Rest stroke or Free Stroke?

Here is a question heard daily by guitar teachers the world over:

"Should I use Rest Stroke or Free Stroke for this passage?"

The question is built upon a false dichotomy. There are not two types of right hand stroke.

There is an infinite continuum of strokes from the most gentle and flexible to the most rigid. As I describe in my book and all my writings, if you get the hierarchy right then you need never worry about "which joint is moving in the finger", or "rest stroke"... etc.

In fact if you do think like that you are playing "mechanically" rather than thinking "what colour - what effect do I want to create here, at this moment, in this piece, in this environment... ". Of course, some people actually might prefer to play mechanically?

As I reiterate over and over in my books, images such as this:

The Right Hand captured in a 'Frozen Moment'!

... represent mere "frozen moments" from what is a flowing, complex movement integrated into a larger series of movement which ultimately involve the whole body.

Sometimes the finger may indeed contact the next string after the stroke, but knowing this bit of information tells us nothing at all about the overall process. Talking about the "rest stroke" and "contacting the next string" is not only looking at the end of the process, but even more absurdly, it is focussing on the part of the process which produces no sound !

So, to reiterate:

There is an infinite continuum of strokes from the most gentle and flexible to the most rigid.