There are so many possible ways to pick your guitar. Most guitarists use a combination of many techniques depending on what feels best during each song. Knowing which one feels best to you takes time and experience. No one person picks the guitar the same way, just like no one person bats the same way in baseball. It is all about personal comfort and technique.


How you pick will depend on how big your hands are, how long your fingers are, how you hold the pick, etc. When first learning to pick the best thing to do is chose a chord and work on a pattern that feels best to you.


Sounds easy enough, but it is not. Each chord uses a different amount of strings and has a different finger hold. This can change what style you use and when. Depending on what chord you choose you could be picking 4-6 strings. It is best to practice one of each till you master all the possibilities. This will make switching from one chord to another much easier when playing harder pieces. You will want to do what comes easiest first.




We will do some simple finger picking exercises first. When finger picking, you will want to find a technique that is comfortable for you.


Finger picking is a talent within itself and takes skill and practice. While playing a G chord you would pick with your thumb down the 6th, 5th, and 4th strings and up with your fingers on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd strings at the same time.





It may seem hard at first but with a bit of practice it becomes second nature. You can also practice alternating between picking with your thumb and your fingers. This is a great way to build up hand and finger flexibility as well. Take it slow at first till you get the feel of it. You will get faster and better with practice for sure. Once you have mastered picking and finger picking the G chord you can now move on to the C chord.

Try a simple alternation from G to C. Try using the C major 7th so you can utilize the open B string. Brush the strings with your thumb and index finger till the tone sounds good to you and even. Then switch from G to C while sticking to the rhythm of your picking technique.

Once you get used to alternating your fingers on the fret board and while picking you will be a pro.

The neat thing about finger picking is that even though most people start out the same over time many develop a very personal style. This has a lot to do with how one is able to manipulate his or her hands and fingers. Even if you play electric guitar you can still master and enjoy finger picking as much as using a pick. Enjoy some simple songs once you have practiced your finger picking techniques.






When picking with a pick, it is important to have the right type and thickness. You will want to have a pick that is flexible and brushes your strings. Too thick and the chords sound choppy, too thin and you do not get enough volume. Do not be afraid to try out several types of picks till you find one that you like and that works well for you. Depending on the style, thickness, and material the pick is will influence what sound your get. It can even affect the sound quality.




Holding the pick like a pencil tends to be the most comfortable grip. It is very important to be as comfortable as possible while picking. Make sure you have a firm, yet relaxed grip and go for a clean hit on the strings. You want an even sound that is smooth to the ear. The pick is your friend and does not need to be in a death grip and make your fingers white! Relaxation is the key to great picking.




Once you have tried out the many pick styles out there you will probably find that you like specific picks for certain songs. You can play around with how the pick affects the acoustics of each piece till you have created your own unique style.




You can also get a bit funky and grip the tip of your pick so your thumb hits the string as well. You will hear a harmonic generated over the initial note. This technique can be used for the electric or the acoustic guitar. When trying this on acoustic it will take more practice though.


Practicing basic picking on a regular basis will enable you to become a greater musician. You will have more control over your notes and chords and be able to advance easier when learning new material. Regular picking practice can help you be so fluent that you will find it natural and will not have to think so hard about technique. Most guitarists make fewer mistakes when picking is a natural thing.