How To Hold A Guitar Pick

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For one just starting to learn the guitar, one of the most fundamental things to master is how to hold a guitar pick.

Learning to hold a guitar pick correctly is vital as holding the pick in the wrong position or too hard often results in extra tension, pain, and a horrible sound. Even, holding it too loosely may cause the pick to fly out of your hands.

Keep reading to learn just the right way to hold your guitar pick.

How to hold a guitar pick properly

Being able to hold a guitar pick as a beginner makes it very easy to learn and lay other techniques.

However, before learning how to hold a guitar pick, it is important to know the right pick to choose and play with. There are several brands that exist, and a beginner should try out different picks before settling for the best one for him.

Usually, beginners strum well with light weights guitar picks as they are easy to use.

Now let’s get to how best to hold a guitar pick.

The finger to use

This is the first thing to consider when holding a guitar pick. Most often, beginners mistake holding the guitar pick with three fingers; the index, middle finger, and thumb.

As lovely and firm as this sounds, it is not ideal as it gives you less stability. The best fingers to hold the guitar pick with are the index finger and thumb, where the pick is placed in between them. You can also place the pick between the third finger and the thumb, but this would be awkward initially.

The pick hold position

The next step is getting the pick holding position right, i.e., the exact point between the fingers where it should be located.

A guitar pick can be held at the tip, in the middle, and at the broader end, with several variations for each holding position. However, the ideal position for your guitar pick as a beginner is somewhat close to the tip. Holding it too long results in less control and a higher chance of losing the pick.

The angle

Once you have gotten the position right, the next focus lies on the angle. The right angle for holding a guitar pick is fixing your index finger in the same direction as the tip of the pick with your thumb parallel to the strings.

Finally, learning the right way to grip the pick comes after getting the right angle. Most beginners often feel that gripping the pick too tightly is the best way to keep it from falling, which is not entirely. Holding it too loosely is also not advisable. However, a loose grip that makes you not feel too tired holding for a long time will be helpful for a beginner. The grip should also not be too loose to allow the pick to fly away from the fingers.

Once you have gotten these basics of holding a pick, other techniques will become easy to learn and play. You can also apply them while strumming but might need slight changes. While strumming, you will need to tilt your wrist upwards when performing downstrokes and downwards while performing strokes.

It is also wise for a beginner not to focus on speed or try to play too fast too early. First get familiar with picking and focus on getting better at it.


How tight should you hold a guitar pick?

A guitar pick should be held firmly but not too tight. There should be a solid amount of thumb at the top to prevent it from shifting while playing.

Are sharp picks good?

It is not advisable to use picks that are too sharp as they can stab the strings and result in damage of your guitar.


The way you pick your guitar dramatically influences the feel of your instrument and how well you connect to it. It also makes you get better and more comfortable with your instrument.

Getting the proper way to hold a guitar pick is not as complicated as it seems, and now that you know how to hold a guitar pick, doing so will not be so difficult.

Jim Henneberry

Jim Henneberry

I love playing my guitar, and my kids got hooked along with me.
This is a family thing now - why don't you join the family fun? :)