#1
hey guys, sorry if i am posting about a subject that gets covered alot, but i've tried searching and can't find exactly the info i want.
my questions are to do with practicing proper right hand picking technique. I have been playing for two years (self taught) and have been anchoring my pinky and ring finger to the guitar for the whole time. now that i've tried advancing to some slight faster solos/lead lines i can feel the tension because of this. this has lead to me trying to change my habit of anchoring but i need some help on how.

first i have been told to pick using mainly the wrist; when anchoring i tended to use my finger muscles and a small amount of forearm to pick so this alone is new to me, however it feels good. seems to be alot less tension even at slower speeds.
i'm not exactly sure how to place my arm/wrist on the guitar now, since before my fingers held it in place and i didn't even need my forearm on the guitar if i didn't want to. but i can't for the life of me see how people can play with this "floating hand technique they speak of. it's not too bad on the higher strings where my wrist can gently slide on the strings above to mute them. but i am having lots of problems with the lower few strings. i dont know where to put my hand to be consistent on the lower string, if i have no contact at all on the guitar, my picking slows down a fair bit and is inconsistent. so would like some advice on that please.

And lastly, when i am not anchoring, i have problems changing strings smoothly if i try and speed up at all. i know people will tell me to practice slow, which i have no problem with, however i would like to know what part of your body/what action is used for changing across strings; that way i can atleast try to practice it properly.

sorry for the insanely long post but i wanted to go into some detail. links to any videos that properly explain this is welcome; oh and excercises on how to get rid of my anchoring habit would be much appreciated!
Cheers guys!
#2
There are some insanely great players who anchor.

Batio and Malmsteen are a couple very technical players who anchor their fingers. Clapton anchors his palm for muting. Just about everybody anchors a part of their hand at some point.

There are too many great players who anchor to have it be a dealbreaker.

I'm honestly not sure it really matters if you anchor or not. I'm thinking not.

As far as tension, I don't think that is really related to anchoring either.

One way to reduce tension is to play more slowly. If you tense up at higher speeds then you are not good enough yet to play faster. Slow down and use good form. Practice at a comfortable speed. Syncing the hands is the big deal.

Awareness is also important. As you practice a simple sequence, grade yourself on a scale of 1-5 (5 being most/highest tension). Becoming aware of your tension is a first step to controlling it. As you become aware, your brain and body will adjust to a more efficient method by itself.

I'm of the mind that your brain/body will find what is the best way for you by itself (within reason) if you allow it to.

So, if you feel comfortable anchoring, then anchor.
"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. This is my religion." -- Abraham Lincoln
Last edited by Virgman at Mar 27, 2015,
#3
i was able to play somewhat well while anchoring, but i think it was deffinetly limiting my playing. Maybe using my fingers more than my wrist was the biggest problem, i have seen many great guitarists anchor, however the difference seems to be that if the anchor their pinky it is very lightly; or they sometimes will stop anchoring to play some fast lines.
i figured that since i will have to train my picking hand anyway, i may aswell learn the best/most efficient technique i can.

if anyone who plays with a floating/non anchored hand position could answer my questions or give their opinion it would be fantastic. especially someone who may have changed from anchoring to non-anchoring
#4
Quote by Vulturestreet
hey guys, sorry if i am posting about a subject that gets covered alot, but i've tried searching and can't find exactly the info i want.
my questions are to do with practicing proper right hand picking technique. I have been playing for two years (self taught) and have been anchoring my pinky and ring finger to the guitar for the whole time. now that i've tried advancing to some slight faster solos/lead lines i can feel the tension because of this. this has lead to me trying to change my habit of anchoring but i need some help on how.

first i have been told to pick using mainly the wrist; when anchoring i tended to use my finger muscles and a small amount of forearm to pick so this alone is new to me, however it feels good. seems to be alot less tension even at slower speeds.
i'm not exactly sure how to place my arm/wrist on the guitar now, since before my fingers held it in place and i didn't even need my forearm on the guitar if i didn't want to. but i can't for the life of me see how people can play with this "floating hand technique they speak of. it's not too bad on the higher strings where my wrist can gently slide on the strings above to mute them. but i am having lots of problems with the lower few strings. i dont know where to put my hand to be consistent on the lower string, if i have no contact at all on the guitar, my picking slows down a fair bit and is inconsistent. so would like some advice on that please.

