Holding Your Pick (Plectrum)

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Correct

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When holding the pick (Plectrum), place it between the tip of your first finger and thumb. Don't hold the pick too far back or too far forward in your fingers. Try not to hold it too tight or too loose. When you first start playing with a pick, it will keep slipping around in your fingers. This doesn't mean that you’re holding the pick too loose, you just have to get used to moving it back into place as you’re playing. You will eventually get used to this and find the most comfortable way for you to play. Just relax when playing.


Most Common Incorrect Pick Handling

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Here are three ways that learners grasp the pick incorrectly. Since I started teaching in 1990, I have seen people hold their picks in many weird ways when they start playing. However, the three following examples are the most common I have come across.

  • Incorrect

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    Holding the pick with your thumb and 2nd finger might be comfortable, but once again, you are going to make it harder for yourself in the future.

  • Incorrect

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    This example demonstrates holding the pick too far down the 1st finger, which decreases your flexibility when playing.

  • Incorrect

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    If you hold your pick with your 1st and 2nd finger, and also your thumb, you will find it problematic as your playing improves. As you advance, you will be doing picking styles where you use your 2nd and 3rd fingers in conjunction with your pick.

If you begin holding your pick in any of these three ways, you will have to relearn how to hold your pick properly for more intricate and different picking methods.

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