Hello UG community, I'm a new member, nice to meet you all!

First and foremost my apologies to the administration (and members also) for bringing up anchoring issue. I KNOW it's been discussed here before and i've read all those threads and not only them. I am totaly self taught guitarist and I've researched this topic a lot and still did not get what I wanted so I decided to write specifically MY situation, so I can get an answer not in general but this time for myself. I'll write in short about my experience with the guitar so you know how it all began. I started playing 2 years ago (excluding 6 months of two summers) so that makes roughly 1.5 of guitar experience. Despite that my aim was electric I started with acoustic guitar (because I heard one should start with it, because I wanted to strengthen my fingers and because I did not have anough money for electric) although I played 90% metal on it. 5 months ago, I sold my acoustic and bought electric.

I learned everything by myself from internet and other sources I could get to and so far I think I don't have bad techniques or wrong ways of playing EXCEPT anchoring part (maybe there are other flaws but I'm not aware of them). Anchoring bothers me because I've read so much about it that I don't really know anymore what's "right" or "wrong". There are many different definitions of anchoring and opinions about what causes arthritis and other diseases.

Let me just write how I play and I hope you guys will be able evaluate it. (I play mostly metal)

My hand DOES touch guitar body, more specifically the part of my palm which is below pinky and third (in piano terms fourth) finger. When I play Chords or slow solos (like Amon Amarth - Death In Fire) My hand is in the air, but when i palm mute or play something relatively fast on 1-2-3 strings my hands is on the strings (and the bridge) to mute. Although my hand is not hardly pressed and dead fixed on one spot, it CAN move if i need to but it's still ON THE GUTIAR BODY. Also, If I tremolo pick on one string really fast I sometimes put my pinky on the guitar body for stability, this mostly happens when i pick on 1-2-3-4 strings (also it gives me a good angle to pick, otherwise my angle goes a bit away from guitar). Again, my pinky's not hardly pressed against the guitar, it can even move, but it's still on the body and does not move mostly. I heard that anchoring causes more friction in your hand and requires it to strike harder in order to pick (and this causes arthritis in the long run), however when I pay attention on this matter I don't really feel the difference between pinky lifted/rested on the body. I can tremolo pick with pinky lifted but it's less effective (maybe if I get used to it it will be better in the long run, but maybe I don't need to... that's what i'm trying to figure out in this thread). Also there are guitarists who do it, about some of them it is said that they have already diseases in their hands about others it is said that they "visibly relax" after a fast run however both arguments are not backed up by the concrete facts (and I don't really notice them "visibly relaxing").

Ok, so when I try NOT to anchor at all, meaning not to touch guitar's body at all, that gives me a lot of pressure on my shoulder muscle, since i need to keep my hand lifted by it and it's very tyring (also it's nearly impossible to tremolo pick fast from the air). my hand's not 10 cm away from the guitar, it's millimeteres away but still, it does not touch it and this technique appears simply "stupid" to me. If I touch it as I usually do, meaning my hand/palm is on the bridge and strings but it's not hardly pressed against it and therefore can move - then it's unclear for me is it anchoring or not and will this lead to something harmful or just limit me in playing abilities.

Sorry guys for such a long post but I would like to kill this matter once and for all and go on with my playing without thinking that there's something unclear/wrong. I hope it was not very tyring for you to read this.

Thank you all in advance.
Last edited by Guitaratchet at Feb 10, 2009,
lessons = good
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I believe the forum moderators have the power to move threads. They could simply move this thread into the correct forum.

If that doesn't work then once this thread is closed simply copy and paste the important text from this thread into a new post in the APPROPRIATE forum.

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Sorry, I could not find the right place to put this in.
Could one of the moderators please put it in the approproate place?
i know i might get a warning for this but im risking it, anchoring IS bad for your body but if it works, then stick with it, becouse if it works then it atleast it has a degree of effectivity,

"there is no such thing as the right technique, but there is such thing as the wrong technique"

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First of all, anchoring is not exactly "touching the guitar's body".

If you feel any tension in your hand/arm, then you're anchoring.

Play relaxed. About your shoulder prob, well you know, I had the same problem and was really freaking out just like you. Now I don't anchor at all and pick faster than before and more accuratly.

Anyway, about the shoulder thing:

First I didn't care about it, I though it would go away with time. But everytime I was resting my arm on the guitar I was anchoring. So for maybe a month or a bit more, I played guitar very RELAXED, no tension (even if you're like improvising and something and feel like smacking a string, do it smooth, don't tension your arm) and had that pain in the shoulder too...

Like a week or two weeks ago, I had enough and tried resting my arm on my guitar. Now I don't anchor at all since I got used to having my hand in the air and playing relaxed. If you mute strings, don't put pressure. Instead of pushing hard on your string depending on what tone you want, move your hand verticaly (nearer to bridge, further from the bridge).

You can rest your arm on the guitar, but still try to keep your hand in the air.

Pics for help:

The red circle: this is were I rest my arm. You can see that my guitar is a bit angled so my hand floats in the air kinda. If you go on the high strings (G-B-A), you can still rest your hand on the bridge kinda, or not really , I would say don't try to. But just be sure that you don't have any TENSION.

Notes: This is my style of playing and not the "correct" way of playing. Like the post above, there is no good technique.

Also, I based my playing on paul gilbert's picking kinda. Look at some of his vids when he's playing and sitting , his guitar is a bit angled.

Another edit: Also, I'd like to say, you might have difficulties in picking the strings. Don't worry, it was the same for me when I changed from anchoring / not anchoring technique. Well for me it was easier kinda because I didn't anchor when I started to play guitar, it came to me after a while and then, someday, I realized that my hand was forcing way too much.
Last edited by kevC4 at Feb 10, 2009,
thanks man, very helpful post

Sorry once more for the wrong place of the thread, I hope it's not a very big deal, i'm new to this forum after all :P