I just started to try self-learn fingerpicking. I know absolutely nothing about it, but can play some beginner tunes with flat picking.

When I try to position the right hand as told in the YouTube videos, I was supposed to make the wrist a valley, touch it on the guitar and also make the knuckles a high point. I can’t do this because then The side of the right hand, that is, the part just below the little finger is touching the low E string and my ring finger is unable to access the high E string. I see practically everyone has that right hand position. How do I go about achieving this?

  • The high E string is the thin one, low is the thick one so have you asked correctly?
    – Tim
    Jun 23 at 8:31
  • Yes @Tim I have asked correctly Jun 23 at 8:35
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    Post pictures and someone will be able to diagnose your issue hopefully
    – Awalrod
    Jun 23 at 13:58
  • Do you mean low in pitch, or low as in closer to the floor? / I suggest you visit a music shop and ask if someone can check your position or set-up. There may be an adjustment of some other part of your body that will resolve things. / Of course the best solution is to take lessons! Jun 24 at 5:14
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    According to Tim's answer, as each one of us has a special body shape, maybe the position you see for a lot of people is necessary the best for your case, in terms of ergonomics, or just even to get to a specific string/point in the guitar. For example, if you hand is small or your fingers are short, maybe you'll have to keep your hand at a lower position to achieve and get to the high E string. As proposed in other comment, a front photo, and another one from above, of your hand's position would be helpful to review your case. Jun 27 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


In the absence of any answers (yet), I'll try to explain what I do. The heel of my hand - trace the pinky down to almost the wrist - actually rests on the bridge. That gives my hand enough rotation to play any string with any finger, or the thumb. It anchors the whole picking machine - my hand/fingers - so it's not floating around with no particular place to go. Resting my forearm on the guitar's belly keeps fatigue at bay. Not saying this is the best/only/recognised way, but it works for me.

As with a lot of things in life, we have to experiment until we find what works best for us as individuals - let's face it, none of our anatomies are exactly identical, and the way our fingers work isn't the same because of it.

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    the length of your fingers and width of your palm will have a bearing on how you find it comfortable to play . The Youtube videos are only a very general guide at best; don't follow them slavishly Jun 29 at 8:21

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