Right Hand – To Anchor or Not?

Every guitarist has their own style.  And a lot of that has to do with what goes on in the right hand.

If you’re playing with a pick, one question always has to do with anchoring.  Anchoring is when you place your pinkie (or 3rd and 4th fingers) on the pick guard or top string.  This would be the position when you’re playing on the lower strings.  The top strings can also be played with the anchor on the pickguard.

You can also anchor with your palm on the lower strings when playing on the higher.

I use these techniques myself.  Benefits?  You stay in constant contact with the instrument so you’ll always know where you are.  It also makes it a bit easier to not get lost in the strings when doing string-skipping licks.  Also, the palm anchoring on the lower strings keep those strings from ringing sympathetically.  Particularly useful on electric guitar, but it also helps to clean up acoustic playing.

It’s not the only way though.  Some players don’t touch the strings at all with their right hand.  The other guitarist in my band works that way.  And he plays just as clean and fast as anyone.  And certainly, if you’re finger picking, that’s a whole different set of guidelines.

The key is consistency.  Your own style can develop and it will work for you even if not for anyone else.  If you discover a problem with what you’re doing, change just that small bit until it’s worked in and feels natural.

Do you anchor your right hand?  Leave a comment below and tell me about your technique.


~ by Phil Johnson on January 13, 2010.

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