Video lesson: the best way to hold a guitar pick

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I struggled with this for month before I found the best way to hold a guitar pick. And I modelled this way of holding the pick from three supreme alternate picking masters: John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Paul Gilbert.

They all hold the pick in the same way (and position their hand in the same way as well - see the previous lesson) between the index finger and thumb.

When I started out I used both my middle, index and thumb to hold the pick as this gave me more control over it. But what this also does is limit control and accuracy.

And when it comes to picking control and accuracy is everything.

What you see in the video and the images included in this post is only a general visual description of hold to position the pick between your fingers. The details of how to do it comes down to adjustments so small that there is no way we can illustrate them here.

(Image credit: Guitar Mastery)

1. Exactly how much of the tip of the pick do you allow to stick out

This is super important. If you allow to much of the tip to be visible you lose control. If you allow too little it's hard to get a good picking sound.

2. What is the exact angle of the pick in relation to the thumb

It might not be exactly 90 degrees for you. Maybe it's 88 or 95 degrees that works for you.

3. How much pressure do you apply to the pick

In the beginning you tend to have a firm grip on the pick but as you become better you will end up applying just enough pressure.


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