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One of the most crucial things for a beginner guitarist to learn is how to hold the pick correctly. If you hold on too tightly or in an improper posture, you risk being tense, in discomfort, and producing an unpleasant sound.

However, if you hold your pick too loosely, it may fly out of your grasp. Fortunately for you, mastering the technique for holding a guitar pick properly is a piece of cake. It will be much easier to acquire new techniques in the future if you have mastered your guitar-picking stance. Make sure you have the guitar pick properly before you begin. When it comes to holding a guitar pick, many guitarists feel they already know how to do it correctly.

With advanced picking skills, where you need to play rapidly and accurately, an incorrect technique will inhibit your advancement with your instrument. If you don’t have a good grip, you might as well give up before you even start. In this article, I will show you the steps to take in holding a guitar pick.

How To Hold A Guitar Pick Correctly (Step-By-Step Guide)

1. Grasp the pick in your strumming hand

With their non-dominant hand, most people prefer to play specific notes and chords on a guitar while strumming and plucking with their dominant hand. As you play with the guitar, experiment with different grips until you find one that works for you.

To play the guitar, you’ll need to use your non-dominant “picking hand” to hold on to the guitar’s neck. If the strings are facing away from you, they should be oriented nearly parallel to the ground. When playing guitar standing up, you can rest the guitar’s body on your knee or use a shoulder strap.

Swing your picking hand down to rest on the strings while resting your arm on the guitar’s top — the curving ridge along the body’s thinnest edge. Using a guitar, place your fingers over the hold on the acoustic guitar or between the last fretting hand and the pickup bar on the electric guitar strings

2. Hold your pick between your thumb and index finger

A groove is sometimes sculpted into the pick so that you can see where your thumb and forefinger should go. Be sure to hold a guitar pick firmly yet loosely enough to allow it to flex. Holding the pick too loosely could cause it to fly out of your hand and into the air.

3. Find a grip that works for you

A guitar pick can be held in various ways, none of which are inherently better or worse than others in terms of control, tone, or ease of use. Consider the “O,” “pinch,” and “fist” methods.

Utilize the “O” method. Using your thumb and index finger, make an “O” shape around the pick, holding it between the pads of your thumb and index finger. With this grip, you’ll have control and volume the best of all worlds.

Use the pinch method. Between your thumb and index finger, place the pick in your hand. This technique may best suit players who prefer to strum with thin-gauge picks.

Use the first method. Your thumb’s first joint and the curled index finger’s first joint are where you should place the pick. Heavy picks may benefit most from this technique, which bluegrass players frequently like.

Related Article – Secrets of Playing Fingerstyle Guitar

how to hold a guitar pick

How To Properly Hold A Guitar Pick For Strumming

As a guitarist, strumming is one of the most fundamental and essential skills to learn. A guitarist’s rhythmic playing generally begins with a simple strum.

Strumming is the most common method of creating rhythmic riffs and chord progressions for most guitarists. There are a few ways that strumming differs from plucking, and one of them is using your arm (the elbow down) instead of your wrist.

When it comes to strumming, this may be even more crucial than how you hold a guitar pick. We’ve already established that guitar picks should be held in a certain way for strumming purposes. There is simply a minuscule variation. As a general rule of thumb, I prefer to hold a guitar pick closer to the middle finger when strumming.

If it is not enough, you’ll also want to tilt your wrist slightly up or down depending on whether you’re doing down or upstrokes, and vice versa. When you strum furiously, strumming does not necessitate large arm movements.

Strumming should always be done with the arm, not the wrist.

To get somewhere, you have to have to start from the beginning. Don’t get discouraged if you’re just starting out with strumming, as it can take some time to get the hang of it. You can tighten your grip a little to prevent your pick from slipping.

Read Also – Tips On How To Strum A Guitar

What Is The Best Way To Hold A Pick For Speed?

Many guitarists strive to play at a faster tempo. It’s best not to try to play too fast too soon if you’re a newbie. There is still a long way to go before you can pick at a rapid pace. Some things to keep in mind while you’re striving for speed apply equally well to basic picking and speed picking. What you need to know about picking up speed with a pick is as follows;

  • Remember the fundamentals described in the preceding paragraphs. Picks must be held near the tip.
  • Relax your hold on the pick; it’s simpler to get it moving faster if you do.
  • During down strokes, your wrist should tilt slightly upward, and during upstrokes, your wrist should tilt slightly downward.
  • Make use of the alternate picking techniques. If you want to play faster, you’ll need to learn how to hold your pick more efficiently.
  • Get used to using both thicker picks and firm ones. With a pick that doesn’t have a lot of giving, it’s easier to play faster.
  • To get faster, use your wrist, not your index and thumb. The wrist is the key to a player’s speed.
  • Pick the guitar without putting your pinky or wrist on the instrument. Pick the guitar without putting your pinky or wrist on the instrument.

best way to hold a guitar pick

How To Stop Guitar Pick From Slipping

First, it’s essential to acknowledge that first-time pickers may find it uncomfortable to grasp their tool. The fact that you’re a newbie at guitar should not be overlooked.

