How To Hold A Guitar Pick

The right pick matters! Let's choose the best one for you and learn how to hold it.

View the full lesson at How To Hold A Guitar Pick | JustinGuitar

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Started by using your YouTube videos. I found the pick to be quite stiff and then I realized after reading this lesson that I needed a thinner pick. So I’ve ordered the two you suggested and the wonderful Amazon should have them here by tomorrow. Hopefully this will make my life a little bit easier in my new journey.

Welcome to the Community Mark. You’ll get lots of advice and support here.
Regarding picks, have a look here too.
What picks do you use?

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The music store near me only has .46mm and .73mm picks. Can those still work? I’m not in the U.S so a little limited in choice.

Glad to join all of you. I started about 2 months ago. I am looking for any advice on holding my pic. I am working on my strumming, trying to keep my hand relaxed but in doing so, my pic changes position- either turning toward my palm or forward toward the guitar. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

I recently saw an interesting way to solve this issue from internet. Not tested by myself yet, but sounds practical, you may give it a try: cut a triangle or rectangular hole in the middle of the pick.

I think this is a query for this topic. In Grade 1 Module 2 Justin recommends for down strum that the pick should be angled down at 20 to 30 degrees which works fine for me. However what about an up strum I find if I keep it angled down I generally catch the bottom two strings. I am using a Jim Dunlop nylon 0.38 pick. Do I just keep this up and practice more or rotate the pick to 20 or 30 degrees up or have I too much pick showing.

Any thoughts.

Not sure if you have got sorted but I am in the UK and got a selection of Jim Dunlop nylon picks which had some at 0.38 and 0.48 from Amazon and they arrived within a week.

I’m a beginner. I have an assortment of picks including the Dunlop .38 which I find a bit too “slappy”. I’ve settled on a Dunlop .46 for now.

Welcome to the Community, David. On this one I can say it is a matter of experimentation and practice. Departure point is Justin’s lesson, but I find I have curled my index finger more than Justin shows. So don’t be scared to make some adjustments to get the pick comfortable. Then it is just a matter of practice, finding the right amount of grip, strumming so as not to dig in too much, being relaxed so as to strum with a looseness in the wrist. And it does take some time, so just persevere.

That sounds right, Michael, you need to change the pick angle for the up strum or it will catch and get hooked up on the high e string. I suggest experiment super slowly to observe what happens.

Thanks @DavidP will give that a go

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Thanks for the tips, it seems to be getting better during the last few days of practice.

I’d say you’re ok. The .46 for starting out and the .73 when you get a bit more proficient.

Surely you could order other thicknesses from an online store?

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Hello @Xanny and welcome to the Community.
You want your forearm and wrist and hand to be relaxed but your finger tips need to maintain grip. If the pick is slipping then try one or more of these: grips with a textured surface; holding the pick in a little so less of the tip protrudes from your grip, changing the angle of strum (is your guitar body upright, are you sitting upright, is your guitar neck angled marginally upwards and away from you?).
Screenshot_139 Screenshot_140 Screenshot_141

Hope that helps.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

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This, I just can’t. :slight_smile:

When I first held a guitar pick, I did it with three fingers by instinct. That is the most comfortable way for me. I just learnt a few days ago that what I am doing is wrong, I should hold the pick with only two fingers.

The way it is shown in the picture is not only uncomfortable for me but also lacks a good grip and control over the pick.

Can I still be a world famous rock star if I keep using it with three fingers?

Never say never!

I’m struggling to get my head around a 3-finger grip. When I try it my wrist gets pushed out into an uncomfortable and impractical position for strumming / picking strings. Are your three fingers pointing more or less straight along the length of the pick?
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide

This is how I hold it (very comfortable):

whereas I should hold like this:

But I feel this very unstable and clumsy.

Hi @Victorius
I can see how that will ‘feel comfortable’ but the issue I worry about is the actual mechanics and anatomical movement of your hand, wrist and fingers.
Holding the pick in your preferred way and rotating the wrist - which is an absolutely vital movement when strumming - will swing your fingers and pick in an arc that will cause the pick to ‘dig in’ and get stuck between the strings rather than gently gliding across them and ‘caressing them’. That is not a good habit. It is also likely going to cause you problems of pick accuracy when you want to strum only certain strings for certain chords and / or play individual string with chords further down the line.

The only guitarist that I am aware of that holds the pick with three fingers is James Hetfield.

Enough said.

If papa Het is fine with it, I think I will be too. :smiley: