Flatpicking Guitar Network

For Fans of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine

What is the best right hand position for flatpicking

i rest my hand on the bridge but then its hard to reach different strings

Views: 2972

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Mathew,

This is one of those questions that in my mind has no correct answer, but only opinions that stem from what works best from the opinionator. Did that make sense? Kind of like "what strings do you like and what pick do you use" questions. I see many of the pros plant a pinky on the guitar for their pickin', I can't do this at all. I tried what your doing only to suffer the same thing and slows down the right hand. I settled for straight out of the air picking at all speeds, no planting of the pinky and 3 fingers tucked in... but like I said, this is what works for me. My suggestion is try everything and do what works best for you! Have fun!

Dave
Hi Matthew,

Here just my personal experience.
When I started flatpicking I was absolutely selftauhgt, my right hand used to move in a "Sam Bush" - manner. This gave me the control I needed at higher tempos but it seemed like I sacrificed tone and my playing always felt knotted. With the support of a good teacher I have been working on developing the "free right hand". This did not take me weeks or months but it is still a process which has been going on for maybe two years or more. At least I feel able to use it at slow and medium tempos and I am catching up. The good news is, that the "bad technique" and the "good technique" begin to become friends and I find myself switching between the two of them when playing in a band context. Sometimes I try to use the pinky as support but I do not spend too much time on it. For me it all was worth the effort also because now I feel hat the time needed for the warm-up exercises is reduced.

Regards,
Thomas
after almost 40 years of flatpicking i've tried all the known right hand positions.some of them only briefly others for extended periods.i presently play with the position i started with,which is to anchor the heel of my hand on the bridge.i feel this position affords the most control and allows the greatest speed.the fingers anchored position takes a long time to develop speed with due to the fact its a poor anchor.the best example i can think of is tony rice.i know i'll get some flack for this and that's ok.i am the biggest rice fan in the world.i have played every note tony plays for 30 years he is by far my biggest musical influence,but i have always felt that one of tonys' weaknesses is speed.from watching him time and time again avoid solos on fast songs.part of this is due to the complex nature of his licks speaking from experience.his licks are easier to play fast anchoring the heel of your hand.playing with no anchor at all is very difficult,but some people can.i have been told kenny smith plays this way and he is very fast,so there's an exception if that's true.sorry to be so long winded,but this takes a little explaining.try triplets at 140 beats a minute without anchoring.there's my 3 cents worth.
Ronnie,

You are correct. I've been doing some "timing" exercises, i.e. 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 and triplet counts with the metronome. Get that rascal much over 126 bpm and your average guy can't do 1/16 notes out of free air. My problem is the same as Mathews, maybe you can help. I get noticeable control and speed improvement when I anchor on the bridge, but I just seem to loose "range of motion" if you will.
range of motion is limited,but that can be a good thing because you're usually doing triplets back and forth between adjacent strings in a variety of patterns.once you get the hang of it you'll see that a very controlled and compact range of motion is helpful.i have a younger brother who i taught to play and he can do triplets at 180 beats a minute.of course he really concentrated his practice on that specifically.he and i both use what i would describe as a controlled spasm in the wrist and forearm.i know that sounds crazy,but that's the only way i know how to describe it.
I have been playing long enough (35 years) to invision exactly what your talking about. After some more thought, there are songs I could give this a try on, like Lonesome Fiddler's Blues, but other stuff like Norman Blake's stuff, where you need full range of motion from top to bottom with lots of struming and cross-picking, I'll have to stick with the free right hand.
Hi everybody,
I rest the heel of my right hand on the bridge of the guitar (I cover the pins) when I play single notes (fiddle tunes, solo stuff) and for rhythm stuff I use a more „free right hand“. Sometimes I use a combination of both techniques (backup context). Other stuff didn’t work for me at all. In my opinion there is not „the best right hand position“, you have to find „your best right hand position“. Think of Barry Abernathy (Banjo player with Mountain Heart), he plays the 5-String almost in a „Dobro Position“ (because he has no fingers on the left hand) and he is one of the best in the business.

Emanuel
Hey Folks,
My right hand tends to use the bridge pins as a point of reference more than an anchor. I stay close enough to feel like I have a "home" position, just brushing over the pins. For me, when I truly anchor at any point, I tend to tense up & we all know that tension is BAD. So from this floating position I find I'm more relaxed (faster) & have a better range of motion than when I did anchor on the pins.

Adam
I had my right hand on the bridge for a long time, but have moved up into a pinky-anchor (and would like to go free-floating, but no dice so far). In Bryan Sutton's video, he points out that you lose some volume when you're on the pins, and it's hard to have your pick in the strings- it's more like you're "pecking" at them (he says). David Grier has a completely free-floating right hand, and he is durn speedy. I'm no role model, but I can definitely pull better tone when the heel of my hand is not on the pins.

