To anchor or not to anchor?

(9 posts)
  1. g_2_the_izzo

    While watching a video on here the other day, I became aware of the fact that I use the fingers on my right hand to 'anchor' my hand to the guitar when I pick single lines.

    I started looking around on the youtube and it looks like there are plenty of jazz guitarists who play with their right hand mostly free of the guitar (except maybe occasionally muting strings with their palm).

    Anyway, is there an advantage to playing like that? I started working on it and I noticed that I'm not able to play anywhere near as fast and I'm much sloppier. I'm sure it will take sometime to get used to, so I guess what I'm wondering is: should I take the time to work on it? Is it worth it? Do you guys play like that?



  2. animitta

    Good question :)
    I recently changed all my right hand tecnique, the pick, the way to keep the pick, the way in wich i pick. Everything started when i discovered that i could not play a single line and then a chord easily.

    Before i was using a strange way to keep the pick ( with 3 fingers, thumb, first and second, in a similar way to Pat Metheny but with a thick pick ) and anchoring my palm on the bridge. I could play quiet fast but the sound ( too much bright ) and the difficulties to change from a single line to a chord made me think about that something was not working.

    So i said to myself: " i need to change something in my tecnique cause is not working properly ". I started to keep my pinky anchored on the restfinger of my guitar and at first i found really difficult to play smooth as took to me some mounths, almost 6, to feel a little better..but the problem was not yet solved...still my right arm and hand was not working properly and i have investigated what was wrong again..

    I found that to keep the pick with 3 fingers and to anchor my pinky was good but not enought...and .....
    So i said to myself, again: " i need to change something in my tecnique cause is not working properly " : )... then i changed the way to keep the pick, this time in a more conventional way,using just my thumb and my first finger but always anchoring my pinky...and i think i recently found a good balance...i will never pick fast as Jimmy Bruno but i can make what i need, single lines and chords...

    Sometime i say to myself that the perfect way must be to pick really freely, as George Van Eps suggested, not anchoring the right hand...but it took to me so many times to feel comfortable with my new picking tecnique that when i tried to make some test with the hand free, i found myself in big big trouble...too much big problem....for now i think that, also if not correct, i will keep my picking tecnique...who knows what i will think tomorrow? maybe i will change everyhting again : ).

    For me the most important thing playing is the sound ( sure... the rythm and the choice of note too ), the way in which i produce the sound...if the sound is nice ( at least for me ) and if i can make what i want and what i hear in my head, then my tecnique is ok...if not...i change....but be prepared, cause every change brings stress and need to deeply think if that is necessary...if you think it is necessary then make the change...otherwise keep your picking style...don't care about other player on youtube..find your own way to play...your own voice...your own sound...

    Right hand is really important, cause it produces the sound, but left hand controls the sound and need a lot of attention too...

    Hope it helps, at least a little

    BTW: i still suck : )

    All the Best

  3. Matt

    When i stopped anchoring my pinky, i noticed more free movement and fluidity of playing.
    I think if you are as relaxed as possible, the sound and technique will work itself out. And by relaxed, i mean so relaxed you feel weightless. No Tension Anywhere.

  4. silverwater

    I recommend Bruce Arnold's book about picking, "Right Hand Technique for Guitar" or something like that. He goes into great lengths on the subject, I'll say no more.

  5. Sandemose

    I anchor my picking hand, and quite many Ive seen do that as well. Lage Lund, Gilad Hekselman, Scott Henderson, Pat Matheny doesnt (many more of course) I think. Jonathan Kreisberg seem to alter between anchorded and "fist" pick grip. Mike Moreno anchords, Kurt as well, Bill Frisell and John Scofiled (kinda?) also. Whatever works, isnt it so?

    This is the perfect way to mix playing chords with pick and with fingers:

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Videos

    Best, Sandemose

  6. Matt

    i don't think those players anchor [not to be mean, sandemose :)]. it can definitely look like it, but just 2 millimeters off the bridge/strings, and you're not anchoring. Also, resting your hand and anchoring are different - resting is without any tension, while anchoring is.

    i think it is nearly impossible to play on the level Metheny, Scofield, Rosenwinkel, etc play on if you're tense.

  7. Kapteinar

    Kurt anchors:

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Videos

  8. Sandemose

    Mike anchors:

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Flash Videos

  9. Matt

    to reiterate - i think it is nearly impossible to play on the level Metheny, Scofield, Rosenwinkel, etc play on if you're tense. anchoring or not, since it seems that if a player does something and is good, it's a great idea...


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