#1
Hey all,

I am largely a self-taught guitarist, and have been playing for about 5 years. I have a "bad" habit of anchoring my pinky finger just below the high e string. I suppose I do it for stability, it's just something I've developed over the years.

I've now entered a formal guitar class, and the professor has said that having an anchor will cause stress and harm my hand in the long run. However, when I try to play without it, it's quite uncomfortable and I can't play as long. I feel like this could potentially be a problem, as I plan to attempt to major in music.

If you don't want my life story, here's the short version: I anchor my pinky finger on the guitar. My teacher says it's bad. What are you opinions or advice?
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#2
Just stop doing it when you play. I can't think of any other advice, ease yourself out of it.
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#4
Quote by King Donkey
Just stop doing it when you play. I can't think of any other advice, ease yourself out of it.


I have done that, and it is getting a bit easier. I guess I was looking for tips I can do while playing to help.

For instance, someone told me to tape my pinky to my ring finger, which was kind of ridiculous.

Thanks for your input!
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#5
^ just stop doing it like it's been said. you'll need to spend a lot of quality time focusing on not anchoring for it to become subconscious.
#7
A lot of guitarists anchor their pinky. It's totally dependant on the person (I do). It might cause your professor stress and harm in his hand, but if it's comfortable for you, then that's all you need to be concerned about. I think Satriani and Petrucci anchor their pinkies, and if anybody would be concerned about the mechanics of playing, it's those guys. Mark Knopfler keeps his pinky and his ring finger anchored, Wes Montgomery kept ALL his fingers anchored and played with this thumb, etc.

Anyway, the point is, if it feels good do it.
#9
its better not to anchor.

When you anchor, whether its pinky or palm of your hand pushing against the strings/bridge, it is harder to move your hand up and down the strings.


Actually in the beggining of summer i purposely started anchoring my palm to the bridge just to minimize my alt. picking amplitude. It was harder to move my hand so my motions became more economic, but soon enough I could fit 4 16th notes into a beat easily, but couldnt go over to the next string fast enough. The process of re-learning how to play without anchoring began. Im nearly there, i still anchor my hand every now and then when i dont notice it. I suppose i would minimize my picking motion faster with perfect practice much faster than anchor->minimize picking motion ->re-learn to pick without anchoring.


TL;DR: dont anchor, at the end of the day any pros that it could offer are vastly out weighted by cons.
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#12
IMO, not anchoring gives you an even better right hand motion that can also translates into even better right hand string muting (It did for me). Although, I can't argue that I've seen some very technically accomplished guitar players who do anchor, I don't think it is what is most optimal for very fast passages.
#13
Anchoring is something I never gave too much conscious thought to.

If I use flatpick for blues I almost always anchor.

Hybrid or fingerstyle like for chord soloing, never.

Thumb and two fingerpicks for old blues style and folk, sometimes.
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#14
Quote by eGraham

I've now entered a formal guitar class, and the professor has said that having an anchor will cause stress and harm my hand in the long run. However, when I try to play without it, it's quite uncomfortable and I can't play as long. I feel like this could potentially be a problem, as I plan to attempt to major in music.




it's funny how students never trust the instructors. Why even take a class if you're going to fight it the whole way?

Regarding resting the pinky or any other fingers on the guitar. It's perfectly normal and a common posture for guitarists. Now If you're playing in a way where you're pinky or fingers are affixed to the guitar, preventing the hand from moving freely, that can cause problems. My guess is that you are doing that, and you're teacher recognized it as a problem.

changing how you play when you're used to something particular can be hard. Sometimes though, it's necessary. I'd have to see you play to know for sure, but I feel pretty safe in assuming that your instructor is on to something.
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#15
Quote by eGraham
Hey all,

I am largely a self-taught guitarist, and have been playing for about 5 years. I have a "bad" habit of anchoring my pinky finger just below the high e string. I suppose I do it for stability, it's just something I've developed over the years.

I've now entered a formal guitar class, and the professor has said that having an anchor will cause stress and harm my hand in the long run. However, when I try to play without it, it's quite uncomfortable and I can't play as long. I feel like this could potentially be a problem, as I plan to attempt to major in music.

