How To Hold A Guitar Pick

Seeing as you are reading this article, we assume that you just got a guitar and would like to understand the basics of how to hold a guitar pick. Perhaps we are wrong and you just realized you have been using your pick the wrong and want to learn the right way to hold a pick.

How To Hold A Guitar Pick
Photo by ROMBO from Pexels

Regardless of your reason, we are here to guide you through how to old a guitar pick. The truth is when you are starting out playing the guitar, it would really be in poor taste for you to get used to handling your pick the wrong way.

It is recommended that when you start off with a guitar, you should begin with a pick before proceeding to freestyle on your guitar.

What Are Guitar Picks?

Guitar picks or plectrums are guitar accessories that are mainly used because to produce brighter, louder sounds more than the human fingers can. Guitar picks are particularly useful for guitar playing styles that revolve around strumming.

Guitar picks are made from various materials such as plastic, wood, metal, bone, glass, stone as well as, a plethora of other materials that are used. Although, those are not used as often.

There are several advantages to using a guitar pick while playing. They are: 

  1. Loud Sound Output: Using guitar picks, especially on an acoustic guitar will give you the advantage of increasing your maximum volume. You can also increase your dynamic range if you are making use of an electric guitar.
  2. Sharper Tones: Depending on the kind of picks you used, heavy guitar picks help your tunes sound brighter while soft guitar picks give you a sort of mellow tone.
  3. While using a pick, you can accurately and easily play high-speed tempos while also having a consistent snappy attack.
  4. You have the advantage of sounding different, depending on the material, form or thickness of your guitar pick.

How To Hold A Guitar Pick

Photo by ROMBO from Pexels

When you want to play on the guitar, ensure that you are relaxed, comfortable and simply follow the steps listed below:

Most people prefer to hold a pick in their dominant hand, most time out of habit. However, we recommend that you first hold your guitar in your hands, ensure that you have a feel of it and try to experiment on what kind of grip is more comfortable for you. That way you get to decide what picking hand works better for you, instead of following the path that every other person seems to trudge.

For various reasons, It is advisable that as a beginner, you should make use of a pick with a medium thickness. Lighter picks will definitely make it easier for you to strum, however, you will find it hard to play single notes. Also, thick picks will take the edge of being able to play melodies but you might not find it easy to strum with heavy guitar picks.

The proper way to hold a guitar pick is to place it between your thumb and pointer finger so that the pick is coming out of the side of your thumb. This is the most fundamental step to follow if you want to hold a pick properly.

  1. Make A Thumbs Up Sign: This may seem funny but it will help you get a hang of the process as soon as possible.
  2. While still making the thumbs-up sign, place the pick on your inwardly curled index finger and ensure that the pointy head of the pick is facing you.
  3. Now simply use your thumb to clamp it between your thumb and pointer finger. Make sure that you have it in a fairly tight grip, so it does not fall off while you strum.

There are several ways to hold the pick between your thumb and index finger, besides the example we just sited above. You could also hold the pick at the tip, leaving very little of the tip exposed or at the wider end of the pick, giving you enough access to its tip.

We recommend that you hold the pick’s tip closer to the tip as this prevents you from dropping the pick after playing an amount of thing (this happens a lot).

Ensure that the tip of the pick is pointing in the same direction of your fingertip while your thumb stays parallel to the guitar strings.

The Pinch Method

There is also what is regarded as the pinch method and it could work for you. Using the pinch method, instead of holding the pick with the side of your index finger, you make use of the flat of your index finger. This is more suitable for guitarists that mostly strum and use light picks.

This is not a “one size fits all”, you can play around with different techniques until you find the one that you’re most comfortable with. Perhaps, you could be a maestro and simply make use of more than one technique.

While holding the pick, make sure that there is enough freedom for it to reach all the strings on the guitar. Avoid keeping your upper hand fixated on one spot and stretching your thumb and index finger. Rather you should move your entire arm. This will give you a more efficient picking position, regardless of what string you are playing.

Now you know the basics of how to hold a pick. Let’s get a little more detail about how to hold the pick for speed.

Holding A Guitar Pick For Speed

A lot of guitarists like to play with some speed. However, as a beginner, you are advised to not make speed a priority for yourself. But as you get used to picking, you will eventually find yourself with a need for speed and there are some things that you need to consider when you get to this point. Some of these points have been pointed out earlier in the context of basic picking but in order to avoid confusion, they will be reiterated again. They are:

  1. Always hold the pick closer to the tips. You can’t go around this.
  1. Holding the pick in a tight manner while strumming fast is counterproductive. In other to achieve speed, it is important that you are relaxed. You need to have your thumb relaxed too.


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Getting a guitar is an awesome experience. However, it is important that you understand the basics, or else, you might make a fool out of yourself. This article will only help you understand the basics of holding a pick if you take them seriously.

If it doesn’t work the first time, try it again and again until you do. Being a guitarist can be one of the best experiences you can have in life. 

We advise that you try different picks overtime to get a feel of what really works for you and to also have some level of expertise with using these picks.

With that being said, go into the world and rock on!