To get started place your thumb (p) of the right-hand on the fifth string of the guitar. Now place the first finger (i) on the third string, middle finger (m) on the second string and ring finger (a) on the first string. Have your fingers resting on the strings with your hand relaxed and fingers slightly bent.
Let’s practice the basic movement in the right-hand. Don’t worry about any chords in the left and yet. Push your thumb down through the fifth string until it comes to rest on the fourth string. Pull the first finger through the third string toward the middle of your palm. I like to think of pulling “through” the string on the way to your palm as opposed to “pulling “on” or “out”.
Now pull the middle finger through the second string toward the middle of your palm. Stay relaxed. Finally pull the ring finger through the first string.
The basic movement is that the thumb presses down and the fingers pull gently into your palm with just enough energy to play the string with a nice clean motion. The entire hand days at pretty much the same distance from the strings throughout this motion.
It’s important to note that the entire hand does NOT pull away from the strings to make the sound. This “bouncing”motion that many beginners do makes it difficult to play smoothly. Just pull your fingers gently into your palm. Then replace all the fingers including the thumb and start over.
Guitar Learning Tip:
Your hand should stay even to the strings as your fingers pull into your palm. Avoid the temptation to let your entire hand bounce up and down from the face of the guitar.