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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 325
Resting your right hand: a weakness?


Just want to suss out opinion on this. When I play fast alternate picking exercises, I rest my right hand's 3rd/4th finger on the pickguard (or I would do if my guitar had one).

I started to wonder if this was arresting my development, and tried to do it without, and it felt like the bones had been removed from my hand, very wobbly.

I studied a bit of my playing when in the band, practising solo etc, and thought the problem must only occur during these exercises, but nope - it seems that whatever I'm doing, my right hand will sneaky sneaky find a place to rest, whether it be the ball of the hand on the top tremolo edge, or the low E string, and most disturbing of all it seems to really enjoy bracing with the ball of the band on the top E string, and the 3rd finger gripping the edge of the pup, so my picking fingers sit in a little secure cradle!

Now I played classical all my life, electric for about 5 years, then took a 5-year break before getting back into guitar again about a year ago. Due to this I've got nobody really to sound out about it as I know no (good) guitar players, plus I am pretty much relearning electric playing from scratch - so now is the time to sort this, if I need to.

With the classical playing there is no bracing of the hand, it seems to hover quite happily, but that is linked I think to the only time I don't do this - playing chords when the support comes from your hand bouncing off the strings, with the classical, as you form a triad or similar, your hand rests (very) briefly.

So what I want to know is this: do I have a potential ability-limiting problem here that I should try to eradicate? Or can I just accept it as my technique and progress from there.

Any teachers or players with 10-years plus experience, I'd be grateful for your help.

Thanks in advance.
Jamie is offline  
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
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There are real speed demons in both camps, so I don't know how limiting it is. Of course if you want the sound of muted runs, you'll need to rest your hand. I find that during real speed stuff I tend to hover. That's what my old jazz teacher taught, and he was probably the most accomplished guitarist I knew personally. But the majority of the time I rest the hand.
JESTER700 is offline  
post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: petaling jaya, malaysia
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For me i rest my pinky on the side next to the volume knob. I feel that this makes my fingers and even me more 'connected' with the guitar. By doing so controlling the amount of pressure and sytle of picking would be easier... But rytham wise i usually let go and let my right hand relax as if i was dead... Proberly you need to be lore electric to get the groove out of your eletric axe.
little wing is offline  
post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 06:35 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
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petrucci + angelo both anchor RH finger(s), and both can alt. pick like demons

So - unlikely it will affect speed.
However, I have read that it increases the risk of tendonitis, cannot say for sure if that is true or not though
Merlin_ is offline  
post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2003, 08:13 PM
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Location: Oxford, UK
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i would say try get rid of it only from the point of view of having to mix and match techniques.

what i mean by that is that it could limit you or delay you a fraction of a second when you are changing from speed alternate picking to sweep or to tapping or hybrid, without seeing how it affects you I cant say for sure though.

As a classical guitarist you should know that all tension is bad tension and that it spreads like lightnening so that your playing becomes hindered. I think, as do most people, that you should be as relaxed as possible at all times... i think anchoring fingers like that is just adding tension which might ultimatly slow you down. and you should be able to quickly unlearn somthing like that.

Devo is offline  
post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2003, 02:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2001
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I've got to say, good for you for choosing the present as the time to correct a problem!
It's hard to say if this could hinder your ability or not... i agree with the others about the tension issues, though. They could make other areas tense up, causing needless fatigue, or worse yet, potential muscle/tendon problems. I would advise stretching and loosening your hand up in between songs, or just taking lots of 'stretch breaks' during practice. Personally, i CAN'T play with my fingers on the body... the other guitar player in my band does it fine, though. I saw Petrucci doing it, so i figured it must be good for something... but i just cannot play like that! I feel like my pick hand's range of motion is crippled. If i'm playing on the treble strings, the side of my right palm lightly rests on the bass strings, typically. If i'm playing the bass strings, and not palm muting, i'll let my hand float, though.
Just my .02 cents!
Jupiter is offline  
post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2003, 05:22 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
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Well the tension thing is something that never crossed my mind. Basically to elaborate I don't feel any tension, I can play semiquavers at 144 alternate so I am about halfway there in terms of speed, it doesn't appear to be a limiting factor in any sense at the moment.

But if it was going to become one in the future, I would like to cut it out now, however you've also got to consider the fact that given your comments about Petrucci etc it may be the perfect technique for me and altering RH tech now might be equally limiting in that instead of having to relearn anything I could just keep progressing the way I am going.

I suppose from seeing your comments the conclusion to draw is that while there is certainly no right or wrong way, a few weeks spent practicing everything with an unanchored hand would certainly rectify the problem and would then give me the choice.

