When playing a string with the right hand, it is suggested to have the finger pushing through the string. That is to say, the finger is moving inward the guitar, rather than pluck the string outward of the guitar.

This is easy for playing one string.

But how to do that on multiple strings (a chord)? It is almost impossible to push string toward the guitar, otherwise my finger will mute other strings.


from 2:57, He is playing a string inward. But I don't know how to apply this to a chord.

  • Gotta say, it's a new one on me. As long as the string is plucked, and doesn't rebound back onto the fingerboard (that's a different technique), then upwards or downwards would work. Wouldn't it..?
    – Tim
    Feb 6, 2020 at 20:02
  • No it wouldn't.
    – user50691
    Feb 7, 2020 at 6:21
  • @Tim - perpendicular to the guitar works as well (despite the narrator saying it's a bad thing)
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 7, 2020 at 9:38
  • @DoktorMayhem - I'm probably about to learn something new here. Wouldn't work for tirando, and might for apoyando, but would maybe only work one way, and put the wrong part of the finger on the next string. Help!
    – Tim
    Feb 7, 2020 at 9:46
  • @Tim - I'm with you that I'd always go apoyando or tirando, but you can also pluck away from the guitar (I don't know if it has a name)
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 7, 2020 at 9:49

2 Answers 2


Just take a look at what he's doing. What he's saying is that you don't want to pluck the string by pulling it up and away from the top of the guitar. The initial action of the finger on the should be such that you feel the strings pushing your hand away slightly, like a spring. You push in a little. The follow through is along an arc that eventually curls up, it does not uncurl. In some sense the string will slide out from underneath the finger as if launching off a ramp. Some classical guitarists file their nails at an angle to help with this. If you were playing rest stroke on a single string you could push through and hit your right hand finger on the next string. For chords and arpeggios you can't use rest stroke so all fingers need to execute free stroke when playing. The curling of the finger up into the palm is required for clearance, so the vibrating string does not hit the finger. You are getting out of the way.

The push in is an initial action that supplies enough tension to cause the strings to slide off the nail. You do not need to keep pushing in as that would cause you to push your finger through and hit the top of the guitar.


The action your fingers should take is a curling or an uncurling, not a push in towards the guitar as such. So for that stroke you can use the same action shown in the video - your fingernail or fingertip should be moving parallel to the surface of the guitar, either towards the lower strings or the higher strings. Curl and uncurl your fingers while moving through the strings.

  • How do you define "uncurling"? This seems very unnatural.
    – user50691
    Feb 7, 2020 at 6:20
  • The two simple things you can do with your fingers are curl them or uncurl (or straighten) them. This pushes your finger through the string one way then the other.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 7, 2020 at 9:34
  • @ggcg I have updated my post to clarify
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 7, 2020 at 9:38
  • Which joint of finger should I curl actually? The far-wrist joint or near-wrist joint of my finger?
    – null
    Feb 7, 2020 at 12:04
  • Typically all in a synchronised movement, @Nathan
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 7, 2020 at 13:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.