A lot has been written about right hand technique in the last few centuries. Most of it I agree with. My philosophy has been "if it hurts, don't do it; if it works, use it; if it doesn't work now, file it away for later". I play nylon string, 12-(steel)string, electric and pedal-steel guitars. I use the same "classical" right hand technique on all of them.




APOYANDO - rest stroke or literally "outstreched fingers". The fingers are only slightly curved, lifting the wrist further out from the soundboard. The wrist is usually (not always!) bent to bring the plane of the fingernails parallel to the strings. The fingers flex primarily at the knuckles for free strokes, only at the knuckles for rest strokes. This position allows a very poweful tone and maximum volume. In this picture I am playing slightly off of the right side of the nail. Nail angle or side is changed by rotating the forearm (like turning a doorknob) more than by bending the wrist.


TIRANDO - free stroke. I use these terms loosely, as I practice rest strokes and free strokes with both hand positions. Here the wrist is straight, and the fingers curved (to varying degrees) bringing the hand close to the instrument. By bringing the butt of the palm within an eigth-inch or so of the strings, string damping between notes or chords can be accomplished easily. Here I am playing off of the center of the nail. Again the nail angle can be changed by rotating the forearm.