Picks, pick holding, and strumming

Guitar picks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Picks are cheap so we suggest buying a handful and experiment to find the ones that you like best. Typically a medium gauge pick is a good place to start.

How a person holds a pick and strums will differ from person to person. Holding a pick will feel awkward at first but after a week or two of practicing it will feel more natural. Try this approach.

  1. Start with your picking hand (the hand that you will be strumming with).
  2. Face the palm of your picking hand towards you.
  3. Make a loose fist by closing your hand. Keep the knuckle of your thumb facing you.
  4. Place your pick in-between your index finger and thumb with the point of the pick facing away from your fist.
  5. Leave around a half of an inch of the picks point out. This will give you the area you will be strumming the guitar with.
  6. Place your picking hand over the body of your guitar. Your hand should now be hovering above the strings.
  7. Try not to rest your hand on the body or stings of the guitar.
  8. Now try strumming the guitar lightly with a downward motion using only your wrist and not your arm. Make contact with each string as you pass through them. If the strings rattle against the frets that means that you are strumming to hard.
  9. Repeat this now using an upward motion concentrating on locating a comfortable strumming position.
  10. Once you have this motion down try to do a down up down up down up down up motion counting 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 for each motion.
  11. Now try picking an individual string. Start with the top string using this same up and down exercise and continue with each individual string.
  12. Some key points to look out for are to keep your picking and strumming in control and minimize the motion in your picking hand.

Fretting a note

Now that you have played an open note you will now need to learn how to fret a note.

  1. Start by placing your finger behind any fret.
  2. Press down just to the side of the fret. If your finger is too far from the fret you will get fret noise. Fret noise is when the string isn't fully tight and is rattling against one of the frets.
  3. Now try the up and down picking motion you learned from above while you fret this note.
  4. Some key points to look out for are to keep your finger close to the side of the fret. Try not to have your finger too far away from the fret and not right on top of the fret.

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