'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Guitarists and Their B****y Nails

I have certainly neglected you all over the last week but there hasn't been a lot to report, other than nail issues....

Robin has been doing a lot of travelling this year, involving many concerts.
As all guitarists know, and also any non-guitarists who follow this blog, guitarists are completely at the mercy of the quality of their nails.

It's a constant battle to keep the nails of the right hand in an acceptable condition to stand up to the rigours of performing.
The vicious circle of super glue, silk wrap and acetone really do take their toll.
The underlying nail becomes damaged and weakened, resulting in further use of super glue, silk wrap and acetone....etc. etc.

There comes a point when the nails have to be rested and allowed to recover.
But this isn't easy.
With the next concert is looming on the horizon practice has to be done.

There's also the constant need to learn new material, and in this particular month, there is a lot to learn.
The concert in August with Izzy Cooper requires arrangements to be made, and then learnt.
Hopefully, later this month they will also be able to get together, and play through some of the pieces.

But first, Robin has had to rest his nails.
It really is the only time this year that he can completely stop playing, only for a few days, and allow them to recover.

So the glue is off.
The silk wraps are off.
And therefore the acetone isn't needed.

He is religiously applying various lotions and potions in an attempt to rehydrate the battle worn nails, so they will be in a good condition to return to duty for the forthcoming bookings.

As you can imagine this is actually a rather stressful process for Robin.
Not only is he concerned about the upkeep of his nails, but also he misses playing the guitar.
The only saving grace has been the mandolin.
Fortunately, the mandolin is played with a pick, so no nails are required.
Consequently, as you will have read on the tweets, we are hearing a lot of rather nice mandolin playing.
Mind you, it's a good job it hasn't been sunny.
If I hear 'O Sole Mio' one more time, I will just have to go out and buy an ice cream...


Anonymous said...

ahh nails. I've heard of guitarists gluing cut up ping pong balls to their nails in a pinch. Personally, I'm quite glad that I'm a violinist - I just need to keep mine short.

Anna said...

Hi Ben,

Yes, I have been in many far flung countries trying to find ping pong balls!
It isn't quite as bad these days, now ping pong ball substitutes are available!
I must say I do envy those that play with a bow....
Good to hear from you!