Guitar Tricks Blog
Posted: July 2, 2020

How to Hold a Guitar Pick - Guitar Picking Exercises

how to hold a guitar pick

It’s important to hold a guitar pick between your index finger and thumb with the pointed part of the pick sticking out of the side of your fingers, facing the guitar strings. 

How to hold a guitar pick

One of the best ways to hold a pick is to take your thumb and put it in a thumbs-up position and then place your pick on the pad of your thumb so that the pointy part of the pick is pointed toward the inside of your body, or pointed towards your opposite arm. The important aspect is that the pointy part of the pick is sticking out a bit from your thumb. Then take the rest of your hand and make an “okay” sign using your index finger and thumb. 

how to hold a guitar pick

Your guitar pick will be wedged in between your index finger and your thumb with your pick coming out of the side. It’s also important to relax your hand. When you bring your hand down to your guitar strings, your hand should be parallel to the guitar and the pick is poking right out between your thumb and index finger. 

Guitar picking exercises

It’s important to keep your hand planted when strumming or picking. If your hand is floating on top of the guitar, it will be a lot more difficult to achieve picking control. Keep your picking/strumming hand planted on a pivot point. 

A pivot point can be the bridge of the guitar, which is near the back end of the guitar’s body, or you can even plant your hand on top of the strings. Most people will end up planting their forearm onto the top part of the guitar body so that your wrist is free and able to move. To do this, however, you must keep in mind not to press yourself against the strings too much or else you may end up muting the strings entirely. All you need is a small part of your hand to stay planted on the guitar so that you can move your wrist and hand. This will help your picking accuracy. Learn more about how to hold a guitar pick by watching Guitartricks Instructor Gary Heimbauer below. 

Different types of picks

There are a number of picks, including the standard teardrop shape, as well as a medium pick size. Picks come in different sizes, such as thin, medium and thick, and they are usually measured by their thickness in millimeters (mm). 

Thin picks usually range from 0.40mm to 0.60mm in thickness.

Medium picks usually range from 0.60mm to 0.80mm in thickness. 

Heavy or thick picks usually range from 0.80 to 1.20mm in thickness. 

A thin pick is great for strumming as the thin plastic, or celluloid or nylon material glides a bit easier over the strings and produces a nice light tone. A heavy pick is great for fast picking, usually used for playing lead or picking out single notes in quick succession. A medium pick will be the most popular pick since it gives you the best of both worlds. A medium pick is not as thin as a lighter pick so it’s still great for single-note playing, but not as hard as a heavy pick, so you can still produce pleasant tones for strumming. 

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