The Ultimate Guide To Guitar. Chapter I: 5 Technique - Right Hand Techniques

This is the second "technique" chapter and also the last chapter in Part I, for Beginners. We will look into right hand techniques this time, like alternate picking and palm muting... And after you've mastered these, you may consider yourself no longer "Beginner", but "Novice"!

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Ultimate Guitar
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UPDATED 21.11.2008

Part I - Chapter 5

Technique: Basic Right Hand Techniques

Hi all! Welcome back to the second article on technique for beginners... Last week, we discussed left hand expression techniques. This week, we are going to look into some technical aspects of the right hand. The techniques for the right hand that we are going to learn, are not necessarily expression techniques though!

What are we going to learn then? First of all, we are going to look into a very important technique that you will absolutely need FOREVER if you use a pick. Then, I'm going to learn you a specific expression technique that requires the use of your right hand only. Finally, we are going to look into a phenomenon called "anchoring".

So, a little overview of today's menu:

01. Alternate picking: for those using a pick, this is the most important technique you are going to learn today, and possibly ever!
02. Palm muting: this one is, in fact, a right hand expression technique
03. Anchoring: some people think it's good, others think it's bad...

So, let's get started with the first of these 3 techniques: alternate picking!

Alternate Picking

In the previous article, I told you that the article on right hand techniques would be much shorter than the one on left hand techniques, but equally important. Well, this is the technique that makes this article as important as all the techniques in the previous article together: alternate picking! The most vital right hand skill you need when you use a pick...

Alternate picking is a technique for playing strings fast and fluently, with the least possible effort. Basically, the technique comes down to alternating between down- and upstrokes with your pick. I will explain more in detail. (You know the drill...)

A. How it's done

A downstroke is when you pluck the string by moving your pick downward (towards the floor), an upstroke is when you pluck the string by moving your pick upward (towards the ceiling). Logical, isn't it?

Now, some of you who use a pick may be using downstrokes to pick every note. A lot of beginning guitar players do... Consider this for a moment. You pick a note, moving your pick from above the string to under it, and then move your pick back over and above the string to do another downstroke... You could use that upward movement to pick the string again, couldn't you? You are actually wasting energy, to move your pick back up and over the string, instead of using that upward movement to pluck the string...

Well, that's exactly what alternate picking is! If you used every upward movement of your pick to actually pluck the string, every downstroke would automatically be followed by an upstroke. You would be alternating between down- and upstrokes instead of doing only one-directional strokes!

B. Alternate picking in lead guitar

Now, why is this alternation necessary? Well, like I said, alternate picking serves the purpose of playing notes fast and fluently, with the least possible effort. If you go from only downstrokes to alternating down- and upstrokes, you are actually dividing the work for your picking hand by 2! Why would you want to do double the work, when there's a perfect easy way to do it with half the effort?

I will give you an example: try to pick the following phrase as fast as you can, only using downstrokes.

   d  d  d  d  d  etc.
E|-0--0--2--2--3--3--5--5--3--3--2--2--3--3--0--0-| d=downstroke
B|------------------------------------------------|
G|------------------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------------------|
E|------------------------------------------------|


Now, try the same phrase using alternate picking, and see if you can do it faster!

   d  u  d  u  d  etc.
E|-0--0--2--2--3--3--5--5--3--3--2--2--3--3--0--0-| d=downstroke
B|------------------------------------------------| u=upstroke
G|------------------------------------------------|
D|------------------------------------------------|
A|------------------------------------------------|
E|------------------------------------------------|


That's a lot easier, isn't it? You can see that alternate picking is really a vital technique for your right hand. In fact, you are going to use alternate picking for everything from now on... Practicing and getting better at it should be one of your top priorities right now! That's why I will provide you with some easy exercises, and some tips on how to improve your alternate picking.

C. Exercises

You should practice alternate picking so often, you can do it easily with your eyes closed and standing on your head, so to speak... It should come natural to you. That's why I will give you these easy exercises.

