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Video Guitar Lesson

Rest and free strokes and some of the most basic right hand finger movements. These movements have to be well understood for any finger style or classical guitarist.

Rest strokes are when the finger “rests” on the string behind it, after the string is plucked. Start with the “G” string. Place your index finger on the string. The alignment of the top knuckle should be two to three strings behind it. Press the string down towards the face of the guitar and release. The finger should have easily rested on the “D” string.

Free strokes are a little different. On the G string, place your index finger. Now, align the large knuckle over top of the string by moving the arm forward. Press the string into the face of the guitar and release. The finger will swing freely of the D string due to the placement of the hand over the string. The cup of the hand creates space in the cup of the hand called swing space. Swinging freely from the string is not created by moving the finger out of the way.

When a player is in rest stroke position and playing a free stroke, they will usually try to pull on the string to miss the string behind it. Start again with the rest stroke. Press down and pull the string free. Notice that the string has to be pulled towards your chin to create a free stroke. There will be a pop of the string slapping the fret board. This is a common mistake of beginning guitarists and it is easily solved by making sure you are in the correct position for the strokes you are trying to execute