How To Hold A Guitar Pick For Beginners

A guitar pick is one of the essential tools when it comes to playing guitar. It is the key to creating many different sounds, and thus it’s important you know how to hold one.

For beginners, it might be overwhelming to learn how to use picks for the first time. The proper way is very simple; once you get used to it, you can master it in no time. You just need some time and a little bit of practice and soon you will be playing guitar like a pro.

This blog post will discuss how to hold your guitar pick for maximum comfort and performance.

Learning how to hold a guitar pick is essential to play the acoustic or electric guitar. You need to position your thumb and index finger correctly to hold a guitar pick, and the dexterity will follow.

If you want to know more about how to properly hold a pick,  continue reading for more details. 


Why Use A Guitar Pick?


There are many reasons to use a guitar pick while playing the electric or acoustic guitar. It is possible to make a variety of sounds that would otherwise be impossible without it. 

Here are some things you can achieve only with a guitar pick:


Clear Tones


The guitar pick allows you to play clear tones, with a clean sound that is crisp and sharp that will not be possible if you use your fingernails or fingers to pluck the strings.


Volume Boost


The guitar pick allows you to create more volume; you can only achieve clear tones and volume boost by holding a guitar pick. It will enable you to play loud and clear, which is a necessity for performing live.


Creating Different Sounds


Guitar picks are made out of different materials, so they create distinct sounds. For example, you can use a metal pick to achieve an electric sound or play your guitar with a plastic one for softer tones. 


Easy To Play Notes On Higher Strings


If you have problems playing notes on an electric guitar’s high E, B, and G strings, a pick is just what you need. It will help to play those difficult high-pitched sounds that are so distinctive for this type of music.

Now that you know why guitar picks are so useful let’s discuss how to hold a guitar pick.


A person playing a guitar using a guitar pick


How To Hold A Guitar Pick Properly


There are several different ways to hold a pick; the best option for beginners is to use the traditional one. 

Here’s a step by step guide on how to hold a guitar pick:


Step 1: Hold the Pick


Grip the guitar pick with your thumb and index finger, just like you would grip a pencil. Keep in mind that most of your hand weight should be resting on your fingers. It will allow you to have better control over the pick and prevent fatigue.


Step 2: Thumb Positioning


While bending your thumb, keep it relaxed so that the side of the tip touches the strings while strumming. You will need a firm grip on this to be able to do pull-offs easily.

Some people may find it difficult at first to keep their thumb relaxed. If so, try gripping the pick between your thumb and index finger before relaxing it completely.


Step 3: Thumb Placement On Strings


The part of your thumb that rests on top of the guitar strings should be flat but flexible enough to adjust easily if needed. Keep this area free of any calluses, and make sure you don’t place it too close to the guitar neck, as this will prevent you from making wide chords.


Step 4: Index Finger Positioning


Place your index finger slightly below the middle of the pick. This position should be pretty easy for beginners to achieve by just gripping it between the thumb and index finger. 


Steps To Follow:


Place your thumb on the pick and let it rest there, just relaxed so that you can grip it firmly when needed. Hold your index finger slightly below the middle of the guitar pick, then place the side of your thumb’s tip on top of all six strings while strumming to produce clear tones.

Practice holding a pick for some time, and you will soon find your hand getting used to it. Once that happens, you can start practicing different picking techniques and strumming patterns until they become second nature. 

Keep experimenting with the way you hold a guitar pick because there is no single correct way of doing so – only what works for you.


Best guitar picks for beginners banner


Guitar Picks That We Recommend


If you are just starting, here is a list of the best guitar picks for beginners to get you started:


Fender Premium Pick


Fender Premium Picks Sampler - 24 Pack Includes Thin, Medium & Heavy Gauges (Austin Bazaar Exclusive)
  • Made from celluloid, the premier pick material
  • Offers a warm, round music tone
  • The go to pick for many professional artists
  • Comes with Thin, Medium, and Heavy Gauges
  • Comes in many different styles and colors to match your specific playing needs - Try them all!
Check Price on Amazon
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This guitar pick is made of celluloid and is available in three different shapes: triangle, teardrop, and standard. It has a wide variety of colors so you can easily find the one that will suit your needs best.


Jim Dunlop Guitar Picks


Jim Dunlop Guitar Picks (24510073003)

This guitar pick has an excellent tone which is suited for both beginners and professionals alike. It’s made out of celluloid, a durable yet soft material that won’t damage the strings or your guitar neck while playing even after hours of use.


Pick Geek Assorted Guitar Picks


Pick Geek Assorted Guitar Picks | 51 Premium Quality Picks Plectrums For Your Electric, Acoustic, or Bass Guitar | X Heavy, Heavy, Medium, Thin | Wedgie Pick Holder | Gifted in a Unique Linen Pick Bag

This is a nice pack of guitar picks that contains different gauge options and an assortment of colors and shapes such as teardrop, triangle, standard black pick with white logo, etc. With its unique and luxurious design, it’s certainly one of the best guitar picks for beginners out there.


