Whether you're just starting out learning the guitar, or playing for years, learning how to hold a guitar pick, or plectrum, is one of the most, if not the most, important thing to learn.
Learning just to hold it the right way can be tricky for some, whether a complete beginner, or a long time player, just starting to use one. However, this guide is designed to help you best start off playing with a plectrum, briefly going over the different aspects, and key rules for practicing, and mastering the style of plectrum playing.
How to Hold a Guitar Pick
When using a guitar pick, the first, and most important thing to do is choose your most comfortable hand to use for playing. Many people who play use their dominant hand, though some use their non-dominant.
Now that you have your comfortable hand chosen, it's time to learn how to handle the pick. Make sure the plectrum rests on the side of your index finger, with the pad of the thumb on top gently, allowing for just enough wiggle room that your hand won't be tense, causing pain later on, but not too loose, allowing for the pick to slip from your hand.
While holding the plectrum, you want to make sure that it points out from the side of your thumb, with the point of it ending just past the tip of your index finger.
Pick Types and Construction Materials:
For plectrum playing beginners, it's best to try out a few different brands, thicknesses, and styles before finding the one that best suits your playing, and is the most comfortable, as picks all vary in weight and thickness, as well as style.
Lighter picks are generally best for strumming, while medium weight is more for scales and riffs, while heavier picks are best used for electric guitar, and playing leads. It's never a bad idea to stock up on picks, as they are small, and easily lost track of. Bright colors can help out as well.
The materials of the picks vary as much as the colors, ranging from different types of wood, to plastics, metal, and even some people using coins as their choice. Typically, picks are made of nylon, which are very flexible, even in the thinner picks, though they generally only last for a couple months, before losing flexibility. Each material and thickness has its own benefits, and own uses.
Plectrums also come in various shapes, from the equilateral pick, which is best for beginners, to a shark's fin pick, which can use normally, or by utilizing the blunt end for producing a fuller sounding chord.
Or even for scraping the pick down the strings, for a harsher, scratching noise. A tear drop pick allows your fingers to be closer to the strings, also known as a Jazz pick.
Finally, a sharp edged pick is a mix of the tear drop and the standard pick, allowing your fingers to be closer to the strings, while also allowing for a larger surface area to hold.Now that you have the perfect pick chosen, it's time to finally play with it.
How to Play Guitar Using Guitar Pick
To begin strum playing, you simply let your hand hover over the sound hole of your acoustic, or the body of your electric, guitar, making sure to not let your hand rest on the guitar itself. Starting from the thickest string, simply rotate your wrist down, while keeping a loose grip on your pick.
While strumming, there are a few different techniques to use, ranging from simple downward, or upward motions, to alternating between the two. Using alternate picking for practicing solos, riffs, or even scales can help with speed playing, as well as playing cleaner single notes.
Learning alternate picking can be difficult, so it would help to first start practicing on the sixth string, and pick up and down the string, then moving all the way down to the first string.
You don't need to worry about fretting at this point, so you can use your fret hand to just hold the guitar for now. Once you reach the first string, make your way back up, alternating again, once more to the sixth string.
And that's it, you've learned how to hold a guitar pick with your index finger and thumb, the various types, styles, and materials of them, as well as learning to play different styles such as the basic strumming, and alternate picking.
Now that you've learned these, it's time to practice some riffs if you know any, or search for some easy to play ones, and you'll be on your way to mastering your plectrum playing.Read our another informative article on how to string a guitar. And consider visiting v-picks to purchase your desired guitar picks.