Thumb Nail Dilemma

Nail care, nail problems, and the use of nails in playing the classical guitar.
OneManBand
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:57 pm

Thumb Nail Dilemma

Post by OneManBand » Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:14 pm

Hi

I've been experimenting with my thumb nail shape for awhile now. Trying to find a shape that allows me to pluck individual notes whilst still being able to spread/arpeggiate chords. The closest I have come is a halfway house for both, where my nail seems to catch, on the left hand side of the nail for individual string plucks, and in order to spread the chord I have to re-position my wrist and draw my thumb down the strings. This works reasonably well if I only want to spread the chord with my thumb, but since my wrist is out of position I can't spread a chord with my thumb and fingers. So now I'm questioning if the problem is my nail shape or perhaps my whole approach with the right hand thumb.

Any suggestions?

celestemcc
Posts: 1327
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Thumb Nail Dilemma

Post by celestemcc » Sat Jul 13, 2019 2:46 pm

When you say "catch" do you mean that the nail strikes/pushes through the string? Or actually does "catch" or hook onto it? Also, when you say "spread the chord" do you mean a thumb strum or an arpeggio? Personally I keep my thumbnail ramped, more sharply than my other nails, so it strikes but doesn't hook onto the string. (for me, without the ramp, that's exactly what happens.) Then I can do both individual notes or arpeggios without greatly altering my wrist position. A thumb strum (if that's what you mean) does alter your right hand position somewhat, regardless.

Hope this helps a little!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

OneManBand
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:57 pm

Re: Thumb Nail Dilemma

Post by OneManBand » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:32 pm



I've changed my nail shape so it doesn't catch now. But it still feels like I have to position my wrist in a sub optimal way in order to spread the cord at the end.

Does your nail slope with the peak on the left side of the thumb?

robert e
Posts: 698
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:49 pm

Re: Thumb Nail Dilemma

Post by robert e » Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:35 pm

First of all, it sounds good, and looks OK to me.

So, that slightly more arched and supinated position that I take it you're calling "suboptimal" is reminiscent of a lot of concert guitarists and flamencos I see these days. The straight but slightly cocked wrist you seem to favor, I'd call "old school". Neither are "wrong", to my eye and in my belief, nor would anything in between be wrong, if you wanted to adopt a compromise. Don't take my word for it, though--look around on youtube and see for yourself, or better still, consult a teacher.

OneManBand
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:57 pm

Re: Thumb Nail Dilemma

Post by OneManBand » Tue Jul 16, 2019 10:47 pm

My problem was the way my wrist jutted out and my elbow lifted from the body of the guitar to draw the nail down the strings. But having played with it for a few days now It is starting to feel more natural. I think it may have just been a case of getting used to it.

I had a look around Youtube, I guess finding a comfortable right hand position is individual to each player. Hopefully I've got a little closer to finding mine now.

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