Nailing It #socs

Abraham Maslow once said “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” It might have been someone else, and those might not have been his exact words, but you get the idea. It’s saying that there are some people who take the same approach to fixing a problem, whether or not it makes sense to do so.

Or maybe he’s saying that some people just like to hit stuff. I dunno. We call that “percussive maintenance.”

Classical guitarists and some fingerstyle players insist on playing with the nails on their right hand, and have all kinds of ways to deal with their nails. Kent Nishimura, for example, files his nails down to a point. Here’s his cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (a particularly good one, I think).

Chet Atkins played with a thumbpick and his nails, and if a nail broke he cut a new nail tip from a ping-pong ball and Super Glued it to the end of the real nail. Jerry Reed played this way, too.

I could never get the hang of playing with my nails. I always ended up playing with the pads of my fingers. Turns out Tommy Emmanuel does the same.

I never used a thumbpick, either. It was all bare fingers. I wasn’t that good, so maybe I should have…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now here’s Jan Miner as Madge the manicurist for Palmolive dishwashing liquid. Softens hands while you do the dishes!

26 thoughts on “Nailing It #socs

  1. I learned how to play Yesterday like this but that is it. I took lessons for just a few weeks and that is what I came out with when he knew I was a Beatle fan.
    This takes a lot of hard work and practice…Classical Gas knocks me out…


    1. Tommy Emmanuel is tremendous, and there are so many more fingerstyle players who simply amaze me. If I could get in a time machine and go back to 1967 (when I started learning), I’d learn to play like them.

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      1. Yea I’ve looked at his stuff before. Just amazing how nimble he is…the sliding chord changes amaze me. I’d be like…where now?
        I would learn more of this stuff because it would make you so much better all the way around.
        John were you ever in any garage bands?


          1. Yes I remember those…where I live we looked and looked for a keyboard player and never could find one.


                  1. That is how I started…then finally I got a bass by a two day long summer job moving things. Our guitar player got this amp that fell off a truck and we all…singer, guitar, and bass plugged into it with a drummer.

                    We played our first show after practicing on that…we used another bands equipment and I plugged into a bass amp for the first time…I was amazed at the sound…we could finally hear ourselves.

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  2. A trifecta of goodness in the three videos you picked. If I had to chose between Kent, Chet, or Tommy, I couldn’t. They each brought me joy.


    1. When I started playing guitar, no one could imagine people who could make that kind of music with the instrument. And you know what, no one cared. The pinnacle of being a good guitarist meant being able to play Jimmy Page’s solo from “Stairway To Heaven” note for note. When I started hearing people play like this, my mind was blown.

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