Guitarist's Name Their Thumb and Fingers P-I-M-A

In classical guitar technique, one uses four fingers: the fingertips and fingernails of the thumb and the index, middle and ring fingers. In guitar fingering diagrams, they are designated "p" (thumb), "i" (index), "m" (middle), and "a" (ring), from the names of the fingers in Spanish: pulgar, indice, medio, and anular.

In classical guitar, the thumb and first four fingers are indicated by the letters p, i, m, a -- from the Spanish names: pulgar, indice, medio, and anular.

Digit Abbrev. Spanish
Thumb p pulgar
Index i indice
Middle m medio
Ring a Anular
    .______    __  .___  ___.      ___
    |   _  \  |  | |   \/   |     /   \
    |  |_)  | |  | |  \  /  |    /  ^  \
    |   ___/  |  | |  |\/|  |   /  /_\  \
    |  |      |  | |  |  |  |  /  _____  \
    | _|      |__| |__|  |__| /__/     \__\

Now for the secret to classic 'four finger style'...

Here are the six strings (I've drawn the 3 copper-wound strings extra thick...)


Which finger do we use to pluck each string?

e|-----------------------------------------------A  (ring)
B|-----------------------------------------------M  (middle)
G|-----------------------------------------------I  (index)
D|===============================================P  (thumb)
A|===============================================P  (thumb)
E|===============================================P  (thumb)

So our thumb does triple duty - looking after all the bass strings... while the other three strings have one finger permanently devoted to each of them.

But what about your pinky finger, eh!? What about that! Well this is the cleverest bit of all.

Since the fingers don't need to move around at all, you can plant the pinky finger on the face of the guitar, anchor it in place, and use it to stop your hand from moving. That way you need never look at where your fingers are in relation to the strings, because they can't move... they're wherever you last put them.

THIS is a hard habit to ingest and takes a lot of time to acquire.

Some day I'll get there...