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I'm trying to learn never dying Nothing Else matters by Metallica and got to the part where I need to strum C, A and D chords:

Noting else matters

If I had a pick in my hands, it would go like nothing - down-down-up-up and so on. But since this song is played fingestyle, how to pass through this part? I've tried to throw my fingers up and down, but it just sounds very crappy, especially when fingers go up. Also I should mention the fact, that I have very short fingernails.

As usual any explanation and a link to video lessons will be very appreciated.

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2  
No fingernails at all, or very short ones? –  neilfein Mar 13 '11 at 20:46
    
@Neil Fein I mean I have them, but they are cut very short (I cant afford longer ones because of the sports) –  Silver Light Mar 13 '11 at 20:48
    
FWIW you don't necessarily need to play this song finger style. It was the first song I successfully taught myself, and I didn't even know what finger style was. However knowing about it now definitely makes the song easier to play :D. –  Jduv Mar 14 '11 at 0:14

6 Answers 6

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You might want to check out the rasgueado technique. You don't really need nails to do it and if you take the time to learn it correctly, it will also improve your single note strokes. Here is a video of someone demonstrating.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r43WrKA6ppI

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Rasgueado works for a lot of metal. I do a fair bit on some of our songs where we kill the distortion but want to keep some power in the rhythm. It sounds much fatter, while keeping sharp attack, as all five nails can hit the strings in very quick succession.

It also can give really fast strums, which may be difficult using other techniques.

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When I play this, or other parts like it..going from finger picking to a strum, I just put my thumb and first finger together, LIKE I'm holding a pick and just use my fingertips. I have short nails too, but there's enough to get a good sounding strum. Or I kind of drag all my fingertips, nails touching the strings.

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If you go further and put all the fingertips together, you can lead with the middle or ring for tonal variation (or if the index nail is too short). –  luser droog Apr 6 '12 at 5:30

Just use the side of your thumb and hold your fingers together, kind of like slapping a bass.

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There are many ways you can strum when fingerpicking. I guess you are not using your nails but your fingers when playing the rest of the song so in that case you will want some mellowsounding strums. Use your middle and ring finger for the downstrum and your index finger for your upstrum.

As for the video lesson this should be sufficient..

If you want to play more like basic rock type chording so it would sound like a pick then put your index finger together with your thumb (sort of like when your holding a pick) and use the index finger nail for the downstroke and your thumbnail for the upstroke...

There are many ways to strum and you can choose which ever feels right for you and suits the feel of the song you are playing.

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Even with very short fingernails, there'll still be a difference between your upstroke and your downstroke. The sides of your fingernails striking the strings will make your downstroke more percussive than your upstroke, which will produce a tone that's a little softer than the upstroke. Neither will produce as crisp a sound as a pick.

With no pick, I usually start strumming on the downstroke where I want to start with a bang. If I want to start softly (as in, for example, the opening chords of "Mood for a Day" by Steve Howe), I'll either start strumming on the upstroke or strum the strings with the side of my thumb.

It's also worth noting that if you want to use a pick for this part, you have several options including pick-holders mounted on a mic stand or the headstock of the guitar.

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