指甲, Nail, Pick

古箏指甲 Zheng Nails (Part C)

前兩篇文章,我分享了兩種指甲貼膠布的方法。今次,我想分享一下把膠布纏在指甲上的心得。我記得以前的老師就是說:「直接把膠布纏在指頭上,假甲跟真甲平行便可以了。」後來我發現了一個問題。古箏指甲如果不能正面觸弦的,彈奏時便會有雜音。我們彈奏時,手指呈最自然的狀態時,並不會跟弦平行。換言之,如果我們要正面觸弦的,每隻手指在觸弦時都需要調整角度,以達至正觸。我記得看過袁莎老師的視頻,她也說過正面觸弦的重要性,還提到特別是拇指手撥弦時,要調整角度,以減少雜音。這個方法需要時間適應,畢竟每個音都需要調整角度,比較費時麻煩。我現在的老師教了我一個方法,就是貼指甲時先調整,配合我們手指天然生成的形態。從手背看 (看下圖),我的食指和無名指假甲貼的偏左,這方便它們觸弦更貼近正面觸。

 

再來一個近鏡。我的食指和無名指真指甲和假甲不是平行的,而是偏向拇指的。

 

拇指也是一樣,我把假甲向左面貼偏了。

 

經過一段時間的試驗,雖然我還需要略略調整角度以達至正面觸弦,不過覆度比之前少、比較輕易。如果你有正面觸弦的問題,不妨試試這個方法!

分享完了小貼士,就說說佩戴假甲的方法。我們一般是以假甲的尾端對準手指的第一關節來佩戴。要主意的是留出的假甲指尖不可以過長,也不可以過短。把足夠纏繞三圈左右長度的膠布順著包裹便成!膠布太長了纏繞得太多會讓手指看上去很肥腫,也會阻礙彈奏。當然,膠布太短的話,指甲很容易就掉下來。

拇指指甲的佩戴比其他指甲較為特別。首先如我之前分享的小貼士所說,拇指指甲首先應該稍微傾斜一點粘於膠帶上,然後是佩戴。與其他手指不同,右手拇指的指甲應略微向左側傾斜 (如上圖),再用膠布包裹住手指便成!相反,左手拇指的指甲應略微向右側傾斜。

膠帶包裹得太鬆的話指甲容易脫落;包裹得太緊的話手指血液不易循環,摘掉指甲後手指會疼痛!

images
正面觸弦。When plucking, a Guzheng nail has to be perpendicular to a string.

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In the first two articles, I shared two methods of taping Guzheng nails. This time, I want to share some thoughts/tips on wrapping the tape around nails. My former Guzheng teacher said, “Simply put the tape around the finger, and make sure your Guzheng nail and your real nail are parallel.” But then I found a problem.

When the surface of a Guzheng nail does not touch the string completely , the sound becomes dull and unclear. (Note: a Guzheng nail has to be perpendicular to a string; i.e. 90 degree. When a nail plucks a string without being perpendicular to a string, it often creates unwanted noise and fails to produce a crisp sound.) We need to understand that when our hands are in their most natural relaxing state, our fingernails are all actually facing slightly different angles. In other words, if we want to touch the strings head-on, each finger needs to slightly adjust its angle in order to touch a string perpendicularly.

I remember Ms. Yuan Sha’s video lessons. (Ms. Yuan Sha is a famous Guzheng teacher in China. She has recorded many video lessons about how to play Guzheng. I will share some of them in this blog later.) She emphasized the importance of touching strings perpendicularly, and the need to adjust the angle to reduce any unwanted noise. This is , especially when true for the thumb, which faces a different direction compared to other fingers when plucking strings. Adjusting the angle takes time to get used to because it is time consuming and difficult if we need to remind ourselves every second we need to adjust our finger angle.

My current teacher taught me one trick! When sticking a Guzheng nail on our fingertip, make sure the index finger Guzheng nail and the ring finger Guzheng nail are slightly placed towards the thumb. As you can see from the above pictures, when the fake nails are placed slightly towards the thumb, we don’t have to adjust our angle significantly in order to pluck a string perpendicularly. As for the thumb, the Guzheng nail can be tilted slightly towards left (shown in the above pictures – my right hand).

Based on my experience, I really like this method! Although I still need to adjust my finger angle when plucking a string, the degree is not as much. I find this a smart approach and encourage you to give a try!

Some additional tips :

  • The tip of each pick should not stand out too much or little.
  • Fasten your pick by wrapping it around your finger with tape.
  • Your thumbs require a different way to be fastened with picks. As mentioned above, different from your index, middle and ring fingers, the pick for your thumb can be slightly tilted when being adhered to a piece of tape.
  • When putting on your thumb picks, the one for your right thumb should be slightly tilted to the left while the one for your left thumb should be slightly tilted to the right. Then fasten your pick by wrapping your thumbs around with tape.
  • The bottom of each pick should be parallel to your first finger joint.
  • Tapes should not be too long. A long piece of tape makes your fingers look bulky. But if it is too short, your pick would come off easily.
  • If your tape is too loose, your pick will fall off easily. But if your tape is too tight, it can affect blood circulation and possibly cause pain.

 

 

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