#1
i've seen many people anchor while picking (mab for one) but their elbow is moving aswell which i taught would end up with them developing rsi. there is also a lesson on the guitar world cd showing andy aledort anchoring while tremelo picking but the movement is coming from his elbow. is there any danger of developing rsi doing this?
Testament, Kreator, Vio-lence, Exodus

Thrash Metal
#2
First of all, Andy Aledort's technique is awful. Don't get me wrong, his a good player and all, but his technique is terrible. As for the anchoring, I have heard the same thing as you... "Don't pick from the elbow, you'll hurt yourself." I believe this is true because your arm tends to tense up more when you pick from the elbow. If I were you, I would learn to pick from the wrist.

If you feel you need to anchor a finger (I just anchor my palm to the bridge), try doing it the way John Petrucci does it. His pinky is often anchored near the bottom of his pick-up and his picking motion is from the wrist. Go youtube a segment of rock discipline for and example.

As for Michael Angelo... well... he's Michael Angelo.
#3
You could always just not anchor at all. For tremolo picking, you're not really trying to pick in time anyway, so a little arm movement is ok. I think anchoring inhibits almost every picking technique.
#4
The best thing to taek from MAB is his small finger movements on the freboard and his "economy of motion" ( dont move anyhting more than it has too) and also the classic "you have to play slow to play fast". These are great ideas that he always talks about and are good general advice. His technique on the other hand is very strange and is probably only good for him and few others. I would highly advise against trying to play like him. Your best bet is to do whats comfortable for you and what causes the least amount of tension which should probably be the same thing. This usually does not involve anchoring. Tension free relaxed motion is the goal. That is faster than tensing up (after you get it down that is)and better for your health.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Jul 29, 2008,
#5
Quote by beadhangingOne
For tremolo picking, you're not really trying to pick in time anyway, so a little arm movement is ok.


-_-

All tremolo picking means is that you're rapidly picking one note over and over. It doesn't mean you're not trying to pick in time. Even if that were true, there's no point in added arm movement.
#6
Quote by /-\liceNChains
The best thing to taek from MAB is his small finger movements on the freboard and his "economy of motion" ( dont move anyhting more than it has too) and also the classic "you have to play slow to play fast". These are great ideas that he always talks about and are good general advice. His technique on the other hand is very strange and is probably only good for him and few others. I would highly advise against trying to play like him. Your best bet is to do whats comfortable for you and what causes the least amount of tension which should probably be the same thing. This usually does not involve anchoring. Tension free relaxed motion is the goal. That is faster than tensing up (after you get it down that is)and better for your health.


Also MAB is left handed/ambidextrous but plays like a righty (double guitar solo aside). So this is bound to lead to an unusual picking technique.

Here's what I have found works well for me.

1) Don't anchor, but instead lightly rest the pinky and ring fingers on the body of the guitar just below the strings. This gives you stability, so that no effort is exerted keeping the right hand steady, but at the same time I am not pressing down hard enough to create a pivot point there (anchoring) which limits the wrist's freedom of movement.
2) All the fast picking comes from the wrist, and I try to make the movements really small especially when playing fast. The elbow is not good at making very small movements, unless you tense up and do the arm spazz thing. And even then you don't have much control, not to mention it not being good for you.
3) I use the elbow when I need to cross strings. This is really important for a couple of reasons -
a. It allows me to keep the same wrist angle as I pick on different strings. It's much easier to become good at a single wrist technique, than have to have six different wrist techniques, one for each string, which is basically what's happening when you keep having to change wrist angle when you change strings.
b. So you're picking really fast on one string, and the pick is barely moving 1/16th of an inch per pick stroke. But now you have to change strings. Suddenly you have to move a good 1/4th inch to next string, and somehow do that as quickly as you've been doing all those little movements. If you try to do that with your wrist, that is a giant interruption to what it's doing, and it's very difficult to cross strings smoothly that way. So you move your elbow a bit to get you to the next string. Though the elbow is no good at very small movements, it's pretty good at slightly larger ones, and it allows your wrist to keep doing the small movements uninterrupted.

