing of classical guitar was somewhat frustrating. As Brandon says, there is "extra work" required to articulate the string into the soundboard for best tone. This is taken care of almost automatically with a well shaped nail. So far, I get by with short nails with a ramp... thought the next time I curse a broken nail I may revisit the topic!

    Our friend Rob MacKillop created a video on the topic in 2015. He talks about sort-of pulling the string up where Brandon pushes.


  4. #3

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    I saw the first video a couple of weeks ago, and sat there frustrated as he was saying everything I'd been saying, often word for word, using quotations from my website and videos, and then right at the end he mentions me. I'm glad he did. Now I have a few people who were his subscribers looking at my youtube channel. So it all worked out in the end. I wish him well, but I've seen many try the no-nails approach for a month or so before growing their nails out again. I hope he sticks at it, as he's a fine player.

  5. #4

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    Angel Pinero is a classical guitarist from Cadiz, Spain. He concertizes around the world.

    Pinero studied right handed with nails to master Romantic and contemporary repertoire, and he studied left handed with fingertips to master Baroque repertoire.

    He plays two different guitars in concert, one right and one left .

  6. #5

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    wow:

  7. #6

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    From where I watch, Pinero appears to have nails on his left hand. Was he initially or primarily a sinistral? (My favorite thing about being left handed, I'm a sinistral!)

  8. #7

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    Taking up classical guitar is just asking for trouble.

  9. #8

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    Telling certain people here that “taking up classical guitar is asking for trouble”....
    is in fact asking for trouble.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    I saw the first video a couple of weeks ago, and sat there frustrated as he was saying everything I'd been saying, often word for word, using quotations from my website and videos, and then right at the end he mentions me. I'm glad he did. Now I have a few people who were his subscribers looking at my youtube channel. So it all worked out in the end. I wish him well, but I've seen many try the no-nails approach for a month or so before growing their nails out again. I hope he sticks at it, as he's a fine player.
    Hey Rob, what is your take on his 'pushing down toward the soundboard' approach, letting the tip joint collapse? It seems quite different from what you demonstrate in your videos -- you seem to be doing a bit more of a free-stroke pluck.

  11. #10

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    I should know the answer to the question about Pinero's left-handedness. (He was my teacher.) I believe he started out right-handed then went both ways. He is completely ambidextrous. My son is like this. Throw a guitar at him and he will play it the way he catches it.

    Pinero has a special guitar for playing right handed. It has a slotted fretboard so that the nails on his left hand drop into the slots and don't interfere with his fretting, when he is playing baroque material (more lute-like).

  12. #11

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    Why not just play with nails, like every other normal mofo?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Why not just play with nails, like every other normal mofo?
    Nails break easily.Everyone has a different hardness of nails...?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Why not just play with nails, like every other normal mofo?
    I can think of a reason... nail files. They're annoying but a necessary evil for most classical guitarists

  15. #14

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    We need to take care of our nails and spend a lot of time.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    We need to take care of our nails and spend a lot of time.
    Indeed. I just watched the topic video and he does lay out the high maintenance aspect of using nails albeit briefly. Another great no nail player:


  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donplaysguitar
    Why not just play with nails, like every other normal mofo?
    I’ve given it up a long time ago. My nails are very soft and I also do rock climbing...

  18. #17

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    Recently went back after years of not using them. Was fun for a week or two but now I remember why I stopped.

    Back to fingertips before too long I think... I got some of those synthetic guts on the way....

    Also gypsy jazz/swing rhythm tends to shred them and I will probably be starting doing that again. Also with two small kids it’s not ideal lol.

    And they sound a bit trebley on electric, also awkward for hybrid picking.

    If I needed to project acoustically when fingerpicking I think it would be a bigger consideration, but I don’t need to do that really (and I’m sure there’s ways to do it nail-less.)

  19. #18

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    May I throw in my experiences of the past 45 years of dealing and FINGERPICKING on nylon- and steelstring guitars ?
    I started out as a teenager studying classical guitar, got my first (Yamaha) steelstring 2 years into it and continued my classical lessons for an extra couple of years (I was able to play the simpler Bach preludes, some Villa Lobos etc.). From the start my nails were an issue since they are quite weak, I like doing handywork, with tools, get my hands dirty out in the woods etc. but OTOH ALWAYS enjoyed and employed my fingerstyle technique(s) on any guitar I play and in any style of music. So a set of files and extra fine sandpaper and for the past 15 or 20 years a little pouch with adhesive-backed silk tape + super glue) is always within reach.
    Why I do this ? Because I've tried too many times to switch over to playing without nails (or very short nails ) and being absolutely frustrated by the result. For one thing, it takes a very long time to develop and get used to a different playing position for my right hand and just as problematic : when you're seriously studying for a recital or just learning a difficult new piece you need to practice several hours a day and when the tips of your playing-hand fingers get sore after 45 minutes you're in trouble.
    So I rather rely on my files, use gloves when chopping wood etc. and continue to bitch and whine about my soft nails - the tone of my guitar is my reward.

