Tirando & Apoyando
Brief info

Apoyando and Tirando are the two main picking techniques used by classical guitarists. But what’s the difference between Apoyando and Tirando? There are some subtle differences in the way you should position your hand and pluck the string for each technique. This article will explain the differences between Apoyando and Tirando and will give examples of when you should use each technique in your guitar playing.

Having a clear understanding of the differences between Apoyando and Tirando will mean you’re well informed to choose the best time to use each technique in your guitar playing. There are benefits to both strokes, so it’s worth investing practice time developing a working knowledge of both picking techniques. Neither one is ‘better’ than the other, they’re just different.

Asking which is ‘best’ is like comparing a monkey to a fish. However if you ask which creature would be better at climbing a tree, you’d obviously choose the monkey! Both Apoyando and Tirando have their place in the modern classical guitar player’s arsenal of techniques. You just have to know when to employ each one.

Let’s take a closer look and compare the differences between Apoyando and Tirando technique.

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When to Use Tirando

Tirando is best used for passages of music that require multiple strings to be played in succession. This applies to most cross-string arpeggios (a popular composition technique for the classical guitar) and to “campanella” melodies, where the guitarist must play a melody without repeating the same string twice in succession. This creates a harp like effect that’s simply not possible with the Apoyando technique. Tirando is great for any occasion where you want the sound of the strings to continue ringing.

Tirando can be used for pretty much any method of playing. If you could only choose one of these two techniques, it would have to be Tirando simply because it’s so versatile.

When playing tirando, it is good to keep lots of space underneath the hand for the fingers to move into. If the hand is too close to the strings, the fingers will need to adjust their movement. This can result in them performing a less optimal stroke, introducing too much ‘bounce’ into the hand. For the tirando technique, it is best practice to keep your knuckles (MCP joint) hovering approximately over the string you wish to play. This means that when it comes to playing the string, the finger will travel towards the palm of the hand unobstructed and will not contact other strings.

How To Play with Apoyando Technique (Rest Stroke)

For apoyando it is advisable to position your knuckles above a lower string than the one you intend to play. For example, if you intent to play string 1 (high E) with the ‘i’ finger, position the knuckle of your ‘i’ finger above the 4th (D) or 5th (A) string.  Factors such as the size of your hand and preferred angle of attack will dictate exactly where your hand will be.  The important thin to note is that the knuckles should be hovering above a lower string than the one you intend to play. This will create an angle that will send your finger down towards the string so that it may rest once it has played.