Hopefully this helps some. It's definately allowed me to go very fast when I'm in the mood.
#7
Quote by fixationdarknes
-_-

All tremolo picking means is that you're rapidly picking one note over and over. It doesn't mean you're not trying to pick in time. Even if that were true, there's no point in added arm movement.


Errr... I know what tremolo picking is. Also, when you don't pick in time, the note is very accented and stands out a lot. It sounds very distinct, but it's more of a personal taste thing than necessary, so you're right about that I guess.
#8
Quote by se012101
1) Don't anchor, but instead lightly rest the pinky and ring fingers on the body of the guitar just below the strings. This gives you stability, so that no effort is exerted keeping the right hand steady, but at the same time I am not pressing down hard enough to create a pivot point there (anchoring) which limits the wrist's freedom of movement.


I personally would disagree with this unless your hand is large enough that this happens naturally - you can't place your fingers on the body like that without exerting effort otherwise.

I'm pretty big on not anchoring, and if you want to disagree, tbh, i cba. Your posts are extremely helpful and it's not a big enough issue to get all pissy about. If you want more detail I can provide a link.
#9
Quote by Freepower
I personally would disagree with this unless your hand is large enough that this happens naturally - you can't place your fingers on the body like that without exerting effort otherwise.

I'm pretty big on not anchoring, and if you want to disagree, tbh, i cba. Your posts are extremely helpful and it's not a big enough issue to get all pissy about. If you want more detail I can provide a link.


Don't worry about me getting pissy. As passionate about this instrument as we are, it's not exactly life or death, you know? So it's all good!

My hands are decent sized, not huge, a fraction under 8 inches wrist to tip of middle finger, but it's always felt natural to gently rest on the body with my last two fingers. Note, they're not "anchored" at all, they just sort of brush against the body of the guitar as I cross strings. Up until about 6 years ago, I played an Ibanez and the strings were very close to the body. In those days, I'd do the totally not touching the body thing. When I got my first BC rich, the gap from the strings to body was much bigger, and since then it's always felt more natural to play as I described.
#11
IMHO there are two conditions that make anchoring ok:

1 - It's not adding any extra tension to your playing.

2 - It's not restricting your movement.

For 99% of people these two don't apply; most people who anchor find it hard to do some string skipping ideas fluently and almost all of them tense up from the anchoring. MAB and Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom both anchor but I would say that their mobility is just fine (especially MAB) and they're not tense so it's fine.

Unfortunately for the rest of us it happens so generally the best way to play is to try not to anchor at all.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#12
*experimentally palms head of innocent passer-by with large hand* heh. Unfortunately, most of the size is in the palms, my fingers are pretty average, so no crazy stretches for me.

I think ZB hit the nail on the head. As long as you're not actually pressing down and creating a pivot point there, then you're not really anchoring, and all is good.

Continuing with the light contact versus floating right hand discussion... When I used to use the floating technique, I found it difficult to keep the amount of pick that would go below the string consistent when I crossed strings. I noticed in FP's vids that you use this technique, so I was wondering whether you ever noticed this, and if so what you did to address it?
#13
^ I understand what your saying. If you can control palmmuting enough to where you can just keep your palm near/on the bridge the whole time that works fine. So lcose you cant hear it muting notes. I dont even really think about that anymore but i think thats how i do it. Being relaxed and loose is key though so everyone is going to be a little different. Emulating someone else can be harmfull.
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Jul 30, 2008,
#14
Quote by se012101
I noticed in FP's vids that you use this technique, so I was wondering whether you ever noticed this, and if so what you did to address it?


Never noticed it. I completely re-learned right hand technique about 2 years ago, so I suppose I just started "correct" and built it up. I also practice consistency of tone and attack along with speed, but that's fairly obvious.
#15
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
IMHO there are two conditions that make anchoring ok:

1 - It's not adding any extra tension to your playing.

2 - It's not restricting your movement.

