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How to use a Guitar Pick Properly

How to use a Guitar Pick Properly

The guitar pick is one of the most important tools you can have as a guitarist. The guitar pick is also called the plectrum and there are many different shapes and sizes to choose from. Of course you can use your fingers to strum your guitar but playing with a pick will produce a much brighter sound.

Type of Guitar Pick You Should Use

The type of guitar pick you should choose to use totally depends on your preference. You can find guitar picks in thin, medium and thick gauges. The gauge that is mostly recommended for beginner guitarists is the medium pick because it makes it easier to strum chords.

The picks that produce the best guitar tone are the thick gauges. However, thick gauges are only recommended for experience players. Thin guitar picks don’t have much resistance when they move across the strings, making them great for strumming chords.

Most experienced guitarists avoid thin picks because they bend to easily and aren’t very accurate. At the end of the day you are going to have to do a little experimenting with different pick sizes and styles until you find what you are most comfortable with.



Holding The Pick Properly

You have to know how to hold the guitar pick properly if you want to use it at it’s full capability. Position the pick on your index finger and allow the little tip of the pick to point away from your palm.

Now grip the pick with your thumb making sure to grip it as close to the tip of the pick as possible so just a quarter of it is showing. When you hold the pick too far away from the tip it will allow the guitar pick to easily fly out your possession while playing.

Gripping the pick as close to the tip as possible will allow you to relax more since you won’t have to use too much force when picking the strings. To help you get familiar about where to place your thumb and index finger you can get a pick that has groves or holes that indicate where you need to place your fingers for ultimate control and playability. Once you can hold the pick and only let a very small area of the pick hit the strings you will be able to produce crisper sounds without having to worry about the pick flying out your hand.

Also Check: How To Record Your Guitar – Steps You Need To Take

Striking the Strings

The way you strike the guitar strings with your pick is very important. In order to pick the guitar strings properly with the pick you’ll need to keep your strumming arm as relaxed and tension free as possible.

The biggest mistake a lot of guitarist make when using the pick is that they apply too much force when strumming the strings. You don’t need too much force when you are strumming the strings with a pick so don’t try to over do it.

How to use a Guitar Pick Properly

You also want to hit the strings at a certain angle when you’re using a pick. Probably the biggest mistake beginners make when using a guitar pick is that they strum too flat against the strings. You need to strike the strings at a certain angle so the strings sound off properly.

The perfect angle to strike guitar strings is at a 45 degree angle so you don’t have to move your pick too much to hit the following string. When you hold the pick at a flat angle it will produce a soft sound that has no kind of sharpness to it. When you hold the pick at the right angle it will produce a nicer sound than your finger could ever do.


You will never get comfortable at using guitar picks if you don’t practice with them. One of the best ways to practice and develop your skills with using picks is use alternate picking. With the alternate picking exercise you will have to strum the sixth string in a downward motion and then strum the sixth string in an upwards motion.

You can do the same exercise with the fifth, fourth, third, second, and first strings in a downward and upward motion. Practicing exercises like alternate picking using your guitar pick is a great way to learn how to use it properly.

How to use a Guitar Pick Properly – Conclusion

When you first use the guitar pick it will feel a little awkward at first but with due diligence you will get the hang of it. Pay close attention to the rhythm you’re playing with when picking your strings. Make sure everything sounds fluent and not rushed.

Also Check: How To Record Your Guitar – Steps You Need To Take

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