I anchor my little finger on the high E string - bad habit?

Hi all, I wanted to ask you about a “bad habit” that I think I’ve picked up with the guitar… in particular, when I play arpeggios in the thick guitar strings, I tend to “anchor” the little finger (pinky) on the first chord (E) , as if this thing gives me more confidence while plucking the strings. Should I try to undock the little finger instead? Where could I put it, on the pickguard?

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I’m assuming you mean the first “string” e. I rest my ring finger on the e string when finger picking most of the time but that’s the finger I use to play the e string when needed. It’s probably a very bad habit but it hasn’t hurt my finger style playing at all.
So if it is slowing you down it’s a bad habit. If it gives you stability in your playing then I can’t see it hurting any thing.
You may find in time as you get better you stop doing it.

Long term I’m not quite sure, but I also anchor, and I definitely don’t feel as confident (I’m not as accurate either) without anchoring. A lot of the pros anchor so it could be more a mechanic than a flaw?

I don’t anchor and while there are pros that anchor, there are also those that don’t. Friends have encouraged me to anchor but for me it’s just never felt right. Did a master guitar workshop a few years ago and a pro of international repute gave me my own 15 minute session. I noticed he sometimes anchors and often doesn’t. When I asked his advice he said he didn’t think he anchors any more and said whatever works best for you is the way to go. A very personal choice, no one “right” answer.

Thank you all for the answers.

I have noticed that when I have to play arpeggios on the thinnest strings (and therefore no longer the “physical” possibility of anchoring myself with the pinky, since I have to play the first string), I stay with my wrist “in the air” (although this does not give me a lot of confidence, honestly), or I put the pinky on the pickguard of the guitar.

I try to avoid anchoring. I find that it adds a degree of tension to my right hand, which is a bad thing, and it also makes it more difficult to change your tone by moving your RH position towards the headstock or towards the bridge. I try to adopt technique that makes expressive playing easier, rather than more difficult.

With all that said, if you’re going to anchor then I’d say that anchoring on the strings is probably a little better than anchoring on the soundboard of the guitar. (Anchoring on the soundboard will affect the vibration of the soundboard to one degree or another.)

Not espousing a one-true-way or anything; the above is just my opinion and the way I think about it.

I suggest anchoring your pinky on the guitar body, but not against the high E string. When you start targeting strings while strumming, you will likely use your anchor, but will also need to pick the high E. Anchoring on it will mute it.

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