If you don't want my life story, here's the short version: I anchor my pinky finger on the guitar. My teacher says it's bad. What are you opinions or advice?

its only bad if you are applying downward pressure to the guitar. if you are just lightly touching the guitar for stability thats fine. i touch the guitar with my fingers too but i stay loose. when i move my hand, my fingers are not fixed to one spot on the guitar. in fact, you could argue to not touch the guitar at all adds more unwanted tension because you have to keep your fingers up and away from the guitar. if the goal is to stay loose, and your hand position when being loose is having your fingers naturally touch the body, then its fine. again, as long as you arent applying pressure and keeping them in a fixed position.

a teacher's goal is to teach proper technique. unfortunatly, there isnt really a way to know if you are applying pressure or not. they just see you keeping a finger on the body and assume its anchoring and that you are applying pressure. but really, its how YOU feel when you do it. do you feel loose, or can you feel tension? does any part of your hand tire out when doing it? or in your arm? also imo i think the finger should be curled a bit so that you can palm mute. this would also keep you from applying pressure. so the nail part of the finger is more of whats touching instead of the pad. hope that helps.
#16
I agree with the above 2 posts ^

Anchoring you're pinky as in pressing it to the body in 1 spot as opposed to letting it float along the body for guidance are 2 different things.

One might argue that if you don't' anchor hybrid picking might be easier.

I used to anchor and it wasn't a problem for me, and since I play a lot of fingerstyle the anchoring stopped naturally, since my fingers and hand are always moving.

I still anchor sometimes but it happens unconsciously.

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#17
Quote by stratdax
A lot of guitarists anchor their pinky. It's totally dependant on the person (I do). It might cause your professor stress and harm in his hand, but if it's comfortable for you, then that's all you need to be concerned about. I think Satriani and Petrucci anchor their pinkies, and if anybody would be concerned about the mechanics of playing, it's those guys. Mark Knopfler keeps his pinky and his ring finger anchored, Wes Montgomery kept ALL his fingers anchored and played with this thumb, etc.

Anyway, the point is, if it feels good do it.

But have you ever looked at Petrucci as he plays a fast line? You can visibly see the tension in his arm and shoulders. I cringe when I see him play...

I vote to just stop doing it. But, as said, you need to recognize the difference between lightly touching and anchoring. My hands are big enough that if I pull my fingers away from my guitar I create more tension than otherwise, so I let my pinky rest and slide on my guitar, but I never actually put downward pressure on my guitar. That's where problems lie.

I'm a big supporter of 99% proper technique (cause not everyone has the same body type, but the basic techniques can be the same). I have a friend who plays piano and got diagnosed with Tendinitis recently because of improper playing technique. I also don't want Carpal Tunnel or Arthritis... I think those are good enough reasons not to play with bad technique just because it's "what is natural to you". What is the good technique is what will keep you playing in the long run.
#18
So far as anchoring is concerned, if your pinky is ever stretched out straight then you have a good chance of causing yourself issues in the future. To me, it isn't worth the risk.
#19
it doesn't hurt to learn new things. Try to learn to play as much as you can with a floating wrist, if you don't like it, go back to anchored. But before you can do it, you won't be able to judge if it will or won't improve your technique.
#20
I play bass... I anchor my thumb...

/irrelevant
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#21
Well, if you want to major in music, then you are going to be going classical or jazz more than likely. Nearly all academic institutions (at least the ones offering degree programs and such) are exclusively classical or jazz.

If you go into classical guitar, anchoring the pinky is one of the cardinal sins of proper technique. You do that for an audition, and you're not getting in. Guys like Morse and Petrucci aren't classical players.

Look at any serious heavy-hitter classical player, and you won't find a single pinky being planted. (Segovia, John Williams, Narcisso Yepes, Julian Bream, Liona Boyd, etc.)

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#22
Quote by axemanchris
If you go into classical guitar, anchoring the pinky is one of the cardinal sins of proper technique. You do that for an audition, and you're not getting in. Guys like Morse and Petrucci aren't classical players.


CT


Yes actually, my major is in the field of music, that is why I was worried. I'm going for the business aspect, not performance, but of course an audition is still necessary.

Thank you all for your collective response. I have practiced it lately and it's not proving to be as much of a challenge as it was before. I guess I was afraid it wouldn't be so easily resolved.

Thanks again to everyone, any input is very appreciated!
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I wish I was American.

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