    PS: I've seen Lawrence Juber play at the Martin Guitars booth at the Frankfurt Musik Messe a couple of years ago. He plays without nails and he sounds great BUT he's always using a guitar with a pickup and confessed that it took him several years of developing the technique and the extra callouses on his fingertips ....


  20. #19

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    Nah I’ll just learn to flatpick all of the Bach preludes. How hard can it be? :-)

  21. #20

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    I’ve heard guitarists play in a concert hall without nails and project fine btw. This was on 19th century guitars though and I think on gut strings or similar. Apparently this helps?

    I might be wrong but I think lutenists in particular get interested in nailless playing because Renaissance lute playing is nailless? I played lute briefly and the right hand technique is totally different ...

    And the the whole historical recreation side of it comes in and they get terribly interested in how players played in the 19th century, pre Segovia technique.... original 19th century instruments seem to be available, and I’ve seen a few players with them.

    I understand early plucked strings players have to make compromises with respect to nail length. So I can understand the desire not have to deal with them at all.

    Maybe string material affects the fingertip pain thing.

  22. #21

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    In her interview with Rob MacKillop, Virginia Luque acknowledges that it's a long haul and takes constant vigilance to play well without nails. Unlike playing with nails

    The point, in my view, is to make a beautiful sound with a nylon string guitar. More power to those who can do so without the need to maintain well groomed fingernails!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky
    In her interview with Rob MacKillop, Virginia Luque acknowledges that it's a long haul and takes constant vigilance to play well without nails. Unlike playing with nails

    The point, in my view, is to make a beautiful sound with a nylon string guitar. More power to that those who can do so without the need to maintain well groomed fingernails!
    i think it depends what you are going for as well. For jazz a soft intimate sound is perfectly acceptable; I actually prefer fingertips on nylon for this, maybe with a little nail. That’s a different thing from giving all acoustic performances in halls.

    but of course nylon itself is a relative newcomer to the guitar story, and i understand as nylons can take more punishment, so right hand technique has evolved to push them harder....

  24. #23

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    Why not just play with nails? Because there is a repertoire from the Renaissance and from the baroque period. These forms of music--on both lute and guitar--predate the employment of nails on the right hand. To produce tone correctly for these pieces, one does not utilize the "Segovia" right-hand technique. Rather, one uses the lute-player's right-hand technique. (Check out some of Rob's videos.)

    The tone is more intimate. If you have seen Julian Bream in concert playing both guitar and lute, you will know what I mean.

  25. #24

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    I think Bream gave up lute when he realised that nailless playing was required. He used heavier instruments more suited to guitarists which are unlike the more historically accurate lighter Renaissance instruments that favour nailless playing that were increasingly becoming the norm. (I learned R lute thumb in and nailless.)

    although I understand things get more complicated and musicology is always moving forward. (Rob would be able to fact check me on that obviously)

    So it remains a dilemma for players who double lute and modern classical guitar whether to grow their nails.

    Anyway, I haven’t heard a lute player say anything but good things about the musicality of Breams lute playing despite the changes in HIP practice...

  26. #25

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    Bream is still a god in the lute world, and justifiably so.

    He did latterly have a 10c lute which was made to historical principles. As for nail playing, there are a number of citations I've seen for that being largely the reserve of theorbo and baroque-guitar players, though not exclusively so. The theorbo is the natural instrument for classical-guitar players to choose, though few do. It has single strings, was played with nails...oh, and is MASSIVE!



    I just got delivery of a small French theorbo which was created for solo repertoire. It does not have the oomph of the big Roman theorbos, but sounds more lute-like:



    and the baroque guitar is an incredibly fun instrument to play:


  27. #26

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    Classic quote by Bream in the book ‘A life on the road’.

    Apparently when he began to popularise the lute, a lot of purists started criticising his playing style, the construction of his lute, his use of nails, dynamics, tone colour etc.

    Says Bream: “I ask you! I mean, here I was playing music that almost no-one had heard for nearly three hundred years, and suddenly out of the woodwork came all these clever-dicks who knew so much more than I did!”