Its frustrating when I am seeing a real improvement every day to have to go back and work on something like this.

But from the sounds of it if it might have a 1% chance of hindering my technique over the next 10 years, its worth doing.

My only final question would be, once I can do it to the same level as my current playing, won't I be doubling my work, having to practice everything both ways??

Devo: do your comments mean that you never anchor at all? Everybody else sounds like they do in one form or another.

Please note that I can play almost as well if I anchor to the bass strings, but prefer to anchor RH fingers so I have access to every string....

Please also note that this is only a problem for the real speed stuff, I can manage anything simple (all rhythm playing, Charlatans solos, or Vai's Sisters etc.) with or without anchoring.

Thanks for all your help,

Jamie is offline  
post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2003, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I guess the question is, are you resting your figures in a curled position (loose closed fist) or are they extended and touching the guitar with your fingertips?

If you are touching your guitar with your fingertips then yes, that will inhibit you. If you are simply resting closed fingers on the guitar then it shouldn't slow you down too much.

That may be a stupid question to somebody that has been playing a long time, but for some beginners reading this, they might not understand what you mean by "resting" your fingers vs. using them for support of the picking hand.

I hope that made sense
DKnight is offline  
post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2003, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,514

been checking out my own technique.... its a bit rusty

but to answer your question my hand does come into contact with the guitar, but it kinda just jouches it here and there, also i notice that the knuckle of my little finger does touch my scratch plate when i play on the high e string. but it just glances it, its is always relaxed and curled up.

been playing for the last few mins in your style gonna have to check this out....

hmmmm..... i think i got it..... if your fingers that are touching teh scratch are relaxed.. then you got no problem... however if they are anchored to the scratch it creates tension... for me anyway... i tried playing as i normally do but opened my last two fingers instead of curling them... so tehy come into contact with the scratch... no probs for me.... pick away at what ever speed i pick at.... no difference fingers in or out

hope that helps in some way
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2003, 06:35 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
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Yeah...they stick straight out at about 45 to the vertical, pointing towards the neck of the guitar, so the outside tips of each finger rest on the scratchplate. Looking at Devo's comments and being honest I wouldn't say they are tense, but certainly not fully relaxed - I think this means its something I need to cure....
Jamie is offline  
post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2003, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 325
Further to that DKnight if you think this really will inhibit me I will start working on it - I certainly don't think I'd be able to play at top speed with the fingers curled up (although please do note that I can as I said before play anything normal, any way I like).

Maybe its just that top speed is a bit of an extreme situation and therefore I cannot bring the full strength of my hand to bear on it when I can in other situations.

Anyway the key word you said DKnight was "inhibit" - I am sure that nothing in my playing should even have the possibility of being an inhibiting factor. The decision as to how I play fast alternate stuff should come after I can do it any way I like, not before.

Cheers everybody for your help, any further comments obviously still of interest.

BTW Why do I appear as newcomer when I've been a member for a few months now??
Jamie is offline  
post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2003, 12:00 PM
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Utimately it comes down to what you're comfortable with right? I didn't say that your technique necessarily inhibited your playing but there are many different ways to intrepret "resting" your hand on the guitar.

I guess all I was trying to say was, and I see it all the time with beginners, is that if you are using your 3rd and 4th and even more so, 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers as a "bridge" for your playing hand then you might want to practice "closing" your hand and just relaxing and resting or "anchoring" your 3rd and 4th fingers on the guitar. It might feel weird at first but utimately you want your hand to be relaxed at all times. That's the most important. Picking speed simply comes from practice.
DKnight is offline  
post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2003, 01:17 PM
Join Date: Jun 2001
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You're still a 'newcomer' because of your low number of posts... your status increaes with more posts instead of more time.
Jupiter is offline  
post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-23-2003, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
Posts: 325
Well you'll be pleased to know that even one hour of exercises with the fingers curled & hand unanchored left me pretty steady at 104. Hopefully a few weeks and this won't feel like a problem anymore. I'll still be practicing solo pieces etc. with the anchored hand but at least my technique should catch me up at some point.
Jamie is offline  
post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 05-04-2003, 01:24 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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I usually rest my pinky and/or ring finger on the bottom side of the high E string. I think it relaxes my hand for easier playing, and I also sometimes use my ring finger to pick a note on the high E string if im doing a fast like on like 3 or 4 strings. But when I do really fast picking, i usually kinda hover my hand over the strings, trying to keep them relaxed. I find it easier to play really fast picking licks when my hand is relaxed than when i try to kinda stress it up and make it stiff so i don't screw up.
Satch Boogie is offline  

alternate picking , guitar players , palm muting , pinch harmonics , scratch plate , sweep picking

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