Exercise set 1:
   d u d u d u d u etc.
E|-----------------------------------------1-2-3-4-| d=downstroke
B|---------------------------------1-2-3-4---------| u=upstroke
G|-------------------------1-2-3-4-----------------|
D|-----------------1-2-3-4-------------------------|
A|---------1-2-3-4---------------------------------|
E|-1-2-3-4-----------------------------------------|

   d u d u d u d u etc.
E|-4-3-2-1-----------------------------------------| d=downstroke
B|---------4-3-2-1---------------------------------| u=upstroke
G|-----------------4-3-2-1-------------------------|
D|-------------------------4-3-2-1-----------------|
A|---------------------------------4-3-2-1---------|
E|-----------------------------------------4-3-2-1-|


This is an exercise to help you keep to the down-up-down-up pattern, even when changing strings. Keep practicing this, until this comes natural to you! Also, if you use your index for the notes at fret 1, your middle finger for the 2nd fret, your ring finger for the 3rd fret and your pinky for the 4th fret, this exercise should help you stretch and strengthen your fingers.

Exercise 2:
   d u d u d u etc.
E|---------------------5-8-5---------------------| d=downstroke
B|-----------------5-8-------8-5-----------------| u=upstroke
G|-------------5-7---------------7-5-------------|
D|---------5-7-----------------------7-5---------|
A|-----5-7-------------------------------7-5-----|
E|-5-8---------------------------------------8-5-|


Like the other exercises, this exercise will help you stay in the down-up pattern when changing strings. Also, notice that this is the A Minor Pentatonic scale run up and back down! This exercise will therefore also help you remember the A Minor Pentatonic scale...

A third exercise, which I think is the most important of all, is practicing alternate picking while improvising! Use the backing tracks I gave you, improvise in A Minor Pentatonic, and use alternate picking at all times! This is a fun way of training your alternate picking skills, while you're still able to play what you want (instead of boring exercises!)

OK, we have alternate picking covered... Now for the other right hand techniques! We can't forget those, although alternate picking is the most important of all...

Note: for more information on alternate picking and more exercises, I recommend you to read this article written by UG Team: Alternate Picking Technique

Palm Muting



OK! When you have alternate picking down, we can move on to a right hand expression technique, used for expression like the left hand techniques we learned last week... Palm muting!

What is palm muting? Well, the name says it all... You are going to mute the strings with the palm of your right hand. Not completely though, just partially, to create a chunky effect when you strum a chord! So how do you partially mute the strings? Well, we are going to use the right hand's side and palm for that... Hence palm muting!

A. How it's done

Palm muting is very easy to do, and also to explain! To palm mute, you place the side of your hand (and part of the palm) on the bridge of the guitar, touching the strings slightly. You are now muting the strings, but not completely, so you can still use your right hand to strum the strings. Notice the fat, chunky sound of the muted strings? This is the specific sound of palm muted strings.

I included a picture (from Google) to show you better where exactly to place your hand.



Notice how the side and palm of the hand are not resting completely on the strings, but partially on the strings and partially on the bridge...

B. Palm muting in rhythm and lead guitar

Palm muting is used in both rhythm and lead guitar. In rhythm guitar, palm muting is often used in combination with power chords to create chunky rock rhythms. To practice palm muting in rhythm guitar, just try and play a single power chord, first with open strings and then with palm muted strings. Try and switch between open and muted without pause!

Palm muting can also be used in lead guitar. I have made you an example to illustrate this.



I wrote this short solo based on an improvisation by Steve Vai on a seven string guitar. You can see the abbreviation P.M. over some notes in the tab, followed by a dotted line over the notes that should be palm muted. I included an audio sample to let you guys hear what this should sound like:

Palm muting: audio sample

In this example, palm muting is used merely for expression! You can try this to, play with it a little bit, combine it with other expression techniques to make your solos sound really interesting!

Note: palm muting mutes strings only partially. To mute strings completely, you use your left hand. By placing your left hand over all strings, just touching them but not pressing down onto the fretboard, you mute the strings completely. If you strum the muted strings, you get an interesting percussive effect! This is often used when playing chord progressions, to make the progression sound more interesting. This is especially easy when the progression includes barre chords: if you just lift your fingers off the fretboard but keep touching the strings, you are muting the strings for a percussive strum!

Anchoring

And finally, the last of all the techniques in the technique articles! Well, this one isn't really a "technique"... Because whether you do it or you don't, it doesn't affect how your playing sounds. However, it does affect how your playing feels! Playing with anchoring or without it makes a huge difference in the technique of your right hand, so we will look into the advantages and disadvantages of it. First, I'll explain what "anchoring" is. Then, I'll give the (dis)advantages of an anchored right hand technique, followed by the (dis)advantages of an unanchored right hand. Lastly, I'll give you my personal opinion.

