Left hand nail technique?

This is for discussions on all Indian melodic instruments

Moderators: povster, s1owpoke, cabernethy, coughcapkittykat

Post Reply
barend
Posts: 996
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:38 pm
Location: the netherlands

Left hand nail technique?

Post by barend » Tue Mar 06, 2012 12:07 pm

I am a sitar player and I also play fretless guitar with a metal fingerboard.
I heard about the sarod left hand technique where you play with your nail on the strings.
On guitar you don't normally play that way. But the high E string has very little sustain when stopped with normal guitar technique. Also the sound is different when using normal stopped notes, more muffled instead of the bright sarod tone. So I want to translate the sarod nail technique to my fretless guitar
Is there a good video explaining the basics of this technique? also other nice videos that explain left hand sarod technique are welcome.

Here is me playing on the fretless guitar. Just a quick video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OK6ceKc9QM

arnabsarod
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:26 pm
Location: Mumbai
Contact:

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by arnabsarod » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:10 am

On fretted acoustic guitars, it is possible to achieve a clean bend of notes, albeit limited in range, using the fingertip technique because there is a metal fret on which a metal string slides laterally. This technology is more or less the same as it is in the sitar, where a greater range of bending is possible due to a longer, less tense string which is placed a fair distance away from the extreme end of the fret. As all of you very well know, the fingertip does not need to touch the fret pre se, but needs to ensure that the desired fret and the string are in contact.

On a sarod, it is necessary to use the fingernail or a comparably hard, if not harder material to stop the string and slide, because the sliding is done longitudinally on the metal string mounted atop a metal fingerboard, but without the assurance of consistent contact between the string and the sliding surface (in this case the fingerboard). This contact has to be provided by the fingernail.

The harder the fingernail, the more consistent the contact between the string and plate will be. Players have varying preferences about substituting weak fingernails with stronger materials (or not) and there is a plethora of opinions on this matter. However, what cannot be denied is that a consistently even nail surface provides the best slide, but may slip off the string/plate, especially if the action is as high as it is on a Hemen sarod. Therefore, compromises have to be arrived upon by each player between the hardness of the nail material and the amount of pitch control one wants.

(Sorry for the digression here, but this had to be touched upon.)

The trade-off is essentially between pitch accuracy and tone/sustain. Even in the case of individual players, this balance varies from concert to concert, sometimes voluntarily, and sometimes involuntarily.

On a fretless guitar, however, given the much lower string action, the slide will be smoother, with less friction caused by fissures or brittleness in the natural nail or nail material. I am sorry I could not find any good video demonstrating the nail placement technique, but if you tune into this video at about 2.00, you can see fairly clearly what is being done. The key is to keep one's nails quite short (within 1 mm of the tallest portion of the fingertip callus), and then slide the string on the FB while gripping the string with the tip of your finger – this gives better accuracy than sliding a long nail on the FB without fingertip support.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3d2DotLir0

I've been very busy lately, and am not sure if I can record a nail placement and sliding demo immediately, but feel free to send me an email and I'll send you some close-up still shots demonstrating the stance and placement angle. I hope Aparajit finds the time to record a video if his week is less crammed than mine. :)

Cheers,

a

barend
Posts: 996
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:38 pm
Location: the netherlands

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by barend » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:18 am

Thank you very much for your great reply. I have send you a PM.

barend
Posts: 996
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:38 pm
Location: the netherlands

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by barend » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:25 am

I have send you a PM again. Thanks.

jonnblaze
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:53 am

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by jonnblaze » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:59 am

I could not find any good video demonstrating the nail placement technique, but if you tune into this video at about 2.00, you can see fairly clearly what is being done :wink:
learnalanguage.com [url=http://www.learnalanguage.com ]http://www.learnalanguage.com [/url]
actualtests ccna voice [url=http://www.actualtests.com/certs/CCNA-Voice-training-certification.htm]actualtests ccna voice[/url]
actualtests scjp [url=http://www.actualtests.com/certs/SCJP-training-certification.htm]actualtests scjp[/url]

amun
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:44 am

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by amun » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:49 am

I agree with you!!!
Amun

manjkhamaj
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:30 pm

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by manjkhamaj » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:59 am

You can watch any video of almost any sarod player on Youtube and get an idea of the left hand nail technique. Not just relegated to one player.

aparajit
Posts: 100
Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:11 am

Re: Left hand nail technique?

Post by aparajit » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:36 pm

The only part I would provide different information than Arnab is that a higher action means that the string digs more into your nail and the nail has less tendency to slide off the sarod plate. The lower the action, the more precise you have to be because the string provides very little resistance and purchase.

(Arnab, I can say this with confidence since I am now the proud owner of my split plate designed sarod and it has an action of about 4 mm and have experienced it...however, I would also add that it is not too difficult to overcome with some practice)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests