Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I just don't get it

How does Dolly Parton play the guitar with those super-long fingernails? If you watch her, you can see that she's really playing, not just moving her hands around like they do sometimes on TV. But if I had fingernails like that and I tried to play, I wouldn't be able to get the fingers in the right position to make the notes sound right. Maybe her playing-with-long-fingernail talent is one explanation for why she has been so popular for so long.


Laverna said...

I guess it's a lot like how people with long fingernails manage to type on a computer keyboard or do anything else with their hands.
I don't get it, personally.

Anonymous said...

The strings of her guitar are not tuned in the regular pattern, but are instead set to create a chord when left open. She then only has to lay one finger flat across the whole set of strings to change chords. It limits her to major cords only, but many folk songs can be played this way. To get other types of chords, she just avoids strumming certain strings. So it isn't like typing with long nails at all; one hand is used flat against the fretboard, and the other is free to strum or finger pick with her acrylic nails.

ww said...

Hm... this is a possibility I had not considered. I've never particularly noticed her laying a finger completely across the neck or moving up and down the neck as would be required if she were using an open tuning. It always looked like she was making chord formations to me. But this is a reasonable answer. I'll have to pay attention next time I happen to see her.