Free Flamenco Guitar Lesson 2: Nail Preparation
Flamenco guitarists use their thumb (called ‘p’), the index finger (called ‘i’), the middle finger (called ‘m’), and the ring finger (called ‘a’) to pluck their guitar’s strings. They use their pinky finger (called ‘e’) for rasgueados and sometimes for golpe. We will learn more about rasgueados and the golpe in future lessons.
This right-hand finger notation is based on the Spanish names for each finger. Classical guitarists also use this notation.
Please note, the following video does not have sound:
You should shape your fingernails (often just called “nails” by many guitarists) like your instructor demonstrates in the video. Keeping your nails shaped well and at the proper length will help your fingers to work with the optimum efficiency. Keeping your nails in good shape will also have a big impact on your tone quality.
Trim your right-hand nails to a length of between one-sixteenth of an inch to one-eighth of an inch, when seen from the palm side of your hand. To trim your nails properly, first trim the length of each nail to the desired length with a nail buffer, just like your instructor shows you on this clip. In order to cover the edges of the nails from all angles, keep the file in a fixed position and rotate your fingers by hinging them on the left hand index finger as seen on the video.
After they are the proper length and shaped well, you will need to fine-tune the shape and get rid of any excess particles etc using a fine abrasive polishing paper. We recommend 3M-Tri-M-ite Paper Sheet 405N, 500 grit, A-weight open coat, available at http://www.shop3m.com/60073901013.html.
In our next lesson, we’ll talk about another important tool in Flamenco guitar music, the capo.