#1
Note: Yes, I used the search bar... this seems to be different from previous questions. If not, feel free to post a link. Thanks!
I was working on my tremolo picking without anchoring (usually anchored when using a pick until a little while back), and I basically can't tremolo pick right now unless I anchor. This is after about 3 weeks of work on this, whereas I learned to tremolo pick in under a week anchoring, then corrected it from using my arm (now only using the wrist and fingers), again in under a week. When I pick without anchoring it's a rotary motion, and when I anchor it's mostly translation with a touch of oscillation or rotation. If I don't anchor, half the time I flat-out miss the string when tremolo picking, doesn't matter if it's upstroke or down. I can do sixteenths cleanly at around 110 and get all the notes, but no faster. Changing strings is out of the question. On the other hand, when I anchor I can do sixteenths at 172, and I can change strings. Hardly impressive, but it's a work in progress.
So... am I missing something here, or should I just be anchoring to tremolo pick? I'm still trying to figure out which way has less tension overall for me... I can't make out a difference right now, to be honest. I do like the tonal variations you get by not anchoring, though I'm still much better when I anchor. Help please?

EDIT: I want advice on my technique, not another anchoring debate. Do NOT post simply saying "Don't anchor". Give me advice on my tremolo picking technique please.

EDIT2: For clarity... When I anchor, I don't use my fingers to anchor. I anchor with the lower part of the heel of my palm lightly resting on the back of the bridge. It's a completely different feel from anchoring with your fingers, but it's not as heavy as a palm mute and not as much of my hand is on the bridge.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Apr 16, 2008,
#2
i anchor basically all the time, unless i'm rhythm strumming across strings, and i can't think of any benefit that could come of playing without doing it. i mean, if you look at a lot of new players, what they tend to do is play with their hand suspended, and it looks amateur and sounds sloppy. stop me if i'm wrong, but i don't think there's any real reason to learn to play without anchoring...

...by anchoring you mean resting some fingers below the high e string to stabalize your hand, right?
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#3
Quote by darkfire_storm
i anchor basically all the time, unless i'm rhythm strumming across strings, and i can't think of any benefit that could come of playing without doing it. i mean, if you look at a lot of new players, what they tend to do is play with their hand suspended, and it looks amateur and sounds sloppy. stop me if i'm wrong, but i don't think there's any real reason to learn to play without anchoring...

...by anchoring you mean resting some fingers below the high e string to stabalize your hand, right?

Whoops, forgot to clarify that. That is how most people anchor, but no, I don't do that. Can't, actually; no accuracy that way at any speed. I rest a small part of the heel of my palm on the bridge, just far back enough that it isn't muting the strings. It's loose enough that I can move my hand around, so it's not impairing me in string changes or anything, it's just stabilizing my hand.
#4
There's nothing wrong with resting your palm on the bridge, just make sure your palm is not pushing too much the bridge.
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#5
Quote by darkfire_storm
i anchor basically all the time, unless i'm rhythm strumming across strings, and i can't think of any benefit that could come of playing without doing it. i mean, if you look at a lot of new players, what they tend to do is play with their hand suspended, and it looks amateur and sounds sloppy. stop me if i'm wrong, but i don't think there's any real reason to learn to play without anchoring...


Look at Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, Chris Broderick, Andy Timmons, Eric Johnson, Rusty Cooley, Steve Vai, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Buckethead, Bumblefoot, Uli Jon Roth, Dave Weiner and Doug Steel/Shred Durst.

I could probably go on and one but it's really quite late where I am.

The benefits of playing without an anchor include: increased range of mobility, less excess tension and free fingers to use for hybrid picking and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.

It has been discussed time and again here and anchoring is generally considered a bad habit that once you train yourself out of will free up your playing immensely.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Apr 15, 2008,
#6
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Look at Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, Chris Broderick, Andy Timmons, Eric Johnson, Rusty Cooley, Steve Vai, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Buckethead, Bumblefoot, Uli Jon Roth, Dave Weiner and Doug Steel/Shred Durst.

