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Learn How to Hold the Pick Like a Professional

Mar 18, 2008
Short Description: By the time you reach the end of this article you will be able to hold a pick comfortably and strum your way to joy.

Losing a pick is the easiest thing in the world. So, go get yourself at least a dozen picks to start with. They are available quite cheap - you could get a good pick at less than a dollar. These come in various shapes, sizes and color. Any shape would do, but go for the ones thick enough to withstand the rigors of sustained striking.

Now that you have a reasonable number of picks with you, let's start learning how to hold them properly.

Open your "picking hand" with the palm facing you. Gently curl the fingers to form a loose fist and turn it in an anti-clockwise direction till the knuckle of your thumb faces you. Keep your hand relaxed all the while.

Gently slide the pick between your thumb and index finger so that the pointed end protrudes outwards. It shouldn't hang out too much otherwise you wouldn't be comfortable while strumming. Ideally the back end of the pick should be somewhere behind the knuckle of your thumb. Roll open the other three fingers.

The pick should be held firmly but don't press it too hard else strumming won't be easy. It doesn't matter if it slips off a few times in the beginning. Simply push it back to its proper place.

Let your picking arm hang loosely over the sound hole and place the pick above the third string while other three fingers rest on the face of your guitar. Without moving your wrist let your arm fall freely using your elbow as a pivot. Stop as soon as you pick the lowest string. Try this again starting from the topmost string till you reach the lowest. Simply let your hand fall across them but see to it that all strings are picked - don't miss any while moving downwards.

With the down stroke taken care of, turn your attention to the up stroke. Keep your wrist still and let the arm remain pivoted at elbow. Start from the lowest string and let your arm move upwards in a smooth single movement. The pick will brush the strings on its way up. It may miss one or two strings - it doesn't matter. The upstroke is always weaker than the down stroke.

But let me tell you something. Legendary guitarists like Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Mark Knopfler had their own unique way of holding the pick. So, don't be too picky about "how to" hold a pick. Hold it the way you feel most comfortable and able to freely strum the strings. That's all.
About the Author
Crazy Dave is the net's largest provider of high-quality free guitar licks featuring an in-depth breakdown of the most valuable online instructional guitar course at learn and master guitar!
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