3 Easy Ways on How to Hold a Guitar Pick

There are a lot of things to think about when playing the guitar – how you hold the instrument, what chords you’re playing, and of course what type of pick you’re using. Many beginner guitar players don’t give much thought to how they hold the pick, but doing it wrong can lead to discomfort and poor tone.

If you’re just starting out learning how to play the guitar, one of the first things you’ll need to learn is how to hold a guitar pick. This may seem like a simple task, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when picking up your first pick. In this blog post, we will discuss the proper technique for holding a guitar pick and some tips to make the learning process easier!

How to Hold a Guitar Pick

Guitar Pick Use and Function

A pick is a small, triangular piece of plastic or metal that is used to pluck or strum the strings on a guitar. It is an important tool for any guitarist and should be held correctly in order to produce the desired sound.

The type of pick you use will also affect the sound of your playing.

There are many different types of guitar picks available on the market, from thin to thick and everything in between. The thickness of the pick will determine how much contact is made with the string, which in turn affects the sound produced. A thinner pick will have a brighter sound, while a thicker pick will have a warmer sound.

It’s important to experiment with different picks and find the one that works best for you and your playing style.

How to hold a guitar pick: Quick & Easy

Do you ever feel like your guitar tone just isn’t what it could be? Or maybe your hand cramps up after playing for a while? It might be time to take a look at how you’re holding your pick.

Before even attempting to pick the guitar, make sure your shoulder and arms are relaxed down to your right hand.

The guitar pick can be held in three easy ways:

1. Make a loose fist with your right hand.

Make a thumbs up with the four fingers forming a loose fist. Ensure that you do this by keeping your wrist straight and your hand relaxed.

2. Place the pick on top of your index finger.

Place the pick, more than half or two-thirds of its size, on top of your index finger with the pointy edge facing you.

Remember that all four of your fingers are forming a loose fist, so you’re actually putting it on top of the index finger’s side.

3. Clamp your thumb over the top of the pick.

Lastly, place or clamp your thumb over the top of the pick. You now have a closed fist and is holding the pick between your thumb and index finger.

Keep a relaxed grip on your pick with the pointed end sticking out away from your hand. If you grip your pick too tightly, you’ll build up tension, discomfort or pain, and a terrible sound; if you grip it too loose, it could fly out of your hand.

Picking Technique

Now that you know how to hold your pick, it’s time to focus on picking technique. This involves more than simply the five fingers of your right hand. Proper picking technique incorporates the entire arm, from the shoulder down.

Here are some basic guidelines to bear in mind.

Picking Hand Position

  • Dropped Wrist – the position is ideal for precise single-string playing and rapid single note runs.
  • High Wrist – this is used for big motions in strumming.

When strumming with a pick, don’t put your palm on the bridge or strings and try to reach for the strings. Just lightly touch the strings without planting your hand on one specific spot. Make sure to move your hand.

Guitar Pick’s Strumming/Picking Angle

For easier gliding over the strings, angle your pick for less friction or tension. An extreme angle will give you a scratchy sound.

When you use the flat side of your pick, you’ll get more sound from your guitar, but you’ll also get more friction since you’re going against the string’s tension.

Daily Alternate Picking Exercises

One of the most popular and effective picking techniques is called alternate picking. The goal is to make a consistent down-up motion with your right hand while holding down strings with your left hand.

Down-Up-Down-Up-Down-Up and so forth.

This technique is used by almost every guitar player across all genres of music. That’s because it’s an incredibly efficient way of picking that will help you play faster with less effort.

It’s one thing to have a guitar pick in your hand, but it’s another thing entirely to be able to play the string. Alternate picking workouts may be used to warm up your fingers. The basic idea behind alternate picking is that every downstroke is followed by an upstroke.

Here are some basic alternate picking exercises that you can do every day.

4 Strokes: down up down up & up down up down

  • Give each string 4 strokes starting with a downstroke
  • Start from the 6th string down to the 1st string
  • Work your way up from 1st string back to the 6th string
  • Repeat this exercise several times, then alter the picking direction by starting with an upward stroke.
  • Make sure you play the string cleanly and smoothly.

Using the same sequence of alternate picking exercises, change your number of strokes from 4 strokes down to 1 stroke.

3 Strokes: down up down & up down up

2 Strokes: down up & up down

1 stroke: down & up

The exercises in this section will help you improve your picking speed and grip strength. 

You can also explore other alternate picking exercises online. Experiment with different strokes and speeds to find what works best for you. Start slow and gradually increase your speed as you get comfortable with the picking motion.

Remember to include these exercises as part of your warm-up before playing the guitar.

Correcting Frequently Made Mistakes with Guitar Picks

When you’re holding a guitar pick, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the best sound possible. Many people make common mistakes that can be easily corrected.

Don’t hold the pick too tightly or too lightly – Find a way so that you have control over the pick without having to put too much effort into it. Don’t let the pick get in the way of your fingers. If you find that the pick is getting in the way of your fingers, then you’re holding it wrong.

Guitar Pick Use and Function

Don’t use too much pressure. You should be holding the pick so that it glides over the string with ease. If you’re putting too much pressure on the strings, then you won’t get a clear sound.

Don’t hold the pick too far from the tip of your fingers – This will make it harder to control and you’ll likely end up striking the strings at an extreme angle, which will muffle their sound. Don’t grip the pick in the middle. The best way to hold a guitar pick is by gripping it close to the point.

Don’t hold the pick with an open palm – You want to have it firmly between your thumb and first finger while the rest of the fingers are forming a loose fist. An open palm will affect the sound quality and make it harder to play the guitar.

Don’t position the pick with an extreme angle – the ideal angle is  around 45 degrees from a horizontal position. This will allow you to strike them cleanly and produce the best tone.

Don’t use a thicker gauge guitar pick when strumming an acoustic guitar – As a beginner, light or thin picks are recommended since it is more flexible and easy to control.

Don’t plant your picking hand – Get rid of the habit of reaching for the strings. Your hand should move near the string you’re playing.

Benefits of using a guitar pick over your fingers

There are several reasons why you might want to start using a guitar pick.

  • To begin with, you’ll have more control over your sound and be able to play with greater accuracy if you use a pick.
  • It can also help you produce a thicker, more powerful tone.
  • If you’re playing rhythmically complex parts or strumming chords, a pick will make your life a lot easier.
  • Using a pick can actually be more comfortable than playing with your fingers – especially if you have long nails.
  • If you pick with a guitar pick, you’ll get a brighter and more constant tone than if you use your fingertips. The material of picks is the same throughout, resulting in an evenly loud tone. Plucking strings with varying areas of your fingertips creates many uneven tones.
  • Using a good quality pick can help you pick more accurately, reach the strings faster (the speed at which your fingers contact the string), and produce a louder sound.

Play Better Sound with a Pick

Holding your guitar pick correctly is essential to playing well. A properly held pick will help you to be able to control it better, and make your playing sound better. It can take some time to adjust from playing without one, so don’t give up too soon!

We hope this blog post has given you enough information on how to play better sound with a pick and that it will help motivate you when practicing.

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