How To Use A Pick For A Guitar Enthusiasts 

At first glance, many newbies picking up the guitar start playing but do not really know how to use a pick. However, being capable of using a pick when playing guitar is virtually stunning, this allows you to play most well-known styles of music. After a long time, you might feel comfortable utilizing a pick and you are able to have a deep insight into fingerpicking.

where we would suggest starting with the most popular styles of music. Then after you are comfortable using a pick you can explore fingerpicking.

If you watch 10 different guitar players play, you may see 10 different ways to hold a pick. The way I am going to show you in my opinion will give you the best control, and the most options to use a pick to play a guitar.

This article will go through these parts that help you utilize a pick for your musical journey.

  • Opting for the Right Guitar Pick
  • Multiple ways to hold a Pick
  • Alternate Picking Skill
  • How To Strum With A Guitar Pick?
  • Enhance Your Guitar Picking Speed

Opting for the Right Guitar Pick

1- Choose the suitable shape of the pick

The shape of the pick іѕ one factor that рlауеrѕ often take into consideration. Mоѕt реорlе have no intention of ѕtrауing аwау from the shape that is popular. The shape of guitar рісk wіll definitely influence how easy it is tо hоld аnd hоw exact you’ll bе аblе tо bе wіth уоur рісk. 

Users usually opt for guitar picks with pointed tips rather than guitar picks with rounded picks.

2- Consider the thickness of your guitar pick

After a long time of researching the buyer’s journey, we can admit that the most outstanding thing in buying a guitar pick is the thickness. Generally, you can find it easy to control the guitar with a thicker pick (which is better for precise playing). In contrast, a thinner is much more suitable  for thicker strings and strumming chords,…

From our perspective, the higher gauge strings you utilize, the thinner your pick wants to be. What’s more, it is highly important to note that the thicker your string is, the thicker your pick needs to be. Definitely, I often use a relatively thick pick to start my guitar playing, so this is a excellent measurement – I opt for a 2mm pick for a string measuring 10.7

When you strum, you might desire the notes to blur together a little bit, to produce one sound, not like six different sounds respectively – a pretty light pick mushes the sounds together. Therefore your playing resembles a symphony. Furthermore, a thick pick can help you control a stronger attack and more definition of the notes.

Most picks are sold according to its thickness: they are often classed in 3 main categories “thin”, “medium”, or “thick”, along with a millimeter measurement. All plastic guitar picks are available in sizes ranging from 0.4 millimeters to 3 millimeters. I highly recommend you try using a medium pick, measuring from 0.60 to 0.80 millimeters thick.

Thin picks are usually between 0.40 and 0.60 mm. They are fairly suited for acoustic strumming, especially when you want a heavy tone for your guitar playing. 

The first type of pick you might take into consideration is the thin picks. They are often used for rock, pop, and folk music; however, guitarists suppose that think picks lack the heft for rock rhythm, which does not render the melody beautiful. 

The second one is the medium picks ranging from 0.60 to 0.80 mm. This is the pick thickness which is widely utilized: medium pick is regarded as a good combination of stiffness and flexibility that is perfectly suitable for acoustic rhythms and leads. Medium picks are generally not perfect for an exciting strumming but I am sure that they are quite versatile for users.

Thick picks, this type of pick is 0.80 mm thicker than the medium one. Thick picks generate a heavy sound which is beneficial for you to crunchy rhythms. Besides, you can have full-bodied chord arpeggios as well as fat lead lines. By using this thicker pick, your sound will become more beautiful and more bottom-heavy. Most metal guitarists use the thickest picks, from 1.5 to 3 mm, are used by jazz and metal guitarists.

3- Consider pick materials

Another important feature you should notice before using the guitar pick is the materials. There are many different types of materials that are suitable for your specific styles of playing. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at 4 main types of materials, which can offer you the best option before committing.

Most picks are made from plastic, and this should suit your purposes at first while you pin down the basics. Don’t worry if you wear down the edges of a plastic pick; just use another pick.[4]

You may also find heavier rubber or metal picks that are designed for practicing or for specific styles of playing. Consider using a metal pick for a higher-pitched sound, or a rubber pick for a thicker, heavier sound.

If you aren’t sure, try out a few styles of pick before you commit. You can find guitar picks at most music stores, certain music-culture boutiques, and online. Try out friends’ picks and note the thickness, brand, and material. Figure out what works for you: a pick is a personal choice.

