Best Way To Hold A Guitar Pick

//Best Way To Hold A Guitar Pick

Best Way To Hold A Guitar Pick

guitar frets and picks

“How to hold a pick?” Simple. A lot of people do it wrong because they never thought of another way. With this lesson, we’re going to undo any bad habits. And create new ones.

Note that if you are a nylon-stringed guitar players you’re probably not concerned by this.

1. Pick a pick

I know, not the best pun in the world. Anyway, before learning what’s the best way to hold a guitar pick, you’ve got to buy one, or if you’re good with your hands, create one (it’s actually quite easy to do it – I’ll cover it on another lesson).

I totally recommend you to test picks before buying them and see what’s the most comfortable for you. In general, extra light picks are more ideal for beginners. It will sound better than a thicker one, and you’ll find strumming a lot easier to do. But test them, and see how it goes.

As for materials, you’ll find a bunch of different ones. My personal preference goes to the nylon picks, but here again, just a matter of choice.

2. Now… How to hold a pick?

Did you get yourself some picks? Cool. Let’s see how we handle this little thing.

So basically you’ve got to place it between your thumb and your first finger. But not anywhere. There’s a special spot. It’s exactly between the tip of your thumb and the side of your index. Do you want to see pictures demonstrating that? Okay, here it goes:

Hand position for guitar pick

Place the pick at the very end of your thumb

Holding the pick

And make a “tongs” shape with your index

Once you’ve done that, you can keep it very relaxed like the second picture, or even close your hand in a fist, which I recommend because of the pressure made by your thumb on your first finger. Don’t put too much strength on holding the pick though, a small pressure is enough.

Note there are other ways to hold a pick but this one is HIGHLY advised. After a while, you’ll find that it’s actually very comfortable.

3. Guitar picks or fingers?

Hem… Tough question. For a beginner I’d say picks, 100%. For a more advanced player… 50% each. None of them should be replaced by another, and of course, on classical guitars, finger-picking rules. My heart personally goes to fingerstyle, but that’s because I’ve started on a classical guitar.

Are you at the beginning of the journey? Don’t worry, you’ll find out which one you’ll love the most.

By |2018-04-20T15:20:27+00:00September 4th, 2017|Beginner Guitar Lessons|4 Comments

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4 Comments

  1. Gabriella March 17, 2018 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Pick a pick!

    This is great. My boyfriend plays bass and uses a pick every now and then. I never paid attention to how he holds it. I have tried to as well but could never figure out, this clears things up.

    Is there any other way to hold a pick?

    • Ben March 18, 2018 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Gabriella, thanks for your comment. Yes there are other ways to hold a pick, it all depends on the sound you are looking for. But generally, it works best when you have the pick between your index and thumb. The angle of the plectrum usually changes during your strumming, depending on the grip you have, the material of the plectrum, and the sweat. Changing the angle of the plectrum will change the sound slightly, and you would notice immediately.

  2. Kenneth March 17, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    This is a very good article on the best way to hold a pick. There are not a lot of instructions on how to hold a pick, yet it is a fundamental part of learning how to play. I am like you in that I like the light to medium nylon picks, not too big and teardrop shape. I tend to drop a pick that is too thick I guess because I hold the pick too loosely. I see more and more hybrid picking being taught now, by using a pick and holding it like you described and also using two fingers for additional upstroke picking.
    What would you recommend to a new guitar student? Learn finger-style picking or Hybrid picking?

    • Ben March 18, 2018 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Kenneth, thanks for your comment! As a new guitar I would totally recommend finger-style picking. Hybrid picking requires being able to do both and it could be very disturbing for a beginner. Once you mastered both techniques, of course you can play with hybrid picking.

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