Winnipeg's River Heights Music Presents:

How to hold the Guitar Pick

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I am a big fan of simple so when explaining things to my music students I like the number 3. Three seems to be the number of items I can get at the store without needing a list. 3 legs are more stable they say than 4 that’s why a tripod is used for that kind of work I guess. So here are my 3 rules for holding a guitar pick. If followed correctly they will minimize the myriad of wrong ways to hold a pick and give us one of the many correct ways.


1. The pointy end goes toward the guitar

2. Only 2 fingers should touch the pick (index and thumb)

3. The pick should be held on the side of the 1st finger with the pad of the thumb

Once you have done this go back to rule one.

Now outside of doing anything whacky or unconventional this should work just fine. Make sure the hand is in a natural, flat and relaxed state.

I recommend the use of hard picks for the best sound and action. Soft picks make things easier at the beginning but are a liability in the long run. Only a small portion of the pick should ‘peak’ out from between your thumb and 1st finger (it should look like you aren’t even holding a pick). The tip of the pick should glide over the strings and not get caught deep inside the strings. The pick can either attack the strings flat or at an angle.

 Robert Burton knows the Best Way to Hols a Pick

I use #3 Jim Dunlop Stubby, it is very hard and very short, but I do not recommend it or other exotic guitar picks as they seem to go through times of being hard to get. Better to go with a more traditional size and shape of pick while still going with the thick and stiff variety. As well avoid metal picks they wear your strings and the ‘shavings’ get picked up but the magnetic picks of electric guitars and they just don’t sound good.

Winnipeg Music Lessons
River Heights School of Music
2nd Floor of the Tuxedo Park Shopping Center (Safeway, Starbucks)
202-2025 Corydon Ave
Winnipeg, Manitoba.
R3P 0N5
204-487-3664
info@riverheightsmusicschool.com