How Tight Should I Hold My Guitar Pick? The correct way of holding a guitar pick has significant repercussions on learning to play the guitar and making music—a too-tight grip results in cramps and, thus, less playing time. A too loose grip means the pick flying out of your hand.
A Must-Read: How Do I Stop My Guitar Picks From Dropping?
You should then hold your pick in a relaxed yet firm grip. You should hold it as comfortably as you can so your fingers aren’t experiencing cramps. You can take a deep breath, shake your hands, and let the tension in your fingers go away.
Start With The Right Pick
The right hold on a guitar pick starts with the right pick in the first place! Since picks are inexpensive, you can buy several types at once, play the guitar using each one and choose the best one. You may even use different picks depending on your playing style.
Typically, the thicker picks are great for bass, rhythm, and lead electric guitars, while thinner picks are better for acoustic guitars, particularly strumming. There are also in-between picks, known as medium-weight picks. These aren’t too rigid to catch on the strings nor too flexible to slip from your fingers.
If you seem to break picks regularly, you may want to buy the Fender Premium Picks Sampler.
Practice The Right Hold
You can choose from three holds on a pick, namely:
- Using two fingers only, the thumb and index finger
- Using two fingers, the thumb and middle finger
- Using three fingers, the index and middle fingers and the thumb
You have to experiment on which type of hold is the most comfortable in your case. Many guitarists recommend the thumb and index finger, especially for beginners.
Let’s assume that you’re a right-handed player. You will then use your right hand for picking the strings and your left hand for fretting. (If you’re left-handed, it’s the reverse obviously, but the tips on holding a pick still apply)
- Close your right hand so that it forms a fist.
- Place the pick on top of your index finger, specifically on the first joint.
- Place your thumb over the pick.
- Check that the pointed side of the pick is turned toward you or the strings of your guitar. (Picks usually have a teardrop shape, so it’s easy to tell the pointy side and the rounded part)
When gripping a pick in your fingers, you should neither grip only its edge nor cover it entirely with your fingers. You should still be able to see about half-an-inch of the pick sticking out from your fingers. You should be able to pluck or pick on your guitar strings instead of your fingers.
If you find that your pick keeps slipping during practice or performances, you can do these things:
- Tighten your grip over it but not too tight as to cause cramps
- Use a textured pick, which has a less smooth surface but allows for more grip
- Apply a pick glue to your fingers for more traction
To summarize, your hold on a guitar pick should be the same way you’re cradling or holding a guitar: relaxed, comfortable, and confident. You may have to apply trial-and-error until you find the right pick and hold, too. More importantly, you should consider enhancing your skills by reading books like Complete Technique for Modern Guitar.