I could probably go on and one but it's really quite late where I am.

The benefits of playing without an anchor include: increased range of mobility, less excess tension and free fingers to use for hybrid picking and that's just what I can think of off the top of my head.

It has been discussed time and again here and anchoring is generally considered a bad habit that once you train yourself out of will free up your playing immensely.

To quote a fixationdarknes post from another thread in here, the problem is tension, not anchoring. While anchoring *generally* causes excess tension, it does NOT *always* cause excess tension. If I play with less tension by anchoring, you bet I'm going to anchor. And actually, I can hybrid pick from my picking position, though I usually fingerpick without anchoring. In fact, as mentioned above I generally don't anchor. Thank you, but your post is irrelevant to the issue here, which is tremolo picking. Now...
THIS THREAD IS NOT GOING TO BECOME ANOTHER ANCHORING DEBATE! No more posts like the above, please. Give me advice on my tremolo picking technique or don't post, it's as simple as that.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Apr 15, 2008,
#9
Quote by RockFreak000
Anchoring is bad, and im not sure what you're looking for here
http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html#1.1.6


1 - That website is full of opinions presented as fact and doesn't seem to take into account the differences between different people.

2 - This is not going to become an anchoring debate, my only purpose with the post above was to demonstare that not anchoring is not in any way an amateurish way to play, the only amateur way to play is the way where you can't do what you want with the music. Also I wanted to list some benefits that the poster I quoted couldn't see.

Anyway, if anchoring is not causing any unneccesary tension in your arm and/or hand then by all means continue.
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#10
TS how long have you been playing?
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#11
Quote by fixationdarknes
Quick question: Are the speeds you posted (110 and 172) consistent with all strings and positions? Are there certain strings you can pick faster on?


Well anyway, if so, my suggestion is to watch and feel the way you pick on the strings you're better at, and if you do it unanchored, try doing it the same way on the bass strings. Just gotta get used to it.

If this doesn't make sense or doesn't apply, ignore what I'm saying.

Quote by RockFreak000
Anchoring is bad, and im not sure what you're looking for here
http://www.tuckandpatti.com/pick-finger_tech.html#1.1.6


That's really closed-minded and ignorant to merely say "anchoring is bad" just because you've heard others say it and you're simply regurgitating what they've said.

Honestly, if your fingers are barely touching the guitar and could be considered "light anchoring," chances are removing them from the guitar may not even help or make a noticeable difference, especially if the anatomy of your hands leaves your fingers naturally touching the guitar. You just have to personally experiment and see which method leaves you with the least tension and least amount of restriction to movement.

Yes, you'll usually find that playing unanchored is the way to go, but you may also find that leaving your fingers naturally resting the guitar at times isn't going to hurt. Heavy anchoring is what you want to stay away from...where you DELIBERATELY and NOTICEABLY press your fingers against the guitar.
#12
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Anyway, if anchoring is not causing any unneccesary tension in your arm and/or hand then by all means continue.


a guitar player wont be able to recognise tension in his body because he is used to it

Quote by fixationdarknes
That's really closed-minded and ignorant to merely say "anchoring is bad" just because you've heard others say it and you're simply regurgitating what they've said.


