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Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
#3017067 08/23/20 04:00 PM
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I came across this guitar player Naudo, by chance on YouTube. I was struck by how his style/technique of right hand finger picking/plucking (I don't know guitar playing terminology). I think maybe he's got some Flamenco techniques in there also. What impresses me is that he's able to cover songs on the guitar similar to how a pianist can - covering a bass part, a melody and some sort of chord comping in the middle. I don't think I've heard anyone before who covers these bases on a guitar the way Naudo can.

Any others anyone knows of ? Is this technique a "thing" or a hybrid of "things" ? Just wondering.





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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017079 08/23/20 04:33 PM
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Google finger-style guitar, and also just classical guitar. That kind of finger-playing is used in a lot of styles. I don't think what he's doing is uncommon at all actually. He just happens to be using a nylon-stringed guitar (typically used in classical guitar) but then amping it (not typical in classical guitar) and combining classical fingering with other technique that you don't see in classical guitar.

I actually used to play classical guitar. When I started the piano, I thought I would keep playing guitar, but I couldn't deal with the fingernails (RH) and also, I found piano to be much easier than guitar. Since I was already a working adult at that point, I decided I could only keep on instrument-hobby, and piano it was!

Naudo plays very nicely! He has great fingers too! My fingers/hands aren't that big. I can play a 9th on the piano (maybe a 10th but I can't really doing that while playing, I have to sort of place my fingers on the keys). But anyway, the size of my hands has never felt like a limiting factor on the piano (and I don't see Rachmaninoff in my future...) but I did feel like my hands weren't quite big enough for the classical guitar music I was trying to learn...


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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
ShiroKuro #3017095 08/23/20 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Google finger-style guitar, and also just classical guitar. That kind of finger-playing is used in a lot of styles. I don't think what he's doing is uncommon at all actually. He just happens to be using a nylon-stringed guitar (typically used in classical guitar) but then amping it (not typical in classical guitar) and combining classical fingering with other technique that you don't see in classical guitar.

I actually used to play classical guitar. When I started the piano, I thought I would keep playing guitar, but I couldn't deal with the fingernails (RH) and also, I found piano to be much easier than guitar. Since I was already a working adult at that point, I decided I could only keep on instrument-hobby, and piano it was!

Agree with ShiroKuro. Not that uncommon.

I’m actually considering learning the classical guitar right now, as my 3rd musical instrument (I know, I’m crazy crazy). And like ShiroKuro, I am concerned that the right-hand fingernails will interfere with piano-playing and am unwilling to sacrifice piano technique. I actually spoke with a teacher and she advised I would probably do ok without nails for a couple of years but eventually I would need the nails...so, still thinking if I should start! confused

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 08/23/20 05:33 PM.

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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017102 08/23/20 05:59 PM
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I would probably do ok without nails for a couple of years but eventually I would need the nails

That's interesting... I can't imagine playing classical guitar (beginner level or otherwise) without fingernails. You'll have to let me know how it goes.

I actually took classical guitar lessons in high school, through my senior year right up until I broke my arm! Then I was away from the guitar throughout college. Then, my first year out of college, I got back into it and was trying to teach myself. I suspect that was where my problem was, I got to a certain level and couldn't get past it. I felt like all the music I really wanted to play was just beyond my reach. I met someone who was a piano teacher, and I happened to mention casually that I had always wanted to play the piano. Well, she happened to have a stage piano (digital, very nice, weighted keys) and said she'd lend it to me. (And the rest, as they say, is history.)

After struggling so much with the guitar, the piano seemed so, so easy (little did I know!) But the one thing I did right was immediately find a piano teacher. I stopped playing guitar completely very soon after that. I don't remember if my piano teacher told me to cut my fingernails or if I just decided to prioritize the piano, but I decided that the two were not compatible for me and feeling I needed to choose, I chose piano.