  28. #27

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    Yes, but...he gives the impression he was the first to do it, where in fact there had been a long line of lute players before him dating back to Dolmetsch at the turn of the century, and many of them - including luthiers) were indeed clever dicks who had studied the history of the instrument. Then along comes this young arrogant classical guitarist, using metal frets and a guitar bridge, and playing with a rest-stroke technique with nails - they were entitled to say this was not how it was done historically. However, no one, to my knowledge, criticised his playing or musicianship. His use of the term "clever dicks" could only inflame passions on both sides.

    But Bream developed his playing style and instruments. Here is a webpage detailing his lutes over the decades: Lutes - by the end he is playing a "proper" lute. His relationship with lute players has improved to one of deep mutual respect, as should be the case.

  29. #28

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    Is there anyone who tried to play jazz on the lute?

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Yes, but...he gives the impression he was the first to do it, where in fact there had been a long line of lute players before him dating back to Dolmetsch at the turn of the century, and many of them - including luthiers) were indeed clever dicks who had studied the history of the instrument. Then along comes this young arrogant classical guitarist, using metal frets and a guitar bridge, and playing with a rest-stroke technique with nails - they were entitled to say this was not how it was done historically. However, no one, to my knowledge, criticised his playing or musicianship. His use of the term "clever dicks" could only inflame passions on both sides.

    But Bream developed his playing style and instruments. Here is a webpage detailing his lutes over the decades: Lutes - by the end he is playing a "proper" lute. His relationship with lute players has improved to one of deep mutual respect, as should be the case.
    Yes but he was out there putting it in front of the wider public in concerts and selling records of lute music, I don’t think any one else was popularising it like he did at that stage.

    I like the fact that Bream was a real character, colourful language and all.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Is there anyone who tried to play jazz on the lute?
    i did. I conclude the experiment was a failure haha

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Yes but he was out there putting it in front of the wider public in concerts and selling records of lute music, I don’t think any one else was popularising it like he did at that stage.

    I like the fact that Bream was a real character, colourful language and all.
    J.Bream was my favorite classical guitar player.
    Often his interpretations of guitar music were broadcast on Polish Radio.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    i did. I conclude the experiment was a failure haha
    The lute has a very pleasant sound.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Is there anyone who tried to play jazz on the lute?
    You've resurrected a memory with this question!

    When I was a teen living in southern Connecticut, USA there was an Early Music program at a university. I participated in an ensemble class which was led by Joseph Iadone. Too young to know the tune at the time, but I'm certain I heard him play a standard on his lute one evening.

    Iadone was a gracious man who loved the music and didn't care what instrument we brought to class. I had my nylon strung guitar and I remember a flute player, oboe and a fellow with a Gretsch hollow-body.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris
    Is there anyone who tried to play jazz on the lute?
    I know that German jazz guitarist Peter Autschbach has a lute, but I don‘t know whether he ever played it in public.

    There is a lute player doing stuff with loopers etc., if that qualifies as jazz. I think he is called Jozef van Wissem.

    Anuoar Brahem plays jazz on an oud.

    And there is always Sting...


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  36. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by docsteve
    I know that German jazz guitarist Peter Autschbach has a lute, but I don‘t know whether he ever played it in public.




  37. #36

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    Very interesting...but the sound.Piezo pickup and lute...?

  38. #37

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    I met Martin Taylor many years ago when he came to Napier University for a lunchtime recital, and I was one of two lecturers in guitar there at the time - some 30 years ago. We got chatting about his right hand being similar a certain lute technique, and I demonstrated on a lute. He started playing me a little, by suggesting he could "take the lute and play jazz on it, but why don't you do it? You be that guy". I didn't become that guy...

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Yes but he was out there putting it in front of the wider public in concerts and selling records of lute music, I don’t think any one else was popularising it like he did at that stage.
    Popularising it does not equate with being correct in what you say and do...

    ...but don't get me wrong. I love the guy. He is my favourite classical guitar player, even though I don't always like everything he did, and loved the fact that he was a character.

  40. #39

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    I found a quote I was looking for.

    "Without a beautiful sound, the charm of the guitar disappears".

    I know it's fashionable in some circles to be harshly critical of the guy, but what Segovia said there resonates with me. The tone of one note can capture my heart. A clever bebop line will tickle my brain, but the visceral response to tone is something altogether different.

    Good results can be achieved with nail, flesh or flatpick. In all cases it takes time and intent to learn to produce that charming sound.

  41. #40

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    Segovia - because none of us can spend half the day having a bath and still sound that good.

  42. #41

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    TBF the bath is immaterial. ‘My hours are not like your hours.’

  43. #42

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    Andres Segovia-the Master!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Segovia - because none of us can spend half the day having a bath and still sound that good.
    Have you given it an honest try, Christian?

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky
    Have you given it an honest try, Christian?
    i see the flaw in my logic

    Ha would be nice to be in a position to try that