Anchor the pick hand or not?


Nikki Thedog
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Nikki Thedog
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03/15/2016 1:33 am
I've never really anchored my picking hand down, but do have problems finding a particular string occasionally, as well as playing unwanted strings. I've seen several players hold a pinky against the body, pick-up, etc while playing. Open to new ideas???
# 1
Jon Broderick
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Jon Broderick
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03/15/2016 4:51 am
I'm in favor of anchoring. But you don't have to just use the pinky technique. Even having the side of the hand resting on strings you aren't currently playing gives you a sense of where you are and helps mute those unwanted strings. :)
Jon Broderick
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# 2
maltmn
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maltmn
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03/15/2016 10:49 pm
A lot of people anchor the palm muting side of their hand, in order to attempt to mute unplayed strings, but this causes problems:

* tendency to play with a lot of palm muting

* your resting pick position is above the strings, which means you have to lower it in order to pick a note (unnecessary motion)

* the muting isnt really that effective so you still get extra noise from the strings

I used to play just like this, trying to mute the strings with my palm. But I found a better way - you can just anchor the OTHER SIDE of your hand ...

Say you're playing on the D string...

1. Touch the high E string with your Pinkie
2. Touch the B string with your Ring finger
3. Touch the G string with your Middle finger
4. Touch the side of your THUMB to the low E and A strings to mute them.

Only the D string should have no fingers touching it.

This makes for great muting. You can scrape against the strings with your playing hand and only ONE string will play! That's powerful. Your pick position should be pretty much already touching the strings, so all you have to do to play a note is downstroke!

This is a really good technique, but may take time to develop.
# 3
JeremyRodriguez
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JeremyRodriguez
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03/16/2016 5:58 am
I play with my pinky anchored. I've learned how to do it without any excess tension, but you have to be super careful if you decide to go this route. Any pressure pushing down on the pinky can cause some pain after a while. So always be aware of that!

There's also thumb muting, but that was ruining my technique because I didn't have anyone to guide me through it.
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# 4
johnpnj1
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johnpnj1
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04/13/2016 12:10 pm
I'm still really new at this, but I'm wondering if something is wrong with my brain/hand coordination because I don't see a lot of people mentioning this issue. I sometimes have a devil of a time picking the correct strings during note/string changes.
Is there a trick or technique I can learn to help with this?

Thanks for your help in advance!
# 5
ChristopherSchlegel
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ChristopherSchlegel
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04/13/2016 8:02 pm
Originally Posted by: johnpnj1
Is there a trick or technique I can learn to help with this?

This is a normal for all beginner guitarists. :)

In the early stages of learning you have to completely develop your fine motor skills. The only way to do this is focus & repetition. Practice, practice & more practice!

Anchoring your pinky or ring finger is fine. Anchoring your palm & whole arm is fine. Just having a free floating arm & hand is also fine! Guitarists have developed clean, smooth, efficient picking with any & all of those.

The main thing is to practice smarter by really drilling on those specifics that help you gain those fine motor skills quicker. You need to spend time playing a lot of single string exercises & work toward making the smallest possible, efficient hand motions.

So play single note melodies, or simple C major scale exercises. But focus on minimizing your picking strokes. Keep your hand very close to the strings & just use very small motion from your hand & fingers to strike the string to sound note. Then come back across the string to reset. Or if you are working on alternate picking, then strike the string with very small motion, stop & reverse motion to go back across the string.

Work toward minimizing motion until you have a smooth efficient natural picking technique.

Repeat. A lot. :)

I cover basic single note picking technique in this tutorial. Hope this helps. Have fun!

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=742
Christopher Schlegel
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# 6
maggior
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maggior
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04/13/2016 8:28 pm
Originally Posted by: ChristopherSchlegelThis is a normal for all beginner guitarists. :)


This could just be me, but I find this is a skill that will fade if I don't practice it. A great practice song I find for string striking accuracy is Wish You Were Here. It combines strumming chords and picking out single notes. Another one is Folsom Prison Blues where you strike alternating bass notes and hit chords in a constant rhythm. You'll find a lesson for Folsom Prison Blues here.

If you can hit the single notes in combination with playing chords in a rhythm, you'll have no problem hitting the string you want in a lead situation.

If I don't play these types of things on some regular basis, I find my string accuracy gets sloppy.
# 7
johnpnj1
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johnpnj1
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04/14/2016 12:16 pm
This is great advice/feedback...thank you for your responses!
I'm excited to keep at this and nail it! :)
# 8
leecloudpitt
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leecloudpitt
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05/06/2016 1:53 am
I've wondered about this for a long time. I finger pick with anchored pinky and always thought "this is wrong," but kept doing it anyway because of the control I have to pluck any combination of strings together to bring out the parts of chords I want, for example. I have so much admiration for players who can do this free hand.
# 9
BabyBluez
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BabyBluez
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10/20/2016 5:52 pm

I'm so happy to see Christopher's response. On other sites, we're told that you "must" anchor your hand against the bridge to fingerpick, but that you "must not" anchor your hand when using a pick. My husband, who has been playing guitar for 100 years (I can say that because he won't read this!) says that is bullhockey and you can do either or both when it feels right. Personally I feel better anchoring my pinky and ring finger when trying to fingerpick (not that I'm any good at it yet), and cannot rest my hand on the bridge and pick, without totally muting too many of the strings.
Thanks maggior for the tip about Folsom Prison Blues. I am a big fan of Johnny Cash and only know how to play one of his songs.
# 10
Scalesup
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Scalesup
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10/24/2016 4:28 pm

This is timely. I've been playing mostly acoustic and recently switched to a Fender Stratocaster. Noticed that when I'm not thinking about it, my pinks rests lightly on the pickguard.

I've been trying to break that habit thinking it was a bad thing.

Now it seems like it's an OK thing to do even though none of the greats do it to my knowledge.

Great topic
# 11

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