David
the problem i see for free-floating is a lack of volume.which for me personally is a big deal.i started flatpicking in 1971 my biggest influence by far was and is tony rice,and if you've ever heard tony in those early days he hammered the guitar.even when he joined grisman playing more jazz oriented stuff he still hammered.he is a much quieter guitarist these days.i say all of this to get to the point that i believe that kind of power needs an anchor somewhere.i've heard david grier play live a couple of times and even with a good mic i had to strain to hear him.a great player,but very very quiet.i think you need all the volume you can get to compete with banjos and mandolins.i anchor the heel of my hand just behind the pins.i disagree with bryan sutton about pecking,though it can appear that way that's not what's happening.to sum it up whatever works for you is the way to go.if you practice smart and hard you will make any method work.
I saw David Grier in a workshop 3 years ago. He did not use any microphone at all but his playing was very loud and clear. Though I believe that some kind of anchoring (necessarily) always takes place. At least some part of the right arm will be pressed a bit against the body of the guitar.
Thomas
i agree tom,even if that anchoring is somewhere along the forearm.wherever the contact point may be,such as doc watson,someone whose anchor seems to be far away from the flatpick.if i watch docs' right hand for very long my own forearm tenses,but he makes it work for him.i would like to add something that i keep forgetting in this discussion thats' near and dear to me.i use alot of movement thats' only my thumb and index finger comingled with wrist and hand movement to manipulate the flatpick.almost looks like writing,one of my students said.i believe in being as efficient as possible with right hand movement.but then there are exceptions to that for instance clay jones who use to be with mt.heart who uses wide sweeping strokes,and i was his guitar teacher when he was about 16,but he had that right hand then.he is a great guitar player with totally different right hand technique from mine.he makes it work.this is one of my favorite subjects so i tend to go on and on.thanks for the feedback.

RSS

Don't Miss These!

Badge

Loading…

Latest Activity

Larry posted a discussion

Easy Solution To a Common Acoustic/Electric String Problem

Found a solution to an often mentioned problem when having installed a piezo type bridge plate pickup transducer. The consensus of several Internet responders who have done this is that while the sound from strings 2 through 6 is good, the high e-string  is way too quiet with no real ring, sustain, etc. Some have suggested moving the transducer for that string away from a brace, Adding a 4th transducer, a not so easy job, etc.I recently installed a JJB pickup (jjbelectronics) in a 40 year old…See More
Apr 21
Sam Byerly posted videos
Apr 19
Sam Byerly posted a photo
Apr 19
Bill Davenport left a comment for Roger Knowles
"Hi Roger...hope all is well across the pond. Hope all is well.  Haven't heard anything about Dave...he may be retired by now."
Apr 14
Profile IconJohn Quibell, Steve Mooney, Alastair Macdonald and 7 more joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Apr 9
Jeffrey Glen West left a comment for dan huckabee
"Dan -- I ran out of time to say much but I want to thank you for your beginner's articles in FGM. I work them out fingerstyle on a nylon-string baritone ukulele."
Mar 30
Jeffrey Glen West posted a blog post

FGM DGBE

I play two-thirds of a guitar. I have some wrist issues with fretting the 6th string. I enjoy finger picking but have been an avid follower of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine for about 6 years. I find Dan Huckabee's beginners arrangements great for the bari-uke. I have also found much of Adam Granger's work suits my DGBE tuning.I once took a class from Dan Miller in Palo Alto, California and he told me that his daughter was playing the baritone uke. I have e-mailed Adam about his new FGM…See More
Mar 30
Jeffrey Glen West commented on Jeffrey Glen West's photo
Thumbnail

IMG_20160720_100804276_HDR

"Learning mountain tunes from Wayne Henderson July 2016 at the California Coast Music Camp"
Mar 30
Jeffrey Glen West posted photos
Mar 30
Profile IconMary Stewart and Steven Bocon joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Feb 20
Arthur Knowler replied to William Gray's discussion Heavy Picks Anyone?
"I have a left handed Blue Chip TAD 3R 40 pick and I find it a great pick to use, no scraping and quick on the strings. The only problem is that the tone is quite bass-y which is great for lead picking or Mandolin but not so good for rhythm…"
Feb 18
Profile IconBob Williams, Andy Gilbert, Paul Saulnier and 3 more joined Flatpicking Guitar Network
Feb 15
Dale Galgozy updated their profile
Feb 12
Robbie Kane updated their profile
Feb 9
Louis Ruoti posted a video

Big Sandy River - Louis Ruoti - Flatpick Guitar

Louis Ruoti (http://flatpickit.com) plays Big Sandy River on a Blueridge BR140. Thanks to Dave (http://flatpickapprentice.blogspot.com/) for the backup track.
Feb 7
Tom Wescott left a comment for Barney Selph
"Good man Barney. You'll be glad you signed up. Lots of good stuff/good people. Cheers Tom W."
Feb 2

© 2017   Created by Dan Miller.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service