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What am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by andyfr, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. andyfr

    andyfr Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 7, 2017
    UK
    Hi guys

    My first post so be gentle. :)

    Many years ago I used to play in a band but just rhythm guitar and singing so I never learnt to play anything other than chords. Until recently I hadn't touched a guitar since the early 80s but decided I wanted a new challenge in my retirement.

    Last week I bought a new Mexican Standard Strat and I love it! The problem I'm having is I keep touching the bridge with the heel of my hand and that changes the pitch. I know that there is a Fender bridge cover available but from what I understand it won't fit the Mexican.

    As the guitar has only just been setup by the store I'm reluctant to start messing with the bridge by blocking or decking and as we live over 100 miles from the store it's not easy to just call in and get it changed. It has 9s on and I don't want to change to anything heavier.

    I'm wondering if it's just that I have my picking hand in the wrong position but I can't work out where else to place it.

    The bridge cover would be the ideal solution but it doesn't look like that's an option.

    Andyfr.
     

  2. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    57
    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    I don't think that the bridge cover would be any use even if you could get one to fit. Nobody ever uses them so I can't be sure, but don't they mount onto the bridge itself? So pressing down on the cover would do the same as pressing down on the bridge itself.

    If you're not prepared to deck the bridge (which is what I do) you'll simply have to teach yourself not to press down in a place where you shouldn't be pressing down!

    Or get a Tele....
     
    dueducs, ocean, SSJR and 1 other person like this.

  3. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014
    Australia
    Hello,

    Try anchoring your "pinky" on the scratch-plate whilst resting the palm of your hand on the bridge. I do this & it minimizes the warble, while still allowing me to choke / mute strings as needed.

    Alternatively, rest your palm just behind the bridge.
     
    Frankg11 and Raiders757 like this.

  4. Twelve8

    Twelve8 Strat-O-Master

    730
    Dec 5, 2015
    Sheffield, UK
    It’s a challenge best overcome with technique rather than a purchase.

    For normal strumming you probably don’t want your palm anywhere near the bridge.

    For muted chords you just need to be *very* gentle and possibly place your palm slightly further away from the bridge.

    I can palm mute and strum with a floating bridge without affecting pitch. It’s one of those things that’s hard to describe. You just need to learn how to do it through practice. Keep trying and eventually it will click.

    Good luck :)
     

  5. Groovey

    Groovey Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    57
    Nov 17, 2016
    NC. USA
    Sometimes I will rest my the fat of my hand on the saddles.

    Lets see a picture of the area your touching.
     

  6. andyfr

    andyfr Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 7, 2017
    UK
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I may end up having to deck the bridge eventually. I will try your suggestions Rastus and see if I can stop it. Twelve8, I will try to persevere. Groovey, I'm resting my hand on the bridge behind the saddles which is the problem.

    I have only had it a week and have been sitting down to play so maybe not the time to look for a quick solution. I'm going to get a strap so that may help a bit with the position.

    Cheers.

    Andyfr.
     

  7. Wrighty

    Wrighty Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 7, 2013
    Harlow, Essex, UK
    Decking the bridge is probably easier than learning a new technique. I'm no luthier but putting a small block of wood between the block and the body and tightening the springs took me 1/2 hour
     

  8. andyfr

    andyfr Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 7, 2017
    UK
    Hi Wrighty

    I have just been looking at a YouTube video on picking technique and I'm going to try unanchored to see if I can do that. As it's been such a long time since I played I'm basically a beginner so I don't want to get into any bad picking techniques.
     

  9. nungesser

    nungesser I ain't askin' for much..Lord take me downtown... Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 28, 2014
    Ireland
    i'm self taught so i just do what feels comfortable or comes naturally to me, I rest my pink on the pickguard or body of the guitar like in this picture especially when I'm playing my Dobro, i leave the rest of my hand floating above the strings just using the pinky as support.
    you can toy around with what works for you, I think with just a little bit of concentration you should be able to figure out were your hand will sit
    picking.jpg
     
    Believer7713 likes this.

  10. rocknrollrich

    rocknrollrich Strat-O-Master

    Age:
    46
    790
    Jan 8, 2016
    philadelphia
    You may at some point find the "unanchored" approach limiting.
    Especially where multiple string crossing runs are involved.
    With no "anchor" or reference point, it's easy to get lost crossing/skipping strings.

    I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm sure there are people who make that work for them.

    Different players use different anchors. Some use a spot on the forearm, some the edge of the hand on the bridge (like you do), some a pinky on the pick guard, etc.

    It just tends to be easier to reference your pick to the different strings.
    Of course, use what suites your needs and goals. I can tell you from experience though, at higher speed runs, that reference point is crucial.
     
    Elvie likes this.

  11. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    51
    Nov 14, 2013
    Alabama
    @stratman323 is right.