And of course at this point, my piano playing is much, much more advanced than I ever got at the guitar. But I also know now that piano is not, in fact, easier than classical guitar! whome

Sorry for the rambling! grin

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 08/23/20 06:02 PM.

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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
ShiroKuro #3017103 08/23/20 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
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I would probably do ok without nails for a couple of years but eventually I would need the nails

That's interesting... I can't imagine playing classical guitar (beginner level or otherwise) without fingernails. You'll have to let me know how it goes.

I actually took classical guitar lessons in high school, through my senior year right up until I broke my arm! Then I was away from the guitar throughout college. Then, my first year out of college, I got back into it and was trying to teach myself. I suspect that was where my problem was, I got to a certain level and couldn't get past it. I felt like all the music I really wanted to play was just beyond my reach. I met someone who was a piano teacher, and I happened to mention casually that I had always wanted to play the piano. Well, she happened to have a stage piano (digital, very nice, weighted keys) and said she'd lend it to me. (And the rest, as they say, is history.)

After struggling so much with the guitar, the piano seemed so, so easy (little did I know!) But the one thing I did right was immediately find a piano teacher. I stopped playing guitar completely very soon after that. I don't remember if my piano teacher told me to cut my fingernails or if I just decided to prioritize the piano, but I decided that the two were not compatible for me and feeling I needed to choose, I chose piano.

And of course at this point, my piano playing is much, much more advanced than I ever got at the guitar. But I also know now that piano is not, in fact, easier than classical guitar! whome

Sorry for the rambling! grin

I’ll surely let you know if I do end up starting! I’m just not sure I want to start the journey if I know that one day I might have to choose between piano and guitar.

Online, you will see some people/teachers saying nails aren’t absolutely necessary but you will lose tone quality, and you may also need to adjust your finger technique. I also read that some people use fake nails for one reason or another and they find it acceptable. Since beginner guitars are not too expensive, I might just try it and satisfy my curiosity about the instrument.

Your story is very interesting, by the way. I always love to hear about how other people get into music! smile


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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017119 08/23/20 07:00 PM
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I'd like to hear some comparable guitarists to Naudo, covering as many parts - that's the key in my mind. He's not just playing finger style or whatever designation. He's covering multiple parts. I just never hear anyone at his level. The thing about that is (to my mind anyway) , is that as good as he's doing, he's not breaking new creative ground. He's covering different "voices" in songs.

If anyone has comparable examples, please share.

As for the one's who get our attention. I'm thinking in terms of our musical heroes who moved the musical ball forward. For me Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, along with a whole bunch of others. They created their own musical personas. Naudo is just doing recitations - in a sense. But he's not famous, he's just trying to hold down a gig.

Some thoughts.

Joseph Spence 1958 "Jump in the Line" - Bahamian guitarist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hugq2HWRt8o

Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017173 08/23/20 09:10 PM
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Classical guitar music has the bass and melody, I think that's very common -- although I'll have to let you do your own googling to find examples as I don't listen to classical guitar very often these days.

There are always people who do more with their left hand as well (though that's not classical, AFAIK)...


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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017214 08/24/20 01:18 AM
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The greatest classical guitar cover of a song ever could well be Stairway to Heaven by Rodrigo y Gabriella. You're welcome.

Classical guitar was my first instrument and still my strongest.

Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017232 08/24/20 04:16 AM
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Hi

Off and on I've played guitar, and did a couple of classical exams in the 1980s. I never worried about long nails on the RH and I thought it sounded okay. But I never played at a high level, then or now.

A lot of folk guitarists use 'fake nails' (they have a name - can't remember it). Outside of the classical area, the creation of a separate bass part on acoustic guitar goes back to people like Mississippi John Hurt. I spent quite a while trying to play his material a few years ago. Very difficult (for me)!

I like what Naudo does, it's a lovely flowing style.