A. What is anchoring?

"Anchoring" is touching the body of your guitar with your right hand while playing. Some people, while playing, rest their right pinky finger on the guitar's body, others touch their guitar's body with their upper arm... and very importantly, they keep that contact point fixed in the same location at all times.

Because of this last important part of the definition, touching the guitar is NOT the same as anchoring. I've read a lot of comments from readers who apparently had an incorrect view on what anchoring really is... So instead of asking "what is anchoring?", I should ask "what ISN'T anchoring?"... Here's an explanation.

  • Resting your forearm on the guitar isn't really a big issue. A lot of players do it, and so do I, and it doesn't really make a lot of difference in your playing style. Resting your forearm on the guitar is NOT anchoring.
  • Touching your guitar with your right pinky finger (or more than one finger) may or may not be anchoring. It depends on the strength of the touch, and whether the contact point is fixed! As long as you don't press down on the guitar, and the finger is still free to move (if it slides lightly over the guitar's wood), it's NOT anchoring.
  • However, when you either DO press your right ring/pinky finger down on the guitar with some considerable force, and/or when the fingers touching the guitar don't move but stay fixed in the same spot, this is anchoring.
B. The anchored hand: advantages and disadvantages

You may be asking yourself: why do some people anchor and others not? Well, both the anchored and the unanchored position of the right hand have their own advantages and disadvantages. For both positions, I will now sum up some of the pros and cons...

The pros

Players who anchor claim that the contact point or "anchoring point" serves as a fixed point of orientation while picking. If you touch the guitar's body at a certain location, it is easier to find the strings because of their relative distances to this fixed "anchoring point"... It helps making less mistakes while picking, so that you don't pick the wrong string so often!

Also, resting your hand on the guitar is less tiring, it provides a fixed support point. The opposite of an anchored hand is a hand floating over the guitar's body, and this may require some more strength from your arm's muscles. Also, your elbow joint is put to work, so overall the anchored position may require less effort from your arms!

Thirdly, while anchoring becomes a disadvantage in speedy and sweeping passages, it can be helpful in other situations. For example, in slow passages anchoring isn't that much of a disadvantage and the advantages of better support and orientation may prove helpful. Also, in some "pedal point" or string skipping passages, the orientation provided by anchoring can help too.

The cons

While anchoring is good for orientation and support for your right hand, this comes at the cost of overall speed and fluency of your picking. If you anchor, you'll be having more trouble with speedy passages of songs than if you didn't anchor...

Why? Well, normally the picking motion should come from the wrist. When unanchored, a (small) part of the motion may come from the elbow, like I mentioned above. When you anchor, all of the motion comes from the wrist... However, the movement of your wrist joint is made more difficult by the fact that you have a finger (or more) pressed down on the guitar!

Try this: shake your hand around vigorously (only through the wrist!), as if you were trying to break all your guitar's strings by strumming very hard! That's the movement your "free wrist" does. Now, press down your pinky on your desk/table/etc. and try the same... Your wrist movement is limited a lot, isn't it?

So, anchoring limits the movement of your picking hand: it blocks elbow movement to a large extent so that picking almost entirely depends on the wrist, and at the same time it makes the wrist movement more difficult so that more force is needed for the same movement in the wrist!

This is actually the only disadvantage of anchoring, but it has important consequences. Speedy playing may not be as easy, because your wrist needs to overcome the friction and tension created by the fixated finger. Also, sweeps will become VERY difficult, because you'll need an elbow motion for that, which anchoring impedes!

C. The floating hand: advantages and disadvantages

A floating hand is the opposite of an anchored hand: you release the guitar's body so that your hand "floats" over the guitar (or slightly touches it: this ISN'T anchoring, see above!). The fingers of the right hand may either be relaxed (hanging down) or curled into a fist; whatever feels more comfortable to you! I'll now sum up the pros and cons...

The pros

Like stated above, speedy picking and sweeps may be impeded by the fact that your hand is fixed to the guitar in a certain spot. In these situations, releasing the guitar and letting your hand "float" over the guitar's body may be the solution. This allows for uninhibited movement of both the wrist and the elbow, giving your right hand as much freedom to move as possible! Especially in sweeping situations this can be advantageous.

This may be the only advantage of a floating hand, the importance is remarkable! Like I said, the friction and tension created by the fixation of the hand while anchoring, may not be a big disadvantage when playing slow passages. However, in speedy songs the tension in your hand may become a burden to your speed, and letting your hand float can make things much easier!

