To Anchor or not to Anchor?

edited May 2020 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 92

Hey guys! I am enrolled in the Rosenberg Academy and it's wonderful for sure. In lesson 5 of the technique section he shows to lightly anchor with the 3rd and 4th fingers of the right hand, resting them in a mobile fashion on the body of the guitar. For me this feels unnatural and tense. My hand is relaxed when it is mostly closed and floats completely freely above the bridge. Is it necessary to anchor to play correct technique and achieve the desired speed and tone? Looking forward to your input. Thank you very much. Matthew



  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ Dupont, Gaffiero, AJL
    Posts: 262

    There's a lot of variation in how people pick. Stephane Wrembel anchors his pinky when he plays (depending on the lines) and has his ring and middle fingers curled in. Jimmy Rosenberg brushes the top with his middle and ring fingers (at least it looks that way to me). I don't think there's necessarily a "right way" as so much variation within the best players exists.

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161

    Do whatever feels right for you. As long as it feels good and you can get the sound you want, it’s fine. I have a studied all the best players’ picking hands up close, they all have their own variations on roughly the same technique. One person who floats a lot like you want to is Mozes Rosenberg who happens to be Stochelo’s own brother.

  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Eastman DM2v, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    Posts: 337

    I have always done it just us Matthewkanis describes, I always thought it was incorrect. All the gypsy guys I watch always have their fingers closed and hovering above the bridge. I do it that way sometimes, but it feels quite natural for my pinky to lightly touch the body of the guitar. Glad I read his post, now I feel like it’s not ‘wrong’

  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    edited May 2020 Posts: 248

    Funny timing, I've been teaching a friend some techniques lately and this came up too. I think it's another example where there is not a "right way" or a "wrong way" for technique, just use what's comfortable and gives you the sound you like, as the others mentioned. The only reason I've shifted my playing on my latest guitar is just to avoid wearing down the oil finish in that spot where my pinky hangs out, but the worn out look is certainly en vogue these days... To each their own!

  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Eastman DM2v, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    edited May 2020 Posts: 337

    I just cut out a circular shape from a screen protector and put it right there were my pinky rubs

    i’ve also in the past ordered some stuff from eBay, some kind of clear plastic that adheres wonderfully to the wood and peels off with no problems, the guy sells it as pick guard material.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 470

    Watching videos of Bireli, it seems like he doesn't touch the top unless he's playing really fast, in which case sometimes he lets his third and fourth fingers drop down to touch the top, probably for stability.

  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Eastman DM2v, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    Posts: 337

    Maybe I’m crazy but, I believe that by not touching the top whatsoever, has a positive effect on the overall tone of the instrument .

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 959

    This is a strange question for me, but as a relative beginner maybe it is just because I am not up to the speed of the masters, and I am trying more to work on rhythm playing anyway but it would seem to me the reason some do it would simply be a reference point of spacial awareness, that contact point for the tip of maybe just the pinky lets the hand, and therefore the pick, know exactly where it is in relation to the strings.

    If that is all that is required there is no need for any great pressure on the guitar so would hardly have any effect on the tone. What you are saying is valid in cases where some people hold the guitar too tight against them, or rest an entire hand on the surface then certainly one can strangle the tone but I doubt it is a problem for the likes of Angelo, Bireli, Stochelo or Tchavolo.

  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Eastman DM2v, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    edited May 2020 Posts: 337

    well, that’s why I prefaced the

    I still stand by it. I mean obviously the more pressure one puts on the top ,the more drastic would be the effect, whereas just an extremely light brush would be nearly imperceptible. A difference nonetheless.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I am Notorious with the pinky drag

  • JoseJose Minneapolis New DuPont MD 50
    Posts: 49

    I believe Gonzalo Bergara also picks with a floating hand. Right?

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