When you are first learning to play the guitar, there are a few things to learn right off the bat. One of them is how to properly hold a guitar pick. Yes, believe it or not, there is a proper way to do this, and if you aren’t doing it the right way, you could end up with problems.
However, it isn’t overly challenging to hold a pick once you get the hang of it, and you will find that it is very comfortable when using it the right way. In fact, learning how to use a pick properly can make it easier to learn various techniques later on. This article will look at how to hold a guitar pick while playing. Let’s get started.
Which Pick Should You Pick?
Picks are made from various materials and come in many thicknesses. There are also many pick manufacturers. We often suggest that beginner guitar players try different picks until they find one that feels the most comfortable to use. Usually, beginners prefer thinner picks for strumming and heavier picks for picking.
If you want to learn how to play lead guitar, you should use a pick that best suits your needs. Some guitar players will tell you that the softest picks are best for lead work, while others say you should use a heavier pick. In the end, it will all come down to what you find the easiest to use.
Here are some things to look for when choosing the right pick.
There are things to look for when it comes to a pick’s material. One thing to consider is how dense or flexible the pick is. You may need one that is very dense or very flexible, depending on the style of guitar you are playing. You also need to look at the gauges and choose a pick that won’t break easily.
In addition, picks will wear out over time, so it’s essential to look for picks made from scratch-resistant materials. Finally, don’t forget about smoothness – a smooth pick will feel like it is gliding off the strings, while a rough pick will give you a sound you may not like.
Every pick will feel different in your hands, so look for those that are comfortable to hold. After all, you could end up holding one for an hour or longer if you are playing shows with bands or on your own.
Size and Shape
We mentioned that picks can wear out quickly, and the shape of the pick can have a lot to do with this. For instance, the sharpness of the edge can determine how easily the pick will glide across the strings. A beveled edge can affect how the pick glides across the strings. When strumming, the beveled edge will be hitting the strings in one direction, while the other edge will be hitting the strings when strumming in the opposite direction.
Gauge or Thickness
One of the most important considerations is the thickness or gauge of the pick. In fact, this will determine the playability of the pick, and the tone you get from the guitar. Once again, this concerns your preferences; you may prefer using a thicker pick, while another player prefers a thinner one. Over time you will have a better feel for the various thicknesses and find one that works best for you.
Buy Picks in Bulk
We always seem to lose things, from pens to lighters and other small items. Guitar picks are very small and easily lost, so it is always a good idea to have several picks on hand because you are bound to drop one, set one down, etc., and then never find it again. Many guitar players buy their picks in bulk to avoid being without one when they really need it.
Best Way to Hold a Guitar Pick in Either Hand
Holding a pick is easy, and once you get a good feel for it, you will be highly unlikely to drop picks while you are playing. If you are right-handed, hold the pick in your right hand, and if you are left-handed, the pick will go in your left hand. The method is the same for both hands.
First, loosen your hand by giving it a shake and letting it relax. Then, make a very loose fist, placing your thumb over the outside part of your index finger. Make sure your thumb is resting on the middle section of the first finger.
Next, move your hand to look directly at your thumb. Place the pick between your thumb and finger, holding the position mentioned in the above paragraph. The pick should be beneath the thumb’s center and on top of the middle part of the index finger; half an inch of the pick should stick out from under your thumb for strumming. If you are going to be doing more intricate picking or lead work, less of the pick should be sticking out.
Strumming with a Pick
Once you have found the right pick and mastered holding it correctly, it is time to get down to playing. You can strum or pick, depending on the style of guitar you are playing. Chances are you will start out with strumming.
To strum correctly, make sure the hand holding the pick is directly over the soundhole on an acoustic guitar and over the center of the body if you are playing an electric guitar. Strum from the top to the bottom string (thickest to thinnest) and back up. Be sure that your hand is not resting directly on the guitar. It should be just hovering over the guitar, close enough for the pick to touch the strings but not close enough for your hand to touch the guitar itself.
Over time you will learn various strumming patterns. If you are like most guitar players, you will eventually create your own strumming style.
Holding a guitar pick may seem awkward at first, but there are many good reasons to hold it properly instead of just any old way. After all, you want to really get into playing and be as good as possible. It all begins with learning how to play chords and use a pick. Now that you know the right way to hold a pick, you are well on your way.