#1
Hi, this is my first post on UG forum (on any forum actually). I'm 16 and have been playing guitar for 3 years. Started out as a wannabe shredder, along the way discovered Guthrie Govan, now i listen to Holdsworth, Shawn Lane and B.B.King, along with my metal. So, today i've been listening to some Dream Theater and decided i want to learn In the presence of enemies pt. 1. I learned everything up until the unison solo at the end. So i analysed my picking technique and found out that my outside picking is slow. I just can't cross string fast enough for that solo, and that sucks because the solo forces me to inside and outside pick, and my outside picking is not good enough. So, how can i improve it?

And i noticed that i tend to rest my pinky on the guitar body. I have read on a bunch of forums that anchoring is bad and it creates a lot of extra tension and limits your motion, but i don't think that the thing i'm doing is anchoring. My pinky is relaxed and so is my hand, and it slides freely along the body when i move my hand. I don't notice any extra tension when i place my pinky on the body ( likewise, my hand is not any more relieved when i remove it). There is no difference in my picking regardless of resting my pinky. I just rest it because it helps me control my hand when i'm not looking at my guitar (i can understand where my picking hand is in relation to the string, it's just easier mentally). Also, i don't cross strings with my elbow as i have heard is "THE RIGHT WAY"; instead i use my wrist. Even when picking on the first string, my hand and elbow positon doesn't change from the one where i'm picking on the sixth string. It's all wrist for me and my finger resting on the body helps me keep control of it, plus i mute the higher strings with it sometimes when i can't with my left hand. So, should i remove my finger from there. Because, i don't feel any more tension or change in speed and movement freedom with it, but will it harm me in the long run. I'm not anchoring it, just gently touching the body with the fingertip
Last edited by lord3212 at Aug 5, 2014,
#2
Regarding inside and outside picking I cant help since I am struggling with same thing myself, but regarding anchoring if your pinky is just resting on the guitar and slides freely on top of it, that is NOT anchoring. Anchoring is making something in the guitar a pivot point. This may help making small motions easier (it feels like you would be writing with a pen) but to move away from one spot to another it may become a hinderance.

Also I personally would not make my arm completely rigid. I use small wrist muscles to make small motions IE picking a string, be it slow or fast tremolo, and add larger arm muscles for larger motions, like strumming big chords or just moving your hand from top string to bottom and so on. Using just a wrist will put my wrist in awkward angles and I dont think my carpal tunnel will like that in the long run.

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#3
The way to improve your picking is making sure that it is always perfect, no matter what kind of picking you are doing.

Now, i understand that might sound like a strange piece of advice. "I am having problems with something" and then my advice is to not have problems with it, but that is genuinely my opinion on how to get past it.

I had major problems with my playing during my first 4-5 years, and was not satisfied at all. My picking was awful and my fretting was not much better, and i always got frustrated at my lack of progress. When i started practicing perfectly it all took a turn and i could see day by day improvement.

My genuine advice is to slow down to a pace where you can do anything in your playing (inside/outside pick, cross strings etc) and just focus on relaxation and let the speed develop naturally. I used to have a video diary of my practice sessions and i could see that if i started something extremely difficult on day one and just made sure i practiced it perfectly and relaxed by the time i had practiced it for a week i had made huge improvements, and maybe one more week i had nailed it completely. Practice perfectly and have patience, and if you can, keep a video diary of your progress and you will see the progress happen to motivate you.

Nowadays i have none of those problems i had before. My fretting hand and picking hand are perfect and i can play any tunes i set out to play, given the time and patience.

I don't know if that was the advice you were looking for, but i hope it can be of use to you.

Best Regards,
Sickz
Fusion and jazz musician, a fan of most music.

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#4
Thank you guys, you have both been very helpful. I have practised it perfectly and i am noticing improvement, compared to what it was yesterday. I am glad i am not anchoring. And regarding the only wrist, no arm movement thing; i was wrong. I actually am moving my arm...i cover the span from the low E to the G string with my wrist, and i just slide my arm down to cover D to high e. I also move it when i strum chords and skip strings (from low E to D for example) because i find that it is easier if my wrist is in one position and i do the big motions with my hand. It's just that the motion is so natural and not really noticable because i don't move my arm suddenly, so i thought i was doing everything with my wrist. I'm always careful about relaxation and comfortability, so i hope i won't get carpal tunnel. Thak you both again.
#5
Quote by lord3212
Thank you guys, you have both been very helpful. I have practised it perfectly and i am noticing improvement, compared to what it was yesterday. I am glad i am not anchoring. And regarding the only wrist, no arm movement thing; i was wrong. I actually am moving my arm...i cover the span from the low E to the G string with my wrist, and i just slide my arm down to cover D to high e. I also move it when i strum chords and skip strings (from low E to D for example) because i find that it is easier if my wrist is in one position and i do the big motions with my hand. It's just that the motion is so natural and not really noticable because i don't move my arm suddenly, so i thought i was doing everything with my wrist. I'm always careful about relaxation and comfortability, so i hope i won't get carpal tunnel. Thak you both again.


What you're doing is good; what people often miss when they say "pick from the wrist" is that your wrist should only do the picking motion. It is your arm's job to move your wrist and hand about such that you keep your picking motion consistent across all the strings.

It's kind of hard to explain when you should and shouldn't cross strings with your wrist though, so you'll have to think about it a bit and try to get a feel for what you need to do. In broad terms though, your wrist motion should cover maybe 2 strings if you're picking something very Paul Gilbert-esque but if you're doing a lot of picking on one string and then a lot of picking on the next (anything more than about 3 notes I think) then you should move your wrist to the new string with your arm and keep your picking motion as similar as possible.
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