How To Hold A Guitar Pick

You don't have to use a guitar pick, but I recommend that you do. It might seem harder at first, but I think it's easier in the long run. Alternatively, you can strum using your fingers and there are many ways to do that, but we’ll get into that in later lessons.

Which Pick?

I recommend beginners start using a very thin pick - as thin as you can find! Thinner picks are super flexible, they don’t get tangled up in the strings, and they’re much more forgiving than thicker picks. The downside is that they’re less accurate when it comes to picking out individual notes, but at this stage in your playing, the thinner, the better.

I’d recommend the Dunlop Nylon .38 (Amazon link) as the best thin pick. A 12-pack will see you through your beginner journey (unless your sock monster is playing guitar, in which case he'll steal them all!). 

You might like to get a thicker pick too, something like the Dunlop Tortex Orange as well - that would be ideal for picking out individual notes.

I recommend beginners starting with a standard size pick - but for most of my guitar life I used a smaller pick called a Dunlop Jazz III (yes I know I mention Dunlop a lot - no endorsement, they just make great picks!) but I don't recommend these picks for beginners - far to small and far too stiff!

How To Hold It

While there are many amazing guitarists who hold their picks differently, I'm going to show you the most common way to hold the pick. This is a good starting point, so I suggest you learn it like this. You can always change it later if you find a good enough reason to!

Pay attention to your thumb – you want the pick to come out from the side of your thumb, not the tip. Also, you should have a good centimeter or so of pick coming out from your finger.

Try to hold it as lightly as you can without it falling out of your fingers obviously! The light grip will help keep your arm relaxed - tension is the enemy!

Step 1

Place the pick on finger 1 so it's pointing in the direction of your finger (out the top of it)

Step 2

Place your thumb on top so that the pick is coming out of the side of your thumb.