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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
over the last couple of months i've been honing my fast, alternate picking technique, mostly because i've been getting into paul gilbert (and a little malmsteen here and there).

i used to pick badly, anchoring 3 fingers of my right hand on the pickguard of the guitar and picking only with movement from the thumb and forefinger. he instructed me that all the movement needs to be from your wrist only; you cannot compare wrist movement speed to finger movement speed. he also instructed me to anchor my pinky around where the volume control would be on a strat (i play an rg so it's no problem). seemed logical at the time and i went home and studies the whole technique. i'm suspicious about everything when it comes to music and i need to find out myself if stuff works.

so after watching players like gilbert, vai, eric johnson and occasionally malmsteen and playing a lot, i realised the "movement from the wrist" was a good idea; all the great pickers do it, no forearm movement. i also have the right pick angle down pat.

but what i was wandering about is the pinky anchoring thing. i'm not talking about PALM anchoring, don't lecture me on that lol. i've been picking apart gilbert's picking style as i believe his to be the most efficient and cleanest of anyone i've heard. from what i see, his wrist does all the work as it should, his pick angle is always good but i can never really see what his pinky is doing.

after a lot of investigation i've come to the conclusion that he rarely, if ever, rests any of his fingers on the pickguard as an anchor and that it looks like when he's picking really fast (eg. the fast sextuplet run at the end of the "verse" in technical difficulties) his picking hand only rests slightly on the bridge and his other fingers don't touch the guitar.

i'm asking all this because i wanna get the most efficiant and effective right hand i can without having to change styles after a few months. i've been trying with pinky anchored and pinky (and other fingers) free, and it makes sense that you'd be able to get more speed without the pinky anchored. the faster and faster you get, the smaller and more intense every movement gets and needs to be more accurate, so i'm wondering if the pinky would hinder that idea.

anyone's opinions on this?
 

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John petrucci anchors his pinky when he picks fast, different people different style. Find your own, those people you mention above don't have any rules to whatsoever how and why, they just play and for years only they found out what's best for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
yes i know, but i don't want to invest so much time into 1 technique then find a year or so later that i need to readjust it again. that's a long process.

i'll check out petrucci in more detail too.
 

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I used to pick with three fingers anchored. After watching Vai I realised he rarely has any finger anchored .... I tried it... and it felt so much better. It didn't make me any faster... but my picking is now cleaner and less strenuous. I've no doubt that speed training would be much more effective now than before.
 

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My picking has always been weak and its something I'm trying to work on myself.
I don't think there is just 1 right way. However IMO it seems the key is in just having a light touch. My arm rests on the guitar, my palm rests on the bridge, and my pinky and ring finger rest on the pickguard but it all very light and in essence is floating. The best analogy I can think of is cutting wood on a table saw. The wood rides the fence to keep the cut straight and uniform but its not anchored to it.

to each his own, you need to figure out what works best for you :)

Keith
 

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yeah i think its important to realise that your hands are (presumably) not the same as PGs. i tried to pick just like him but just over time developed my own variation.

whatevers comfortable.

play lots and and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
over the last 2 days i've lifted my anchoring pinky off the guitar and it actually works way better. felt slightly weird picking stuff on the high strings, but it feels way faster and like i have less of a hindrance.
 

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Michael Angelo picks with all three fingers anchored to the face of the guitar and it works fine for him.. focus on doing what comes naturally for YOU.
There is NO ONE right or wrong with the electric guitar nor with develoing great picking technique. Al Dimeola anchors his wrist sometimes.. sometimes not.. Shawn Lane rarely anchored anything.
No two set of hands or ears are alike and you are unique unto yourself and the world. Let it develop as naturally as possible. Try your best to not force anything and try to stay as relaxed as possible.. any stress/tension may yield short term speed, but in the long run will stop you from reaching you true picking speed potential.
 

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another $0.02... Make sure you have a plethora of different picking exercises. I made the mistake of trying to "master" one exercise before moving on. I would spend hours playing the same thing over and over (to the dismay of my room mate). I later learned that cross training is much more effective. Have at least 20 or more exercises for cross picking alone. Some for linear runs, cross picking arpegios, multi string scale runs, etc. Check out Paginini's Caprices for some interesting and challenging lines. In the course of learing so many different movements you will disover where your pinky is happy.
 

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another $0.02... Make sure you have a plethora of different picking exercises. I made the mistake of trying to "master" one exercise before moving on. I would spend hours playing the same thing over and over (to the dismay of my room mate). I later learned that cross training is much more effective. Have at least 20 or more exercises for cross picking alone. Some for linear runs, cross picking arpegios, multi string scale runs, etc. Check out Paginini's Caprices for some interesting and challenging lines. In the course of learing so many different movements you will disover where your pinky is happy.
+1

I find it is also helpful for me to take breaks. Like 5 or so minutes per 20-30 mins
 
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