Note: this doesn't mean that fast picking is made impossible by anchoring! I've had numerous comments from readers saying: "Yes, but Yngwie/Petrucci/MAB/etc. anchors in this or that video and still plays very fast!". I know, but did I ever say that anchoring makes fast playing impossible? It makes fast playing more difficult, but these are the guys that play 12 hours a day, the guys that have developed such skills that NOTHING is "too difficult" for them... Therefore, anchoring doesn't really make a lot of difference to them, they just do what is most comfortable! Besides, saying "Yngwie anchors" isn't really a great argument to advocate for anchoring anyway.

The cons

Floating your hand may provide your hand with more flexibility and freedom to move, it comes at the cost of stability and support in your hand. Basically, you lose the two advantages anchoring provides! First, you can no longer "orientate" as to where the strings are positioned, so you may tend to hit the wrong strings more often if you haven't got the floating position mastered!

Second, the support provided by the anchored hand is gone, so your hand is now kept in place by the muscles of your arm. This can be a lot more tiring than playing anchored! This will, of course, no longer be a disadvantage once you master the floating position, when your arm muscles are trained and adapted to the work that is put onto them...

D. My opinion on anchoring

As you can see from the above paragraphs, both the anchored and floating positions have their own advantages and disadvantages, especially in different situations. Some people, however, claim they anchor all the time and feel no discomfort at all. Others claim that unanchored picking is the way to go and that anchoring is a bad habit that should be avoided at all times! (I, myself, wrongly did so it the previous version of this article...)

Well, these are all opinions, and you can't sell opinion for truth. That's why I dedicate a special "opinion" paragraph to anchoring, so that I can give you my point of view. I personally refrain from anchoring in most situations, except those situations where it can really prove advantageous. Why do I do that? The answer is simple: I feel more comfortable doing it. I used to anchor, but decided to try how it feels when I let go of that anchoring point, and after a short period of adaptation my hand felt more relaxed, and picking was more comfortable.

But of course, this goes for me personally, and for me only! In the previous version of this paragraph, I wrongly declared my point of view as fact (not entirely intentional, but still...). Just remember that you should be doing what you are most comfortable with. If you are nothing like me and feel more relaxed when you can support your hand on the guitar, that's fine! Your picking will only improve if you do what's comfortable to you... That's the reason why some of the "celeb" guitarists (Malmsteen, MAB) anchor most of the time and others (Vai, Satch) don't.

But, whatever your preference may be, I do believe it is advantageous if you learn to use both techniques. If you master both anchoring and floating, you can use the technique you feel most comfortable with in most situations, but still be able to switch to the other technique in situations where this is really advantageous! So, remember people, do what's comfortable to you, but try to master both techniques anyway, for the situations where you really need them!

Conclusion

OK! We've done all the left hand and right hand techniques that are important to you right now... You should practice all the techniques in this and the previous article very often, they are like the building blocks for a good solo! And once you have them all well in your fingers, you can stop calling yourself a beginner and move on to the next part of my Ultimate Guide to Guitar: the Novice part! (Sounds a lot better already, doesn't it?)

See you next time!

