This is a public version of the members-only Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux, at ArtistWorks. Functionality is limited, but CLICK HERE for full access if you’re ready to take your playing to the next level.

These lessons are available only to members of Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux.
Join Now

Basic Classical Guitar
Classical Guitar Reference Topics
Intermediate Classical Guitar
Advanced Classical Guitar
Special Guests
30 Day Challenge
«Prev of Next»

Classical Guitar Lessons: Right Hand Fingers - Rest Stroke

Lesson Video Exchanges () submit video Submit a Video Lesson Study Materials () This lesson calls for a video submission
Study Materials Quizzes
information below Close
information below
Lesson Specific Downloads
Play Along Tracks
Backing Tracks +
Written Materials +

+Basic Classical Guitar

+Intermediate Classical Guitar

+Advanced Classical Guitar

Additional Materials +
resource information below Close
Collaborations for
resource information below Close
Submit a video for   
Classical Guitar

This video lesson is available only to members of
Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux.

Join Now

information below Close
Course Description

This page contains a transcription of a video lesson from Classical Guitar with Jason Vieaux. This is only a preview of what you get when you take Classical Guitar Lessons at ArtistWorks. The transcription is only one of the valuable tools we provide our online members. Sign up today for unlimited access to all lessons, plus submit videos to your teacher for personal feedback on your playing.

CLICK HERE for full access.
We're going to continue now with rest
In the last lesson, we covered the free
strokes of the right hand, and now we're
just gonna cover rest stroke, and I even
have a nice rest stroke exercise for you.
The rest stroke, there, there's basically
two types of strokes in the right hand,
the free stroke and rest stroke.
The rest stroke is different from the free
stroke in, in that,
in the free stroke, if we, if I just, if
I, play this I, M.
Alternation on the first string.
You can see that, that the fingers once
they leave the string they're in the open
air, they don't come to rest on any other
string or any other part of the guitar.
In rest stroke there's a slight
deviation in the angle if needed.
And some, some, some hands it's not needed
depends on just the shape of your hand,
length of your fingers, a lot of other
variables, but basically what you want
with the rest stroke is that
at the release of the stroke,
the fingertip comes to rest on the
adjacent string below it, and
so I'll demonstrate that with A first,
here, the A finger,
on the first string and that stroke looks
like this.
Again I find my, find your contact point,
plant and then release the string,
bringing it into the adjacent string
I would recommend that you not allow the
tempo joint to
collapse like this
That's an example of a collapsed tip
joint, it, it's much harder to
control your tone and sound if over time
if if that's happening, so
just make sure that it's firm, I, what I
mean is don't try to actively curl it,
just let it naturally come through
the string.
But if, if you've noticed it collapsing
just apply
a little
bit of tension in the,
in the tip of the finger right, for now,
and then the muscles will learn to control
that tip joint as it moves through the
other two joints, the middle joint and
the top joint or knuckle joint,
you know, should remain steady.
The top joint or the knuckle joint is, is
the one
that's really providing the power,
and, and most of the work for
rest strokes, okay, moving to M, same
find your contact point, and release,
and the release of the M finger should go
into the third string.
Moving ahead to I,
you can practice that more if you wish.
Moving on to I, planting the I finger for
this exercise and on to the third string
putting potential energy into the string
and releasing and
then the tip of the finger should go into
the, fourth string below,
the adjacent string below.
Don't try to necessarily, when, when you,
when you rest the tip of the finger onto
the adjacent string below,
it is not necessary to, to, for it to rest
on its contact point.
The contact point is really only for the
stroke that you're playing on the string
that you're playing, however the finger
naturally releases into the string below
is what it should and
it is wherever it lands is where it lands.
Just gonna be natural.
Okay, the rest stroke of the thumb, yes,
there are rest strokes for
the thumb as well.
When you're playing fast arpeggios
obviously you won't really have time to
play rest stroke thumbs but, a rest stroke
thumb can really come in handy I mean I
like to use it for, you know?
You know for
certain notes in velo
was prelude one, or
You know, occasionally I'll throw some
rest stroke thumbs in there in
that passage to help bring out the, this,
the sound of those notes
ahead of the other notes that I'm playing
creating a two kind of a,
a two dimensional texture, and that's
really why, why we teach the rest
stroke is because it it has a fuller sound
by nature than, than the free stroke does.
80% of your strokes and that you play, or
more, I would say probably even 90, or
closer to 90%, will be with free strokes
simply because you won't have time to, to,
to play with ro, rest strokes, and, and
especially when you get into more advanced
playing and counterpoint and all this
kinda thing.
You, you need to have, you know, they,
it's impossible to play most of your notes
rest stroke.
It's more of kind of, it's this kind of a
sound that adds more melattic
kind of content when you have time and it
you'll see with the thumb that the, there
are other, there are opportunities for
that to happen, so you should learn how to
do the of rest stroke with the thumb here
and, and, you see there's two kinds here.
You see with me, I have one of these bend
back tip joint thumb,
in the thumb, that's just something I
developed from the time I was a kid.
It is not a, traditional stroke but
some people have this kind of natural
bending back motion of the thumb.
You can use that for
a rest stroke if you like, but even for
those players like
me that have that sorta natural bend I had
learn how to execute a free stroke thumb
and all so a rest stroke thumb.
The traditional way,
and I'm very glad that I did because I
didn't prove my tra,
technique dramatically and so how to do
that, the traditional way with the rest
stroke of the thumb is to make sure that
your tip joint is firm.
The tip joint should be firm through
the stroke.
Like this,
if you have a longer thumb nail like me
you might have to roll your hand forward
but again you're not gonna be using this
stroke all that often.
So it's really just for more of a special
just kind of effect sound, and that is
the, the rest stroke for the right hand.
And I will here's a, here's a quick
exercise that you can do to practice
just a
go two, three four strokes per note with I
and then, then,
then moving the hand down to the second
Third string, so on and so fourth all the
way down to the sixth string.
With the sixth string, when you do a rest
stroke, on the sixth string,
obviously there's no, seventh string to
rest onto so
you have to pretend that there's one
underneath it, and
provide the same
kind of direction in the fingertip like
this, all most as if there,
you have to imagine that there's a string
underneath there.
Also notice my arm motion as I do this
I'm gonna do this exercise now with M and
you want you to notice how I move,
how I travel the hand to the different
strings as I'm going down from the first
string to sixth string your arm should
just move naturally back like this in a,
in a, in generally in a straight line like
here I am doing that with this,
this is the rest stroke without a plant
even here I'm doing a,
a free stroke with a sweep stroke, what I
like to call sweep stroke or
legato stroke, a stroke that does not
plant before hand.
All right,
now I'm going to go to
the second string,
watch the movement of my arm.
And there you go you can do the same thing
with A, you can all so
do the same thing with the rest strokes
of the thumb going up the string.
And try all these exer, exercises with,
with a plant beforehand,
a deliberate plant beforehand, and also
also try them
by sweeping to
the stroke
a free sweep, a lega, a legato,
a smooth stroke without planting before
hand, and that is the rest stroke.
Thank you very much.