im not talking out of my ass, i played anchored for some time before i stopped and switched to non anchored, and my picking went to the roof in terms of speed, accuracy and control
if a player with expirience anchors and it works for him then i respect that, but beginners should stay away from anchoring, mainly because it needs so much accustomisation (take john petruccis technique for example) wich is something a newbie wont be able to do
#13
Zaphod, the issue in question is my tremolo technique. I'm trying to isolate why I can't tremolo pick without anchoring, so at the very least I have a choice of styles. Lack of speed is really hurting me when I'm picking without anching right now. However, thank you for clarifying the reasons for your post. And thank you for pointing the problems with that website, the Benson technique has never worked for me.
I've been playing for a little over 2 years now, though seriously playing for only 14 months or so. This issue arose when I was working on my picking technique for some solos, I've also been working on controlling my finger motion on my left hand but that's coming along quite nicely. I came up with this odd cyclical exercise the other day that somehow helps quite a bit there, I'll tab it and post it later today if I can. Um.. back on topic, I was working on my picking and picking speed, and I found that I couldn't pick with the necessary speed, so I isolated the problem and now posted what I found. Bearing in mind that I haven't been anchoring recently unless there's numerous palm-muted bits in the song I'm playing, of course.
The speeds I posted are the maximum speeds I can do consistently and cleanly on any string. If I'm not anchoring, I'm slightly better on the bass strings, but not significantly better. That goes back to the accuracy problem I think, but I have no idea why I miss the strings at random in the first place. When anchoring my speeds are pretty consistent on all six strings.
To clarify my picking technique, on the tuck&patti page my non-anchoring technique is basically standard style, variation 1. He actually notes the lack of accuracy inherent to that style in the article, suggesting this may be a consistent issue, though it's only a problem for me at higher speeds. My technique while anchoring is standard style variation 3 but with only a small part of my hand on the bridge, and my picking is a combination of translation and rotation. Imagine the ball-shaped bone in the heel of your palm near the wrist resting on the bridge, with the fingers in a loose fist, and picking in a translation-rotation mix and you've got the idea. My fingers never touch the guitar. It's light enough contact that I can move my hand when needed, but I can access most or all of the strings from my home postion so my hand doesn't move much. Technique does not change in the reach, thanks to my large hands
Actually, that may be part of the problem: significant arm motion is unfamiliar to my picking style, which explains the difficulty in changing strings at high speeds without anchoring. But since my picking is all in my wrist, it does not explain my difficulty in tremolo picking, only string changes.
#14
Quote by RockFreak000
a guitar player wont be able to recognise tension in his body because he is used to it


I don't mean to jump down your throat or anything but who the hell else is going to know?! If a guitarist can't recognise tension in their own body then there's something seriously wrong; no one else can tell if there is tension in your body the only person who can tell is you.

Nightfyre: I'm not entirely sure what the problem really might be, can you post pictures or videos of your picking technique or anything like that? It would help immeasurably.
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Last edited by Zaphod_Beeblebr at Apr 16, 2008,
#15
Quote by RockFreak000
a guitar player wont be able to recognise tension in his body because he is used to it

I can tell the difference in tension between the two styles. Figuring out which has less tension is an issue for later though, right now the issue is technique.

Quote by RockFreak000
im not talking out of my ass, i played anchored for some time before i stopped and switched to non anchored, and my picking went to the roof in terms of speed, accuracy and control
if a player with expirience anchors and it works for him then i respect that, but beginners should stay away from anchoring, mainly because it needs so much accustomisation (take john petruccis technique for example) wich is something a newbie wont be able to do

Your style =/= my style. Please don't talk like my experiences should match yours perfectly, because they obviously don't. My picking style with anchoring actually came quite naturally, so there was no accustomization, especially since I don't anchor with my fingers. Hence, Petrucci is a lousy example here. That and the fact that, while I love his music, his technique is actually loaded with tension if you watch closely due to the way he locks up his wrist when picking quickly.
If playing without anchoring is really the way to go, how about you help me out on my tremolo technique? I've already mentioned I can pick without anchoring, but I want to be able to pick fast and the fact that I've made essentially no improvement over several weeks (at least 3 times longer than it took me to learn to tremolo pick anchoring) is quite frustrating. If you can't help me there, you're beating a dead horse because I can and often do play without anchoring.
Last edited by Nightfyre at Apr 16, 2008,
#16
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I don't mean to jump down your throat or anything but who the hell else is going to know?! If a guitarist can't recognise tension in their own body then there's something seriously wrong; no one else can tell if there is tension in your body the only person who can tell is you.

