Pick Manipulation

Learn how to manipulate your pick when it shifts and explores different picks!

View the full lesson at Pick Manipulation | JustinGuitar

Ha, “driving” finger… Nice one, Justin!

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I gave up on the pick. I found it completely ruined my feel and rhythm. I was generally not liking guitar with a pick and did not get back into it until I chucked it. Love playing with my thumb. I’m in no rush to get an amp either. Quieter and softer works for me. Call me crazy.

Different strokes for different folks. :smiley:

Me too. I keep trying it, I do think it would be good to be able to play with a pick, but I much prefer to play without.

I’ve tried again out of a feeling (guilt?) that I should be able to do it. I tried easing myself into it by using my thumb and index pinched using the nail of the index as a pick. I think I could do it now, but I don’t prefer it. It’s basically just a primitive amplifier. I play for my cats and maybe my significant other, but she’d rather I keep it down anyway. I do most of my practicing late at night.

@LunaC Have you watched this video?


Oh yes, many times in fact. Thanks for asking.

Justing Guitar videos are like bible which must be watched and rewatched!

I was having a really hard time in the module after switching to thicker orange pick for strumming as asked in the module. This threw off everything which I was able to do before like basic chord changes from module one and some song playing. After some frustration I rewatched Justin’s video and the solution was of course there. I was not holding the pick slightly at an angle with the thinner white pick I believe it was not a big problem as they are so thin it just glide away on the string but with the thicker one it is important to angle it.

stuck chord here I come!


Well now it seems like with the thicker pick I am facing another issue. Somehow I am always missing the low e string on down strum. Any idea how to correct it?

Maybe you’re holding your pick too tightly? That’s usually the source of my problems when playing with a thicker pick.

I am about 13 months into learning acoustic and when I first started learning I swore there was no way I was every going to be able to play with a pick. Down strums were ok-ish but up-strums? forget about it. I was getting the pick caught in the strings to the point where it was just frustrating.

Based on the lessons I eventually tried the lightest I could find, the Dunlop .38. Using that I found I could actually strum fairly well and not get caught in the strings and it gave me the confidence to keep going! I kept at it and now I feel like I can play with any pick but eventually settled on the Dunlop Tortex .50. I love the way that it feels in my fingers, like it has a sort of matte feel that is so comfortable and clings to me; yet I can still re-adjust it well while playing. And it sounds really good to me.

So anyone starting out I would recommend the Dunlop .38 nylon if you are struggling.


Thanks for sharing this! (:

I also struggle with using the pick and have been strumming/picking only with my fingers so far. In fact, I used to have a thin/bendable one but I don’t know where it is, and my friends gifted me a solid wooden one which, now I know it’s actually more expensive, I can’t let it collect dust >.<

Any tips for transitioning from using fingers to using a pick? (I know it’s alright to still use fingers, but wna know anyway)
-so far I find if I strum reaaaaally slowly, it’s alright
-I tend to grip it too hard
-picking individual notes with the pick is the biggest challenge for me

Hi Amanda,
I think your grip will just naturally relax as you gain more experience with the pick. A rough textured pick helps too as they don’t slide around as much and therefore require less force to keep them in the one place.

I reckon the best way to improve your individual note picking is playing scales. That helped me enormously. Start with all down picks, then move to alternate picking.

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As I drink a lot of black tea, my hands often sweat. Had a lot of problems with the normal plastic picks. Have found a way around it, in different ways.
Here in Denmark we have this kind of band aid, seen on the picture, think it is cotton and stretchable with glue. I make a small slice of that and put on my plastic picks. Works! ( It can be stretched, so I stretch it as much as possible and wrap it tight on the pick)

I recently got a couple of picks made from bone and horn. They have grooves in, that makes it more easy to hold them. Great for single string picking. - Also I did some study on the different picking techniques from Troy Grady, which helped me a lot, to understand the angles of hand and pick. - All combined have it helped me a lot with both strumming and single string, using a pick.

Recommended by Justin: Troy Grady channel on YT:



thanks! my wooden pick has some engraving on it which maybe is helping it to not slide around so much. will take up your idea on using the pick to practice scales!

That’s a really creative idea! Thanks for sharing!
I looked Troy Grady up and find one of his picking videos quite fascinating; trying out his ideas is probably beyond me at this point, but I’ll still keep his tips in mind.

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A tip given to me by a long time guitar player is to take your pick and with a bradle or another sharp instrument, gently push on the pick to make 3 indentation in the middle of the pick. Turn it over and do the same on the other side. The pick now has a roughness to it that helps to stop it turning in your fingers. I have since seen picks that have a texture on them that does the same thing. It sounds brutal but it really does work.

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The Dunlop nylon picks tend to have a lot of raised dots to make them easier to grip. When the thinnest Dunlop pick seemed too thin to me, I switched to the 0.60 Dunlop nylon pick (light grey) for strumming and use the 0.60 Tortex for individual notes.