Tip 5 – How To Hold A Pick

Greetings, World! The very important aspect in the practice (and also everytime you play) is how to hold a pick. It isn’t such important question as how to learn guitar chords or how to play in general. Many guitarists even (especially beginners) don’t pay attention to pick holding at all. I also wasn’t. And it was my big mistake. This correct guitar position course will help you in this.

But it’s essential part in playing, because the sound changes dramatically depending on how you hold the pick. So, today we’ll dedicate another lesson to this topic and try to understand why it’s so important.

Hold pick the right way

The pick must be hold strong enough, because guitar playing requires to do a rigidly work playing strings. Holding it strong reduces unintended movements which can lead to unnecessary sound on fast playing. If it isn’t strong enough fixed, then it can fall down form your hand.

To achieve rigid fixation, place the pick on the side of the index finger and on the thumbs “pillow”, like in image below:

A lot of guitarists use this position to hold a pick, including Paul Gilbert. It’s most easy and comfortable way.

You can try pick holding it like in image below:

Here it lies down on thumbs pillow and index fingers pillow. This is another way of hold, but it requires a lot of energy. It’s uncomfortable way, but you can try it yourself.

Picking technique – how it affects the sound?

I’ll provide some examples below. Here you’ll hear one note playing on clean tone. Please, try to hear the difference.

(example 1 is coming very soon)

Pretty simple, isn’t it? It’s alternate picking on one note. The picking is:

down, up, down / up, down, up / down, up, down / up, down, up

I’m working with my wrist. It’s 8 note picking. It means three notes per second. It’s very good exercise, try to do that. First, count slowly and tap your leg along. Then try to play it slowly.

Ok, the sound is average and there’s nothing new.

(example 2 is coming very soon)

Listen how sound changes. Sometimes it’s louder and sometimes it’s quieter. I’m not muting strings, I’m just changing the direction of the pick. Pick holding and its direction to the string really affects the sound.

The direction of the pick

The perfect and most ideal pick direction to the guitar deck is almost 90° (perpendicular to the deck). This way the sound is loud enough and you don’t need to spend a lot of energy to reach that loudness. Try to reduce the angle to one or another direction (bend it) and sound will change.

Almost forgot, the pick must be on the one line with the string (as possible)!

Turn the pick a little bit to clockwise (or counter clockwise) and sound becomes a little quieter. On low volume it doesn’t take any affect, but on the real loud tube amp it can break the whole playing.

Holding pick perpendicular to the deck and on one line of any string is quite elbow grease. You need to pay attention to it. For the first time it’s unwieldy, but you’ll get used to it quickly. Pay attention to right hand picking and soon it will be doing automatically.

This direction to the deck reduces noise and makes sound much clean (especially on overdrive) and also in fast playing.


So, we heard 2 examples of different sound and it’s done very simply by turning pick a little bit. It really shows the difference on loud sound and it also shows your playing skills. It’s simple, but very important thing to note. If you haven’t done this before then you should work on it. Pay attention, listen to the sound you’re playing. If it’s loud enough and requires a little effort, then you’re on the right practice track.

It’s hard to find these simple tips on the internet, so it’s our job to share them with you.

Use it and develop your skills. Hold a pick correct way and make your sound loud.

Ok, now we’ve gone thru this simple course of guitar position and now it’s time for final lesson that we have included. It’s dedicated to all guitar players and all people that have some pain in the back. This is a BONUS tip to help everyone who has a low back pain and searches how to fix it.

Take care!

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