Take Your Pick
Quite a few of the tutorials on this site have concentrated on
the theory side of things. This one, however, is purely about the
practical - the often overlooked subject of how to hold a pick
(or plectrum). How you hold your pick can fundamentally affect
how you play. If you've been playing for ages you've probably
become accustomed to the way the you hold the pick, but does that
mean that you're actually holding it the right way?
This is kind of difficult to explain with words alone, so I've
included a few photographs to illustrate - click on any of the
small pictures here to see a bigger version.
|Firstly, consider how you actually grip the pick. It
should be held between the outside edge of the index
finger, past the end joint and the thumb-print part of
your thumb. Take care not to allow too much pick to
protrude - just enough to reach the strings. Remember
that you only need to strike the strings with the very
tip of the pick. If there's too much expanse of pick
between your hand and the strings then it's liable to
'wobble' when you hit the strings, making it difficult to
keep your picking technique tight, fast and accurate.
|Some people prefer to hold the pick keeping their
hand in a relatively 'closed' shape - something like a
relaxed fist, with the pick held between the index finger
and the thumb. Personally I prefer to keep my hand fairly
The reason for keeping my hand fairly open is because it
allows ease of movement between 'straight' picking and other
techniques, such as:
|Moving my right hand towards the neck for tapping...
|Reaching down to the tremolo arm...
|Reaching down to the volume control with my little
finger for volume swells...
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