A whole new set of skills are being taught to your fingers, hands, and arms that they’ve never previously been able to perform. Put another way, it’s like learning to ride a bike for the first time. When you’re just getting started, it’s a little awkward. However, with practice, it becomes easier.

Secondly, while learning to play the guitar will eventually become second nature, don’t expect it to happen overnight. It doesn’t imply you won’t need to practice your technique even if you’re already utilizing it correctly (hint: you will).

Later, when your mind is less busy, you can unwind. You must be aware of and attentive to your surroundings while working on it to improve your technique. There is no other way to recover. After a while, it won’t even cross your mind. You’ll have to constantly go back to the basics at first until they become second nature.

Why Use A Guitar Pick? (Benefits Explained)

The most outstanding technique to get the brightest and the loudest guitar tone is with a pick (also known as a ‘plectrum’). That’s a huge advantage for beginners, especially in the early stages. There’s no reason why you can’t give one a go. Many different sorts of picks are available, so you should experiment with a few different types until you discover one that works for you.

Because of the risk of hand movement (or slipping out) caused by a shaky grasp, they’re unpopular among new players. In other words, you’re mishandling it. However, if done correctly, it greatly improves your picking and strumming technique.

Related Article – Best Electric Guitars Under $400

How To Improve Your Picking

1. Practice with a metronome

When it comes to practice, the most important thing is to be precise and accurate. Speed will follow. To begin, polish your pick strokes one at a time. If you don’t do it correctly, it’s not worth your time.

2. Try different playing styles of guitar.

Try metal if you’re used to playing country. Take a look at some jazz if you’re a fan of blues. You’ll discover that each approach necessitates a change in your selection strategy.

3. Practice consistently.

Strive to work five to six days a week if you can. If you set aside a small amount of time each day to practice, you’ll see results sooner than if you only practice when you feel like it. Even 15 minutes a day can significantly impact over a short period.

4. Write a new lick or solo.

It is critical to put theory into practice. Take everything you’ve learned and apply it to your own musical creations! When playing with your band or performing live, you’ll be more motivated to polish a lick or solo if you’re forced to play it.

Read More – Learn How To Play Lead Guitar

how to keep guitar pick from slipping

Alternative Picking Techniques To Try

To play notes on single strings swiftly and fluidly, you’ll need to learn alternate picking methods once you’ve mastered strumming across all of your guitar’s strings. Playing fast and clean single notes is easier by using alternate picking techniques while you practice scales, play riffs, or solos.

To begin, place your guitar pick between your thumb and the side of your index fingers in the right position. At the start, don’t worry about using your left hand for anything other than plucking. Start with a downstroke on your guitar’s sixth string, which is the thickest. Stroke back down on the exact string and then up.

Once you’ve mastered this alternate picking pattern, begin going up and down the strings with it. Initially, you should only play up and down on your sixth string. The sixth string should be picked up and down, then the fifth, fourth, and so on, until all six strings have been played. Work your way backward from the first string, one at a time, until you reach the sixth string.

Try playing some of your favorite riffs with alternative picking if you already know them. Start with these simple guitar riffs, and alternate between down and up strokes when playing.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Why can’t I hold a guitar pick?

Nothing to worry about. If this occurs, simply reposition the pick. You must get acclimated to the feel of the pick in your fingers so that you’ll be aware of any slippage and be able to correct it quickly. There are textured and sticky picks available for purchase.

How hard should you hold a guitar pick?

Single note accuracy can be improved by using a pick with a less exposed surface. Maintain a firm grip on the pick, but don’t overdo it. If you’re strumming, you’ll want a greater section of the pick exposed, with a good amount of thumb on top to keep it from shifting.

How close to the tip are you supposed to hold a guitar pick?

It doesn’t matter how close. It’s up to you what sounds and feels right. You should hold it in a way that feels comfortable for you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; there is no wrong way to play.

Do you hold the guitar pick differently depending on what you’re playing?

Ultimately, your performance will be judged by your choice of instrument and picking technique. A roundish pick would aid in achieving a silky jazz tone. A firm and pointed pick is better for quick rock solos since it makes the playing easier. For quick strumming, the thinner picks are ideal.


A guitar pick can be held in many different ways, but there is no one technique to hold it that is ideal in all circumstances. With a few various positions at your disposal, you may experiment with which ones work best and how they affect the sound of your playing when you’re practicing your instrument.

You can even build your own guitar pick, which is a fun way to express yourself creatively on the instrument. It is common for competent guitarists to change how their picks are held throughout their performances, which significantly impacts the guitar’s tone and feel.

A decent rule of thumb is to start with two fingers on the pick, then experiment with other grips as you get more comfortable.

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