For 99% of people these two don't apply; most people who anchor find it hard to do some string skipping ideas fluently and almost all of them tense up from the anchoring. MAB and Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom both anchor but I would say that their mobility is just fine (especially MAB) and they're not tense so it's fine.

Unfortunately for the rest of us it happens so generally the best way to play is to try not to anchor at all.


Well actually Alexi gets pretty tense when picking fast, but that's due to him spazzing his arm a bit. He's always had quite a strange picking technique that even seems to incorporate his shoulder joint at times lol.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Jul 31, 2008,
#16
Quote by fixationdarknes
Well actually Alexi gets pretty tense when picking fast, but that's due to him spazzing his arm a bit.


Really? I never thought he looked that tense; in his older videos he looks a lot more relaxed than he does these days.

Either way; my original point still holds; if you can maintain your relaxed state and keep your freedom of motion then anchoring is fine.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#17
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr


Either way; my original point still holds; if you can maintain your relaxed state and keep your freedom of motion then anchoring is fine.


+1.
Besides being a guitar player, I'm a big fan of the guitar. I love that damn instrument. Steve Vai

Gear:
Kramer Striker FR422SM
Roland Microcube
Digitech Bad Monkey
Dunlop Tortex 1.14mm picks


MY VIDEOS
#18
thanks for the help everyone! much appreciated
Testament, Kreator, Vio-lence, Exodus

Thrash Metal
#19
having skipped 3/4 of the post...

when i trem pick, i have 2 methods, neither use my elbow at all. its all about diggin in.

Method 1: Anchored) Use your pinky to anchor your trem pic just below the high e, but keep it close to your hand. This is mainly for the top 3 strings, like in a solo or something.

Method 2: Floating) i still anchor my hand in a sense, as i lightly rest it just past the bridge, and this is for death metal, like Miasma by BDM.

the reason my elbow doesnt move is because i create a point of reference for my hand, so it knows where its going, and my elbow isnt needed as much.
Gear:

Guitars:
BC Rich Warlock
Dean 88
ME682-In Progress
Amps:
Carvin SX300
Etc:
Clayton 1.0mm picks
Planet Waves cables.
#20
Quote by se012101

3) I use the elbow when I need to cross strings. This is really important for a couple of reasons -
a. It allows me to keep the same wrist angle as I pick on different strings. It's much easier to become good at a single wrist technique, than have to have six different wrist techniques, one for each string, which is basically what's happening when you keep having to change wrist angle when you change strings.
b. So you're picking really fast on one string, and the pick is barely moving 1/16th of an inch per pick stroke. But now you have to change strings. Suddenly you have to move a good 1/4th inch to next string, and somehow do that as quickly as you've been doing all those little movements. If you try to do that with your wrist, that is a giant interruption to what it's doing, and it's very difficult to cross strings smoothly that way. So you move your elbow a bit to get you to the next string. Though the elbow is no good at very small movements, it's pretty good at slightly larger ones, and it allows your wrist to keep doing the small movements uninterrupted.


QFT. I was going to say this, but... Sometimes it's easier to just jump strings when you are playing lines that have a lot of 4ths and 3rds. For example there is a little pattern Coltrane plays a lot- one expression of it is D-F-Bflat-D (ascending). This is a bitch to play in quavers at 320 bpm (as in countdown) in 5th position , even though every note is easily in that position. It's actually easier to play the first two notes on the A string and then make a really fast position shift to the B flat on the G string.

It seems impossible at first, because it involves a position shift, a stretch, and string skipping at the same time, but it turns out to be the easiest way to play that pattern at tempo, once you get it. But the key is to use the elbow to make the string skip.
Last edited by mezzopiano at Aug 5, 2008,
#21
Quote by abyssspecter
having skipped 3/4 of the post...

when i trem pick, i have 2 methods, neither use my elbow at all. its all about diggin in.

Method 1: Anchored) Use your pinky to anchor your trem pic just below the high e, but keep it close to your hand. This is mainly for the top 3 strings, like in a solo or something.

