#1
From what I've read, people hate anchoring threads, but most anchoring threads I've seen consist of petty arguments over whether or not it's detrimental to your playing.

I've already decided I want to stop, I don't want to hurt my hand, I don't want to reduce my potential mobility on the guitar. BUT, my goodness for like the first week of trying to stop I couldn't pick for crap without anchoring. I was leaving my pinky and ring finger out, just not letting them touch the guitar. Just yesterday I decided to play with fingers curled in, kind of a closed fist, and what a difference it makes. I can play to some level of proficiency now (and I'm not too good; "some level of proficiency" means that flubbing my way through the solo to the final countdown is arguably my greatest achievement yet, and my go-to if I want to show off is tremolos and string bending).

So I've overcome one hurdle. I'd like to point out that even in this modern age, information is not always easy to find. Anchoring in particular was a difficult subject to learn about. I want to continue to develop my unanchored playing, and I want to make sure that I'm actually playing unanchored. My palm tends to rest on/graze the strings because I play with my hand essentially parallel to them, which I thought was normal, but describing unanchored picking as "floating" made me want to bend my wrist all awkward-like just so I wouldn't touch the guitar, which clearly didn't get me very far. Tremolos are very hard now though. I can alternate pick across strings pretty well (although I miss strings entirely a decent bit without the anchor) but the speed I had with alternate/Eco picking before just won't come out, especially on the low strings. I have some nice little fast rock riffs that I practice on the higher strings that work fine, but without anchoring I'm finding that playing fast on the low E and A strings is really tough. So much force seems to be required in order to pick them that going back and forth really fast (I love practicing my low-string tremolo by playing In Your Honor by the Foo Fighters, which I can't really do unanchored) just seems extremely difficult.

My apologies if the organization of this post sucks, because it probably does, but if anyone can offer advice to expedite my efforts to kick this habit to the curb, I would greatly appreciate it!
#2
Yeah, I ditched the anchoring quite early on and it takes a while. One of many "slow it down, bring it back up" processes.

Don't worry about resting your palm on the strings, that's 100% acceptable. Anchoring is an issue when it involves pressure, because pressure creates tension; floating creates tension too because it requires a small but constant effort to keep your hand off the guitar body. Resting your palm on the strings also keeps the low strings from ringing out when you're not playing them, so it has its own advantages too. On the lower strings, resting your hand on the bridge will help keep your picking consistent and accurate and gives you good access for palm muting. Always, the thing you have to avoid is pressure.
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#3
Your hand should be relaxed, not clinched or anchored. The point of contact should be the same part of the hand you use for palm muting. It's also acceptable for your fingers to rest on the unused strings, so long as they aren't pushing into them or hooking under them.

I would sit down with the metronome and do some picking exercises to figure out just what your hand needs to do to keep the pick nice and flat on every string.
#4
@cdgraves That's a good point. I have a bad habit of curling my fingers under the strings too. Especially when I play power chords, I find it to be an easy way to stop the motion of my pick and mute the other strings.

But I'm finding it very interesting what I can and can't do when I play unanchored, and in general. I can do this little triplet picking exercise all up and down the higher strings very easily at a pretty speedy pace (for me at least), but not as fast as i could anchored, and I can solo up and down the pentatonic scale a good bit faster than I could before. I guess I'm just seeing the benefits and things I will have to overcome with this picking style. Changing strings is easier. Entirely missing strings is easier too. Playing fast on one string is hard.

And on a sidenote since I'd rather not start a new thread about this, what do you do when, for instance, in a solo, you have to go from one string to the next on with the same finger playing two consecutive notes? So like you play 7-5-4 on one string then 4-6-7 on the next, you have to hit the 4th fret of one string then another really fast. I'm having trouble with that on the Final Countdown solo and have tried barring it, but that just sounds sloppy.
#5
I rest my palm directly behind (and pressing against) the bridge, but I don't "anchor" my fingers. Is that bad technique?
#6
Not that I'm an expert, but from what I've heard that would be anchoring, because you're applying pressure to the guitar. Again, this is all second-hand information, but I think the idea is that your hand isn't pressing on anything for stability, because if it's pressing down, that means you can't move it up and down via your forearm in order to change strings with greater efficiency.
#7
Quote by Palerion
Not that I'm an expert, but from what I've heard that would be anchoring, because you're applying pressure to the guitar. Again, this is all second-hand information, but I think the idea is that your hand isn't pressing on anything for stability, because if it's pressing down, that means you can't move it up and down via your forearm in order to change strings with greater efficiency.


Thanks! I'll have to work on it I guess.
#8
Quote by Palerion
And on a sidenote since I'd rather not start a new thread about this, what do you do when, for instance, in a solo, you have to go from one string to the next on with the same finger playing two consecutive notes? So like you play 7-5-4 on one string then 4-6-7 on the next, you have to hit the 4th fret of one string then another really fast. I'm having trouble with that on the Final Countdown solo and have tried barring it, but that just sounds sloppy.

Yeah, you want to "roll" across - you fret the 4th on the string you're playing first then roll it across without lifting it for the other string. It's not my favourite technique but with a bit of practice it becomes more intuitive than it might seem.

Quote by TobusRex
I rest my palm directly behind (and pressing against) the bridge, but I don't "anchor" my fingers. Is that bad technique?

If you're pressing down, you're creating tension, and tension's pretty much the definitive thing to avoid. If your hand position's good in other regards, correcting this shouldn't be too difficult.
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#9
See I don't know if my hand position is actually good. I've heard that holding my hand parallel to the strings is bad, and that my wrist should be "floating" (curled outwards) in order to maintain the most relaxed and versatile position possible. Saw it on a youtube video but I'm not sure.
#10
Quote by Palerion
See I don't know if my hand position is actually good. I've heard that holding my hand parallel to the strings is bad, and that my wrist should be "floating" (curled outwards) in order to maintain the most relaxed and versatile position possible. Saw it on a youtube video but I'm not sure.

Generally, the pick itself should be parallel to the strings, but doing that means your wrist has to adjust its angle as you move up and down between them. I'm not sure how the wrist itself could be parallel to anything, but your thumb can certainly be parallel to the strings. The wrist should be pretty much flat across the back of your hand and forearm.

The roll thing is more or less a barre, just with selective pressure/muting. Position your index finger as if you were barring the two strings, but only actually apply pressure to one at a time. Will probably take some practice.


As for pressing on or behind the bridge... resting on the bridge/saddles is fine, but you don't want to exert pressure. That just takes away from your wrist's ability to move around. You should place your hand such that you can move to or from a palm mute with minimal motion. That placement lets you mute unused strings easily while keeping your pick in the good tone zone. Placing the palm behind the bridge is way too far back.
Last edited by cdgraves at Oct 5, 2015,