Nightfyre: I'm not entirely sure what the problem really might be, can you post pictures or videos of your picking technique or anything like that? It would help immeasurably.

+1
I'll see if I can do a video, but I don't have a digital video recorder and my phone sucks for video, if it can do video at all. I'll at least get pictures up as soon as I can though.
#17
Nightfyre, speed picking takes years to master, i think your speed is way above average, and i suggest not rushing things and focusing on accuracy and accent.

Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I don't mean to jump down your throat or anything but who the hell else is going to know?! If a guitarist can't recognise tension in their own body then there's something seriously wrong; no one else can tell if there is tension in your body the only person who can tell is you.


No, the only person who ever told me there was an excessive amount of tension in my body was my guitar teacher, i did not believe him at the time and i thought he was crazy
moral of the storie : beginners dont feel tension and expirienced players can recognise it in the blink of an eye
compare how paul gilbert and JP look when they play, and youll see how tension can be seen and felt by other people
#18
Quote by RockFreak000

im not talking out of my ass, i played anchored for some time before i stopped and switched to non anchored, and my picking went to the roof in terms of speed, accuracy and control
if a player with expirience anchors and it works for him then i respect that, but beginners should stay away from anchoring, mainly because it needs so much accustomisation (take john petruccis technique for example) wich is something a newbie wont be able to do


First of all, most people who make the switch from "anchored to unanchored" almost always make improvements. But a large majority of it has to do with the fact that you analyze so many other aspects of your picking (not just the anchoring issue). So you can't always just say "oh, my unanchored hand fixed everything."

Second of all, I understand that heavy anchoring is a bad thing. My main point is that light anchoring is not always a bad thing. Due to some people's hand shapes (like my own), their fingers stick into the body. So to successfully "unanchor" would require tension of lifting the fingers up. So, you either anchor and cause tension...or unanchor and cause tension. The solution is to analyze which case or possibly mixture of both results in the least amount of tension.

Once again my point that this is a search to find the least tense position, not just a simple argument saying "ANCHORING IS BAD" and such.
#19
I had like the same case of you, when i learned tremolo pick decently anchoring my pinky, i tried doing it on my acoustic without anchoring and of course, it tooks a lot of time (3 months and still going) to get it even. I use circle picking combined with little wrist movement. Also i accent every group of note to get more control.
Besides being a guitar player, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument. Steve Vai

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#20
My technique for tremolo picking is to use my arm and not my wrist. Using your wrist for tremolo will make you more tired and can lead to a few medical problems down the road. I would say go back and use your arm. Personally I find it easier to tremolo pick with my arm.
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#21
Quote by Junior#1
My technique for tremolo picking is to use my arm and not my wrist. Using your wrist for tremolo will make you more tired and can lead to a few medical problems down the road. I would say go back and use your arm. Personally I find it easier to tremolo pick with my arm.


Generally the opposite is true. It's far easier to get tense using your arm, therefore causing medical problems such as tendonitis down the road. Be careful dude.
#22
Quote by fixationdarknes
Generally the opposite is true. It's far easier to get tense using your arm, therefore causing medical problems such as tendonitis down the road. Be careful dude.

+1
I always tense up if I pick with my arm. I'm much looser picking from the wrist, and I'm not into tense playing. Feel suffers, and speed tends to suffer as well in my case. Not that you can tell the difference speed-wise I want a nice loose style rather than feeling like I'm fighting for the notes, so the solution is definitely not going to be picking from the arm. Besides, I only know one guy who does that and even he admits it's a bad habit (he's working on it though).
I haven't forgotten about posting pics and video, I'll get them up tonight or tomorrow if possible.
#23
If it's easier to tremelo pick while anchored, then why want to do it unanchored? I mean, You can't really go faster with tremelo picking. Plus the power that goes into tremelo picking makes it really hard to play unanchored. I don't think you can do that.(not an atack on your capability as a guitarist, I just don't think it's possible, is all)