Forearm anchoring

This is something I feel never gets mentioned. How much/how hard do you guys rest your right forearm on the body of the guitar? I became conscious of this when I realized that it was sometimes difficult to move my arm into tapping position and back. So I learned to lighten up a bit. When I see elite players, it seems like they are putting very little weight on the guitar and can move the picking hand freely in any direction. Nuno comes to mind.

Funny, I was just thinking about this very thing after looking at the ‘wrist motion checklist’.

Following those instructions (at least, I hope I’m following them) on my single cutaway guitar means that my forearm is totally suspended in the air! Only the inside of my wrist is touching the guitar.

Anyway, I think that different motion mechanics naturally demand different behaviour from the forearm. And as long as you’re not squeezing the guitar for dear life, the trial and error process will get you where you need to go.

1 Like

What picking motion are you working on? As far as I understand, Troy has never mentioned anything about upper forearm contact.

Another reason I’m asking about this is cuz I’m borrowing a friend’s Les Paul, and even though I have a Carvin archtop solid body with no forearm contour, I felt my forearm was pretty uncomfortable resting on the LP.

Some folks wear a sweatband on their forearm to try and cushion the edge to improve comfort. Most pictures of Dave Grohl with an ES-335 show him wearing a band on his forearm. I’ve seen Andy James wear one as well. I picked one up when I started playing my Wolfgang regularly again, but I either got used to the sharp edge or subconciously modified my setup to cope with it better. Don’t remember the last time I bothered to put the band on.

1 Like

Yeah I always wanted to try one on my wrist, especially on an acoustic. I feel like it would help prop me up cuz I like to rest my wrist on the body. Maybe I’ll order a set.

We talk about forearm anchor pretty extensively, depending on the type of picking motion we’re looking at. Here’s a whole chapter on it, with lots of closeups:

This is in the forearm-wrist “Doug Aldrich”-style picking motion section, so it’s most relevant for that technique specifically.

1 Like

I recently lightened it up to reduce overall tension. It helped with a tendency I had where I’d push the body backwards, so that the whole guitar would turn slightly and then I had to compensate with the angle of my fretting hand.

So I’m not resting it “hard” on the body in order to perform technique. It’s still touching to gain a contact point, but not pushing.

1 Like

I wonder really how much tension is needed? I figure if violinists can play all night long with out anchoring anything, guitarists shouldn’t be much different.

I have that same tendency. And I’m a little round lol so it makes that more pronounced when I put a lot of weight on the forearm. I

That clears up a lot. It would be cool to see this topic regularly come up in CtC interviews.

Edit/repost: Darn Ctrl+Enter instant post, haha!

I’d like to believe that the necessary tension is very minimal. And because it’s so easy to get used to playing with tension, the amount of tension that feels minimal could be quite different for everyone.

For me the less, the better. It’s sloppier at first, but the more I’ve practiced with what I feel is minimal tension, the easier and more reliable things have gotten. This seems to be true in fast picking, moving basic power chords around, legato, pretty much everything I guess.

1 Like

Picking the strings is a lot more intricate than using a bow, so idk…

But the bow rests on the strings and is in a way an anchor!

1 Like

Don’t tell them that! Hahaha! Some would say that the bowing is an art of its own. Especially given the bridge is a wonky arch!!

1 Like

This is true. I’m not advocating not anchoring at all. I think in the end it’s whatever is comfortable. I’ve always been a very inquisitive person, so I’m constantly searching if something can be better in my technique. The post with Troy helps because I have often wondered if elite players are moving the whole system when tracking. But it doesn’t often seem to be the case.

Dean Lamb does seem to do this. And he actually mentions it in one of his YouTube videos. If I can find it, I’ll post it.

I’ve always found palm anchoring to be the most stable and efficient in terms of the range of motion.
If you’re forearm anchoring then you’re bound to be usinging elbow movements to help pick the string.

For me it just feels too loose if you understand?

That would be quite an intresting topic… how does the various anchor points feel to each of us :open_mouth:

1 Like

I feel like I used to have much more elbow movement, and when I transitioned to mostly wrist, I did notice a major reduction in forearm anchoring… At this point it’s pretty marginal.

Are you saying that you are not resting your forearm on the body of the guitar?

I am resting the forearm there, but not as an anchor.
The lower palm on the top of the bridge is where most the force goes, though on floyed rose it can puch the bridge down/up if you push to hard

2 Likes