This is not gonna be on of my deep and profound posts, but I do get questions about this. There is a fascination with the musician’s hands. Is it important to have big hands, long fingers, and sometimes I even get the question “what about nails”?
I can’t speak for everyone when I talk about when they get in the way. Different instruments require different manicures. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a “pic pinky”. It’s pretty special, and you’ll find it on the occasional guitarist. They let the nail on their pinky grow obscenely long, almost like a claw, so that it works like a pic when they play guitar. Personally, I’ve seen a few, and while I love the musicians they belong to, I have to look away from their hands. It’s pretty gross 😉 Serves a purpose though.
When it comes to the piano, I’d say short nails are the best. You’ll see them on Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Rufus Wainwright and many more. And there is good reason. First of all, long nails go “klickety-klack” on the keys. A mic will easily pic that up. That can be charming though, give it a special authentic feel. Like when you have a real piano and you’ll hear the lifting of the sustain pedal and the “barom” when you let the keys go. Heck, Blink 182 even used the sliding on guitar strings for the recording of “Miss you” as percussion. And I’m coming out of the closet, I love that song. Because of that very production idea and the overall use of other great instruments such as cello. So the klickety-klack is not necessarily a bad thing if you’re not one of those “pure sound” kind of artists. But the nerves. The neeeerves! I am a woman so I know all about the neeerves! Scratch a little at the root of your nails, where your cuticles are. Then scratch a little at your finger tip. Your finger tip is built to be sensitive and feel a lot, but I bet you noticed those roots are even more sensitive. Imagine playing fast or hard and having your nails banging against them sending signals to those nerves. It’s downright unpleasant. If you’ve got the nails, tap your fingers swiftly against a hard surface. See what I mean? Good for showing impatience, not good for concentrating on a good performance.
So I keep mine well below the finger tips. I’m a healthy girl getting my b12 so my nails are strong and grow fast. I know some would kill for that but I’ll say what I always say; “well, what use is it to me?” I’d rather have a healthy hair and nail growth than not though, as it’s an indication of good health in general, so I cut ’em often with a hummm and no complaining here 😉
As I said, nothing life changing in this post, but now you know about pic pinkies and you can try to avoid them. And that’s something, right?!