Anchoring issues


So it seems that it’s generally agreed that anchoring on the bridge is better than anchoring with your fingers. However, I find that to prevent my hand from having a different level of elevation when I move to the bottom strings, I’m forced to prop my hand up with my pinky, otherwise my palm falls off the bridge and I accidentally change to a pickslant that isn’t desired. At the beginning and the end of the video, I demonstrate my issues with only anchoring with the palm, and in the middle I add the pinky.

Is there another way around this?


I don’t think it is, I think if anything is generally agreed it’s that you need to find what works for you individually.

There is a tendency for some people to state that, because stopping finger anchoring helped them, everyone should stop doing it, but that’s an over-generalisation on their part, not a generally agreed truth.

Examine everything you do and check if it helps or hinders, try something different and see how it feels. Forget about there being a “right” and “wrong” way.


Yes, sure.
Anchoring with your fingers is absolutely evil. That is obvious, because anchoring is holding people back, as you can see with Michael Angelo Batio or John Petrucci. If they stopped anchoring, I’m sure they could overcome their mediocrity.


In case anyone didn’t notice, this is meant to be ironic :wink:
In fact I do not anchor with my pinky, but I tend to do from time to time as I’m working on my DWPS, being an UWPS. I’m trying to avoid pinky anchoring, but if I was a “natural” DWPS with established technique, I wouldn’t mind. Concentrate on the pickslant rather than the pinky or play around with other parameters before getting rid of the anchoring, as playing fast, relaxed and clean is something that can obviously be done with pinky anchoring.



Hi @Suhrite, my suggestion would be to focus more on “what lines do I want to play?” as opposed to academic notions about how the hand should be placed.

You may find that some lines feel easier with one type of anchor, say fingers, some with another e.g. palm.

It is probably unrealistic to think that you’ll find a single hand position for everything. Check for example @Tom_Gilroy’s excellent thread on the many “picking modes” he has.


I don’t anchor my fingers on the guitar, but the reason is just a specific advantage that I prefer.

When you play multiple guitars that are very different between them, which I do, you can find that anchoring in the wood below the strings might feel very different from one to another. A Les Paul has a greater distance from the wood to the strings than a Strat, which is also different with an Ibanez, because the recesed bridge, an acoustic, etc. It can be a pretty big difference.

This doesn’t happen if you anchor at the bridge. That way basically every guitar fells similar, from the picking hand point of view.

I’m certain that you can play any model as good as can be played while anchoring, and that with a lot of practice you can make the transitioning between instruments feel seamlees, but it is way easier if you don’t anchor. Then they all just feel the same, even the ones that I’m playing for the first time.


Not to me! Even with only forearm and wrist contact points, body characteristics exert a surprisingly significant influence on what the whole setup feels like. This is true even from one solid body electric to another. Size and thickness of the body, whether it has a carved top or not, and what kind of cutaways and contours are available all change enough things to annoy me when I have to switch guitars!


The problem for me isn’t so much that if violates received wisdom, as that it feels uneven and that there’s a lot of room for error. The pinky certainly isn’t as much of a solid anchor as the palm. I know that it works for Carl Miner, and indeed Petrucci (although he once stated that he wished he didn’t do it and that he felt it impeded his playing somewhat). It is for this reason that if I’m playing (or rather, attempting to play) thrash riffs, which abuse the bottom e string, I naturally uwps, much in the same way that andy wood does.

Interesting - how do you anchor at the bridge when playing the bottom (thicker) strings?


lol up until this point, I thought you were talking about a person’s body type. I was like oh man, really? Maybe I need to lose some more weight or something :rofl:


How curious. For me, the effect is so strong, that it doesn´t change the way my picking hand feels if I take a Flying V or a Dreadnaught. As the matter of fact, after reading your post, for curiosity and just for fun I have been trying playing releasing the contact I usually make with the forearm on the guitar body, leaving only the bridge anchor, and even playing this way my picking mechanics remains completely familiar to me.

Gonna try to explain. There is a LONG “preface” (LOL) so you can skip to the “Now your question” part:

First of all, the part of my hand I use to make the anchor is a conscious decision to solve a specific problem.

As Troy has studied and shown us there are a lot of components to the picking movements that take place at the same time. But what I fell I’m doing is just a fast radius and ulnar deviation taking as a fulcrum the blue part of my wrist. I’m not aware of the other components of the picking mechanics I use while playing, maybe because the anchoring position just takes care of them by its own.

Now, although I like consistency in how my picking mechanics feels to me (which is the reason I play only anchoring at the bridge) I like variety in guitars, and how high or low they hang while I’m playing standing. I go from Blackmore/Morello/Petrucci high to Slash/Wylde/Page low and everything in between, just for the sake of it. It kind of puts you in a different mental space, and I dig it.

Well, having this in mind, if you only anchor at the bridge using the green part of the hand (which works very nice if you are playing seating of with you guitar hanging high, medium/high), when you hang your guitar very low then suddenly you find your hand and pick is almost perpendicular to the strings, in a very uncomfortable position for playing, and the compensations you can make to solve this are just weird. It just doesn’t work.

Instead of that I chose to always play making contact with the red/pinky part of my hand. This gives you a more supinated position of the forearm, which automatically gives you freedom to do a palmar flexion compensation when playing with your guitar really low, so you can play feeling you are doing the same thing you always do.

All of this is very automatic. Anchor at the bridge with that part of the hand, hang low your guitar and the palmar flexion compensation appears.

Now your question

When playing on the lower string, one advantage is that the muting job of your right hand to the strings above your plcking disappears, so you can simply anchor behind the point the string starts.

Also has to be noted than when playing in the high strings I anchor with the whole red/pinky section of my hand, but as I go to the lower ones the anchoring zone reduces a bit, and while in the six string, I´m basically on the pinky part alone.

Here are two more photos:

In this first one I have suppinated my hand all the way to let you see where I make contact while playing low strings and with what part of the hand. In this first photo, the ending finger that appears under my thumb is not my index finger, but my pinky. Weird optical ilusion.

The second one is the normal position I would have while playing lower strings. There is not contact at all with the green part of the hand. The anchor is just what is shown in the first picture.

We are a bunch of nerds. LOL. I love it.


I use a moving anchor, personally - the last knuckle of my little finger is either in contact with the top of the guitar if I’m playing on the three highest strings, and on the highest strings if I’m playing on the three lowest. Something I gleefully stole from gypsy guys.