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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017241 08/24/20 06:18 AM
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I’ve spent the last ten years studying the classical guitar and have decided to devote myself to piano now. Yes, it’s possible to play with just flesh, and some early guys did, but that makes a quiet instrument even quieter. The classical guitar has always been problematic because, as a plucked string instrument, it cannot be heard, at least not in anything but the smallest of rooms and you need to sit close to it.

As for reconciling the classical guitar and the piano, I tried, but having any nails on the IMA fingers is kind of annoying on the piano, truth be told. So, for the first time in ten years, I don’t have any nails on my right hand, and it is kind of a relief. Keeping nails from breaking is always a problem.

I know of a high level player, a student of Segovia, who spent years working on his technique in order to play without nails. He can push the strings more into the sound hole in order to generate greater volume and he uses gut strings, believe it or not. He favors very expensive guitars made by a luthier who can build resonant guitars that project well. On a student guitar, the only path to playing with sufficient volume is to grow a set of nails.

Yeah, you can try fake nails but I found that supergluing those onto my nails destroyed my nail bed and so I used glue dots, which are only temporary. My teacher, a pro, used glued on ping pong balls for years but people make fun of you.

I have tried just about every kind of plastic finger pick for a massive bass guitar I own and they’re all awful, lol.

As for a plectrum, I never used one, because playing classical guitar is all about bringing out multiple lines, bass, middle, and high treble, and that means plucking the notes separately, holding some, moving to others, not strumming chords.

Last edited by LarryK; 08/24/20 06:25 AM.
Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017248 08/24/20 07:02 AM
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I have used finger picks on a Japanese koto (horizontal harp?) and I can’t imagine using the same kind of picks for classical guitar music...

ETA:
Although, wow! Do a google image search for “finger picks” — there are more types than I realized, and some of these are surely a new design? Maybe there’s an option that would work. Interesting.

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 08/24/20 07:04 AM.

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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
LarryK #3017253 08/24/20 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
As for a plectrum, I never used one, because playing classical guitar is all about bringing out multiple lines, bass, middle, and high treble, and that means plucking the notes separately, holding some, moving to others, not strumming chords.

I'm the same, have never used a plectrum and don't like them. Like you say it stops you picking out certain strings at the same time. Using your fingers alone you can pick out 2, 3 or 4 notes while missing out other strings.

When I had lessons about 25 years ago I remember enjoying the flamenco style, strumming with four fingers one after the other to create the classic sound, you can't do that with a plectrum!

Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
leemeadowcroft #3017260 08/24/20 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by leemeadowcroft
Originally Posted by LarryK
As for a plectrum, I never used one, because playing classical guitar is all about bringing out multiple lines, bass, middle, and high treble, and that means plucking the notes separately, holding some, moving to others, not strumming chords.

I'm the same, have never used a plectrum and don't like them. Like you say it stops you picking out certain strings at the same time. Using your fingers alone you can pick out 2, 3 or 4 notes while missing out other strings.

When I had lessons about 25 years ago I remember enjoying the flamenco style, strumming with four fingers one after the other to create the classic sound, you can't do that with a plectrum!

That’s called Rasgueado and I never got into it because I don’t play flamenco and, it’s just another strumming technique, and I was never into strumming, just plucking. Time to move on to hammering, lol.

Segovia argued that the classical guitar deserved a place on the concert stage and he worked for decades to make that happen, getting people to compose for the instrument, and premiering their works. The classical guitar is seen as a solo instrument now but it had to get louder to play on the stage. Segovia took a rather dim view of flamenco and didn’t want flamenco to define the instrument.

The classical guitar is kind of a chameleon, in that it is used to play music written for other instruments. The piano is similar but has a lot of repertoire written specifically for it. I gave away an arrangement of the Goldberg Variations for the classical guitar. I could see that I would never play it, it was just impossiblY difficult. I’ll never get there on the piano and I never would have gotten there on the classical guitar, lol.

I could never coordinate my fingers when wearing finger picks. For me, I could never figure out where all of the picks ended, lol. With nails, it came much more naturally.

