How to Use a Guitar Pick

In this 4 minute video, Steve shows you how to use a guitar pick and demonstrates two exercises to get new players off to a good start.

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Picking Trouble

Hi, Steve.

I'm not able to play soft strokes while picking. Is that a problem with the shape or thickness of the pick I'm using. Is it common to use different picks when playing different styles of music?

Picking Trouble

Hi, Alpha.

One of the keys to smooth strumming is the pick angle - youy want about 45 degrees. The shape of the pick shouldn't matter, as long as you can grip it comfortably. The thickness will change the tone you get. I personally use different picks for different styles of music, depending on the sound I want. I currently keep three different picks on hand.


By the way, if you find that your pick keeps slipping in your grip, clean it. If you don't, the oild from your fingers build up on the pick and make it very slippery. Check out my One Minute Guitar Lesson on this subject here.

RE: Picking Trouble

Hi, Steve.

The 45-degree tip has done wonders to my playing. I'm able to coax the strings to vibrate with a lot more control. It's amazing how one tiny change in technique can make such a lot of difference. No wonder we need teachers to guide us in spite of having access to all the books and resources! :)

Also, I loved the 1-minute Guitar Lessons on your website!

Thanks again!



RE: Picking Trouble

Awesome! Another good exercise to smooth out your playing is to practice playing a song with only up strums. Keep your pick angled opposite the down strum and make sure you only play the correct string for each chord. I have been doing this with my students and getting amzing results!