Let’s look at some of the main types of pick materials and get an idea for their different qualities:

Nylon Guitar Picks 

Most picks are made from plastic, and this will suit your requirements and it helps much when you desire to pin down the basics. For that, at first glance, I recommend you use nylon guitar picks because nylon is virtually flexible and it is highly rated by guitar enthusiasts for decades. Furthermore, nylon guitar picks generally have a textured grip on the top and solid color. 

Many guitarists suppose that flexible picks produce mellow tone, while the opponents argue that they have a bright tone. However, several guitarists say nylon guitar picks give you a vintage tone as you can hear multiple rock or blues music.

Celluloid Guitar Picks 

Celluloid was designed to offer a spectacular tone. That is the reason why celluloid is much more compatible than tortoiseshell, however, it is relatively stiffer than nylon.

Celluloid picks usually comports a texture resembling a pearl. This pick material emulates the look of a shell of torto

Delrin Guitar Picks 

Delrin pick is fairly stiff and sturdy, which is beneficial for those wanting to produce a top-rated tone. This type of pick is engineered to solid colors and a compact design, so it has a positive impact on playability of your guitar.

Multiple ways to hold a Pick

If you are a guitar enthusiast, you should definitely learn how to utilize a guitar pick, but these accessories allow you to control your instrument. For that reason you can enhance your playing. Most people argue that they feel more comfortable when strumming a guitar with their dominant hand and the tip of the thumb. The rest of your hand can be at ease.

  1. 3 – step guideline

Thumbs Up!

The most popular way to hold a pick is doing a thumbs up sign.This is definitely the easiest step according to guitarists. Obviously, this kind of gesture is commonly used but you should not underestimate it. It’s the basic step you must take when learning how to hold a guitar pick correctly.

Put The Pick On Top of Your Fingers

A well-respected player often keeps the pointy edge facing towards him to easily use.

Clamp Your Thumb On Top Of The Pick

For the final step, put your thumb on the top of the pick. This position is often very awkward for guitarists.

  1. Keep the pick between your thumb and your index finger. 

To perform well with the pick, you had better hold roughly the half of the pick with your fingers. There are some picks molded with a groove in order to show where your thumb and forefinger put. Moreover, you should use a firm grip so that you can let the tip of the pick bend as much as you want. 

  1. Find a grip that is suitable for your control. 

From my viewpoint, there is no way to hold  a pick correctly, but there are certain grips that emphasize control and influence your ability to strum the guitar. Let’s take a look at the “O” method, the “pinch” method, and the “fist” method.

Utilizing the “O” method. Keep the pick between the pad of your thumb and the side of your forefinger, and form your fingers into a circle. 

Utilizing the “pinch” method. Keep the pick between the pad of your thumb and the pad of your trigger finger. This method is ideal for those who want to use thinner-gauge picks and devote most of their time strumming.

Use the “fist” method. Keep the pick between the first joint of your first digit (below the pad) and the side of your index finger. This practice is often appreciated by country music players, and it is ideal for heavy picks.

  1. Rotate your wrist towards your guitar. 

You should keep the flat tip of your pick resting on a string. Besides, you had better keep the long side of the pick perpendicular to the string as much as possible. The angle of your wrist is important to the picking procedure: when you play the guitar, you are not picking with your fingers, you do with your wrist. Snap your wrist to strum effectively and pick strings and solos.

Brush the lines

Use the pick to brush the strings: not so softly that the sound is not too strong, which is fairly suitable for you to catch the lines on the pick. Handle firmly, but you should be gentle. Try to work with the musical instrument instead of placing your will upon it.

Be gentle, it is important that you should not keep your pick too hard. You need to be flexible with all of your motions and tones. If you are not fluid, your picking and strumming will sound rigid and off the rhythm.

When you strum the guitar, your wrist is fairly rigid when you brush the pick across the strings. Virtually, I highly recommend you use finger-and-wrist technique to be able to play fluidly and smoothly. When you find a method that is comfortable and convenient, it is your go-to choice.

Alternate Picking Skill

When you can strum all the strings of your guitar, concentrating on alternating picking technique helps you play notes on strings quickly and smoothly. Utilizing alternate picking technique when you practice riff or scales because this technique enables you to build speed and play single notes ultimately.

To start, keep your pick in the right position between your thumb and the side of your arrow-finger. Besides, you should not worry about doing anything wrong with your left hand at first and you just need to focus on picking process. Getting started with a down stroke on the sixth string, the thickest string. Then, you should strike up on the same string.

Firstly, practice moving this alternate picking pattern up and down your sixth strings and do the same on the fifth string, the fourth string until the first string. When reaching the first string, do your way back to the sixth string simultaneously.

If you have mastered some riffs already, you might try playing them with alternate picking. If you’re just newbies, I recommend you try some easy guitar riffs and make sure to alternate down and up strokes when playing.