We lost Julian Bream the other week. He was my favorite classical guitarist. Listen to Britten’s Nocturnal in his memory.

Last edited by LarryK; 08/24/20 07:33 AM.
Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017279 08/24/20 09:16 AM
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But aren’t there electric/amplified classical guitars now? Or is that not ideal?

FWIW, I grew my nails for 7 days, to prepare to go into the music shop to try classical guitars and see how they sound with nails but they made me uncomfortable so I cut them. I didn’t practice piano for all that time. Maybe I should consider violin instead ... frown

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 08/24/20 09:22 AM.

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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
WeakLeftHand #3017286 08/24/20 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
But aren’t there electric/amplified classical guitars now? Or is that not ideal?

FWIW, I grew my nails for 7 days, to prepare to go into the music shop to try classical guitars and see how they sound with nails but they made me uncomfortable so I cut them. I didn’t practice piano for all that time. Maybe I should consider violin instead ... frown

Electrical/amplified classical guitars are not true classical guitars, in my opinion, and the sound is far from ideal, much closer to awful, lol. The beauty of the classical guitar is its pure tone without amplification except by what is provided by the guitar body, and you have to be within ten feet to appreciate it. For every classical guitar concert I have attended, I always tried to sit in the first three rows and my ears never bled, haha.

Seven days of nail growth is nothing, lol, try ten years of maintaining your nails so you can play. smile Oh, you grabbed a door handle wrong, there goes a nail, on and on.

I spent ten years on the violin. Intonation is difficult, even for professional players. No frets, you know. Every instrument is impossible, that’s my opinion. I suppose the piano is a little easier in the beginning stages, certainly far easier than the violin in the beginning stages. At least the piano sounds ok when played poorly, something that cannot be said of the violin when it is played poorly.

When I started piano lessons last year, my wife said she enjoyed my piano playing more than my classical guitar playing! I said, what, you waited ten years to tell me this! I ordered a robot acoustic piano, a Disklavier DYUS5, so at least it will always be able to play better than I’ll be able to play.

Last edited by LarryK; 08/24/20 10:00 AM.
Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
LarryK #3017293 08/24/20 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Electrical/amplified classical guitars are not true classical guitars, in my opinion, and the sound is far from ideal, much closer to awful, lol. The beauty of the classical guitar is its pure tone without amplification except by what is provided by the guitar body, and you have to be within ten feet to appreciate it. For every classical guitar concert I have attended, I always tried to sit in the first three rows and my ears never bled, haha.

Seven days of nail growth is nothing, lol, try ten years of maintaining your nails so you can play. smile Oh, you grabbed a door handle wrong, there goes a nail, on and on.

I spent ten years on the violin. Intonation is difficult, even for professional players. No frets, you know. Every instrument is impossible, that’s my opinion. I suppose the piano is a little easier in the beginning stages, certainly far easier than the violin in the beginning stages. At least the piano sounds ok when played poorly, something that cannot be said of the violin when it is played poorly.

When I started piano lessons last year, my wife said she enjoyed my piano playing more than my classical guitar playing! I said, what, you waited ten years to tell me this! I ordered a robot acoustic piano, a Disklavier DYUS5, so at least it will always be able to play better than I’ll be able to play.

This is rather sad. I can’t even handle 7 days of long’ish nails now, which is ironic because I used to keep them long. The only way I can see me sticking with it long-term is with falsies that I can remove after every practice, which is a chore for sure.

I kind of knew that about the violin...that’s why it wasn’t my first choice.

But instruments are kind of like potato chips, you can’t have just one. Or maybe that’s just me. crazy


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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017302 08/24/20 10:56 AM
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Re the piano: in my opinion, there is an incredible amount of very satisfying music at the intermediate level that can be played by a solo artist and not sound like it needs another instrument or vocalist to be complete. You can't say that of most other instruments -- although, ironically, the guitar comes closest. That doesn't mean those instruments aren't worth playing, of course.... But for an adult whose job is not related to music, but who wants to have music as part of her life, the piano is the perfect instrument.... Again, IMO....