Cheers!
ZeG

127 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Blas3
    nice article although, I don't think "anchoring" is a bad habit in every case. I find myself better in pedal note riffs with my wrist touching the guitar body ... but it's true, that it can be a nuissance in most of the time.
    Death_To_Emo
    I anchor with my pinky. It sucks cus now I can't play a lot of awesome guitars who put their volume knob right where I anchor
    wilco5000
    Hey guys this is Vogg from death metal band Decapitated. I anchor and you should too
    ZeGuitarist
    Just wanted to let mr. Jamma know that my superior article jizzes all over your witty comment. Cheers ZeG (jk people)
    ouvrotpoep
    Jamma wrote: If anything, you should try to downpick everything, because this actually develops your downpickiing speed (which is directly linked to your alternate picking speed), and in some cases its good to downpick everything to get a better sound
    suppashredda
    Jamma wrote: Oh Jesus, can't be arsed to read all the comments, but saying "anchoring is bad" is nonsense. Loads of great guitarists do it, even Satch leaves his pinky on the guitar at times. This doesn't prove that its not a bad habit but the only thing you've said about it that's a con is that it restricts movement and fluency. But if you only have a light anchor, this effect is either negligible or non-existent. And also, the thing about considering to alternate pick is stupid. Wasting energy?!? Do you get tired playing guitar?? If anything, you should try to downpick everything, because this actually develops your downpickiing speed (which is directly linked to your alternate picking speed), and in some cases its good to downpick everything to get a better sound
    rofl... nice one. XD
    Metalocalyptic
    Jamma : Oh Jesus, can't be arsed to read all the comments, but saying "anchoring is bad" is nonsense. Loads of great guitarists do it, even Satch leaves his pinky on the guitar at times. This doesn't prove that its not a bad habit but the only thing you've said about it that's a con is that it restricts movement and fluency. But if you only have a light anchor, this effect is either negligible or non-existent. And also, the thing about considering to alternate pick is stupid. Wasting energy?!? Do you get tired playing guitar?? If anything, you should try to downpick everything, because this actually develops your downpickiing speed (which is directly linked to your alternate picking speed), and in some cases its good to downpick everything to get a better sound
    Your response shows how little you know about the guitar. he ment waisting, energy/speed. dont tell me you play faster downpicking all the time! And no mater how fast you downpick, if you dont know how to do alternate picking, you wont be able to play as fast. You cannot devellope alternate picking speed just by downpicking, because its very different. When you downpick, your movement is: pressing down whith relative force, and you encounter string ressisstance. Then you move in an upward motion with no resistance at all, since you are not touching the string. this leads to a motion that could be described as the following: Fast down, faster up, fast down, faster up...whick leads to irregular picking. alternate picking is always encountering the same string ressisstance, and the regular motion alows smoother picking
    ZeGuitarist
    Paragraph on anchoring is rewritten... I tried to show the two sides of the story. Please, I hope this stops the flamestorm! Cheers
    ZeGuitarist
    Ok everybody, I'm going to rewrite the paragraph on anchoring. I now see it was stupid of me to give only one side of the story... I'll rewrite it and take a neutral stance towards anchoring, and give the (dis)advantages of both anchoring and not anchoring. I think it's for the best, a lot of people seem to be complaining, even OFFENDED, because of my personal opinion. But please, PLEASE, stop complaining about that paragraph now... I'm flooded with comments (read: comments, complaints, even hate mail) and I'm tired of it. I do my best to deliver all the readers the best articles I've ever written... But the RAGE over a single paragraph in a single article really makes me wish I didn't start it sometimes. tl;dr: I'll rewrite the paragraph on anchoring, but PLEASE stop the comment storm! Cheers
    sbinlb
    for the record yngwie doesn't anchor he has his hand on the tremolo bar.... when you start to sweep pick its a lot easier if you dont anchor you can get a cleaner sound
    Jamma
    Oh Jesus, can't be arsed to read all the comments, but saying "anchoring is bad" is nonsense. Loads of great guitarists do it, even Satch leaves his pinky on the guitar at times. This doesn't prove that its not a bad habit but the only thing you've said about it that's a con is that it restricts movement and fluency. But if you only have a light anchor, this effect is either negligible or non-existent. And also, the thing about considering to alternate pick is stupid. Wasting energy?!? Do you get tired playing guitar?? If anything, you should try to downpick everything, because this actually develops your downpickiing speed (which is directly linked to your alternate picking speed), and in some cases its good to downpick everything to get a better sound
    ZeGuitarist
