Anchoring fingers ....?


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Removed at user request 2022-11-18
Joined: 09/09/01
Posts: 0

I started like 3-4 months ago and It really didn't take me long to get obsessed with playing the instrument! However, I am facing an issue at the moment and that is anchoring my pinky on the body of the guitar ( Slightly behind the soundhole ). Apperarelantly anchoring your pinky while picking is not a good habit because it will cause some awkward positioning and you will not be able to f.ex alternate pick fast. The thing I did was that I put the palm of my hand on the bridge and the pins themselves ( Works quite fine for me and feels natural too). The thing is teachers on guitar tricks think that putting your palm on the bridge is limiting and gives a certain sound and everybody else says something else on youtube. Since I am planning for killing shredding and crazy picking for myself in the future I really don't know what to do. I need help and I don't want to develop bad habits too. Should I go with something that feels natural for me or should I change it?


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,929
Originally Posted by: guestpostideas47I am facing an issue at the moment and that is anchoring my pinky on the body of the guitar ( Slightly behind the soundhole ). Apperarelantly anchoring your pinky while picking is not a good habit because it will cause some awkward positioning and you will not be able to f.ex alternate pick fast.[/quote]

That depends on exactly what you are trying to play & your current skill level. Different musical passages require different techniques, just like you need different tools for different tasks.

Anchoring your pinky can help provide stability & support for your picking motion. But it can also add a great deal of tension which will make it harder to maintain accuracy, speed & endurance.

I've seen some players that do use pinky anchoring, but in the long run they run into physical issues with carpal tunnel syndrome. I suspect that's more of an issue of tension along with the anchoring. Because I've seen fast alternate picking lines done with pinky anchoring but the player has a more relaxed motion.

Originally Posted by: guestpostideas47The thing I did was that I put the palm of my hand on the bridge and the pins themselves ( Works quite fine for me and feels natural too).[/quote]

That's the most natural approach for most players & is generally the most optimal ergonomic approach overall for fast alternate picking. Keep in mind that minimal tension & minimal motion (economy of motion) are also important aspects of playing fast single note lines.

I cover this topic in depth & detail in this tutorial.

Speedy Ideas Series 1: Building Speed

https://www.guitartricks.com/tutorial.php?input=287

[quote=guestpostideas47]The thing is teachers on guitar tricks think that putting your palm on the bridge is limiting and gives a certain sound and everybody else says something else on youtube.

Which instructor & what topic or technique were they covering?

For example, if they were teaching how to strum chords on an acoustic, then it would make sense to discourage any kind of anchoring (pinky on body or palm on bridge) because it would severely limit your arm's range of motion in getting an even, relaxed strumming pattern to cross mulitple strings.

In my experience, all the instructors on GT that teach fast alternate picking use palm anchoring as the best solution.

[quote=guestpostideas47]Since I am planning for killing shredding and crazy picking for myself in the future I really don't know what to do. I need help and I don't want to develop bad habits too. Should I go with something that feels natural for me or should I change it?

If all you want to do is shred single note lines using alternate picking, then any kind of anchoring you find comfortable & natural is fine. Just remember the importance of staying relaxed & using minimal motion.

I've also seen fast picking done without anchoring at all. But that's more difficult & more rare.

Also, consider that it won't hurt to learn to do some strumming with your arm more free floating off the surface of the guitar as an additional skill! :) The point here is that one size does not fit all. Different musical passages & styles require different techniques. Even though you should always aim for the most natural, efficient & ergonomic technique, the specific used might be different depending on the musical context.

Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
ddiddler
Full Access
Joined: 05/13/20
Posts: 328

guestpost


I recognise your post as not wanting to ingrain bad practices which then have to be retrained away and often take evn more time


Christopher is the voice to listen to.


However I would say that while you need to recognise where you want to be, as in your case, fast shredding it's also a case with most new skills you have to lay down the basic fundamentals before you take the giant strides forward. 


Drummers, pianists all learn some structure before the higher skills.


It's all covered in Beginners levels 1 and 2.


You can change or add  to good practice as you go forward without the backward steps of ingraining a bad or unusual practice, 


Mike Olekshy and Dave Celantano also do weekly lessons on youtube under the GuitarTricks channel but you don't have to be a GT member. In MIkes fingerpicking sessions the question of anchoring the pinky is often asked. As Christopher has said the usual answer given for this and as in which fingers to apply to each string is no size fits all , go with what works for you and is comfortable to you.


To say beginning stages are very frustrating and confusing is merely understatements of fact.


Your hooked, your enjoying it. Keep at it


Dave


# 4
ddiddler
Full Access
Joined: 05/13/20
Posts: 328

guestpost


I recognise your post as not wanting to ingrain bad practices which then have to be retrained away and often take evn more time


Christopher is the voice to listen to.


However I would say that while you need to recognise where you want to be, as in your case, fast shredding it's also a case with most new skills you have to lay down the basic fundamentals before you take the giant strides forward. 


Drummers, pianists all learn some structure before the higher skills.


It's all covered in Beginners levels 1 and 2.


You can change or add  to good practice as you go forward without the backward steps of ingraining a bad or unusual practice, 


Mike Olekshy and Dave Celantano also do weekly lessons on youtube under the GuitarTricks channel but you don't have to be a GT member. In MIkes fingerpicking sessions the question of anchoring the pinky is often asked. As Christopher has said the usual answer given for this and as in which fingers to apply to each string is no size fits all , go with what works for you and is comfortable to you.


To say beginning stages are very frustrating and confusing is merely understatements of fact.


Your hooked, your enjoying it. Keep at it


Dave


# 5