How To Strum With A Guitar Pick?

Strumming between the soundboard and the bridge

There are different thoughts of this idea but I think you should practice strumming the strings in different positions to have a sense of the sound. Strumming the strings over the sounding board will definitely create a “bass-iness”, “boom-ier” sound, when you strum near the bridge, you will get a sharper, tinier sound, which is ideal for your playing.

While there’s no appropriate place, in general, you need to adjust your strums about a few inches south of the soundboard. Playing around with your guitar so as to realize where you get the sound the best.

Strumming all the strings to an equal degree

To begin with, try strumming with down strokes a simple open chord, for example a G chord. Play one strum each, making great effort to hit all the strings. Stay on the speed, counting four strums.

Practicing the low E string, strum all the strings, giving them all equal weight. You might find it difficult at first to make it like a “chord,” keeping the strings ring the same. Newbies have the intention of hitting either E string, firstly or lastly, a little bit difficult.

Try upstrokes

If you’re comfortable when you try upstrokes on beat, practice strumming the process from the E string to the lowest string. This procedure is often called an upstroke. This process can be quite difficult for beginners, but I suppose you still want to capture all the strings more or less equally, letting the chord “thrum” be produced like a big sound, rather than practicing them all individually and slowly.

Use your wrist

A good strumming process depends on the wrist. You are able to spot a guitar newbie from the flailing about of the strumming wrist, starting from the elbow. Learn to adjust your elbow cling to the instrument, using your wrist for the useful strumming process.

Many newbies find it difficult to hold the pick while learning how to strum. I found that most pick problems are the result of putting too close to the base of the pick and letting it relax. You should make sure that you hold it properly and in the right position. What’s more, the users had better let a small amount of the point stick out of your fingers.

Enhance Your Guitar Picking Speed

If you’ve been playing guitar for a long time and haven’t witnessed the good results, we will give you 5 actionable tips you can use that definitely increase your speed.

Use the Correct Technique 

While the time you put in the strumming process is crucial to your success, the way you practice is by far the most important.

At first, you should have a deep understanding of the main techniques used in keeping fast picking process

Picking process includes 3 styles you need to be familiar with:

  • Alternate picking
  • Sweep picking
  • Economical picking

Alternate Picking

Alternate picking is regarded as the most popular style of picking in terms of speed. Instead of picking the string utilizing downward motion, the alternative picking process uses an alternating pattern of down strokes and up strokes.

Thanks to an alternate picking, you are able to double the notes you often play. This can be referred to as tremolando picking if utilized on a single string.

Hybrid picking

Hybrid picking is not a common technique among guitar professionals and most guitar players have not mastered this special technique. This outstanding technique involves picking with a pick and using one or more than one finger to promote your playing guitar. The pick is often held with the thumb and forefinger while you play simultaneously or alternately with the help of your middle and ring finger and occasionally your pinky. This great combination is an excellent way to vary your tone and rhyme and this process gives your playing guitar a unique and fabulous sound. From my point of view, this technique is often used in country music, rockabilly as well as bluegrass.

All these different types of best picking techniques give you a huge amount of flexibility and the ability of control over your strumming process.

In general, a beginner often complains that they find the pick to sound the guitar too harsh, but the dynamics of the sound produced heavily depends on how you strum and strike the pick. Furthermore, the option (material, thickness, concrete shape and texture) of your pick is attributable to your tone of the sound.

I highly recommend you should make sure you keep the pick between your thumb and your index finger. Then, place the pick at the top of your index finger. Besides, it is necessary to clamp your thumb down on top of the pick. Remember to hold the pick firmly during strumming guitar process.

Sweep Picking

Sweep picking is when you play musical notes of a chord in arpeggios by sweeping your pick over the guitar lines. This procedure requires ideal synchronization between both hands and it can be used up or down.

Rather than playing the musical notes of the chord simultaneously, you should let your pick over the strings in a continuous way.  The string is generally fretted with your fingers so as to make contact at the exact moment when your hand plays a string.

Each note is articulated separately and can result in fast-paced playing.

Economical Picking

Economical picking is when you perform to be as efficient as possible with your stringing movements. This means holding the pick next to the string and playing with little motion for the best performance.

Economical picking involves picking the lines in the same way as travelling. Moreover, you should use alternative picking until you change the strings. If you want to play a string below the current lines your last pick would be a down stroke. The opposite would be practical if you were going upwards.