Laryy said:
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I suppose the piano is a little easier in the beginning stages

I totally agree with this, but again, I also think that you can get to a sort early-intermediate level and then suddenly there is a ton of great music to play, and as you say, if you get your finger on the key, it sounds ok (unlike many instruments, which you can really botch aurally with less developed technique). To me that makes the piano just a more accessible instrument for "doing music" as an amateur.

WLF:

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instruments are kind of like potato chips, you can’t have just one.

Actually, I get that! I just don't have time (maybe when I retire... :P

When I lived in Japan, I took shakuhachi* lessons for a while, but like guitar gave it up because I just didn't have time to pursue two instruments (and I was a much more beginning level pianist at that time as well). Well, now that I'm back in the states, I really regret that I didn't keep up with shakuhachi lessons, and of course, there's no one area here I could study with. Plus, now I really don't have time :P

*shakuhachi is a Japanese bamboo flute (played vertically), it's much harder than many other flute and recorder type instruments to get a good sound of, and as such is a good topic for this discussion. I was able to get a good sound out of it, all the more reason it's disappointing that I didn't continue. Maybe some day...


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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017412 08/24/20 04:34 PM
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Have to jump in here. I’m another crazy person who practices three instruments. I started both classical guitar and viola da gamba when I retired (yes, that does make a big difference). I never thought I’d ever “dilute” my relationship with piano, but, wow, I’m finding the three instruments help each other.

I don’t expect technical wizardry on any instrument—just not dexterous enough—but I’m learning lots about musical expression and form. Practicing something on one instrument sometimes opens a door on another piece on the other instrument. The guitar deals with multiple voices like piano..and the viol just wants to sing. Rhythm and phrasing are so interesting on a bowed instrument.

BTW, there are plenty of people who play classical guitar without nails. Sor and Tarrega were two 19th century masters who advocated “flesh only.” Styles change but some teachers can be doctrinaire. I’ll never play in a concert hall but if I did there’d be mics. Check out Rob Mackillop’s website for videos and info on nailess guitar. He’s got gorgeous tone quality.

Now I’ve always wanted to learn koto, or the Chinese guqin....or zhongruan. Love shakuhachi but too busy to make that jump. So much music, so little time.


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Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
indigo_dave #3017413 08/24/20 04:40 PM
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Ha, I was going to bring up Rob and Delcamp, the forum for classical guitarists. If you’re interested, figure out the Byzantine rules and join, lol. If you don’t post often enough, they’ll kill your account. Segovia would have gotten kicked off.

Time is what we have the least of. -Hemingway.

Playing flesh only is rare but a few people do it. Even playing with nails means you play with flesh and nails because the flesh hits the string and then the nail. Grabbing chords has to be harder as a flesh player but have at it. There are no rules.

I guess teachers get tired of having students who have no nails and have no dynamic range but what do I know. I’ve seen some amazing young kids play cheap guitars without nails and they would sound twenty times better with a high quality guitar and nails, but, you know, a lot of parents are cheap and kids want to play basketball with their friends.

Last edited by LarryK; 08/24/20 04:44 PM.
Re: Playing guitar fingers vs plectrum
LarryK #3017416 08/24/20 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Ha, I was going to bring up Rob and Delcamp, the forum for classical guitarists. If you’re interested, figure out the Byzantine rules and join, lol. If you don’t post often enough, they’ll kill your account. Segovia would have gotten kicked off.

Time is what we have the least of. -Hemingway.

I’m probably due to make some posts on the other forum :-)

Time is short so play what works for you! I reluctantly quit piano for a few decades in my youth. One reason was I felt I’d never get anywhere with my small hands (octaves). There’s lots of pieces I can play. Older and wiser, I bought a smaller guitar.


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