The Right Hand: Get a Grip, but not too tight....

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons, Tutorials & Tips' started by johnny_flamenco, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. johnny_flamenco

    johnny_flamenco New Member

    Here is a problem that often begins right at the beginning for players, and is often overlooked. I am talking about the right hand of the pick style player.

    Here's the point. Most people tend to grip the pick to tight! They have A LOT of extra tension in their hand that they don't recognize as tension. It feels normal to them. Then, to make matters worse, when they contact the strings with the pick, for a note or a strum, they tighten their hand even more, without knowing it.

    Don't do this! Look at your right hand as you play. Here are two tip-offs that you have extra tension: the fingers not holding the pick curl in to the hand, as if to make a fist, or the wrist presses itself on to the face of the guitar, while the unfortunate guitarist continues to play as well as they can under the circumstances. (Another sign will be pressing on the guitar with the pinky).

    The fingers holding the pick, and indeed the whole right hand, must be trained to be a sensitive instrument that is always responding to the needs of each playing situation. If a harder attack is desired, the hold on the pick will increase slightly, but never more than necessary. And you will never maintain that extra tension after it is not needed anymore.
  2. god_of_thunder

    god_of_thunder Livin After Midnight

    i dont see anything wrong in placing your pinky on the pickguard area while playing..
    some shredders say it actually helps while picking fast,,
    there are two schools of thought on this tho
  3. uj_6string

    uj_6string Nickelodean Addict :D

    i agree with you on this...i place my pinky on the body...and i feel it is this which reduces the tension of my fingers...
  4. satch_attack

    satch_attack New Member

    PLayin with Pinky anchored is great actullay!!...

    it has tremondous helped my pickin hand to pick cleanly and neatly ...So u cant say anchorin your pinky means you are puttin stress on it ..just watch John petrucci or michael romeo or ynwie to a certain extent play..
    they will show you wat anchorin the pinky and playin is all about !
  5. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!

    Nice one, especially about holding the plectrum. I too have seen many people starting out hold the plectrum as if holding a dagger. Clutching it so tight that the hands become white LOL.

    Well others have already said, but I would like to add:
    Marty Friedman curls his right hand to a semi-fist while playing. Whether slow passages or fast shred.
    Michael Angelo Batio, John Petrucci, Paul Gilbert use their pinkies to anchor their right hand on the guitar, which helps in moving your wrist and forearm more accurately while shredding.

    The point is that people tend to do things they find most comfortable, I dont think there is any wrong or right.

    But @others, I think you guys misunderstood his intention. What he has written may hold true for flamenco and classical style.
  6. nebuchadnezzar

    nebuchadnezzar G34r G33k

    I think he mean that some ppl might actualy press the pinkie on the guitar too hard due to tension..
    ^I agree with you, there is no clear cut wrong or right in this(but I am sure classical guys would be a bit more rigid with the technique)..
    I guess if you play a lot of rhythm interspersed with your lead or change your picking attack intensity a lot, you really cant keep the pinkie anchored all the time..
  7. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    ^ Exactly. He was talking about pressing not placing the pinky on the guitar. That is a tell-tale sign of a tense right hand.
  8. abhijitnath

    abhijitnath Fighting GAS frantically

    How can it be about fingerstyle if he is constantly talking about holding the pick too tight, anchoring the pinky etc? There is no way any flamenco player can play with pinky anchored on the body..try it sometime:)..its impossible.
  9. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!

    :think: Yeah, I know. But then, ..... I really dunno what Johny boy intended.
  10. johnny_flamenco

    johnny_flamenco New Member

    Bad habbits die hard. Just because some guitar great does it , doesn't necessarily mean that is the right technique. After many years of playing that way it would become second nature, but imagine how much better it would be if you never developed that bad habbit. Perhaps it may not be that criticla if you playing the electric guitar, but if you are into Classical or Flamenco it is an absolute NO NO !
  11. prit_undead

    prit_undead New Member

    well i feel pressing the pinkie on the body increases the accuracy (oh yes i need it now) but the pinkie keeps on staying there even when i'm fingerpicking. do you use it to actually pick a string or is it done only by the other 4 fingers?
  12. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!

    Ok so then you were talking about Flamenco.
    Dude, I dont see any point of labelling ceratin habbits as bad.

    Tell me when you pick using a plectrum, you move your fingers, wrist or forearms?
    Which one do you think is "good habbit"?
  13. death_metal_fan

    death_metal_fan oh goody, it's a woody!

    ^ Wrist of course :p:
  14. alpha1

    alpha1 I BLUES!

  15. call_of_ktulu41

    call_of_ktulu41 New Member

    i know some guitar payers like dave mustaine,and me,ahem,.... i tend to hold on to the last string..its a terrible habit... which makes it impossible for me to sweep... or to play a scale faster than 150 bpm..cos the time it takes to remove the hand screws up the timing.. but im working on it
    so for me i have to hold on to something,, i have a new jackson kelly and the pickup is more raised than the les paul i had previously.. so i can hold on to that.. but im screwed anyway
  16. jazzflam

    jazzflam New Member

    If you watch Jazz guitarist Martin Taylor, you will see he anchors his pinky to the scratchplate. However, he does state on one of his instructional videos, that it was a "bad" habit he picked up when he started playing, and that you should'nt really do this if you can help it.
    Its the thing about guitarists - What one finds helpfull, it is not so helpfull to another. People set down guidlines, but not everybody is suited to these rules.
    Its been proved over and over again with famous guitarists.
  17. Morbid_Angel

    Morbid_Angel Sid the sloth

    Play the way you feel is comfortable, but it should not interrupt your playing.

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