And lastly, when i am not anchoring, i have problems changing strings smoothly if i try and speed up at all. i know people will tell me to practice slow, which i have no problem with, however i would like to know what part of your body/what action is used for changing across strings; that way i can atleast try to practice it properly.

sorry for the insanely long post but i wanted to go into some detail. links to any videos that properly explain this is welcome; oh and excercises on how to get rid of my anchoring habit would be much appreciated!
Cheers guys!



Read through this thread. It pretty much answers all your questions with tension, and what not.


https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1658082
#5
Quote by Vulturestreet
i was able to play somewhat well while anchoring, but i think it was deffinetly limiting my playing. Maybe using my fingers more than my wrist was the biggest problem, i have seen many great guitarists anchor, however the difference seems to be that if the anchor their pinky it is very lightly; or they sometimes will stop anchoring to play some fast lines.
i figured that since i will have to train my picking hand anyway, i may aswell learn the best/most efficient technique i can.

if anyone who plays with a floating/non anchored hand position could answer my questions or give their opinion it would be fantastic. especially someone who may have changed from anchoring to non-anchoring


Well you definitely anchor lightly because your hand has to move as you ascend and descend the strings. You don't nail your pinky to the guitar.
"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. This is my religion." -- Abraham Lincoln
#6
thanks for the link, good read on building speed. any advice with playing the lower strings and where i should be practicing the movement for changing across strings?
#7
Quote by Vulturestreet
i dont know where to put my hand to be consistent on the lower string, if i have no contact at all on the guitar, my picking slows down a fair bit and is inconsistent. so would like some advice on that please.


Most of this is just due to you switching techniques, you'll feel more comfortable with it the more you practice it. Lightly resting your forearm on the guitar is helpful.

And lastly, when i am not anchoring, i have problems changing strings smoothly if i try and speed up at all. i know people will tell me to practice slow, which i have no problem with, however i would like to know what part of your body/what action is used for changing across strings; that way i can atleast try to practice it properly.


You should always pick from the wrist, and string crossing primarily comes from the wrist with the forearm moving as a result of the wrist moving in order to keep the angle of the wrist roughly the same as you cross strings.

sorry for the insanely long post but i wanted to go into some detail. links to any videos that properly explain this is welcome; oh and excercises on how to get rid of my anchoring habit would be much appreciated!
Cheers guys!


Honestly it doesn't matter what you practice but how you practice with something like this, although practicing something with string skipping in would be helpful.

Check out Freepower's stickied thread, particularly the string skipping spider exercise. Take this and maybe a couple of other picking exercises or passages from songs you want to learn, and practice each about 10 minutes per day. Practice starting on a downstroke and on an upstroke so you practice inside and outside picking evenly.

Most importantly, practice well. Play as slowly as you need to in order to play with complete relaxation, small economical movements and no anchoring except lightly resting your fingers on the strings as you mentioned (lightly being the key word here).

I never really anchored, but I switched from picking with the elbow (moving the forearm) to picking with the wrist and it did so much for my picking. You can get away with some forms of anchoring, but it is much easier to to pick in general once you get comfortable with not anchoring. John Petrucci is a very good alternate picker who anchors, and he's said that if he had to relearn guitar he wouldn't anchor; the only reason he still does is that he's invested thousands of hours into picking with anchoring and it just wouldn't be worth relearning at this point. You can see his wrist tense and his forearm move during some particularly fast picking runs which is partially caused by his anchoring.
#8
i will deffinetly check out the spider exercises, i know it should get easier over time but i really dont see how i will become co-ordinated and be able to play remotely fast like this. i guess it just sucks that i can't play all the songs i learnt/taught myself well anymore; or even feel co-ordinated on the ones i can still play. long road ahead of me!

