Picking Technique

Picking Technique Dilemmas

I get a lot of private messages form students that sometimes turn into long interesting discussions.

These can be anything from: what guitar to buy, to modes, arpeggios to practice routine recommendations.

They have led both my products in new directions and some rewriting of blogs since there is direct input from the learner.

This is gold dust to me in order to improve the course so please keep them coming, no question is stupid!

Over this weekend, for example, I’ve been looking at arpeggio soloing over a quick jazz progression, a way to incorporate a tracking system on the site to measure the S-E P R, a few but long modal explanations and just today I had a very well formulated question about picking technique.

Anchoring vs Floating Picking Technique

This is the question I had about picking technique:

“Question about right hand: “anchoring” (using pinky finger) or “floating”. I’ve been anchoring for 40 years, and now trying to float, but it’s proving difficult. I see you anchoring on many videos, but also sometimes floating. Is there a better way, or just personal preference? Thanks

Ps, outstanding program; i searched a long time for this kind of structure, incremental learning program. Thanks
Date: Tuesday 10th January 2012 15:44:21″

And this was my answer:


thanks :-)

Great question, I used to worry a lot about this.

In theory you could get loads of problems with anchoring since the distance between strings and body vary from guitar to guitar.

So it would be really easy to jump to the conclusion that floating is superior, especially for speed!

But in reality I find that there’s always a way to anchor and that the problem only really is a problem in theory.

I think at the end of the day you have to go for what is comfortable for your hand and adapt the rest of your technique around it.

Funnily enough, when I stopped thinking about it I ended up, as you say, using both.

However, as soon as I consider it I instinctively go for anchor.
I feel anchoring brings you closer to the instrument so to speak and that can never be a bad thing.

Perhaps the best way out of anchoring is to start working on hybrid picking, that way you learn a new technique in which you have to float.

From there the sky is the limit :-)

About Guru

I have made up my mind: You Can Learn Guitar!
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2 thoughts on “Picking Technique

  1. Jonathan Scott

    Whatever I do is mostly instinctive, I tend to float for general strumming and anchor when I’m playing a quick lick, or a cross-string pattern that requires more control…

    Basically, if it’s a fast lick, or a pattern that should really be fingerpicked, I anchor, Float for all else!

    Floating for me loosens up my arm and I think I keep rhythm better. Having an anchor increases my accuracy…

  2. Guru Post author

    I agree, sometime it can change several times just during a verse for me!

    Especially when you start playing around with hybrid picking.

    Did you know Al Di Meola practiced alternative picking technique for hours on end for over four years.

    He became so fast he never played slowly anymore, only joking :-)


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