Pinky rest #1

Virtually unknown to classical guitar, resting right hand pinky right under the sound hole is rather common in fingerstyle world. What are pros and cons of it?

When you start to learn classical guitar you’ll often have some trouble with right hand stability. At this stage individual fingers aren’t properly mobilised yet. There is then a strong tendency to use bigger segments of your upper limb to produce a sound. It might be a move from your wrist or even from your elbow. Of course it’s impossible to play that way and a lot of effort has to be put into stabilising your hand and moving just the individual fingers.

Pinky rest resolves this problem almost instantly and that’s its main purpose. This comes at a cost however.

Pinky and ring finger having some tendon connections tend to move together. Anchoring your pinky on the face of the guitar makes it much harder to play with the 3rd finger (“a” finger). It’s inhibited and it’s more difficult to perform techniques like rolls or classical tremolo in even and steady manner.

It’s hard to say whether it’s worth it. Also depending on your target repertoire pros can outweigh cons and vice versa. For me, given that I was always interested in Tommy Emmanuel style music, it was easy choice. But now I have to pay for it when I’m trying to tackle classical guitar songs.

To sum up, if songs that you’d like to play are being played with pinky rest then it’s probably good idea to implement it in your playing or to at least check it out. Otherwise maybe it’s better to work more in the beginning but later to have more choices in your repertoire (especially if you see yourself playing difficult classical stuff at some point).

In second part of this article (coming soon) I’ll try to point out what to pay attention to when anchoring your pinky.