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Playing With Fingers or Pick

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There are a million different types of picks, and we'll talk about all those variables in the next lesson. For now let's use whatever pick you currently have and make some sounds!

First, give the open strings a nice and confident strum with your pick. Now look at how you're holding the pick, and you're probably wondering if you're doing it right. There are close to as many opinions on this subject as there are guitar teachers out there.

Let me show you how I personally hold it. I basically rest it on my index finger so the pointy end is extending from my finger. Then my thumb clamps down from above and I have my grip. Sometimes I angle my index finger tip on the underside a little. And sometimes I support it with my middle finger as well.

When you try this you'll feel that your index finger nail is hitting the strings as well as the pick and that's perfectly okay. It only makes it sound a little fuller.

People who pick really fast will often hold the pick so the tip of your index finger is basically parallel with your thumb. I see people get great results from this sound, but it has never worked for me, and I don't recommend it here at first.

Again there are tons of opinions on this topic, but I don't recommend diving down the rabbit hole at this stage. If you find later on that you want to do something more advanced, you can always go down the rabbit hole then.

Now the million dollar question is how hard you need to squeeze the pick, and the answer is that you shouldn't have to squeeze it very hard at all. Instead we're going to slant our pick downwards a little bit. Slant the pick so it glides across the strings more easily.

Now let's use our example from before, where we play our G-chord on every beat a 1 and do that 8 times. If this is hard for you, just focus on making it feel as natural as you can. Don't worry about volume or even tone. Just try to make it feel good to have your pick glide across the strings.

If this is super easy for you, I encourage you to experiment with the different pick angles: straight versus slanted. You can also experiment with how quickly you strum the strings.

As always I'll count us in with the usual 1-2-3-4 and then we'll play our G-chord on every beat 1. It's quite possible that using a pick right now feels like taking a step backwards from where you are with your finger strumming, but don't worry, the pick will catch up, and it has so much potential that it really is worth the effort.

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Playing With Fingers or Pick