When you first start playing, you may find yourself dropping your pick a lot. It’s a frustrating occurrence that all beginner guitarists have to put up with. Eventually, you’ll be able to spin your pick around as you play with no worries of dropping it. But to get to that point, you have to remember one key thing: hold your pick loosely.
Do not put a death grip on your pick! Not only does that make strumming really tough, it can lead to tension issues down the road (make sure to keep your fretting hand relaxed, too!).
You should grip the pick between your thumb and forefinger. Once your fingers are grasping it, the pointed tip of the pick should be positioned so it comes out of the side of your thumb. Only use your thumb and pointer finger to hold the pick. You’ll need your other fingers free for new techniques later on (like hybrid picking!).
How to Hold Your Guitar Pick
Most guitar picks are tear drop shaped. The majority of players will choose to hold it the normal way, their thumb and first finger gripping the largest area of the pick. Some famous guitarists have gotten in the habit of holding the little end though and picking strings with the larger surface.
Later on you might find you like this or another technique better, but for now you should learn things the usual way until you find your style.
Choosing Your Pick
There are many different types of picks available. Most players will start with a simple celluloid pick, like these. There’s also lots of hype around speciality picks made from stone, graphite, and other materials.
Many players though, like Queen’s Brian May, simply use coins.
You can buy pick variety packs to try out different shapes and thicknesses. There’s no right or wrong way to go with picks, it really just comes down to preference. Thicker picks obviously don’t bend as much, which can make them helpful for speed picking. Thinner picks sometimes sweep across the strings easier, which makes them work well for strumming.
Some picks have a texture part so you can grip them easier, others are extra small and thick (like the Jazz pick made famous by Eric Johnson). The important thing is to find what you like best!
Just Got Your Guitar?
Check out our beginner mini series that covers the essential chords, basics of chord theory, building progressions, and creating strumming patterns here!