Free Stroke


When playing tirando ( “free stroke”), the finger) is slightly curved, plucks one string and is then slightly raised so that it no longer touches another string. This technique is particularly important when several strings are supposed to sound at the same time (polyphony).


Rest Stroke


In apoyando ( “rest stroke”) the finger (most commonly the thumb is lightly extruded, plucks a string and is placed lightly on the following string to stop there for a moment. This sounds a bit louder than if the string is played tirando.

Alternate Picking

Alternate Picking

In order to play fast sequences of notes smoothly, index finger and middle finger in three finger picking (PIM), and also middle finger and ring finger in four finger picking (PIMA) always alternate; thus, they not only play on their originally assigned string, but also on the neighboring. The same string is not plucked twice in succession with the same finger. This allows e.g. the seamless playing of tremolos.

Teaching Alternate Picking

However, there are also criticisms of alternate picking. The guitar educator Detlef Hasselmeyer believes that a wrongly practiced alternate picking technique ultimately leads to motoric restrictions of the players which prevent a further increase in the playing speed. 1) Hasselmeyer suggests that beginners first practice with thumb for the bass string and index finger for the treble strings (i.e. two finger picking (PI)) until their fret hand has gained security. Then he introduces the one finger rasgueado. Then Hasselmeyer has them practice the dedillo.

Only when these previous techniques are completely mastered, Hasselmeyer considers the introduction of the alternate picking as appropriate.


If tirando and apoyando are combined, a rhythmic accent can be put on the notes played with apoyando (often the thumb plays apoyando and the remaining fingers tirando), or the melody tones can be played apoyando and the accompaniment tirando. Also in alternate picking, apoyando and tirando can be played alternately.


JuKeBox661: Tirando and apoyando (Tirando und Apoyando)

Nicolas Jehn: Tirando

Nicolas Jehn (UkuFun): Alternate picking (Wechselschlag)

Robyn Zahra Lowzley: Alternate Picking (Wechselschlag)

Taimane Gardner: Triplet technique (Triolentechnik)