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Fingerpicking basics

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(@acousticfish)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
Topic starter  

Hello everyone, hope all is well in your world. I'm starting to dabble in the world of fingerpicking, love how the guitar seems to sing :note1: with this style. My question is is there a proper position for your right hand during fingerpicking? I know you're suppose to keep somewhat relaxed but does your hand just kind of hover over the strings or do you brace it somehow (that would seem difficult to me). As always any help would be appreciated. :)


   
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(@elecktrablue)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 4338
 

I usually anchor my pinkie finger just below the strings in order to keep my hand in the right place. I find that, for me anyway, if I "hover" my hand moves and I might strike the wrong string. With my pinkie anchored, though, I always know where my other fingers are going to land.

..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
¸.·´ .·´¨¨))
((¸¸.·´ .·´
-:¦:- ((¸¸.·´ -:¦:- Elecktrablue -:¦:-

"Don't wanna ride no shootin' star. Just wanna play on the rhythm guitar." Emmylou Harris, "Rhythm Guitar" from "The Ballad of Sally Rose"


   
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(@joehempel)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2415
 

I think it's all on what you find comfortable. My hand usually just hovers or my thumb anchors my hand.

I also rarely use my ring or pinky fingers, just more comfortable and more flexible for me.

In Space, no one can hear me sing!


   
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(@daven)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 184
 

Ditto on the pinkie. I get lost if I don't have it but unlike Electrablue I still get the wrong string sometimes. Gotta slow down and get the technique first I guess. :)


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717
 

Ya know, before I played the guitar, my pinky had served no useful purpose . . .

Now that I've begun playing the guitar, my poor pinky is making up for lost time . . .

My pinky is my anchor . . . my fingers shall not wander . . .

I'm sure there's a moral to this story . . . but it eludes me. :mrgreen:

KR2

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@unimogbert)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 174
 

An argument can be made that anchoring restricts future possibilities.

But lots of great pickers anchor.

Unimogbert
(indeterminate, er, intermediate fingerstyle acoustic)


   
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(@acousticfish)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
Topic starter  

I guess there is no right or wrong as long as you can perform it correctly. I will try anchoring my pinky tonight and see if that feels too awkward. Thanks all.


   
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(@mmoncur)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Wow. I'm a beginning fingerpicker, but am I really the only one who anchors using my palm on the bridge?

I can play "hovering" but it feels awkward. Actually I just tried with the pinky anchored and it works, but anchoring on the bridge feels more comfortable.

Also, I use my pinky to pluck the high E string in some songs (bad form, I know, but it's way easier sometimes.)


   
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(@acousticfish)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 37
Topic starter  

Well I tried anchoring my pinky last night and it felt quite odd, I've also tried resting the side of my palm on the bridge which felt okay but I'm not picking over the sound hole. So I guess I don't really know what to do. :?:


   
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 KR2
(@kr2)
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Joined: 17 years ago
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I'm no role model as far as guitaring goes . . . but I can show you what I've done . . .
with regards to fingerpicking . . . I picked up a guitar for the first time 18 months ago . . .
. . . notice the pinky resting on the corner of the raised pickup . . .

https://www.guitarnoise.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=35807&start=855#p402480

KR2

It's the rock that gives the stream its music . . . and the stream that gives the rock its roll.


   
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(@vic-lewis-vl)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264
 

Wow. I'm a beginning fingerpicker, but am I really the only one who anchors using my palm on the bridge?

I've always found it more comfortable that way, too. I'm not great at fingerpicking, by any means, but this method seems to have evolved - for me, anyway - as a natural extension of my electric guitar playing, where my hand's always near to or anchored on the bridge.

The only trouble with this method is, I don't quite get the same volume OR tone as I would if I were picking the strings directly above the soundhole of the acoustic. I guess it's another of those trade-offs; lose a little tone and volume, gain a bit of comfort and more stability....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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(@gnease)
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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

resting ones palm on the bridge is probably a habit to drop ASAP. eventually, you will very likely find it restricts your movement. it certainly does not allow you to take advantage of the different timbres available by playing on different areas of the strings: you are always stuck near the bridge.

pinky anchoring is common. it does restrict some motion, but most don't seem to run into a problem. it's actually taught for banjo -- though the pinky is not considered a plucking finger for trad banjo. here's the downside of pinky anchoring on guitar: you can't pick with you picky. sometime you may wish to. if you ever learn to hybrid pick (pick + fingers), having that pinky available is a real boon.

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@mmoncur)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 168
 

Vic and gnease, thanks for the feedback. I play electric 90% of the time and hadn't stopped to consider the soundhole of an acoustic.

Since I like to keep my pinky available for plucking and I'm very interested in hybrid picking eventually, I'll work on fingerpicking unanchored...


   
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