Right-Hand Chord Technique
When using a pick or simple thumb strums, the focus is mainly on playing all
the available notes of a chord. However, as you progress you will find that you
want to select certain notes, and not necessarily those on adjacent strings. This
can best be achieved by using the thumb and fingers of the right hand.
To play a chord with the fingers and thumb, first prepare the right hand by selecting
the strings to be played. Then squeeze the thumb forward and the fingers back to
sound the chord. As the fingers play they will naturally curl upwards, and the thumb
will travel slightly upwards and toward the first finger. However, it is not necessary
to pull the hand away from the strings, particularly when a succession of chords
is to be played, because the hand must quickly be back in position to select the
notes for the new chord.
The illustrations show the preparation and completion positions of the chord.
The fingers prepare to play a chord (left). The fingers after the chord has been
As a practice, try each of the chords you know, choosing the top three strings
with the fingers and the lowest note of the chord with the thumb. Remember to ignore
the strings where there is an X. Try for a clear, ringing sound.