    MorbidBeliever wrote: Ok now i'm clarified. When I said comic I meant controversial. Because what you said was: Anchoring is touching the body of your guitar with your right hand while playing. Some people, while playing, rest their right pinky finger on the guitars body, others touch their guitars body with their upper arm..." You should have said just what you said to me now, and nobody would complain. And don't get upset it's a good job you're doing!
    Well, I am considering rewriting the anchoring passage, because comments/PMs/emails complaining about it are really pissing the hell out of me. Cheers
    Jamma
    Metalocalyptic, you are an idiot. All I was saying is, that it is a good idea to try and downpick as often as possible. I didn't say that you should downpick EVERYTHING. In fact, let me retort every idiotic thing that you said. I didn't say NEVER alternate pick. I think you should do that when necessary (obviously). If you want to sit down and practice alternate picking, then that's good too but what ZeGuitarist implied by saying you shouldn't waste energy and should alternate pick at all the time is dumb, that's all I was saying. I also didn't say that by practicing downpicking you will get loads faster at alternate picking. However, fundamentally, your alternate picking speed is reasonably strongly linked yo your downpicking speed (and your uppicking which is usually weaker, so I sometimes, for practice, try to play stuff with uppicking). Playing stuff which you can do with downpicking with alternate picking won't develop your alternate picking speed.
    MorbidBeliever
    ZeGuitarist wrote: MorbidBeliever wrote:
    the anchor part was comic. Guess what... steve vai anchors and also it zooms it just for you in 00:55. Don't just start saying that something is bad just because that's your opinion. Anchor can be used sometimes and not necessarily be a bad habit. Someone can anchor and still be able to play with is hand "hanging". That's not anchoring. Yes, his pinky does touch the guitar at 0:55. But this is not a fixed point of contact! Because, a couple of seconds later, when he strums a chord, his hand is lifted from the guitar's body. So, yes, he touches the guitar, but this is just because his hand is relaxed. People need to learn the difference between "anchoring" and "touching the guitar". It's not the same thing! Anchoring IS bad, but only when it really IS anchoring: when your hand is FIXED to the guitar, when you keep your hand in contact with the guitar's body in ONE SPOT, at ALL TIMES! Touching the guitar is not necessarily anchoring: as long as it doesn't impede the movement of the hand, it's all good. Please, stop trying to say anchoring isn't bad because "this or that guitarist does it and they're good". I know! But there is a grey area between anchoring and touching the guitar, learn the difference before declaring my article to be "comic". Cheers
    Ok now i'm clarified. When I said comic I meant controversial. Because what you said was: Anchoring is touching the body of your guitar with your right hand while playing. Some people, while playing, rest their right pinky finger on the guitars body, others touch their guitars body with their upper arm..." You should have said just what you said to me now, and nobody would complain. And don't get upset it's a good job you're doing!
    -LAW-
    Maan, I've played for nearly a year and I anchor all the while! Can't see anything wrong with it for slow bits.. but as far as galloping and stuff goes, well useful to get rid of the ole anchor.. Good article..
    cyanide533
    Those who are into anchoring or who are into establishing a fixed/variable point(s) of contact why dont you just give a non anchoring picking a try....once you can play both ways you can decide which is best for you..
    ZeGuitarist
    Uninspired_One wrote: Um, I know this is really a left hand question, but, that's an older post and I'm curious about what you think should be done with the left thumb? I've been told to put it flat on the back of the neck, but this is really uncomfortable and of course, it can be used for chords but only if it's in reach of the strings, what do you thing ZeG?
    What the left thumb does is also in the previous article, check it out! Cheers
    Uninspired_One
    Um, I know this is really a left hand question, but, that's an older post and I'm curious about what you think should be done with the left thumb? I've been told to put it flat on the back of the neck, but this is really uncomfortable and of course, it can be used for chords but only if it's in reach of the strings, what do you thing ZeG?
    ZeGuitarist
    MorbidBeliever wrote:
    the anchor part was comic. Guess what... steve vai anchors and also it zooms it just for you in 00:55. Don't just start saying that something is bad just because that's your opinion. Anchor can be used sometimes and not necessarily be a bad habit. Someone can anchor and still be able to play with is hand "hanging".
    That's not anchoring. Yes, his pinky does touch the guitar at 0:55. But this is not a fixed point of contact! Because, a couple of seconds later, when he strums a chord, his hand is lifted from the guitar's body. So, yes, he touches the guitar, but this is just because his hand is relaxed. People need to learn the difference between "anchoring" and "touching the guitar". It's not the same thing! Anchoring IS bad, but only when it really IS anchoring: when your hand is FIXED to the guitar, when you keep your hand in contact with the guitar's body in ONE SPOT, at ALL TIMES! Touching the guitar is not necessarily anchoring: as long as it doesn't impede the movement of the hand, it's all good. Please, stop trying to say anchoring isn't bad because "this or that guitarist does it and they're good". I know! But there is a grey area between anchoring and touching the guitar, learn the difference before declaring my article to be "comic". Cheers