Downpicking resembles downstroke picking. This is a technique where you individually play down strokes with your pick. It’s usually referred to metal songs and heavy rock riffs, which enables it to produce a steady aggressive rhythm tone. Outstanding examples are guitar enthusiasts like Johnny Ramone, James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine 

This significant technique prevents your jumping over another string during a stringing change process. Needless to say, this technique is quite important that you practice each string one after the other.

Practice Slowly First 

While this is common knowledge among the guitar enthusiasts, it has never been applicable in real life. One thing that you need to know is that you have to play clean and slowly before beginning to shred.

Playing tones slowly to make sure that each note is correct, clean, and comfortable.

Remember to play each note consistently before you move on the others. This process has been by far crucial for a metronome to come in handy.

Patience is Vital here

With constant repetitions you will see your strumming speed increase.

If you are not patient and want to play fast, you’ll absolutely have difficulties with missed and muted notes. Your playing process would be messy and only make you frustrated.

Utilize a Metronome 

Metronome is a device widely used by musicians that track time at a specific rate by giving a usual tick

Making use of a metronome is pivotal to increase your speed. It’s also beneficial for ensuring you are playing guitar in time.

From my perspective, there is no better way to track your guitar strumming progress than using a metronome.

As I mentioned above, pick a lick and then start to practice the strumming process. Use the metronome to customize a pace that you are at ease. When you can play each note cleanly and smoothly, you can increase the speed on your metronome by a couple of BPM. By increasing the BPM you are able to track your progress.

Metronomes is regarded as a pivotal tool helping you develop the skill of playing virtually in time.There are virtually tons of speed exercises that you can do with the help of a metronome.

You would definitely develop the feeling of producing each note on the strong beat, which is regarded as an essential technique you must acquire if you have played with experienced musicians or guitar players.

Practice More Often 

This is the rule that most people take for granted. The truth you might not know is that playing fast takes time.

This is the reason why not many guitar players can play fast and keep the strumming process clean and smooth. This procedure takes time (a couple of months or even years) for a dedicated practice. After this period, you are able to see much improvement.

The good news is that if you are constantly practicing strumming, you would definitely find every area of your guitar improve much.

Personally, I commit an hour a day to improving my strumming speed on a daily basis. It was nearly one hour measured by the metronome. With this time, I would be able to double my speed to keep pace with other guitar enthusiasts. 

Don’t forget to be patient. Your improvement as a professional guitar player will never end if you try your best gradually. It’s important to remember that no matter how fast you play, but how well you play when you’re playing fast is crucial.

Picks That I Highly Recommend

I guess that you’ve been carefully informed on the subject. And there is seemingly one question that you may have: which pick should I get for my playing?

And I would like to give you an answer here. I’m sure you know, you can solely learn different things from pure “information” and you don’t know exactly which pick you will actually desire until you try to use them all.

You are quite lucky if you read this article, I’ve figured out a fairly easy way to do exactly the strumming process without spending the day getting a buying guide from the shop owner at the guitar store.

Because picks are typically free anyway, you had better buy an assortment pack of different gauges, and various materials, then try them out at home on your own leisure time.

By that way, you are able to take as many as you need to find out what picks you like and what ones you do not like.

After long hours of online searching, I figured out two specific packages that would be ideal for this test.

For different types of gauges, you can consider the pick below:

Fender Assorted 

For different materials of the pick, you should take into account:

Dunlop PVP101 Assorted – (Amazon)

It was no surprise that Fender and Dunlop are the two different brands I always chose to recommend in this article. Currently, they are the industry leaders in guitar picks.

Generally, Fender assorted is widely known for their celluloid picks, while Dunlop PVP101 Assorted is popular for their Nylon picks.

While there are a dozen famous brands that are undoubtedly good, if you desire to keep things simple, all you need to do is to stick with one of these two.

You hate using pick while playing guitar?

Sometimes I come across people who desire playing guitar but they don’t want to use a pick during their strumming process. As far as I am concerned, this is fairly normal. Guitar enthusiasts can strum with their thumb and their index fingers, however,  it’s likely that it will hurt in the very first stages of their learning and I highly recommend that people should get to the grips with utilizing a pick at first and then decide which fingerstyle they would prefer to play later if they choose to (soon afterward, they can make an informed option!)


In brief, your stringing process all depends on your musical preferences and hobbies and what kinds of music you want to master at the present and in the future.

If you ask me that question, I would say that I want to learn to master as many techniques of how to use a pick as soon as possible in order to accomplish my guitar strumming goals. It will expand the wide range of songs, styles and techniques you can make the effective use of and these techniques will enhance your playing capacities. What’s more, these skills are mostly fun and truly attractive when you get the hang of it.

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