Question: Lately, I've been really paying attention to what my right hand (picking hand) is doing. When I first started working on alternate picking, I had never really payed attention to what it was doing. But now that I have, it feels like my right hand somehow "restarted", if you get what I'm saying. I'm having a lot of problems with how to place my hand over the guitar strings or bridge and playing with my wrist WITHOUT anchoring my fingers on the body of the guitar (like Batio does). So my question is: Is there a CORRECT way in how you place your picking hand in order to EASILY pick cleaner, and play guitar faster?

Tom Hess's Answer: The hand position that I use is different from what most players use, since I mute extra string noise by using my picking hand’s thumb (read this article to learn more about how to eliminate unwanted guitar string noise).

This is the hand position that I teach all my students to use and it works very well with eliminating all extraneous string noise from lead guitar playing.

The most efficient way to move your hand is to use your forearm/elbow to move the pick between the strings and to use your wrist to pick on individual strings.

You can check out guitar playing videos at my website to see how I hold my picking hand while playing guitar.


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