I am learning fingerstyle guitar and was bit confused about my Right hand pinky finger, where it should rest ?

I have seen guitarist some rest on the guitar body while other keep the pinky stretch and also noticed some guitarist rest it on the E string.

How will the position of pinky will affect my playing ?

3 Answers 3


Strictly speaking, it goes wherever you need it to go.

It may be 'anchored' on the guitar top, or a string, but generally, it'll be hovering like the rest, in suspension over the strings, ready to be used.

There's nothing wrong with it being used - not all the time - but whenever needed. Some players don't use it, some sites say don't use it, others use it all the time, I use it for some patterns, not others.

Resting the underside of the forearm either on the guitar top or behind the bridge, puts all digits in a ready-to-play position, and that includes the pinky. If you decide it's never going to come out to play,that's up to you. At which point, it's also up to you to decide where it gets stored...

  • One again, this freedom is because of Guitar's existence doesn't date long back enough that there's a "tradition" to it? Like even though it is said to have originated from the Lute which is pretty old, existence of Guitar in Western Classical times is not so prominant and thus we have this freedom of choosing where to place the pinky. Mar 14, 2020 at 5:24
  • 1
    @RishiNandha_M - I don't think tradition comes into it. With most instruments there's a sort of 'basic' way of playing, but watch many really good players, and they develop their own techniques and nuances, regardless. And they don't all follow the same route or ideas. we're all different, and that is seen in these different techniques. The same can be said about most human activities - sports in particular.
    – Tim
    Mar 14, 2020 at 7:19
  • So do well versed instrumentalists get to make their own tweaks in the technique they employ even in instruments used in arrangements like Orchestras? Are these allowed strictly speaking? This is interesting. Do you have any examples of Concert Masters or anyone else who does this? Mar 15, 2020 at 10:37
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    @RishiNandha_M - can't give any specific examples, but soloists will obviously be o.k. doing whatever. In a bank of violinists in an orchestral setting, everyone will bow the same way - as usually directed by either the leader or the coductor - but that's discipline, I suppose. Fingering, for instance, is down to the individual player.
    – Tim
    Mar 15, 2020 at 11:04

It should not rest anywhere. I am well aware that many players "anchor" the right hand (picking hand) both in finger style and pick style playing but this is unnecessary and will ultimately lead to the development of a handicap in terms of lost freedom of movement.

Perhaps you could clarify which "finger style" you are trying to learn. In classical the pinky would never be anchored. Even though you will find some guitarists that do anchor I would bet that you will find many more in all genres who don't, and good ones too.

The meat of the forearm rests on the edge of the guitar body and that is enough to feel the placement of the hand over the sound hole. I've seen some guitarists float their right arm, never touching the body while playing really fast runs, and they still do fine.


I let mine float. I tend to think that if Segovia let it float, you won't get fired for doing it. It should be relaxed and fairly passive (you see some guys stick it out like it's a frozen fish stick, that always looked exhausting to me).

Regarding using it, I was originally instructed not to; there's four finger notations in most instructional material, PIMA, and the pinky isn't one of them.

But, over time, I decided that if it made sense to use it, I would. When I do six string arpeggios I find it makes the overall execution easier. For example, if I'm going all the way up and down an E Major, I'll use my pinky. It never strikes anything other than the high E string though.

Some say it's a bad habit, some say otherwise, this is one of those "it works for me" things.

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