Right hand - Anchor v Floating

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Hi all,

After dabbling for 18 years on and off with learning songs and nothing else (not technique practice), this is the year I want to start actually improving.

One thing I have noticed is that I tend to rest my 3rd and 4th fingers of my right hand on the scratch plate of my strat. There isn't really any tension in them, but they help provide a frame of reference as to where my hand is. I remember reading somewhere that this is not great technique and might be holding me back. Is there a general consensus? I will put in the work to "unlearn" it if needed, but was just after other opinions.

What gives you your frame of reference if your hand is floating? Putting your forearm on the top of the guitar? I'm currently finding alot more tension in my forearm when floating versus when I'm anchored.

Any opinions?
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Comments

  • brucegillbrucegill Frets: 127
    Oddly, I’m just looking into this myself. I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong way to be honest, depending on what your playing or trying to achieve I guess. I always anchored, and found by accident that if you hold another pick in your hand whilst playing it helps keep those digits off the scratch plate. I seem to be more fluid floating. Though I’ve also changed to big triangle picks recently and think having my hand closed is helping with holding the pick and pick technique. 

    I was watching a video of Simon Brady and noticed his picking hand technique, so thought I’d look at what I was doing. 
    https://youtu.be/LSOdOP0nXiA
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 829
    edited February 17
    I lightly rest my my 3rd and 4th fingers on the  scratch plate. I wouldn't say they're literally 'anchored' because I let them slide about and lift. To look at, it's a bit like Troy Grady and Martin Miller and it obviously works for them, although I'm not in their league .

    I think the key is no tension. I've been playing nearly 50 years and not had any physically issues.

    I've heard people argue against resting the fingers but I'm not convinced.  Guthrie Govan and John Petrucci are also amongst many who appear to rest on the scratchplate (at least occasionally).
    It's not a competition.
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  • neilgneilg Frets: 28
    edited February 17
    I always used to have my little finger curved around the bridge pickup and it's taken me around a year to stop doing it and in doing so I find it much easier to mute the higher strings.  My hand isn't floating though, the heel is resting just behind the bridge around the low E string, I am playing on a guitar with a Les Paul style bridge so I don't have to worry about the pitch being raised.

    I feel it's been worth the effort to change as my playing has gotten better.

    After just watching the video about, I can see that's how I play now.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 4661
    If you are anchored on the scratchplate aren't you reducing the ability you have to mute the high strings? 
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2569
    What gives you your frame of reference if your hand is floating? Putting your forearm on the top of the guitar? I'm currently finding alot more tension in my forearm when floating versus when I'm anchored.

    Any opinions?
    Mark Knopfler rests a finger tip on the scratch plate. He admits that it limits his playing, but that’s the way he learned to play.

    I had to pick up a guitar to find out what I do. The answer is that I use several methods depending on what I’m playing. None of them involve finger tips touching the scratch plate. In fact I don’t use scratch plates. Some of the time I rest the side of my hand on the bridge, from where I can control the sustain by partially muting the strings, particularly the bass strings. So I might deaden the strings slightly whilst the vocalist is singing to give him more space. Then I lift my hand, or roll it back slightly, to give more volume and resonance in between vocal lines.

    At other times, and particularly when soloing, my hand is often free. I rest my forearm on the guitar, pinning it against my rib cage. Then at the rowdy end of the evening, while I’m bashing out songs like Teenage Kicks, my right arm doesn’t touch the guitar at all.
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  • Mark1960Mark1960 Frets: 208
    If I play slide I find I rest my hand on the bridge, but if I play conventionally I lightly rest my 4th finger on the plate. My son who also plays rests his wrist/arm on the body. Unless you know it is specifically holding you back in a certain area you want to move to, I shouldn't worry too much about it. The time rectifying it could most probably be better spent on learning something new.
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  • Most of the time I pick close to the neck, sometimes even over it, as I prefer the sound there. That limits being able to rest fingers on the body, but I do at times. The scuff marks prove that. That's for flatpicking anyway.


    I sometimes think, therefore I am intermittent
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 21326
    You get good at what you practice, so either can work for some people but it is usually the case you are limiting your ability by anchoring.

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  • grappagreengrappagreen Frets: 284
    edited April 15
    Both work - Guthrie Govan lets his little finger rest on the scratch plate to anchor. I've noticed that this is probably limiting him...NOT!

    Si
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  • robertyroberty Frets: 1225
    If your fingers move with the rest of your hand they aren't anchored. It's only when they are stuck fast to the same position as your hand moves that it's a hindrance. I went through the same process as you after roughly the same period of time. It has helped my playing in a number of unexpected ways
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  • skullfunkerryskullfunkerry Frets: 630
    Like @Roland, I had to pick up my guitar to see what I do. My 3rd & 4th fingers touch the scratchplate and/or pickup sometimes, but they're not anchored there, it's more like the guitar gets in the way of where my fingers were going to be
    Too much gain... is just about enough \m/

    I'm probably only member of this forum mentioned by name in Whiskey in the Jar

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  • LastMantraLastMantra Frets: 501
    My hand is all over the place. Floating over the fretboard for softer stuff back to the bridge for more attack and palm muting. Fingers do touch the SP but not really anchored. 
    MYMUSIC

    I wanna be a door
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 12886
    I seem to rest the heel of my hand on the guitar body for soloing type stuff. I don't recommend this!
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  • BarnezyBarnezy Frets: 314
    I was told by my teacher to stop doing it as it creates limitations as you get to advanced levels. It obviously the takes time to adjust to where the strings are, as the anchor acts as a reference point. I have also tried to strum with my fingers closed rather than opened out.

    Maybe it's a question of "how good do you intend to come?" and "is what's considered correct technique, important to you?". Mark Knopfler isn't to bad and he plays with the finger down, also I cant think of a single guitarist I like who plays with textbook technique, which might be why they are so good. 
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