Method 2: Floating) i still anchor my hand in a sense, as i lightly rest it just past the bridge, and this is for death metal, like Miasma by BDM.

the reason my elbow doesnt move is because i create a point of reference for my hand, so it knows where its going, and my elbow isnt needed as much.


In my opinion this is less than optimal technique; in my opinion if you have to change your technique to suit what you're playing then you're probably not using the best technique you could. Technique, in my opinion, should stay the same regardless of what you're playing.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#22
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
In my opinion this is less than optimal technique; in my opinion if you have to change your technique to suit what you're playing then you're probably not using the best technique you could. Technique, in my opinion, should stay the same regardless of what you're playing.

Well if it sounds good and he's comfortable with it, then the rest really doesn't matter at all. After all, it's all about making it sound good.
#23
Quote by fob12
Well if it sounds good and he's comfortable with it, then the rest really doesn't matter at all. After all, it's all about making it sound good.


Possibly, possibly not; he may find at some point in the future that the transition from not anchoring on the bottom 3 strings to anchoring on the top 3 strings slows him down as he has to change his hand position so he'd have to either figure out some new way round it or go back to the start and mess with his whole technique when if he'd just played with proper technique to begin with it wouldn't be a problem at all.

To a point I agree but if you plan to play things that require advanced technique then you need to think about things like this.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#24
I agree, developing a steady technique is worth while, but whatever works for you in the end right?
#25
Quote by fob12
I agree, developing a steady technique is worth while, but whatever works for you in the end right?


What is that supposed to mean? I could make playing with my FEET "work for me," but does that make it "okay?"

This is a technique forum, and a lot of us are aiming to get the best technique we can get, so no it's not really "whatever works for you in the end" <- translation (I'm too lazy or can't give a rat's ass to change my poor playing habits)
#26
Quote by fixationdarknes
What is that supposed to mean? I could make playing with my FEET "work for me," but does that make it "okay?"

This is a technique forum, and a lot of us are aiming to get the best technique we can get, so no it's not really "whatever works for you in the end" <- translation (I'm too lazy or can't give a rat's ass to change my poor playing habits)

Poor to you might be the best to someone else. There's no set standard for perfect technique.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eTRs2bPN2Y


#27
Quote by fob12
Poor to you might be the best to someone else. There's no set standard for perfect technique.


Well nothing is "perfect," but there actually IS a set standard for optimal technique. It many not be exactly the SAME for everyone, but they all follow the same general principles. My point is that there are certain times where you can definitely say "no, that is not optimal technique" without there being room for "oh, but it works for ME!"

Quote by fob12


Yes I've seen it. Quite amazing, eh? Assuming he had two usable arms though, that is an example of not optimal technique lol.
#28
Yeah but it works for him. The core of technique is really "To each his own", eh? I mean, Metallica only down picks for their songs, whenever possible, but it would be a better technique to alternative pick, right? Well it works for them and heck it sounds good.
#29
Quote by fob12
Yeah but it works for him. The core of technique is really "To each his own", eh?


Sure. But if you care at all about becoming the best you can possibly be, you'll take into account the laws of physics and follow basic accepted principles.

Quote by fob12

I mean, Metallica only down picks for their songs, whenever possible, but it would be a better technique to alternative pick, right? Well it works for them and heck it sounds good.


No, it wouldn't be a "better" technique to alternate pick those riffs because downpicking is a whole 'nother technique which achieves a different sound. It's not like Kirk doesn't know how to alternate pick... he downpicks his riffs for a reason.

Anyway, I've already re-iterated my point several times now, and I really don't feel like re-stating again. Good day.
Last edited by fixationdarknes at Aug 5, 2008,
#30
Quote by fob12
Yeah but it works for him. The core of technique is really "To each his own", eh? I mean, Metallica only down picks for their songs, whenever possible, but it would be a better technique to alternative pick, right? Well it works for them and heck it sounds good.


