Author Topic: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?  (Read 2681 times)

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Offline alexmdac

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Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« on: November 27, 2010, 09:27:11 pm »
I find it easier to pick the scale accurately if I anchor my little finger on the guitar below the strings.

Is this okay, or is it likely to turn out to be a bad habit that I'll need to break further down the line?

Offline Bootstrap

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Re: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 10:10:40 pm »
Anchoring your pinky is fine it is a legitimate technique that helps you reference the strings - down the track if you want to try it without anchoring, don't think of it as breaking a habit, think of it as learning a new technique.
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Offline ErimSee

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Re: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 10:14:03 pm »
it´s a good habit.

Offline justinguitar

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Re: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2011, 04:57:44 pm »
I think good - but some disagree - so up to you!
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Offline Chasecar

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Re: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 03:25:38 am »
whew...found it.  I knew this topic would be around here somewhere.

Many of you may remember that i am the one who has made it through 2 different instructors.  Well i figured i would give it another try so now im on my third instructor.  So far hes been really good but he got on me pretty good the other night on two things

1)  He told me that I MUST learn to play WITHOUT using the pinky as an anchor. (only when picking, not strumming)  However if i MUST use it, then i should set it on the high E string.....I figured this might come in handy when i begin learning hybrid picking.  But this leads me to the second thing he got on me for

2) My 2nd 3d and 4th fingers are usually out, as in not like a fist, and he said that creates tension.  That the relaxed position is tucking my fingers under.  Honestly i feel like im more relaxed with the fingers just hangin out there.  Ive never had a problem with them and in fact thought this was beneficial particularly for palm muting.  With my hand balled up i dont feel like i can get to the other strings in time to mute them.  I have a hard enough time getting to the High E string as it is.

Mind you, all this coming from the instructor that plays his guitar upside down....but its strung in the correct order.  He said he likes his knobs up top instead of on the bottom.

So is this a point where I can simply tell him im more comfortable or do i just give in and try to do what he tells me?


Online Drubbing

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Re: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 04:01:32 am »
I think I'd have difficulty listening to an instructor if they dished out absolutes.

Do what's comfortable - so long as it works. I'm only learning, but that's how I go with things. I don't focus on mechanics much, if at all.

I spent years trying to improve my golf through instruction and getting the mechanics 'right', only to come to the realisation that, for me, relaxation, rhythm and timing provide far more improvement. Trying to do it 'right' just ruined all three. I regularly play with blokes who have 'terrible' technique and swings that just shouldn't work, but they whip my butt on the scorecard.

Hendrix played his strat upside down and restrung. It's not an analogy to genius though.

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Is it a good idea to use an anchor finger when picking?
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2012, 06:58:58 am »
I agree. Your instructor's obvious convictions not withstanding, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Ankering with the pinky on the high e string can work (though you can use any available finger/s), but that's a different thing altogether. You're muting the string, so it's of limited use. Ankering on the guitar body gives you access to all six strings.

Btw: if you want to get into hybrid picking, the pinky wouldn't be my first choice. You've got two other fingers available and they're much stronger and usually a tad more capable than the pinky. But again, it depends of both the circumstances and what feels good to you.

As for open vs. closed: that's really a matter of personal preference imho - as long as the "spare" fingers don't touch the strings (unless you wand them to). I use both ways, depending on the situation and frankly also depending on chance. Playing with your fingers out can even help with some techniques, e.g. certain types of palm-muting.