I use to play classical guitar but I must admit having long finger nails use to drive me nuts and I really could not stand finger picks at all. I recently was reading about Fernando Sor
Who played with the fingertips of his right hand instead of having long nails.
Has anyone had any experience with this and if so how do you feel about it?
Segovia was derided early in his career for using his nails. It gave him a range of tones, and was intrinsic to his mission to bring the guitar into public consciousness as a mini-orchestra. Some of those tones sound a little harsh on his older recordings.
I play without, but that's no guide: you really wouldn't wish to hear me play!
If you don't like nails or picks, develop your own style without them. As you say, it's been done before. Perhaps a bright-sounding instrument would help.
"Music is a social act of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
- Malcolm Arnold.
I started out playing classical with my fingertips because I was at the time primarily a bassist, which I cannot play with nails. When I decided to just stick with guitar, I grew out my nails. I'm finding that it gives me control that I could never have with just my fingers, and a tonal quality that I am quite proud of.
Just after Christmas, though, I cracked my thumb nail and took a big chunk out of my middle nail while at work (my middle nail has a weak spot, and I hit it just right on a credit card reader), so I decided to just trim everything down and grow them out evenly. I pretty much stopped playing classical until they grew out enough to do something with. I can't stand playing with my fingertips anymore. My nails are still short now, and it's driving me crazy.
The only downsides that I've found are that you can't play bass guitar, and the maintenance on the nails can become rather annoying at times. And my fiancée absolutely despises them.