#1
When I play with a pick, I find it more comfortable to let my pinky lie on the guitar, just beneath the thinnest string. I get a better grip playing that way and it gives more power to my right hand. The problem with this is that it creates a LOT of tension after a while. I try practicing without having my pinky intact on the guitar but I find that I tend to miss a lot of notes or play them wrong because there seems to be a decrease in accuracy. Anyone know any techniques to fix this problem?

Also, I play classical piano and my teacher always tells me that my pinky tends to "wander off" when I play scales that doesn't use it on the piano (eg. F major). Is this related to the guitar problem too?
#2
Hold your picking hand like a fist, clench if necessary, though you'll preferably get comfortable enough to not having to clench. This takes practice, especially if you're used to anchoring (pinky on guitar body).

The most important part, relax, unnecessary tension when trying to play s00par fast and be coor rike Herman Ree gets you nowhere.

Also work out in some way, being weak like a little girl doesn't help your guitar playing at all.
Last edited by Ascendant at Apr 6, 2011,
#3
You're missing the notes because you're playing too quickly. Slow down to the point that you can play, whatever it is, perfectly. Even if it takes you a whole minute to get through a short riff.

This slow, concentrated practice is much more effective than simply trying to something over and over again and failing. Make sure you play it slow and correctly, then try a little faster.

^I don't see how working out can help you play guitar. The muscles you use in guitar playing are exercised during guitar playing. There are plenty of physically weak children who can play the guitar as well as an adult.
Last edited by Froggy McHop at Apr 6, 2011,
#4
Quote by Ascendant

Also work out in some way, being weak like a little girl doesn't help your guitar playing at all.


I wouldn't stress the opposite either, Johnny Marr was bone thin.

Get what you're aiming at though. (Or wait, um... lifting the guitar?)
REGGIE
Last edited by LeakyFlask at Apr 6, 2011,
#5
Also work out in some way, being weak like a little girl doesn't help your guitar playing at all

I am a girl. I'm athletically challenged but I do work out, so does that mean I need to work out more?

You're missing the notes because you're playing too quickly. Slow down to the point that you can play, whatever it is, perfectly. Even if it takes you a whole minute to get through a short riff.

This slow, concentrated practice is much more effective than simply trying to something over and over again and failing. Make sure you play it slow and correctly, then try a little faster.

Will try. But does that help with right-hand strength?
#6
Quote by xxemo_kittyxx
Will try. But does that help with right-hand strength?


How strong do you think you have to be to play guitar? How much effort does it really take to produce a clear sound?

The answer is barely anything. If tension is building in your arm/hand then it's more likely to be a problem with your technique, namely that you're not relaxed (and I don't think anchoring your pinky helps the problem either, I recently stopped doing that myself) A common problem is that you're gripping the pick too tight.

There are simply ideas, obviously I can't see you play and I'm assuming you're more of a beginner rather than this being a problem which has recently arisen in your playing.
#8
Quote by xxemo_kittyxx
I've been playing for a few years, and the problem has been around from when I started.


If this problem has been around since you started it's very likely to be a product of your beginner days and I would recommend reviewing your technique. Holding the pick correctly, not anchoring, and analysing how you come in contact with the string. Also your posture and making sure there is no tension in your arm before you even begin playing.

Also if you practice for long periods of time make sure you take 10-15 minute break each 30 to 45 minutes. It's important to allow your muscles to recover, and the time spent recuperating lends to a more productive session.
#9
What a lot of people miss is that your blood flows more easily if you exercise, so even if it's essentially just your fingers and wrists that are moving when playing the guitar, working out with your arms helps a lot since you're performing many and very fast motions so you're gonna need that oxygen faster to keep up. Even just lifting some 1kg weights a couple minutes a day helps.

But yes technique is most likely the bigger culprit here. I watched some videos of Paul Gilbert playing after I had read about anchoring being a bad thing. His picking technique is almost an art in itself, very smooth and relaxed.
Last edited by Ascendant at Apr 6, 2011,
#10
When I play with a pick, I find it more comfortable to let my pinky lie on the guitar, just beneath the thinnest string. I get a better grip playing that way and it gives more power to my right hand. The problem with this is that it creates a LOT of tension after a while. I try practicing without having my pinky intact on the guitar but I find that I tend to miss a lot of notes or play them wrong because there seems to be a decrease in accuracy. Anyone know any techniques to fix this problem


Basically, the tension will always be there when you extend your pinky - but you can learn to hit notes accurately without touching the guitar. Try practising for a month and focusing on keeping your right hand relaxed, and see if your accuracy starts to improve again.

Do this - totally relax your right hand. Place pick between thumb pad and side of index finger - that's how it should feel, almost no effort in holding the pick, and extended fingers or unnecessary gripping.
#11
Quote by xxemo_kittyxx
When I play with a pick, I find it more comfortable to let my pinky lie on the guitar, just beneath the thinnest string. I get a better grip playing that way and it gives more power to my right hand. The problem with this is that it creates a LOT of tension after a while. I try practicing without having my pinky intact on the guitar but I find that I tend to miss a lot of notes or play them wrong because there seems to be a decrease in accuracy. Anyone know any techniques to fix this problem?

Also, I play classical piano and my teacher always tells me that my pinky tends to "wander off" when I play scales that doesn't use it on the piano (eg. F major). Is this related to the guitar problem too?


Lots of people have the same problem, myself included ^_^ The thing is, even though anchoring feels comfortable it will inhibit your playing when you try to do faster/more complex stuff. And of course you get that tension.
The reason you feel less comfortable/accurate when you're not anchoring is simply because you're not used to it. You have to re-train your hand to get used to the new position, which may take a while but it's worth it in the end! Start off by playing really slowly without anchoring and keep building it up- if you do play something fast and find you're anchoring, correct it as soon as you notice and try to keep on top of it. I'm still trying to fully iron out bad habits I've had for years, but I'm getting there. :3
I would rather be flawed and wise, than perfect and blind.
#12
Yeah I am working on the same problem. Actually I didn't used to anchor with my pinky (and sometimes still don't) but I have this weird problem where if I am moving my fretting hand up and down the fretboard quickly AND doing string crossing, my picking hand tends to move slightly back and forth over the picking area along with it! So at some point I think I subconsciously began putting my pinky down to hold my hand in place. Anyway, I am almost corrected of this issue but still will randomly have to remind myself to make sure not to do it.
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#13
James Hetfield from Metallica holds his pick with both his index and middle finger therefore keeping the wandering or extended/anchored pinky close to home.

I've seen Joe Walsh use the pinky as an anchor like you describe or at least extended down that way all the time. He changes the tone and hums so frequently with his pinky that it's probably a necessary evil for him. Some habits are just too hard to break after years of doing it one way in some cases, so while anchoring is considered an eventual drawback for progression at some point to most, it doesn't mean the end of everything by any means, including the joy of playing, if you find this an impossible obstacle to change.

In addition to the good advice above here is one other thing you can try, as well: In country music one of the techniques is to pick the low E on top and even the string below it and using your pinky, ring, and/or index finger to finger strum the higher strings at the bottom, creating a country music type sound you'll recognize.

In trying this, you will not be able to anchor your pinky but will be forced to put it to good use on the high E string, therefore becomine more conscious of it, more coordinated with it, and learning a different genre of music all at the same time.
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