HOW TO HOLD YOUR PICK: 3 easy steps

Holding the guitar pick wrong is one of the most common mistakes self-taught guitarists make – and many go on years without realizing how much it is actually holding them back. Holding you pick right is a minor adjustment, which can make the biggest impact on your performance and comfort. Search no further, here we have gathered everything you need to know for the best way to hold your guitar pick.

But let’s start with…

How to NOT hold your pick

A great deal of people are holding their picks in a “cross shape” or the same way you hold a pencil (like on the image) and will try to convince you that is the proper way. Do not believe such people and avoid at all cost turning this way of holding the pick into a habit. Habits are hard to overpower and as you are progressing this will make it harder for you to play more complex music.

So here is what you should do instead…

How TO hold your pick

Below are the three steps to the correct way of holding a pick:

  1. Curl up your fingers like a hook (most importantly the index finger);
  2. Put the pick on top so that if you draw a line through the middle it would be perpendicular to your index finger;
  3. Place your thumb on top.

That’s it! By holding the pick this way you are able to strum way easier, because your hand is parallel to the guitar. What is more, this reduces the risk of straining and injuring your wrist. Intermediate players pay attention – this technique will make it easier for you to also use the palm muting technique.

Another thing you should think about is how much of your pick is poking out. Think about it this way – if you are holding a pen way back, it is very hard to actually write something. On the other hand, if you hold it close to the tip you have much more control and can write with accuracy. Same goes for your pick. If you hold it at the end you don’t have much control over it – it might even end up flying off of your hand – or you would have to apply a lot of pressure to keep it in place. If you instead hold it closer and have just a little poking out, you would be able to strum way more precisely without much pressure. But beware! Don’t hold it so close, that the strings are cutting through your fingers.


The best way to get it right is through experimenting. See what works best for you: how much of your pick should poke through, how tight you should hold it, how curled your fingers feel comfortable, what position spares your wrist most.

If you haven’t met the pick of your dreams yet, here are some links to Neli’s favorite ones:
Versatile – suitable for electric and acoustic guitars – Tortex Dunlop .88mm –
Great Grip – also versatile picks – Assorted, so you can with sizes etc. – Dunlop Jazz –
Acoustic Guitar – Variety Dunlop Pack –

This is a lesson learnt best through a demonstration so Neli`s got you covered also with a video that for sure will make it all clear:

This tip is also something you would already know, if you are part of Neli’s mailing list! If that is not the case, you can join anytime HERE. If you need further guidance you can also sign up for a lesson HERE – the first one is 50% off!

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