How to Hold a Guitar Pick – Guitar Picking Exercises

Many trainers suggest that beginners start their guitar lessons holding a pick rather than learn fingerstyle from the start. There are many reasons why using a pick to play the guitar is a good idea. The first amongst them is that it produces a punchy and bright sound which is different from the sound produced when playing the guitar with your fingers.

It sounds more percussive and offers more textures and tones in comparison to playing with fingers. Moreover, when picking closer to the guitar’s bridge or fretboard it produces two distinct sounds which are more difficult to achieve otherwise.

When looking for picks you will find a wide variety of them available. Amongst them is the standard teardrop shape and picks in different sizes for example thick, medium and thin.

Picks are generally measured by thickness in millimetres or mm. The thickness of thin picks is usually between 0.40mm to 0.60mm. The thickness of medium picks usually ranges between 0.60mm to 0.80mm. And the thickness of thick or heavy picks ranges between 0.80mm to 1.20mm.

A thin pick is excellent for strumming or picking as the thin celluloid, plastic or nylon material glides more easily over the strings and brings out a nice light tone. A heavy pick is good for fast picking. It is generally used for playing lead or strumming single notes quickly and in succession.

However, it is the medium pick that is most popular as it gives one the best of both. This is because a medium pick is not as slim as a lighter pick and is still good for playing single notes. Again a medium pick is not as hard as a heavy pick thereby still producing pleasant notes while strumming.

How to Hold a Guitar Pick

In order to play the guitar using a pick, it is necessary to learn the correct way to hold it. The right way to hold a guitar pick is between your thumb and your index finger ensuring that the pointed part of the pick sticks out of the sides of your fingers and faces the guitar strings.

One of the most appropriate ways to hold a pick is to place your thumb in a thumbs-up position. Now place your pick on your thumb pad in order that the pointed part of the pick is pointed towards your opposite arm or the interior part of your body. The essential part to note is that the pointed part of the pick sticks out a bit from your thumb.

Next, use the rest of your hand to make an okay sign with your thumb and index finger. In this position, your guitar pick is squeezed between your thumb and index finger with your pick jutting out of the side.

While holding your guitar pick it is also essential to relax your hand. You need to make sure that when you place your hand down to your guitar strings, your hand should be corresponding to the guitar and the pick should be sticking out between your thumb and your index finger.

Picking Exercises on the Guitar

Be certain that you keep your hand lodged on your guitar while strumming or picking. If you do not and your hand is floating above your guitar, it will become more difficult to attain picking control. So it is necessary to keep your picking or strumming hand lodged on a pivot point. You can select the pivot point as the bridge of the guitar which you will find at the backside of the guitar’s body.

Otherwise, you can even fix your hands on top of the guitar strings. What most people do is plant their forearm on the top portion of the guitar’s body in order that their wrist is free and movable. If you want to follow the same method, you must see to it that you do not press yourself too much against the strings otherwise you might land up muting the guitar strings entirely.

What is required of you is that just a small part of your hand stays planted on the guitar in order that you can move your hand and wrist. This will enable you to pick accurately.


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