    pitbull510
    ive been anchoring for 4 and a hlaf years, and never new i t could be bad....I'm gonna kick my old guitar teachers ass.
    MorbidBeliever
    the anchor part was comic. Guess what... steve vai anchors and also it zooms it just for you in 00:55. Don't just start saying that something is bad just because that's your opinion. Anchor can be used sometimes and not necessarily be a bad habit. Someone can anchor and still be able to play with is hand "hanging".
    ZeGuitarist
    540_guitar wrote: man why do you say anchoring is bad and it will make your picking technique more difficult....have you seen yngwie malmsteen or michel angelo batidos videos? they all anchor their hands to guitar and dont tell me they play bad or that its difficult for them to play....yngwie malmsteen plays flawlesly and so easy yet his hand is still on the guitar to mute the shity noises that could come....altough zakk wylde has his hand freely over the body...but yooure has more stability and control being anchored to the body....so dont write lets dont do it...let everyone play the way they feel most comfortable and the coming sound is wha they want
    You are funny. Please, if you want to rant, at least use proper grammar and sentence structure. Or write your own article. Cheers
    ZeGuitarist
    ouvrotpoep wrote: sorry for the double post. just thought of a question. what if you play an open string? will you spend some time on string muting in a future article?
    Well, basically not playing strings unintendedly should be priority #1, muting unwanted strings comes next. Try and practice only playing the strings you want first! And no, I don't think I'll cover muting strings anymore, it should have been in the Beginner articles if I did. But I'm planning on doing something cool with all the articles when the Guide is done, you'll see Cheers
    540_guitar
    man why do you say anchoring is bad and it will make your picking technique more difficult....have you seen yngwie malmsteen or michel angelo batidos videos? they all anchor their hands to guitar and dont tell me they play bad or that its difficult for them to play....yngwie malmsteen plays flawlesly and so easy yet his hand is still on the guitar to mute the shity noises that could come....altough zakk wylde has his hand freely over the body...but yooure has more stability and control being anchored to the body....so dont write lets dont do it...let everyone play the way they feel most comfortable and the coming sound is wha they want
    ouvrotpoep
    ZeGuitarist wrote: ^ Muting strings with your palm is in some situations correct, but you'd be better off trying not to produce those noises in the first place. When playing scales for example, try not to pluck strings when removing your finger... It makes muting (and therefore anchoring) unnecessary.
    sorry for the double post. just thought of a question. what if you play an open string? will you spend some time on string muting in a future article?
    ZeGuitarist
    Jamma wrote: Metalocalyptic, you are an idiot. All I was saying is, that it is a good idea to try and downpick as often as possible. I didn't say that you should downpick EVERYTHING. In fact, let me retort every idiotic thing that you said. I didn't say NEVER alternate pick. I think you should do that when necessary (obviously). If you want to sit down and practice alternate picking, then that's good too but what ZeGuitarist implied by saying you shouldn't waste energy and should alternate pick at all the time is dumb, that's all I was saying. I also didn't say that by practicing downpicking you will get loads faster at alternate picking. However, fundamentally, your alternate picking speed is reasonably strongly linked yo your downpicking speed (and your uppicking which is usually weaker, so I sometimes, for practice, try to play stuff with uppicking). Playing stuff which you can do with downpicking with alternate picking won't develop your alternate picking speed.
    I understand and respect your opinion, but I will have to disagree. First of all, alternate picking is the method of picking taught by every teacher on the world, used by every professional guitarist in the world, simply because it's faster than one-directional picking. Period. There's no arguing with an entire community of guitarists! I don't think you can prove all the pros like Petrucci, Vai, Satch, etc. wrong by saying they should try to downpick everything! Second, the speed achieved by alternate picking doubles the speed achieved by unidirectional picking. HOWEVER, if you only downpick, and never uppick, the speed you will achieve by alternate picking is the doubled speed of your UPPICK! (You said yourself your uppick is "usually weaker") Why? Because you can't alternate pick faster than the speed of the SLOWEST of the unidirectional picks doubled. Say you can downpick at 80bpm and uppick at 50bpm, you will only be able to alternate pick at 100bpm... (I used random numbers here) So, tl;dr: 1. Downpicking everything is pointless, as it's only logical that alternate picking is double as fast and requires half the effort; 2. Your alternate picking speed will suffer by the fact that you don't develop a fast uppick, because alternate picking doubles the speed of the slowest unidirectional pick! Cheers ZeG
