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How to hold a guitar pick

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While classical guitar players pluck the strings with their fingers, most rock guitar players pluck the strings with a pick. The vast majority of acoustic guitar tabs that you'll find on this website have to be played with this tool, so here's a brief tutorial on how to hold it.

Basics required for this lesson : None
Practice this lesson : None
Attention : This guitar lesson is archived since. 27/09/2011. A new lesson is available here: How to hold the pick

What is a pick ?

Just a reminder: a pick (also called "plectrum") is a small triangular piece of plastic or  rubber, that is more or less rigid, which is used to pluck the strings (see picture below).

guitar pick


How to hold a pick

The pick should be held firmly between the thumb and the index finger to prevent it from moving while strumming the string. You must also be careful, so that you don't accidentally mute the strings with the other fingers. Actually, these other fingers can be clenched or extended at your own convenience.

Usually most guitar players pluck the strings at a distance of 8 to 10cm from the saddle. Such distance can vary according to your guitar setup, but you will find a significant tonal variation if you pluck the string near the saddle or, on the contrary, if you do so near the fretboard.

See on the pic below how it actually looks like:

how to hold pick


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Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
(Ludwig van Beethoven)