    The bridge cover would not help you. It mounts to the bridge itself, so resting your hand on the cover is no different than resting your hand on the bridge. It is only a cosmetic thing, and actually interferes with palm muting and control. That's why nobody uses them.
     
    dueducs, David Garner and andyfr like this.

  12. fezz parka

    fezz parka The Wiggler of Sticks Strat-Talk Supporter

    Its what a Strat's floating bridge does. Alter/adjust your technique or deck the bridge. :D
     
    jjudas, TheToneBoyar, andyfr and 3 others like this.

  13. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    largo,fl
    Repetition is the Mother of skill, adjust your technique and follow through until you meet the next challenge!

    Welcome back to guitar and Strat-Talk!
     
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  14. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 26, 2014
    LAS VEGAS , NV
    I threw my picks away years ago and found that "anchoring" with the pinky and forearm combined, allows me to "dangle" all my other digits over the strings and even when I also need to use the pinky for picking, just the forearm is enough. When I need to mute strings, I do it a little bit forward (towards the neck) of the bridge and this avoids pushing the bridge down. Contrary to popular conception, a floating tremolo can be key to great tuning stability, as well as providing another "weapon" in your technique arsenal!

    The suggestion of "Decking the bridge is probably easier than learning a new technique." is not conducive to "Learning" and is not the way to progress! Yoy got back into this to pick up new stuff and I strongly encourage you to do so and reap the rich rewards of such!
    Welcome Back!
    Gene
     
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  15. andyfr

    andyfr Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 7, 2017
    UK
    Thank you all for your suggestions and insight. I'm going to try the different approaches and see which feels comfortable. I want to try the "correct" technique as I feel that will stop me getting into bad habits.

    I appreciate all your replies and the warm welcome.
     

  16. stratistically

    stratistically Strat-O-Master Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    69
    812
    Dec 24, 2013
    England
    Firstly you're not "just" a rhythm guitarist, you are an accompanist and a very important job it is too. Who makes the lead guitar, singer, sax player, you name it, sound good? The accompanying guitar, that's who. Mind you, I'm biassed because that's what I do and have been doing for over 50 years...
    With regard to your tuning stability problem, the most likely cause is your playing technique, because it is not usual to have any part of your right hand (I'm assuming you are right-handed so sorry if you are not) touching the instrument when playing unless it is done deliberately for an effect (such as palm-muting). So if you can get over that your problem will be a thing of the past. Perhaps a couple of lessons would help, just to put you on the right track.
    By the way, welcome to the Forum and please note that my opening sentence was not meant in a bad way, we accompanists should stick together. Good luck.
     
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  17. shredinburgh_gogs

    shredinburgh_gogs Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    50
    11
    Oct 9, 2017
    Edinburgh
    Try to rest on the strings Eric Johnson style....
     

  18. andyfr

    andyfr Strat-Talk Member

    11
    Oct 7, 2017
    UK
    You made some good points there Stratistically. :)
     
    Silvercrow likes this.

  19. RaySachs

    RaySachs Strat-Talker

    Age:
    58
    269
    Jun 25, 2017
    Philly area
    Every time I see a post like this, I have to pick up the guitar to see how I do it - it's become such an unconscious thing I can't even think of it without playing for 30 seconds. Turns out my only anchor point is my pinky on the pick guard down below the high E. The meaty part of my palm, below the thumb, hangs around the bass strings and mutes them as appropriate, but I don't have my palm anchored anywhere, just my pinky. And I usually have it unmoored too when I'm strumming or chunking on chords, but that varies too. I tend not to pick or chord that close to the bridge, so I'm never hitting the bridge or anchoring on it. I have to sometimes remind myself of the sounds that are available by picking down near that end, but the sound and feel I naturally seem to go for is darker and smoother and I'm just more comfortable on all kinds of levels with my picking/strumming hand up closer to the middle pickup if not the neck...

    It's so weird how unconscious it is that it actually becomes sort of interesting to observe and try to pay attention to what I'm doing. I worry about being too aware of it, though, like asking a golfer whether he inhales or exhales on his backswing is a recipe for disaster until he manages to forget to think about it again...

    -Ray
     
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  20. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Strat-O-Master

    899
    Nov 6, 2014
    Bucks County, Pa.
    Welcome and please, don't give up! You'll find what works for you....patience, Grasshopper! (Depending on your age that last comment may make NO sense...LOL)

    I'm a "pinky" anchor point guy myself...

    Re: rhythm guitar, my .25:

    I personally hate the term "lead guitar", usually the rhythm guitar and bass, perhaps keys, are driving the song most times. I was recently referred to as the lead guitarist for our band, my reply was that the front man was leading- I'm one sixth of the band! Guess I'm not arrogant enough to be a lead guitarist anyway...

    'Nudder thing! The lead guitar / soloists that I admire most, are monster rhythm players. Hendrix being one of many...

    "Take these guitar picks from my hand, Grasshopper...and find your anchor point!"

    Brian
     
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