also can someone link me to some videos of players or atleast names some players that would be good to watch and imitate their right hand technique? cheers
#9
also another thing i might add is that i eco pick, or directional pick. i learnt this from the very start when i started trying to alternate pick as i heard from a few people that it is more efficient. i barely even have to think when i do it; e.g if i learn a new song, i dont have to sit down and figure out where to directional pick and what not, it's just second nature for me. should i continue doing this when playing un-anchored? or is it recommended to be strict on alternate picking? (if it is i would like to know why please!)
#10
Well, the picking pattern that feels most natural to you might not always be the most 'energy efficient' (hence the term 'economy picking'). I basically have the same 'second nature' - I barely ever really have to look at picking patterns - but I often find myself slowing down and just looking at what my right hand's doing to see whether or not there are sections where different movements might simply be easier.

The thing is, though: picking patterns have alot to do with dynamics as well. A fast galloping section may be easier to alt pick for example, but often straight downpicking will sound a lot more aggressive. Even if you don't play a section in the most 'energy efficient' manner, it may sound a lot better the way that's basically inefficient. So there's never really a sharp line to be drawn which determines whether or not you're doing it 'right'.

To directly answer the last question you asked: you'll need to be as strict as you have to
Last edited by Eryth at Mar 28, 2015,
#11
Quote by Vulturestreet
i will deffinetly check out the spider exercises, i know it should get easier over time but i really dont see how i will become co-ordinated and be able to play remotely fast like this. i guess it just sucks that i can't play all the songs i learnt/taught myself well anymore; or even feel co-ordinated on the ones i can still play. long road ahead of me!


It takes time to get used too, plus to get to higher speeds you need to have a certain level of relaxation and economy of motion which is much easier with the new improved technique you should be practicing.

also can someone link me to some videos of players or atleast names some players that would be good to watch and imitate their right hand technique? cheers


Paul Gilbert is a great start, check out his picking videos.

As for alt/eco picking, I'd highly, highly recommend you learn to strict alternate pick properly while you relearn picking. Economical picking is great but requires you to be able to alt pick on one string and inside pick (essentially 2/3 of alt picking anyway), so it's always made more sense to me to learn alt and then branch out into eco.
#12
while i've found im already getting slightly better at this new technique, i still struggle ALOT with the lower strings. it seems my hand needs some sort of contact on the guitar, not sure if you would classify it as anchoring, but my palm touching the strings seems to be what i need to be comfortable, however it is not completely fixed to the guitar
would that be still "anchoring"? sorry if i didn't explain that well enough

and ive seen a few threads talk about paul gilbert exercises, i will check them out once i have a better understanding of this new technique
#13
If your palm is lightly touching the strings you are lightly palm muting the strings which will change the tone of the string you are picking slightly (assuming your palm rests on this string). This is better than anchoring but ideally you want to be able to pick any string with no palm muting because of how different the sound is.

If you mean resting your palm lightly on strings you aren't playing, providing you are resting very lightly and producing no tension from this touch, it's alright and plenty of people do this.
#14
Quote by Anon17
If you mean resting your palm lightly on strings you aren't playing, providing you are resting very lightly and producing no tension from this touch, it's alright and plenty of people do this.


yep that was what i meant
just have problems on the lower strings since my hand can't gently rest on anything at a nice angle.
after practicing this technique for awhile, when i occasionally did find myself anchoring, it seemed to be alot less tense. i think practicing picking from the wrist has even helped my anchoring become less tense. it's half tempting to just go back to anchoring gently, but i dont want to learn for another few years just to hit another barrier...
#15
I just rest my forearm on the body and my hand naturally falls into position and then pick from the wrist while muting any unused strings with the palm.When playing the lower strings i just lift the palm.Never actually consciously practiced this.Was just my natural arm/hand position.