    JoshOnLama
    hmm is playing while ur pinky and some other fingers touch the pickguard bad? :O
    omerfayyaz2001
    I like Anchoring , it makes my right hand muting so easy and metal riffs sound cool. In float picking THe left hand muting is needed more than in achored. So i only use it in sweeping with ANgling my pick. But normally i dont angle my pick cuz the tonal Control tends to reduce and i cant control the intensity of the string picked that way (cuz pick goes over the string with so little effort). THats is anchoring's main Disadvantage. that u have to angle ur pick cuz if u dont well then ur gonna bust a string soon. And if u use similar patterns(licks) then pretty much everything will start to sound the same even faster than with anchoring :p. PPl like eric johnson try not to angle their pick and use techniques Like "bouncing" when they get around to playing fast for clarity. BUt in general Every1 Should just FOllow What Their Hands Tell them to do. UnAnchored is mostly Favoured by jazz players since they have to produce more accuracy in their playing in order to sound "proficient", while anchoring is more to rock+blues guitarists as its more laid back and relaxing for the right hand. In the end Choose ur style Depending on the Music u play AND the guitarists that ur inspired from or what u may end up wanting to do. if ur double minded like i am then use both and make a mess of urself P.S is it just me or does Malmsteen and Jason becker's right hand look like its Knitting when they play Lol new picking style, the knitting style :p
    NakedBassist
    I play with a pick on bass and I used to anchor my whole hand behind the bridge, but that made string skipping and switching strings in fast passages really awkward. Now I try to float my hand between the neck and bridge pickup. In switching, and then practicing, I can pretty well always play which ever string I want accurately. From my experience, the advantage of having a constant reference point(the anchor) is pretty much a non-factor. Maybe that's just me...
    iant419
    Sudaka wrote: i do anchoring and i didn't know it was bad... i have already got thisd bad habit, any clue on how to remove it? i feel pretty unnatural when playing without my right hand pinky touching the body of me guitar... :S
    its not a bad habit. whatever your comfortable with is fine. it makes no difference.
    Life Is Brutal
    When I alternate pick at 16ths more than 200BPM my arm below the elbow and a bit above is basically vibrating, is that a problem?
    BoggaN
    Look at Michael Angelo Batio and Fredrik kesson. They anchor, but are veery fast. They have also played for a very long time without getting any problems with their arm.
    BoggaN
    Look at Michael Angelo Batio and Fredrik kesson. They anchor, but are very fast and have played guitar for ages without getting any problems with their picking arm.
    BoggaN
    Look at Michael Angelo Batio and Fredrik kesson. They anchor, but are veery fast. They have also played for a very long time without getting any problems with their arm.
    xDeathRollx
    Hey ZeG. Just like to say your articles are awesome, a great inspiration. I don't know about other players, but sometimes I get to the point where I get really frustrated with not being able to do a particular sweep cleanly, or mute strings as well as I want etc and its articles like this that make me pick the guitar up again and achieve whatever goal I was reaching for. P.S. We REALLY need a good article on string damping/muting unplayed strings, especially for people that play with a high amount of gain! Cheers
    Scampi666
    Good article. Especially nice to see the whole anchoring debate from two sides, and good job not stating your opinion as fact. =] Good job ZeGuitarist. Opinions are like... Well you get it, everyone has one. I think anchoring is one of those things personal to a guitarist, like the feel of a neck or something. Whatever feels comfortable, but bear in mind the advantages and disadvantages. =]
    Roopelatvalafan
    It is funny to read this now, and then remembering the first version of thie article, (great article by the way), seems authors can learn from doing lessons / articles as much as the people who are ment to learn from the,..
    alex-158
    scuba4u wrote: Really? cause i was told by my guitar teacher of 25 years experience and author of several books that picking from the elbow is the correct way to pick single notes while using the wrist is for strumming... but i suppose you know better "Phe4rTheGod"? I'd like to see those books...and good luck picking from your elbow 10 years from now when you have tendonitis... No sense in being a prick...just giving advice...
    hahaaha, opinions are allowed.
    ZeGuitarist
    wonderboy87 wrote: when is the next part coming Ze? it's been like over 10 days since the last lesson...
    The next one is due Monday, I took a week off... It was written in my blogs! Check out my blogs regularly for updates on my lessons, subscribe to them if you want a notification on your profile whenever I post a new blog. Ok? Cheers!
    suppashredda
    Jamma wrote: Wasting energy?!? Do you get tired playing guitar??
    u clearly haven't played a lot of guitar.
    ZeGuitarist wrote: Just wanted to let mr. Jamma know that my superior article jizzes all over your witty comment. Cheers ZeG (jk people)
    true
    wonderboy87
    when is the next part coming Ze? it's been like over 10 days since the last lesson...