When raising a finger from a fret, it sometimes happens to me that a string "sticks" to the finger, producing an annoying sound (like when I would do a pull-off, but unintentional). This happens most often when I do the scales:

C D E F G (starting with the C on second string)

When playing the G (1st string, 3rd fret with 4th finger), I have to lift the 4th finger quickly from second string and put it on the first string. So, when I lift it, it does that annoying sound (of the open second string).

This happens to me 70% of the time. I have absolutely no idea how to avoid this; the following methods work but are not acceptable:

  1. Playing slowly (not good because it's VERY slow)
  2. Lifting the finger earlier (not good because I want that D note to ring while I am playing E and F)
  3. Moving the finger along the string while raising it (it's absolutely awkward)

I tried cleaning fingers and strings with soap water and alcohol; doesn't help. I didn't try replacing the string. Speaking of that - I am not sure this is a new problem; maybe I was having that problem all the time and it didn't bother me; tried listening to my old recordings, but they are so awful, I couldn't determine it from them.

There are days when I don't experience this problem at all (maybe air is more dry?), but this is rare.

In addition, it's most often with the 4th finger, sometimes with 3rd finger, but never with others.

  • Steel strings, or nylon?
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 23:21
  • 2
    Do you think that it only happens on fingers 3 and 4 because the other fingers have better calluses?
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 1:02
  • @BenMiller Nylon (can I use steel in classical guitar?)
    – anatolyg
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 8:14
  • Sorry, I didn't see the classical-guitar tag.
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 11:45
  • 1
    @BenMiller It seems like your note on the callus is spot on!
    – anatolyg
    Commented Oct 15, 2013 at 13:04

3 Answers 3


Fingers can sometimes stick to strings if they do not have good calluses. The third and fourth fingers might have this problem more than the index and middle fingers because they do not get used as often. If you work on building up calluses on these fingers, the problem might lessen.

  • I have to dv, as I've played for many years, not had calluses for the last 50odd, and never had this problem.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 15:24

My guess is that the direction the finger is moving is not perpendicular to the fretboard. And so you are in effect plucking the string with the small bit of flesh caused by the indentation of the string itself.

When you fret the string, the string frets you, so to speak. The string creates an indentation in the surface of the fingertip which will recover its smooth shape quickly or slowly depending on a great many factors.

But you should be able to get a clean release by lifting the finger in a strictly vertical direction. The indentations in the fingertip then have no opportunity to snag the string.

  • 3
    I often finish practice to find indented lines on all four of my left hand fingers!
    – Aric
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 9:56

I have the same problem. I see this is a very old post, but thought I may contribute anyway. It may help someone.

I have the problem not because of a lack of calluses. I have played for 40 years, and for the past several have played for hours every day.I have had well developed calluses for a very long time.

But I also have an autoimmune disease which has affected my skin. The indentations in my fingers run deeper and my fingers cling to strings galore at times, creating all kinds of miserable awful sounding unintentional "pull offs".

I can limit the damage by playing very cautiously, but there are never guarantees.

Once in a studio, it was suggested I use talc to help alleviate the problem. I did, and it kind of worked a bit, but not 100%. Found this post actually, as I was looking for a remedy, something I may be able to apply to loosen the "sticking power" of my fingers to the strings.

Putting it out there, just so people can perhaps realise that there are other issues that can cause this problem than under-developed calluses. Now, on to looking for that elusive product......

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