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Open or closed?

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm working on getting my right hand to move more fluidly; i currently keep my three fingers rested on my treble strings when playing rhythm, i have noticed when playing faster thrashy style stuff (180bpm+ 16th notes) those fingers tend to get fatigued or cause some strain.

When im not palm nutting, or playing faster leads (180bpm+ 16th notes) i close my fingers into a fist and am able to play more fluidly.

From your experience does resting your fingers on the strings a bad technique to have learned?
 

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BT
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I don't think planting your fingers somewhere is a bad thing, in fact I recommended it. If that happens to be resting on stings your not using then I don't see it as a problem.

I think you right hand should be relaxed. Making a fist is not relaxed. I used to do this, I don't anymore and things have improved greatly.
 

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Premium Member
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I keep my hand closed and it works great. I don't clench it like a fist, I just curl the last two joints while leaving the base joint just a little bent. It's a completely relaxed position for me. Whatever works best for you though I suppose. I don't need to plant because I just use the muting portion of my hand to keep track of my position.
 

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I MG.org salute you.
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I agree, it comes down to how you feel comfortable. I tend to agree with abt though. Making a fist is not a nuetral relaxed posture and will likely hamper ability ultimately. Personally I endorse a relaxed posture. My right is neither open or closed when I play and forms a relaxed "C" shape. This facilitates lots of muting as well.

....and then of course there are guys like Steve Morse to prove the whole relaxed theory wrong. :lol: Makes me wonder just how much more phenomenal his abilities would be if he were relaxed. He looks like one of the most tense people ever when he plays. :lol:
 

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Pallin' around
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The big thing to remember is that if you anchor, make sure you have a "soft" anchor as opposed to a "hard" anchor. What I mean by this is that you need to make sure that the anchor isn't impeding picking motion. I anchor too, and I use a soft anchor which means that my anchor moves according to the string I am playing. When I had a hard anchor that stayed in the same place, I found it very difficult to pick the high e string.

You've probably already seen this video but I will post it so you can try to see what I am talking about.

 

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The big thing to remember is that if you anchor, make sure you have a "soft" anchor as opposed to a "hard" anchor. What I mean by this is that you need to make sure that the anchor isn't impeding picking motion. I anchor too, and I use a soft anchor which means that my anchor moves according to the string I am playing. When I had a hard anchor that stayed in the same place, I found it very difficult to pick the high e string.

You've probably already seen this video but I will post it so you can try to see what I am talking about.

YouTube - Alternate Picking Goal
[OT]
what neck pickup is that
[/OT]
 

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Oh it looked like the pole pieces were the larger "quarterpounder" size like on some SD and Rio Grande pickups
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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That's pretty much how my hand sits 90% of the time. I usually anchor my pinky near the edge of the bridge pickupand the other fingers are generally just relaxed.
 

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Thread Killer
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I played open hand for years and was prompted to try it closed by a posting on here, haven't looked back ever since. I've actually ended up using a mixture of both but I do find that when you're going on an all out rhythm picking frenzy, closed seems to help.
 

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Read Only
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I used to always play closed handed but somehow ended up playing open handed. I think it is because it is easier (for me) to mute other strings with an open picking hand.
 

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I played open for years. Then a friend (who's also a pretty kick-ass guitar teacher) was watching me play and suggested that I could fix some balance/accuracy issues in some things I was playing by closing my hand. After about a month of struggling with it, it became natural, and I'm much more accurate.
 

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Puddin
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Wirelessly posted (Stupid Motorola Backflip: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 1.5; en-us; MB300 Build/Blur_Version.0.13.37.MB300.ATT.en.US Flex/P014) AppleWebKit/528.5+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.2 Mobile Safari/525.20.1)

I had to break myself of the habit of anchoring, and I just got over always playing with a closed hand. It has really helped me as far as alternate picking goes. I still suck, but I'm noticeably better... of course I changed a lot about my picking, so it could be something else.
 

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Pallin' around
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This thread just goes to show the vastly different approaches to picking, all of which can be successful. Petrucci and Loomis anchor, Lane didn't, Gilbert doesn't, and Cooley elbow picks. All of those dudes can alternate pick like machines!
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I played open for years. Then a friend (who's also a pretty kick-ass guitar teacher) was watching me play and suggested that I could fix some balance/accuracy issues in some things I was playing by closing my hand. After about a month of struggling with it, it became natural, and I'm much more accurate.
Hey Mike, i was talking with Dave about this the other night; that's awesome dude.

I really need to sit down with Jasun for a one on one.
 

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RG 7 player of doom
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This thread just goes to show the vastly different approaches to picking, all of which can be successful. Petrucci and Loomis anchor, Lane didn't, Gilbert doesn't, and Cooley elbow picks. All of those dudes can alternate pick like machines!
I think for sheer accuracy and consistency, Lane and Gilbert (May as well throw in Govan too) are miles ahead of the other guys
Don't take this as hate for the other guys, since I've been a Dream Theater fan for years, as well as Nevermore, and I respect Cooley's chops, but to be honest, from the sheer amounts of videos I've seen of all those guitarists it was easy to see they are just not as accurate and clean in their picking (be it sweeping or alt).
As far as heavy metal rhythm guitar goes, Petrucci and Loomis are obviously the winners here. Cooley just seems pretty average at best at that, and Lane and Govan obviously wasn't a metal guitarist.
Something tells me it would only take a few weeks for Govan to become a metal rhythm monster though at the rate his brain seems to be able to pick up new things :lol:

The elbow picking thing just makes me cringe when I see it. I wouldn't be surprised if Cooley's elbow just ceases to function after he turns 50.
I think it would be a much smarter move for him to ditch the elbow picking, slow down a bit and gain some consistency and accuracy in the process.
Hell, his sweeps might start to sound musical after that too.
It's always interesting to see Lane play at absolutely alien speeds with seemingly barely any tension in his arms at all.
 
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