guit-box wrote: ↑
Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:58 pm
Check out Grisha's nails at 1:10 min. He has almost no nails. I'd have to conclude that speed is about the player's finger strength and coordination developed over years of practice combined with an anatomy that for whatever reason allows them to move the fingers fast. It's about skill and practicing the right moves for years, no doubt, but also some of us just will never have the ability to play this fast no matter what we do. Nails are likely not that connected to speed as we might think, but if they are too long or badly shaped and badly polished they might be inhibiting speed.
I think that the longer the nails are, the more critical it is to get the shape right. If you keep them short, they have to be a really weird shape to cause you a problem, whereas if you have them long, they have to be just right or they will catch or give you radically different sounds.
I would have thought a longer nail means that your fingers have to travel slightly further, which has got to slow you down to some extent, but I would think this effect is pretty negligible, and it's not as though speed is the only goal.
I don't know a lot about Flamenco so go ahead and shoot me down, but a lot of fast flamenco / flamenco oriented players have that laid back hand position you can see in this video. I suspect this helps with the speed, but it also changes the tone.
The ideal nail shape depends on how the fingers address the strings, which depends in turn on hand position. Obviously, you have to be able to accommodate a range of hand positions - so if I am right that nail shape is more critical when the nails are longer, this also means that you have to make much bigger adjustments in technique when your hand is not in the default position.
Long story short, I think that long nails may be the perfectionist's choice, but they make life so much more difficult that for most of us, shorter and more forgiving nails are a better option.