How to Hold a Guitar Pick

How to Hold A Guitar Pick

Your picking hand might be struggling, and it could be because you don’t know how to hold a guitar pick.

Or maybe you’re just starting to use a pick, and you want to start off right!

Luckily I’ve put to gather this easy guide for you to learn how to hold a guitar pick fast.

How to hold a guitar pick (visualized)

As a general rule the best way to hold a guitar pick is between the thumb and the side of your index finger. Do this by curling your index finger, then sliding the pick between it and the thumb.

Doing this will create a 90-degree angle between the thumb and the guitar pick, which you can see in the image gallery below.

Proper way to hold a guitar pick

The proper way to hold a guitar pick is sometimes referred to as the “D” shape, because the thumb and curled index finger make a capital “D” shape.

Wrong way to hold a guitar pick

As a guitar teacher for 5+ years, and a player for 15+ years, this is the most common way I’ve seen other guitarists hold a pick.

This is the wrong way to hold the guitar pick. With this type of grip, you don’t have control over the guitar pick.

It makes it easier for the pick to slip out of your hands, and more difficult to execute lead guitar techniques.

Guitar Pick Best Practices

Let’s address some best practices for using a guitar pick.

Angling your guitar pick

Angling your pick is a common practice amongst guitarists. The angle at which you hold it can change your tone, the speed at which you can move your pick, and your overall dynamic control.

You’ll discover the best way to angle your guitar pick as you play more, but usually, the pick angle is not too dramatic.

I personally bend my pick around 15-30 degrees.

Picking angle is subjective at the end of the day, so experiment with your pick’s angle until you’re happy with it!

And if you want to learn more about pick angling, I suggest checking out Troy Grady’s Cracking the Code!

Cracking The Code YouTube Channel

How much of the pick should touch the string?

As a general rule only a small amount of the pick should touch the string, preferably just the tip.

Using too much pick makes you more likely to get the pick caught in-between the strings, and also makes it harder to control the pick.

As a whole, you don’t want too much pick showing!

How hard should you pick guitar strings?

How hard you pick your guitar strings is based on your desired pick attack.

That being said, there are no actual rules for how hard you should pick your guitar strings.

The important thing to remember is you don’t want to sacrifice a relaxed picking hand. You’ll have more dynamic control when your hand is relaxed, which means you’ll have more control over how soft or hard you pick your strings.

How to hold a guitar pick conclusion + where to go next

Now that you’ve learned the proper way to hold a guitar pick you’ll need to start putting it into practice!

Check out this post about picking techniques if you’re ready to take the next step in picking.

Or learn about lead guitar techniques to level up your lead guitar!

And check out any other post or resource on this site if none of those posts interest you.

Lastly, keep practicing, and rock on!