Lesson: Should Beginners Use Rest or Free Stroke?


Lesson of the Week for Classical Guitar
Should Beginners Use Rest or Free Stroke?

This video is part of my free online curriculum at the lesson archive page and is connected to my free PDF method book. This is a lesson for beginner classical guitarists. In my studio I recommend beginners use free stroke until the student’s hand position is proper and secure and they can play legato melodies. For free lessons, sheet music, and pro videos join the Email Newsletter. You can help create more and sustain the site by supporting or donating.


About Author

Bradford Werner is a guitarist and teacher living in Victoria, BC, Canada. He teaches at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, a private studio, and performs as a freelancing musician. He also plays in the Victoria Guitar Trio, a group focusing on new music commissions by Canadian composers. This is Classical Guitar is based in Victoria, BC, Canada. Check out more Victoria posts at Classical Guitar in Victoria.


  1. Pablo Gabriel Rivera on

    Hello, what makes a guitar player decide if he is going to use the rest stroke or the free stroke when playing a piece? Is it up to him? Thank you.

    • It really depends on the piece. In general, arpeggio works are free stroke (although melody notes might get occasional rest-strokes). Melodies might get rest-stroke for various reasons as well. I would recommend that beginners start with free stroke for most material but integrate rest-stroke into scale practice so it get’s development.

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