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pinky on pickguard verses free floating

2983 Views 15 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  vette6600
Hey this might turn into a debate over something kind of stupid but its bothering me. Couple years ago when i took lessons my teacher said that the pick hand should be free floating with teh fingers pulled in---there should be no fingers on the pickguard. It made sense at the time but I could never play fast licks like that, it just wasnt stable enough. so eventually i started planting my pinky and my ring on the pickguard a la jason becker. this made it a lot easier to 32ths and what not cuz i had some stability.

now it seems like a lot of people say dont ever do this blah blah. ive reached a speed barrier with my current pickhand technique so ive been trying to go back to free floating just to see if i could do it better now, but it feels incredibly uncomfortable. ive seen a lot of shredders plant their fingers on the pickguard and use them as a means to move their pickhand back and forth over like michael angelo batio and jason becker, then theres the guys who let their fingers hang but they dont really use them as stabilizers like yngwie and vai, and then ive seen like maybe one guy whos pickhand was completely free floating and that was rusty cooley and his hand looked so tense and twitchy while playing fast i thought it was gonna explode.

anyway does any here have a floating pickhand and could they give me tips on how to get better with it?
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Your teacher sounds close minded, after all some of the best guitarists use a fixed playing position. For example Jason becker had his pinky fixed on the pickgaurd for playing fast and for another example of someone that uses a free floating technique is Zakk Wylde. It all really boils down to what works for you, technique is nothing if it doesn't.
brothersnowgone said:
Your teacher sounds close minded.
Sure does!

I use the pickguard method for the most part. I have much more stability that way. Free floating = no stability and far less accuracy. In my case anyway. Guess I would have failed your teachers class;O)
As of this last Sunday I had a lesson with my teacher that covered this topic. We were working on alternate picking exercises and he kept stopping me because I did'nt have my pinky anchored to the pickguard. I've been having a free floating hand for all the years I've been playing...Over the last couple of days I HAVE noticed quite a difference in my speed. The pinky anchoring thing is working for me. It probably all depends on the indivdual. What ever works for you. TUGGEY
i played for years with my pinky resting on the pickguard......and i do believe it henders playing to some degree......if you practice the floating style it does get smooth...... and it seemed to help me out alot.....i find i do both ways now
I guess I'm a free floater, I rest my hand on the bridge, fingers curled up for the most part, works for me, the pinky thing on the pickguard is wierd for me:) haha its all up to the individual...
Just for the heck of it, I noted this and actually payed attention to how I really pick. When you've been playin for 20 years you just don't think about it;) Pinky on the pickguard 95% of the time. Then I tried both. WAY more speed and accuracy w/pinky as a base. I mean WAY more speed. I really don't know how you guys that are free-floaters actually hit all the notes accurately. It seems so cumbersome. Anyhow as way already said, it's just an individual thing.
I used to let my fingers fly, but a friend told me this was wrong, so with a couple weeks of working, I learned to play close-handed, floating with the back of my forearm pressed against the edge of the guitar. I noticed a huge speed increase, but I seem to have hit a plateau. Guess I'll try this pinky thing and see if it helps :)
I rest the palm of my hand; actually the fleshy part betwen the pinky and wrist; on the bridge when I pick, I used to anchor my pinky where the coils come together on the treble side of the bridge humbucker ala Petrucci but i felt like I hit a speed barrier doing that. Before that I played with my hand free floating which was alot less accurate for me.
If you feel comfortable, do it. If you feel uncomfortable, why u should do it?
I uses free floating to me it's much accurate faster etc etc... I've seen players who plant their pinky on the pickguard and still be able to play very well..... use what works for you... and your teacher hmmm very close minded
My hand is basically in karate chop form. With my middle, ring, and pinky straight with my thumb pressed on the side of my pionter at its tip (that was detailed lol). I rarely have my pinky fixed during an exercise, if ever in a real song playing situation which is kinda wierd I guess. Why use it in an exercise if I never use it in a real situtation. But My forearm is fixed to the forearm contour.
I anchor the side of my pinky to the pickguard, and it moves around wherever my hand is, for example if I play over the neck pickup, fast, there would be a vertical smudge mark inbetween the neck and middle pickups. I tried free-floating, but like many other people have said, there's no control. MAB seems to put all three of his free fingers on his pickguard area and make like an arch shape with his hand, it looks like alot of strain, though.
I change the way my pick hand moves depending on what I'm playing, if I really wanna dig in then my hand is more closed and resting on the edge of the humbucker. Fast alternate picking I keep my fingers out and away from the guitar. Personal thing I guess, though MY teacher told me to play with outstretched fingers away from the guitar lol ah well, who knows!
I rest my 3rd and 4th finger between the single and bridge humbucker on my Jem when i'm picking or basically playing anything apart from rhythm.

I also have to spend AGES telling all my students to do this as they always forget!

I think it's a much more stable method of hand positioning so I try to enforce it as much as possible.
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