Right Hand FAQ

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Question: "What is the best method for resting your picking hand on the guitar? Some rest their pinky below the pickup to provide anchorage. Some float their hand and use their forearm as an anchor. What is the best method?"


"I would say either can be effective. The one thing that all great pickers have though, is very relaxed hands."

"I would say what ever feels the best and most comfortable for you."

"A matter of taste really. Even Petrucci rests his pinky on the guitar body although he is not anchoring but moving around with his hand. I don't think it slows you down. It can be weird in the beginning but later on it only provides precision."

It is a matter of personal preference, try both ways, and see what is right for you."

Question: "I think the biggest piece of the puzzle in working up some decent alternate picking chops is my right hand. My forearm seems to get too tense at my top speeds and my top speed just isn't that speedy. What can I do to overcome this?"


"While practicing, concentrate on your picking hand, on your forearm and your wrist, try to release it, the only tension should be in your fingers, to hold the pick. then when you are able to play four notes loud, four notes palm muted (piano) precisely and in tempo, without tension in your picking hand at low BPM, add 5 BPM to your metronome. Always add by 5 or 10 (if you are confident), but ONLY when you are sure that your picking hand is absolutely relaxed. Using this method you should be able to 'teach' your picking hand to relax at higher speed. This principle could be applied to the left hand as well. "

"When I see my fingers tense up during some intensive workouts, I generally take a break with that exercise, and move on to something completely different for 4-5 minutes, like playing some chords, or arpeggio shapes. Then, when I come back to that same speed, I find that my fingers are not tensing that much, so I can push the boundaries a bit further. But there is a limit mate, there will always be one, so when you see that you really cannot go any further at certain tempo, just put away that exercise and let your muscle memory to settle for a few days. Then you will push it even more, and with patience and slowly, you will get where you want."

"One tip I can give you is to play tremelo picking on one string, start out slow, and try to relax your entire body while playing. Increase the step gradually, and continue to stay relaxed. When you come to the point where you can't relax any more, take a break, then start off slow again."

Question: "When you alternate picking the string, do you rest the side of your palm on the bridge, or do you just pick the notes freely, without the right hand touching anything?"


"When I play the lower strings my hand is over the body or just in the "air" (actually the forearm is over the body resting). And when I play the higher strings the hand could be over the lower strings muting them."

"For low strings I rest my right hand on the birdge, and avoid letting it touch the strings. For high strings I just palm mute every string below."

"Quite simply I roll my palm over the strings I'm not playing."

It is a matter of personal preference, try both ways, and see what is right for you."