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  1. #1

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    I am switching from fingerstyle to learning how to play with a pick. Not surprisingly it is much easier to pick accurately if I plant my pinky somewhere on the body of the guitar. Is this a huge no-no like it is with classical guitar? I don't want to develop a really bad habit here if this is going to cause me problems later. Thoughts?

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  3. #2

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    If you watch the right hand of monster players, you will find that their approaches vary all over the place. This leaves one with the conclusion that many possible approaches are possible and can be successful.

    A very established and well-worked out "classical" technique is the gypsy jazz picking method which is based on rest-strokes. There, anchoring is a big no-no.

    Other approaches anchor the palm of the right hand on the bridge or the pickguard.

    If you don't mind a somewhat too flashy presentation, the videos of Troy Grady are fairly systematic and scientific about picking technique with emphasis on how to angle the pick and how to cross strings.

    Also, if you search here in the forum, you'll find many threads devoted to the subject.

  4. #3

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    plant the thumb on the top string if you want. Don't plant the pinky. ALso, your forearm should rest on the body, so you have enough anchor points. Also, depends on your style, i doubt you will need a right hand as developed as a classical musician, so you could be ok.

  5. #4

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    +1 to Troy Grady, but my two cents say Pasquale Grasso video tutorials at mymusicmasterclass.com.

  6. #5

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    I plant and don't plant my pinkie - depends on the what I'm playing. If I do plant, it's sometimes with the tip, sometimes the joint just below the tip. The latter helps with rest strokes with the plectrum. And sometimes I don't plant. I like the freedom not planting gives me, though I do find it hard to play fast scales with this technique. So, for me it's a varied approach.

    Also be aware that many people angle the pick to the string, instead of flat against it. This should give you a warmer sound.

  7. #6

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    When the guitar was invented, it didn't come with a manual. When they made jazz, nobody wrote a book of what was acceptable (that came later in schools and forums :-) ), and if your objective is to make music, you, your hands, your preferences in your musical ideas and your guitar will decide what is needed.
    Yes there are logical reasons why things work for people. You've got yours too. But you're going to have to find it yourself in the end.
    Why don't you try it the way it feels good, and really keep sound and comfort in mind while you learn the music. I think your style and technique will evolve and what you have in the end will be your own solution.

    From someone who plays fingerstyle sometimes resting my pinky on the first string, sometimes not, sometimes using lute style, sometimes classical, sometimes index finger like a pick and always trying to adapt my fingers for a good sound.
    Asking the obvious question though, what style of music do YOU play? You'll get a lot of advice based on whether your advisor plays Freddie Green, Ralph Towner, Pete Townsend or Mark Knofler... without stylistic context, you are setting yourself up for a very broad survey. Have fun.
    David
    Last edited by TH; 06-27-2017 at 02:31 PM.

  8. #7

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    I usually anchor palm's-edge to the bridge. I like where that puts the pick relating to the pickups on an electric, and it also allows me to use my right hand to mute unwanted strings.

  9. #8

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    Thoughts for the mix.

    If I'm Benson picking, I plant/anchor. I also prefer a small-bodied guitar for that.

    Otherwise I use the pick itself for reference, lightly touching/brushing the strings with the middle knuckles of my right hand.

    Or I use the thumb to pick.

  10. #9

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    Sometime I plant my pinkie, but most the time I don't. I got away from planting from switching between my Fenders and archtops, I had to take to pickguard off my archtop to solve a rattle and it broke me from planting on archtop. I find not planting makes it easier to change where I pick on the string to change my tone. I find planting tend to lock you into picking in one position.
    No, I'm not going to give you the answer to your question. I don't want to deny you the pleasure you'll receive when you figure it out yourself. -- Bill Evans talking to his brother.

  11. #10

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    Mark Knopfler is an interesting study in planting the picking hand, you would probably be interested in searching for some of his videos to see his technique.

    I do not anchor but I do use my two small fingers to help keep the pick at the right height off the strings. So when I pick I sort of tap the pick guard to judge my height above the strings but then release when I head for the next note (or group of notes). I find it helps me use my forearm more actively and to hold my pick more lightly.

  12. #11

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    There are no rules, whatever does the job, but you are wise to want to try and avoid instilling bad techniques that might sabotage your playing.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo View Post
    There are no rules, whatever does the job, but you are wise to want to try and avoid instilling bad techniques that might sabotage your playing.
    Like Albert King, who played lefty with a right hand strung guitar upside down? When I began playing jazz, I was told by a teacher that playing fingerstyle was good for classical, bad for jazz. I was told it wasn't done and that must've been for good reason... you couldn't swing playing classical... nobody did it... Way down the road I crossed paths with a great teacher who played fingerstyle. Wasn't a problem for him and he voiced stuff that was unreal.

    Ha ha, one man's bad habit is another's path to individuality. It all comes out in the playing. Django.

    David

  14. #13

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    For the most stable precision, you need a reference point, or a "stabiliser" close to the pick. Pinky, ring finger, palm or whatever. There's no need to firmly anchor anything, but free floating from the elbow/under arm doesn't cut it with a plectrum.

    I use my pinky, and also slightly touch the bridge/strings with my palm (helps muting the lower strings).

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Runepune View Post
    For the most stable precision, you need a reference point, or a "stabiliser" close to the pick. Pinky, ring finger, palm or whatever. There's no need to firmly anchor anything, but free floating from the elbow/under arm doesn't cut it with a plectrum.
    Not necessarily. Skip to 39:46 for a quick example. One advantage of floating technique is you can use the same hand position for picking, strumming, fingerstyle, hybrid etc.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 10-21-2019 at 01:11 PM.

  16. #15

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    Its not a no no to anchor your pinkie, But after you get use to useing a pick try and move away from doing it because it will limit your mobility from moving up beyound the neck pickup or down close to the bridge. I only anchor my hand down past the bridge if I am going to do fast lead runs.

  17. #16

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    The problem I have with resting palm on the bridge is, it makes you pick closer to the bridge. Where you pick has a huge effect on your tone. A good picking technique shouldn't dictate your picking area. Where you pick should be a choice of expression, not a limitation of the technique.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 10-22-2019 at 03:38 PM.

  18. #17

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    Thanks for the comments, much appreciated.