7 Essential Classical Guitar Techniques Every Player Should Work on

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Classical Guitar Technique

Classical guitar is a beautiful and complex instrument that can take years to master. However, there are a few techniques that every player should know in order to play the instrument properly. Each technique has its own unique benefits and can help to make your playing sound more polished and professional. In this article, you will find a brief explanation of each guitar technique that is good to work on in one or another stage of your development as a classical guitarist:

1. Apoyando

Apoyando or “Rest Stroke” is a classical guitar right-hand technique. This is probably one of the guitar techniques that allows the player to produce the loudest sound. To execute apoyando, simply place one of your right-hand fingers – index, middle, or ring, on the string you wish to play push it slightly inward and up to the next, then let the finger slide toward the next upper string. The movement ends with resting the finger on the upper string. When the right hand thumb plays apoyando it rests on the bottom string. That’s why it is called “rest stroke” because after the sound producing the finger rests on the next string.

Classical guitar players use this technique for single melody lines or for scale-like passages. It can be extremely powerful. If the player possesses good apoyando technique they can execute fast passages with ease and in a colorful manner. However, there are many classical guitar players that don’t use apoyando at all, or at least they limit it.

2. Tirando

Tirando or “Free Stroke” is a classical guitar technique where the finger after producing the sound stops in the air. That’s why it is called “free stroke”. This technique produces a bright and lively sound. The tirando is the most important technique in classical guitar playing. We can say that it is a fundamental one, using tirando the classical guitar player can play basically everything.

3. Chord Guitar Technique

A chord from the technical point of view is simply two or more notes played together. The classical guitar player should have a good left-hand technique in changing chords smoothly and clearly. But not only that, they musi have good coordination between both, left and right hands. In classical guitar, there are a few different right-hand ways to sound chords. In general:


the right-hand fingers pluck the chord notes at a time using tirando technique. if the conditions allow, the right-hand thumb can play apoyando simultaneously or in combination with the other fingers which are playing tirando. This can work when there is a string between the base note and the trebles so the thumb can rest on it.


also called rasgueado in flamenco playing. It is a technique in which the player rapidly moves one finger at a time across the strings, upwards or downwards. The strumming combinations are many, depending on the rhythm, style, and aesthetical views of the performer.

4. Arpeggio Guitar Technique

Arpeggio is a classical guitar technique that involves plucking the strings one at a time in succession. It is also a part of the chord technique. The arpeggio is the soul of the guitar – it is what gives the instrument its characteristic sound. There are endless numbers of right-hand fingerings for arpeggios. Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829) in his op. 1, writes 120 arpeggios this is a very comprehensive right-hand manual for all times. A professional classical guitar player spends a great amount of time practicing and perfecting their arpeggio technique.

5. Shifts in Classical Guitar Technique

Shifting is a classical guitar technique that is used to change the position of your hand on the fingerboard. This is often necessary when playing pieces of music that require you to play notes that are not in reach of your current hand position. And this happens basically all the time. There are many types of shifts and different techniques for executing them. Each situation requires a different shifting technique. A good way to practice shifts is by playing scales, arpeggios, chord progressions, and combinations of all. The Shifts should happen naturally and easily without disrupting the music flow.

6. Cantilena

In instrumental music, cantilena means to play in a singing style, to treat the instrument as if it was a voice das to create a sense of melody and phrasing in the music. This technique is achieved by using a smooth, legato approach to playing the notes, rather than using staccato or other more abrupt techniques. This creates a smoother, more lyrical sound that can be very beautiful when used correctly. In other words, try to play your melodies as if you would sing them.

7.Classical Guitar Tremolo

One of the most advanced classical guitar techniques is tremolo. This technique is used to produce a rapid, repetitive sound on one note or multiple notes. The classical guitar tremolo is a right-hand technique it involves Thumb, ring middle, and index fingers in succession p, a, m, i. In fact, they don’t play on the same string, the thumb produces the base note, and the other three fingers – a, m, i, are playing on another string. This creates an illusion of continuous sound with an arpeggio accompaniment. With this technique, the guitar will sound let’s say as if a mandolin is playing a tremolo melody and at the same time a guitar is playing arpeggiated chords. Extremely professional technique. Mastering the tremolo requires a lot of practice and dedication.

How can these guitar techniques improve my playing?

Each of these classical guitar techniques can help to improve your playing in different ways. For example, tremolo can add intensity and feeling to your playing, while arpeggio can help to make your playing sound more polished and professional. By learning and practicing these techniques, you will be able to take your playing to the next level. Overall, these 7 classical guitar techniques are essential for any player who wants to improve their playing. Each technique has its own unique benefits that can help to make your playing sound more polished and professional. By learning and practicing these techniques, you will be able to take your playing to the next level.

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