Early in my guitar playing years, I learnt that Eddie Van Halen held his pick between his middle finger and thumb, rather than the conventional way, ie, between his index finger and thumb. I tried this, at first it felt awkward, but after a while I got used to it, and I played like that for years. Recently, though, I'd been getting into more shredder-type guitarists like Batio, Petrucci and Romeo, and I wanted to emulate exactly what they were doing, so I changed to the conventional method of pick-holding. I also started anchoring with my 3rd and 4th fingers to copy their style, something which I'd never done before felt extremely uncomfortable.

The other day, though, I was reading through the anchoring mega-thread and after seeing such strong opinions against it, I thought it might not be too late to quit my newly learnt anchoring habit. I then realised that maybe there's no point holding the pick in the conventional way either, if I'm not going to anchor.

What do other people think of middle finger & thumb pick-holding? To me, it's always seemed much more natural - when you hold a pick with your index finger, you kind of have to turn your wrist to hit the strings at right angles, whereas this isn't necessary when you hold it with your middle finger. Thoughts? Does anyone else prefer this method?
Well with the Van Halen pick holding way:
-you can tap with your index finger
-its much harder to hybrid pick

Just hold the pick normally and learn to tap with your middle finger (or put the pick into your mouth when tapping)

And yeah. Anchoring = bad.
Quote by ouchies
Whatever is most comfortable is what people have always told me

I congratulate you, ouchies -- you've managed to meet the small percentage of people that aren't complete dumbasses.

Hold the pick however you feel is most comfortable for you.

The index-thumb method is the most common one, but there are many different ones.

EVH, like you said, uses the middle finger and thumb, while James Hetfield uses the index, middle and thumb.
Quote by jman667
what is anchoring? never heard of it myself

Watch Mr Batio here:
and Mr Laiho here:

both of those anchor their pinky/ring fingers on the body of the guitar. It creates a lot of unneccesary tension in your hand.

now watch Mr Gilbert:

his hand is free above the strings

read this behemoth of a thread for reasons why its not good: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=339913&highlight=anchor
(and continue on any other questions about it in there too)
Last edited by seljer at May 21, 2006,
Anchoring is when you rest your picking hand on your guitar, slows you down a bit imo. As for pick holding I prefer the pointer + thumb, I usually tap notes with my middle finger unless its almost completely tapping then I just carry the pick on my middle finger and tap with my pointer.
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I play with my middle and my thumb too, but I don't anchor. I've tried playing with my index and thumb but I found it really annoying with my middle, ring & pinky floating above my strings .
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It always was natural for me to anchor/chicken pick with my middle finger, so it has always seemed optimal for me to hold my pick with thumb/index...

It also seems to be that because your middle finger and thumb are farther apart, you'd have to put more effort and tension into it.
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what's with you people, anchoring is not bad or good. try what's comfortable. as for me I can do both and do what comes to mind. don't diss anchoring if there are people who do anchor and are better than you
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If you have any REASONS (other than wounded pride that perhaps, your technique might not be perfect) to anchor, or argue with us dumbasses, or even just have a story of why anchoring helps you...you know where to go. This is not a thread to voice your opinions on anchoring without me swooping down on the Logic Plane and telling you you're wrong or right - according of course, to principles laid down since the days of Liszt and Paganini, coming through all the greatest jazz musicians and classical preformers of the day, straight through your favourite guitarists, and irrespective of instrument have been accepted. The guitar is not a new instrument. Nor are your hands some wonderful invention. Get used to it. See you in the anchoring thread.

As regards using the middle finger, it's certainly good for harp harmonics as well - and while it may not be initially as strong as the index, i dont know where it peaks. I remember when my ring finger was stronger than my pinky...

Otoh, i've never seen someone with really good picking technique do it. Perhaps IA? I suppose you could be the first, i havent seen it hold many back.