#1
Today, one of my friends came round.
He is a guitarist as well, just like I am, and he is way faster than I am.

However, I noticed his right hand is a lot different than mine while playing. His fingers are all loose, while mine are in a fist.. I do not tense at all (at least not noticeably) and I do not anchor. Is my picking style concerned "wrong" and should I have my fingers looser (as in, not in a fist) or shouldn't I?

I tried doing it with loose fingers, but my hand automatically "clenches" into a fist..
Help is appreciated. Thanks.
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#2
people play differently, play whats comfortable your speed will increase with time. I have my fingers loose so i can mess with volume pots/whammy bars but thats just me.
#3
I've seen people hold picks a lot of different ways. The way your friend does it is generally considered the "right" way, but I have had friends that hold it between the thumb and middle finger, played with a fist, etc. I saw a Guitar World video one time where Marty Friedman played with the pick held between his thumb and ring finger, with the palm facing away from the guitar...it was quite weird looking, but he was effective with it. Myself, I play the "correct" way. It all just depends on what feels comfortable.
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#4
I play with an open palm as well. It's just the way I've learnt how to play.
#5
Quote by RDSElite
Today, one of my friends came round.
He is a guitarist as well, just like I am, and he is way faster than I am.

However, I noticed his right hand is a lot different than mine while playing. His fingers are all loose, while mine are in a fist.. I do not tense at all (at least not noticeably) and I do not anchor. Is my picking style concerned "wrong" and should I have my fingers looser (as in, not in a fist) or shouldn't I?

I tried doing it with loose fingers, but my hand automatically "clenches" into a fist..
Help is appreciated. Thanks.


People play different ways. Paul Gilbert has his picking hand in a fist pretty much, and he has one of the most flawless techniques of any guitarist.
#6
Quote by FallsDownStairs
People play different ways. Paul Gilbert has his picking hand in a fist pretty much, and he has one of the most flawless techniques of any guitarist.


I studied Gilbert's picking style just now (never did so before, was always looking at his left hand ) and he has his hand almost exactly like mine.. (Or should I say my hand is almost exactly like his? ) Right, I have nothing to fear with his picking style then =]

Thanks.
I do not want to have a signature anymore.
#7
me too i always played with more of a clenched fist, although now i am finding that to take it to the next level speed wise i'm needing to open up my hand more.

you will likely find the same.

but simply changing your technique won't make you faster.

you need to build your strength up.

try rasguedas, to help strengthen your opening hand muscles.

also practice your arpeggios and scales in 16ths. focussing primarily on tone and rhythmic accuracy. go as slow as you need in order to get these perfect, then do that over and over a while, then try to go a little faster and so on. if you falter on tone or rhythm slow it down again until that goes away.

if you do this correctly you should feel a burn in your forearms. this is you improving.

so work through the burn the longer you hold out the more you will improve.

the burn should be a muscle burn, you don't want other pain.

once you really need to stop. stop.

then next time you pickup your guitar you will be faster.

you will find i think as you progress that in order to go faster you will need to open your hands up.

"proper" technique was discovered this way. it is proper because it is the technique that will allow you to play the fastest and most intricate things.

so, by working out your muscles and improving your speed your technique should automatically adjust as it is required.

a clenched fist requires you to move your fingers more. you can get louder tone that way, but for superspeed it's not ideal.
#8
Well, the thing about a clenched fist is, it can cause tension and you might not even realize it. For example, I used to play with my hand looking a lot like Paul G.'s, but in all reality, the way something looks is entirely irrelevant. If it TRULY feels relaxed, then it's proper technique. however, watch out for tension in your fingers' first knuckle, as this sort of tension ultimately comes from your wrist.

Just watch out for any sort of tension and you'll be fine. Don't ask us if your picking is right. In reality, we can't really tell you if it's right from a description, and it's still pretty hard to tell from a video. (I was told multiple times that my picking was near-flawless from some UG friends, yet I had a ton of tension that even I didn't see in the videos...even now I don't see it.)

Just don't lie to yourself like I have...I know I can't really preach the guitarists gospel like some of the UGers can, but I like to think I help a bit.

EDIT: I truly disagree with the muscle burn idea mentioned in the post above. In 4 or 5 years of playing the guitar with 1 or 2 years of being a freak about getting technique right, I don't think I've ever felt a burn without tension in my arm.
Last edited by The.new.guy at Oct 6, 2009,
#9
Relax you hand now and look at it - thats pretty much what it should look like when you are picking.
#10
Quote by The.new.guy

EDIT: I truly disagree with the muscle burn idea mentioned in the post above. In 4 or 5 years of playing the guitar with 1 or 2 years of being a freak about getting technique right, I don't think I've ever felt a burn without tension in my arm.



You use muscles to play guitar. Extensive practice sessions often time will lead to a bit of muscle stiffness/soreness perhaps the next day. The ''muscle burn'' you feel when you work a muscle causes that. Sure guitar is mostly coordination and conditioning/training of muscle memory and not exactly like lifting weights in the gym, but you can't expect your muscles to be not even affected especially if you practice for long periods of time.

Note that joint pain and excessive tension--more than necessary to actually play--is completely different and should be avoided.


