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Mso872
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[*] posted on 3-6-2013 at 10:18 PM
Nails keep breaking


I've been playing Oud for a little over a year now, and I like it so much that I don't play guitar any more (my previous instrument the past 7 years or so). It is my secondary instrument, since I'm learning Kanun, but I still love playing but my fingernails are really bothering me.

I can't play for more than 30 minutes before my index fingernail is worn and bent so that if I do any vibrato, it hurts my cuticle and I have to use my fingertips. I tried hard as nails but that isn't all it cracked out to be, and I bought some nail supplements but grew a little impatient with them. I'm thinking about gluing ping pong ball on my fingernails (index and middle) like my classical guitar teacher taught me back in high school. Any better suggestions from anyone?
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Branko
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 02:12 AM


Oud strings are stopped with fingertips, not nails!



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spyblaster
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 02:20 AM


i had a lot of problems with my nails when i started playing classic guitar years ago. but my teacher advised me to use Mavala nail hardener and the result was wonderful. after using that, i have had only 4 broken nails over 5 years!



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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 05:42 AM


Keep your nails as short as possible :)
You want to avoid nails coming in contact with the fingerboard.




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jdowning
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 07:18 AM


Are you playing oud as you would a modern classical guitar - i.e. 'finger style' with the nails of the right hand plucking the strings (if you are right handed)? Why not use a risha instead?
Either way the nails of your left hand should be cut short so that your fingertips stop the strings without the nails contacting the finger board.
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Mso872
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 08:37 AM
nail hardener + technique


Thanks for the nail hardener idea, I'll try that.

I am playing with a risha, but it is my nails on my left hand that are the problem, my fretting nails. Even with little to no vibrato, my index and middle fingers can't handle it
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David.B
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 09:58 AM


The nail is really important because it gives more sensitivity to the pulp of the finger tip. A nail too short makes the touch less accurate, if it is too long change your oud for a sarod for example ;)

The tips of my fingers became calloused and flat after a couple of years. If I lean my finger to the right, I can use the tip of my fingernail to increase the pressure of the flesh and get a clear sound (tapping). Leaning to the left, my finger is free to move for vibrato on wound strings for example.

And what about a manicure? Your nails may need cares ...
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SamirCanada
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 11:15 AM


playing oud is suposed to be .... very easy on the hands....
Relax and dont press so hard and dont use your nails to play oud.




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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 11:43 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Mso872  

I am playing with a risha, but it is my nails on my left hand that are the problem, my fretting nails. Even with little to no vibrato, my index and middle fingers can't handle it

Hi Mso,
I'm afraid I don't understand your problem.
As Samir said, the nails should not touch the fingerboard, nor the strings.
What do you mean by "my fretting nails" ?

Robert
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Mso872
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 11:50 AM


It was my understanding that with (at least Turkish style) oud playing, I'm supposed note the strings with my fingernails, and not the tip of the finger for the ideal sound? Or at least, depress the notes with my fingertip but also with the nail

I mean, of course I use the tip of the flesh of my fingers for depressing the notes, but my fingernail also comes into contact with the string
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 03:07 PM


Some Armenian players do use the nails of the left hand but this does not seem to be a universal practice. I can imagine this having its origins in playing on the softer strings of 100 years ago. But with today's metal wound strings, the potential for friction and noise seems high if using nails, especially on double courses. I can understand this option on the unwound trebles but is seems that using nails on a metal-wound string is like using nails on a rasp or a file. If a player gets a sound with finger pads (and no nail) that is similar to or compatible with the sound of an open un-fingered string (double course) I am in doubt as to why more clarity is needed.

Quote: Originally posted by Mso872  
It was my understanding that with (at least Turkish style) oud playing, I'm supposed note the strings with my fingernails, and not the tip of the finger for the ideal sound? Or at least, depress the notes with my fingertip but also with the nail

I mean, of course I use the tip of the flesh of my fingers for depressing the notes, but my fingernail also comes into contact with the string
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Brian Prunka
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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 06:35 PM


Yeah, no nails on the left hand. You will ruin the fingerboard and sound bad.



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[*] posted on 3-7-2013 at 10:23 PM


Using nails on the fretless fingerboard is a very specialized (Armenian?) technique and best avoided. Nails dig in and pit the fingerboard, not to speak of the problems you're having. Switch to the standard fretting way, like most everybody who plays Turkish and Arabian oud, with the soft of the finger. You'll find some callouses build up and the tone is plenty clear. Problem solved.
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Mso872
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 01:16 AM


Thanks for all the advice. My callouses have disappeared since I stopped playing guitar and bass so I guess I started overcompensating with my fingernails. I'll work on my technique
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 03:42 AM


You're going to need some sort of nail to support the fingertip. I know of the technique described here from a video of Richard Hagopian

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuCXl_9XTZY

see 3.58 onwards.

Leon
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David.B
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 04:02 AM


"You get a dull tone when you use the meat part and there's a brilliant sound when you play right on the nail."

I'm not the only one to use this technique by leaning the fingers. You've got plenty of nuances between the "meat" and the nail too.

Thanks for sharing Leon :)
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[*] posted on 3-9-2013 at 05:44 AM


An interesting technique which presumably came into vogue when frets were eventually abandonned (14th/15th C?) on the oud? So the nail contacts the string pairs not the fingerboard directly? Does this in turn also mean that the fingers must be held almost parallel to the strings so that the nail contacts both strings of a course at equal position to maintain equal intonation when the strings are sounded? Or - if there is any intonation discrepancy between the string pairs due to the nail contacting the string pair at slightly different positions is this considered to be a desireable tone characteristic?
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Mso872
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[*] posted on 5-6-2013 at 07:39 PM
its all good


Sorry to necro-post on an old thread, but I thought maybe you all would be curious about whether I have changed my technique. It was hard to ditch old habits, but I have absolutely no problems with nails anymore. I now keep my nails short, and use just my flesh and not nail for playing.

On a related note, I have been using "hair, skin, and nails" vitamin b multivitamins, even though I don't even need it for this application. It has been two months, and I see significant results in harder nails. Also, I tried the mavala nail hardener, and it was substantially more effective than the "hard as nails" stuff at the store. But like I said, I don't have nail problems anymore.

Just wanted to thank everyone for the encouragement/advice
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[*] posted on 7-28-2017 at 04:31 AM


Oud is playerd on the fingernail. Compare the sound with ur fingernail vs meat of your finger. If you have a bad oud then I guess you wont hear the difference. Also traditionally you avoid using the middle finger bc it gets in the way or competes for incorrect positions for the microtones. Most people today tondt play oud in the traditional style bc they usually learn guitar or some other dissimalar string instrument.
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