BluesBay Premium Celluloid Guitar


BluesBay Premium Celluloid Guitar Picks-12 Pack Includes Thin, Medium & Heavy Gauges-Bundle W/Free Metal Box+ Leather Key Chain Pick Holder (Artistic Patterns) Best Gift for Guitar Lovers
  • Guitar Picks Variety Pack Includes 6 Different Artistic Styles & Colors to Match Your Playing Needs
  • Unique Designs of 12 Guitar Pick For Electric,Acoustic, Bass Guitar& Ukelele. An Upscale Gift Idea!
  • Comes With 3 Gauges: Thin, Medium & Heavy. Perfect Choice for All Levels of Guitar Players
  • Made From Premium Celluloid,Provides a Natural Feel &Warm Round Music Tone.Printed High Pixel Photos
  • Bonus Circular Click-Clack Metal Tin Box& Key Chain Guitar Pick Holder For Carring Picks Well Sto
Check Price on Amazon
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The BluesBay guitar pick is made out of premium celluloid which makes it very durable. It features a unique design that makes it easy to hold and is available in several different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses, so you can easily find the one which works best for your style of playing.


D’Addario Assorted Pearl Celluloid Guitar Picks


D’Addario Assorted Pearl Celluloid Guitar Picks, 10 Pack, Medium

It’s a premium pick made of high-quality celluloid. It is available in two different thicknesses: standard, which is great for beginners, and heavy, which is suited for more experienced players.

These are some of the best picks for beginners. Make sure you try a few to see which one suits your needs and style of playing best. Choose the one that feels most comfortable in your hand, produces the best sound when strumming or picking.


Different Types of Guitar Picking Techniques


There are many types of guitar picking techniques that you can experiment with. Here are some of the most popular ones:


Claw-Style Picking


With this technique, you use your index and middle fingers to hold the pick with a semi-closed hand. The third finger acts as an anchor for the thumb to strum all six strings at once.

This picking style produces very clear tones that are great when strumming chords since they will sound balanced and well-rounded.


Alternating Picking 


This technique includes strumming all six strings at once with your thumb; you alternate between picking each string individually while keeping them muted with your right-hand fingers. This is a great technique for playing more complex melodies or licks.


Sweep-Style Picking


This type of picking is great for playing fast music. It involves using every finger to hold the pick and strum all six strings at once while rolling your hand back and forth over the strings in a rhythmic way that produces an almost harp-like sound.


Economy Picking


This is a more complex picking technique that requires a lot of coordination and practice order to master. It involves keeping your hand relaxed while using the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring fingers on each hand when alternating between plucking individual strings. This style of playing produces fast-paced, clean licks with an almost harp-like sound.




This technique is great for playing fast but clear melodies and licks. It involves using the pick to pluck all six strings at once while your right-hand fingers mute specific pairs of strings.

This picking style produces a very clean sound that’s perfect when accompanying singers or other solo instruments on stage.




This style of playing is a bit more complex, and it requires you to use the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring fingers on both hands when plucking individual strings. 

It produces slow-paced but clear tones that are great for accompanying singers or other solo instruments if you play in an acoustic band or ensemble such as jazz quartets or trios.


Hybrid Picking


This technique is great for playing fast passages with lots of notes since it allows you to use your pick and fingers at the same time, using all four picking-hand digits to pluck individual strings.

This style of playing produces clear tones that are perfect when strumming chords and soloing over them.


Tremolo Picking


This technique involves picking one string over and over again at a very fast rate while your other hand strums all six strings of the guitar.

It’s great for playing short, staccato phrases that are rhythmically precise and sound loud enough to cut through during solos or when accompanying singers on stage.

These are the most popular guitar picking techniques. You can experiment with many others to find out which ones suit your needs and style best. 


Tips To Improve Your Guitar Picking Speed


The best way to become a better guitar picker is by practicing your favorite songs over and over again. However, there are also some other things you can do to speed up your picking hand:


Practice With the Metronome


A great tool for improving both coordination and precision when playing notes or chords at exact speeds is using a metronome. Start with playing one note per click and gradually increase your speed as you improve. 

This will help speed up your picking hand but also helps it to become more accurate, which is great for both fast solos or complex chord progressions that require many notes played at once, such as jazz chords.


Practice With a Guitar Pro Tab


Another great way to improve your guitar picking skills is by using tablature since it allows you to play specific notes at the same time as they appear on the screen.

This will help boost both your coordination and accuracy, which are crucial when playing complex things like jazz chords or fast solos that require many notes played within a short period of time.


Watch Great Guitar Players


If you want to become a great guitar player yourself. In that case, it’s important that you take the time out to watch some YouTube videos or live performances by other musicians who are at an advanced level in their playing skills which will inspire you to reach your full potential.


Don’t Play Too Slow


This may sound like a no-brainer, but many guitar players practice things too slowly, which can affect their ability to play with accuracy at higher speeds.

This is why it’s essential to start slow when practicing new techniques and gradually speed up the tempo as you become better and more comfortable playing them.

This means you need to spend more time practicing difficult things like chords or solos instead of simply repeating them over and over again at a slow tempo to achieve a better result. 


Some Final Words


Learning how to hold a guitar pick properly can be a bit challenging at first, but playing your favorite songs on guitar becomes much easier and more enjoyable when you get used to it.

Once you’ve mastered the basic skills needed to hold a guitar pick and play simple chords or riffs, it’s time for you to start learning more advanced techniques that will allow your playing style to become more versatile.

As always, make sure you practice with patience because this is crucial if you want to improve over time while having fun in the process.


About the author