-edit; that being said, I don't mean to make it sound like guitar playing should be really strenuous. Most people play with too much tension as is, and my words could possibly mislead. Basically, play as relaxed as possible, but your muscles ARE working, so I mean... just be logical lol.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Oct 6, 2009,
#11
Quote by The.new.guy
EDIT: I truly disagree with the muscle burn idea mentioned in the post above. In 4 or 5 years of playing the guitar with 1 or 2 years of being a freak about getting technique right, I don't think I've ever felt a burn without tension in my arm.


The muscle burn he mentioned is more from a stamina point of view; the kind of burn you get in your legs after running for too long, that kind of thing and this is perfectly normal when building stamina. Any OTHER kind of pain is wrong.
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#12
I've never experienced the 'burn' thing...i guess i don't play hard enough.

When i'm picking fast and doing long runs i'm just constantly doing a relaxed picking motion and am pressing really lightly with the left hand.

I do however get a slight hand cramp when i'm playing the first 4 frets - for instance, i find trying to play some death metal riffs hard (especially Decapitated) because it's fast and your wrist position changes.
#13
I get the burn after I've been playing for really long periods of times too. You need to be worried if the "burn" just suddenly hits you after you play a hard song or something, then it's probably more likely that you were too tense and cramped. If it's from a stamina point of view, it appears very slowly.
Quote by acjshapiro

Quote by Vrstone87

meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid

#15
I've never really understood this "burn" thing.

If you're getting a "burn" from playing guitar I would suggest that its bad. If you can describe it as a burn.

If you just mean an ache from playing for hours on end, or alot longer than you are used to, I can see how that will happen- but it wouldn't all be in your forearm (as we use our hands aswell ).

I dissagree that a burn is a good thing, an ache could happen but none of this would be responsible for you gaining speed! You don't need to, in fact you shouldn't, have to feel a burn to play faster- you just need to increase your co-ordination.
#16
Paul Gilbert and Yngwie Malmsteen both use the clenched fist ideaa.
But i wouldn't call it necessarily clenchedd..
It's more just relaxedd, but together..

I pick like that, and it works fine for me,
Yeaah it'll take a hwile to build up speed, but it always does.
just practise scales and sweeps and whatever you enjoy doing up and down the neck, possibly to a metronome just so you know HOW fast you really can go. People tend to be able to pick extremely fast when they make their hand sort of.. spasm? but you have to open your hand for that. Thats fun to do when you shred, it's just hard to make everything sound clean, so you'll need to practise that a bit more.

Yeah the burn idea is a great idea also!
#17
Quote by Chasing Shadows
Paul Gilbert and Yngwie Malmsteen both use the clenched fist ideaa.
But i wouldn't call it necessarily clenchedd..
It's more just relaxedd, but together..

I pick like that, and it works fine for me,
Yeaah it'll take a hwile to build up speed, but it always does.
just practise scales and sweeps and whatever you enjoy doing up and down the neck, possibly to a metronome just so you know HOW fast you really can go. People tend to be able to pick extremely fast when they make their hand sort of.. spasm? but you have to open your hand for that. Thats fun to do when you shred, it's just hard to make everything sound clean, so you'll need to practise that a bit more.

Yeah the burn idea is a great idea also!


NO. NONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO.

The second you start spazzy tremolo picking you loose control of what you're doing on every level and thus negate one of the main aims of being a good shredder (at least imho).

Picking technique should ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS be relaxed.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
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#18
I used to have the same concerns as OP but after watching several youtube videos I noticed that there are many different ways to pick and they don't seem to limit the guitarist at all.

I personally have a loose hand and often have my pinky lightly touching the body of the guitar whereas some of my friends use a fist and others have loose fingers.
Now, anchoring is often considered the "wrong" way to pick, but it's only bad if you put any pressure on the anchored finger so it can't move easily.
In fact, John Petrucci does this and I would personally praise him on his extremely fast and clear picking.

It's especially clear on this video when he tilts his guitar back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tyj3sMWe50M&feature=related

You should also check out Marty Friedman and Zakk Wylde's right hand positions, they are both very unusual. Zakk Wylde seems to have a very "stiff wrist" style of picking, using his forearm for tremolo picking.

So don't worry about it. As long as you're comfortable and relaxed then it's right. There are no rules to playing guitar.

Oh, and I agree that you should NEVER tremolo pick by making your hand spasm, you will have much less control and will quickly make your muscles ache. If a professional guitarist does that it's more than likely that it just looks like they're making their hand spasm whereas they've actually got a lot of control over it.

I find it a little funny that you were the one to have doubts seeing as the way you pick is generally perceived as the "correct" way and most of the guitarists who doubt their technique are the ones who anchor (from my experience anyway) :P
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#19
Quote by chainsawguitar
I've never really understood this "burn" thing.

If you're getting a "burn" from playing guitar I would suggest that its bad. If you can describe it as a burn.

If you just mean an ache from playing for hours on end, or alot longer than you are used to, I can see how that will happen- but it wouldn't all be in your forearm (as we use our hands aswell ).

I dissagree that a burn is a good thing, an ache could happen but none of this would be responsible for you gaining speed! You don't need to, in fact you shouldn't, have to feel a burn to play faster- you just need to increase your co-ordination.


Aching sounds a lot worse to me than getting a burn

I think we're just used to slightly different word meanings here to be honest. When I'm talking about a burn I'm not talking about any sort of pain at all, and ache makes me think of throbbing and soreness :/
Quote by acjshapiro

Quote by Vrstone87

meh, I've listened to every radiohead album and honestly don't get what everyone loves about them.....


cause you're ****ing stupid