How-To

How to Hold a Guitar Pick

It seems easy, but improper technique can seriously impede your journey.

It might sound like a no-brainer, but for beginning guitarists, the correct way to hold a guitar pick is one of the most important things to learn.

You’d be surprised at the way improper technique can impede your musical journey. A grip that’s too tight can cause cramping, while one that’s too loose will wiggle and could fly out of your hand.

First, you need to purchase some guitar picks. Typically, thinner picks are better for strumming, while thicker picks are good for bass or handling rhythm and leads on an electric guitar. There are also medium-weight plectrums (a ten cent word for picks) that fall somewhere in between, not too flexible that they will slip in your fingers, but not too rigid that they will catch on the strings.

Picks are pretty inexpensive, and it might be good to purchase a variety and experiment with what feels right for you.

Once you’ve got your picks, make sure your strumming hand is relaxed. Gently put your index finger and thumb together then close your other three fingers toward your palm.

Simply slide the pick in between the thumb and the outer edge of the index finger, so that the index finger is pointing down toward the tip of the pick without poking out beyond it.

Hold the pick firmly, but not too tightly.

There needs to be a solid amount of thumb on top of the pick to keep it from shifting while playing-if you are strumming, you’ll want to have a larger portion of the pick exposed. Less exposed pick surface can give you better accuracy to hit single notes.

With pick properly in hand, you’re ready to start playing.

Want to learn to more about your picks? Check out this video from Fender Play.

And if you're not a Fender Play member yet, click here for a free trial.