How to Hold a Guitar Pick

If you are a veteran guitarist holding a pick and playing your guitar with it might be the easiest thing for you, but for beginners, it is not! A beginning guitarist needs to learn how to properly hold a guitar pick and master it right. Holding a guitar pick improperly can even impede your journey as a guitarist.

Why do you need to hold a guitar pick properly?

A grip too tight or too loose can cause your fingers to cramp or wiggle. In this article, we have discussed all the steps for you in detail how to hold a guitar pick and start play guitar like a professional. Check out our article for all the information. 

To be a guitarist, you need to master holding your pick and playing with it. A grip too hard can produce unusual notes, a grip too loose can cause the pick to miss a string while playing and causing a glitch in your tunes.

If you do not hold your pick properly you can also end up in pain, tense, and with bad music. The worst-case would be if the pick flew out of your hands. If you can master your pick-holding posture, you can learn more playing techniques and enhance your skills. 

Pick the Right Guitars Picks for you Learn How to Hold one

1. Factors to keep in mind before picking a guitar pick

You will find different types of guitar picks, some of them varying in length, some vary in thickness, or even weight. If you are a beginner you should try lightweight ones to learn the basics. Do not rush off to buy picks of your favorite brand. Settle for the ones that fit your fingers perfectly. 

If you are picking upscales, lighter ones will suit you best. If you are picking up basic riffs, those of medium-weight will be better for you. Do not pick the heavier-weight ones for classical or acoustic guitars. Heavier picks are well suited for playing electric guitars only.  

2. Picks for Playing Different Music

If you are looking for a pick for strumming go with thinner ones. For bass and handling rhythm and or for playing an electric guitar you should always go with thicker ones.

You should always pick guitar picks based on your hand’s size. We would suggest you should go for a medium-weight light pick. Medium ones are flexible, not too much though. They will not fall off your hand or be too rigid on your fingers. 

3. Always Buy in Bulk

Some people make the mistake of buying one or two picks, this is not the smartest thing to do! Guitar picks are small and light, they will get lost the moment you keep you leave them or let them settle down.

Buying picks in bulk is the best option. Quality is also a factor, as some picks may be more susceptible to wear and tear processes. 

Even if you keep your all picks in a safe box, practicing with them daily will cause them to wear out. Playing with worn out picks will disrupt the quality of your playing. Hence the next time you will buy guitar picks, buy them in bulk amount. Do not come out of the ship without ten to fifteen picks at least!

4. The Best Pick Size

If you are a new guitarist you should start playing with a thin pick. Dunlop Nylon 38 is the best pick for beginners. Vincent Van Gogh guitar picks are also great for newbies. You should start with a 0.44 to 0.6 mm size.

You can switch to any picks of size 0.75 to 0.80 mm after you are done learning the basics. The size of the pick has an impact on the distance between the string and the gripping surface, and also on your fingers when you play your guitar. Opt for sizes around 0.6 mm and you will find it comfortable to play with.

Detailed steps on how to hold a Guitar Pick


  • Pay good attention to your fingers, especially your thumb. Position the guitar pick in away so that the pick points towards your thumb’s side. The tip should not come out. 
  • Place the pick in a way, so that only a centimeter is seen out of your thumb.
  • Hold the pick lightly, but not too light. Make sure it does not fall off from your fingers. 
  • Keep your arms relaxed


Step 1:  Place the pick on your index finger making sure it is pointed inwards towards your body.

Step 2: Place your thumb over the pick to prevent it from falling off 

Step 3: Bring your hands down near to the strings of your guitar.

Step 4: Place your hand parallel to the guitar strings so that the pick pokes out between your fingers.

Step 5: Gently strike your pick with the strings and start playing

Pivot Point and correct picking positions

Guitar picking exercises help beginner guitarists to learn how to control a guitar pick. These exercises help newbies to keep their hand planted while picking or strumming. Make sure your hand is not floating on top of your strings. You need to keep your picking hand still on the pivot point.

A pivot point is the bridge of your guitar. It is located near the rear end of your guitar’s body. One common mistake made by people is that they tend to keep their forearms close to the guitar.

You need to keep your forearms on top of your guitar in order to make your wrists free and flexible. You should be able to move your wrist and fingers freely. Also, do not press yourself against the strings. This would put you at a bad angle, and you may end up muting your strings. 

You must make sure a small part of your wrist is on the guitar and to make them flexible enough. This will help you increase your picking accuracy. 

What is Strumming?

Guitar strumming is not tough, rather it is simple. It is a core concept of stringed instrument and even people with no previous experience has some idea of what strumming is.

All of us have seen or touches a guitar before. Did you run your hands around the strings? Did you try playing all the strings together casually trying to make sound? Yes, that is strumming! Strumming is a collection of harmonious guitar tones.  

Alternate Picking Technique

After you have learnt and mastered all the strumming techniques with your guitar pick, you can learn to focus on some alternate picking techniques. Alternate techniques help people play notes and tunes on with more fluidity and quickly.

If you are want to improve your picking game, try learning this technique when you are practicing riffs, solos, or scales. This will help you notes much more clearly and with great speed. 

Start by holding onto your guitar pick. Avoid using your left hand at first or fretting just concentrate on picking. First of all, down-stroke the sixth string, next strike the top-most thick string with your pick.

Then strike on the same strings. On the first attempt try practicing alternating up and down with gentle strokes on your sixth string. After you get used to it, then move this alternative picking technique down on all the strings.

Start picking from the sixth string then to the fifth, fourth, third, and so on. After reaching the first string, move down again on the sixth and so on.  

Best picks for your guitar

If you have never bought a guitar pick before, you can check out list. Picks come in many different shapes and sizes. You will get a pick in any color you want, some of them are also decorated with designs and patterns in them. You can also customize a pick for yourself. These are some of the best picks for playing all types of guitar, either electrical, classic, or acoustic. 

  • Dunlop Tortex Standard Plectrum - It is one of the most preferred and popular picks of all time.
  • Fender 551 Shape Classic Celluloid – has a warm tone and a wide surface area
  • Dunlop Nylon Jazz III Guitar Pick – it is highly recommended for fast players
  • D'Addario DuraGrip – has great durability with enhanced grip control
  • Dava Control pick – great for playing acoustic guitars
  • Gravity pick – extremely durable and comfortable. You will find it in many sizes and thickness
  • Dunlop Nylon Standard Plectrum – available in different gauges. This is one of the best picks for new acoustic guitar players 
  • Ernie Ball Prodigy Pick – Reduces drag force and designed for fast players

Bottom Line

Now that you have read this article, you should know how to hold a guitar pick. Have a great time picking up your favorite notes. Hold that pick straight and start playing! If you are still having troubles check out these videos:,

You can also read: How to Finish a Guitar Neck

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