Regardless of your level of experience, the way you hold a guitar pick can significantly affect the sound and playability.
There are different ways of holding a pick and many famous guitarists have their unique way to hold a guitar pick.
But if you are a beginner, it’s important to know what’s is the best way to hold a guitar pick.
How To Properly Hold A Guitar Pick
When I first started learning guitar, I didn’t know how to hold a pick properly and I relearned it a bit later which wasn’t a good experience.
So, it’s better to know how to properly hold a guitar pick from the start because playing would be much easier.
Holding a guitar pick consists of two main steps. The first is the pick position and the second is the pick angle.
It’s important to know how to hold your palm and fingers because it might have an impact on your playing.
Also, if you mainly play electric guitar, you might choose a different picking technique than an acoustic guitar player.
Guitar Pick Position
You already know that pick goes between your index and thumb but you should know the right position to hold a guitar pick.
So, take your guitar pick and put it on your index finger. The finger should be slightly bent and the point of the pick must point down.
Then put your thumb on top of it in a way that your fingers should create a circle-like shape.
Make sure you’re holding it tight and a small portion of the pick is coming out. But depending on the size of the guitar pick, it might be different.
Guitar Pick Angle
The next important thing when holding a guitar pick is the angle because it helps to play easily and much faster.
Of course, there are a few angles you can choose and different guitarists have their own opinion but I will teach you what pick angle I like.
For me, the best angle for a guitar pick is 45 degrees. Especially it’s good for playing guitar solos and palm-muted parts.
It has a percussion-like effect, it’s fast, and you have more control over your down-picking or alternate-picking style.
However, some guitar players like the straight angle and they think that it sounds better.
And that’s OK. You should do whatever feels comfortable for you. This is just my way of holding a guitar pick.
And finally, you should pick the way you hold your fingers and palm while playing with a pick.
Although it’s not as important, different hand positions would have different feel and advantages.
There are numerous ways you can hold your palm but there are three main positions.
The one when the fingers are free, the second is when fingers are straight, and the third is when fingers are bent and the palm is locked.
All of the have benefits and you can choose one or use a combination of all of them. I like the first one when my fingers and hand are free.
However, the third position, when the palm is locked, is great for pal-muted riffs and lead playing too, because it gives you more power and control.
How To Hold A Guitar Pick For Strumming
Holding a guitar pick for strumming doesn’t necessarily mean something special but you can create different sounds and feels with various pick-holding methods.
Depending on what you want to express with your guitar, you might choose a specific method to hold a guitar pick.
And also, choosing the right guitar pick for strumming is important because different types of picks produce different styles.
For strumming technique, especially on acoustic guitars, I like what I call the “Flat Picking Technique”.
I place the pick between my thumb and index finger but it’s placed not on the side of the index finger but on the finger pulp.
So, when you play this way, the pick is perpendicular to the string and that’s why I call it the “Flat Picking Technique”.
It produces a very different sound than picking with an angle and has a very different feel too.
Also, for strumming on acoustic guitars I like to play with thin to medium picks – something between 0.4 to 0.75. It has a very different feel than thicker guitar picks.
The way you play, your holding technique, and the type of pick you choose for strumming or other guitar-playing technique, will produce different sounds and feel.
Of course, you must choose whatever you feel comfortable with but this is my way of holding a guitar pick for strumming.
Although there are some established ways to hold a pick, there are no rules. You can watch guitar legends like Marty Friedman, James Hetfield, or Tosin Abasi and they have a very unique way of holding guitar picks. But it’s a good practice to start with the proper way and then change it to something that feels comfortable for you.