Firstly Metallica don't only downpick in their songs, they alternate pick once the speed gets above 8ths at about 220 bpm and for all the galloping parts and this habit was born more out of James and Kirks love of old fashioned punk like The Ramones rather than any technical or tonal consideration it just happens that it sounds better that way and has since become a standard way of playing for metal.

Secondly: That technique works for him because he has no choice, you think that if he had arms he'd still be playing like that? No, he's making do with what life has dealt him and more power to him but he's never going to be able to play "Far Beyond the Sun" is he? Whether he wants to or not isn't the point.

To a point I agree that everyone is different and that technique is almost certainly going to be largely individual but there are certain principles that everyone should hold to, especially if they want to be able to play at a technically high level. These principles are as follows (largely in order of importance imho):

1 - No excess tension. This is so important it's stupid, even if you're just playing three chord punk you can injure yourself if you have excess tension in your body.

2 - Mobility. The second you loose mobility you lose playing options; this isn't hugely important in physically simple music but for any advanced playing at all you will want all of your mobility intact.

3 - Consistency. If you have to waste time and energy on changing the position of one or both of your hands then that's energy and time you're not using to play the music you want. Watch players like Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani; their hands pretty much remain constant in their shape and position (excepting tapping and the like) and they all make it look very easy because they're not wasting time and energy on doing something that doesn't produce the notes and tone they want.

4 - Economy of motion. Only really comes into play once you start to reach quite high speeds but is still quite important; any extra movement slows you down but adds to dynamics so this one isn't the biggest consideration in the world, a double edged sword really.

If you stick to these rules your technique cannot really be bad but each one is very important to the development of advanced technique.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#31
^^ yes.

anchoring will just stop you from learning string crossing techniques and leave you wondering "why do i suck at crossing strings?"

mantra: slow, focused, discipline and honest practice.
#32
Quote by sisuphi
anchoring will just stop you from learning string crossing techniques and leave you wondering "why do i suck at crossing strings?"


That isn't always true, you can anchor and maintain mobility but it can be quite difficult and depends a lot on the size of your hands. Usually I agree but you can't say things like that outright.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#33
damn you! i was just trying to get my point across, but fair enough. i'm just very passionate about proper technique.

i've learnt my lesson.

that said where are you in S.e. uk? i'm in brighton.
#34
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Possibly, possibly not; he may find at some point in the future that the transition from not anchoring on the bottom 3 strings to anchoring on the top 3 strings slows him down as he has to change his hand position so he'd have to either figure out some new way round it or go back to the start and mess with his whole technique when if he'd just played with proper technique to begin with it wouldn't be a problem at all.

To a point I agree but if you plan to play things that require advanced technique then you need to think about things like this.


Actually, i did run into that probem. But now, i kinda think of what im playing, and how im gunna play it, so, if i need transition, i transtion it about a beat early. say im playing something on the low E, and then i go into some trem picking on the high string, i go ahead and put my pinky down before i even get to the trem picking. It kinda speeds up the transition. Therefore, now it doesnt slow me down.

I do agree that alot of times one picking style is easier, but, this works for me, and as long as my picking pattern works for me, my technique, its not that bad.
Gear:

Guitars:
BC Rich Warlock
Dean 88
ME682-In Progress
Amps:
Carvin SX300
Etc:
Clayton 1.0mm picks
Planet Waves cables.
#35
Quote by sisuphi
that said where are you in S.e. uk? i'm in brighton.


Nowhere near Brighton unfortunately; I'd love to be somewhere with a music scene that good; I'm near Colchester, in Essex.
R.I.P. My Signature. Lost to us in the great Signature Massacre of 2014.

Quote by Master Foo
“A man who mistakes secrets for knowledge is like a man who, seeking light, hugs a candle so closely that he smothers it and burns his hand.”


Album.
Legion.
#36
it's probably terrible technique, but i've always found the trick with tremolo picking is to play as you feel comfortable. If your using the wrong position for you, you'll bloody know about because your wrist and your fingers will ache like hell within thirty seconds.
Gabba gabba hey