02 December, 2009

HOW TO hold a pick/plectrum when strumming

In this post, I will be talking about how to hold a pick or how to hold a plectrum when strumming. They are both the same, just different names.

First of all, we need to know how to hold a pick correctly. Here's a picture to show you how it should look like:

Top View                                                    Bottom View

Next, we will proceed to how you should hold the pick when strumming. Don't get me wrong here, you should hold the pick the way you see it in the pictures above. What I meant was that there are certain things to take note of when strumming with the pick. The reason why I say this is because people have sometimes been asking me how come their guitar strumming seems to sound so loud and forceful. So, here's what you have to take note when strumming:

For strumming, the pick should be held at a 45 degree angle tilted upwards when doing a downstroke. This will ensure that there is not too much force used when strumming. Most of the time, I see beginners holding the pick 90 degrees or perpendicular to the strings when strumming. This will cause the strumming to be very forceful and loud. More importantly, this is the wrong way to hold a pick when strumming.

The same thing goes for the upstoke when strumming. If you do the upstroke holding the pick 90 degrees or perpendicular to the strings, you will get a loud and forceful strum. So, you should hold the pick 45 degrees downwards, and just use your wrist to flick upwards on the upstroke.

I can imagine that all this can be quite hard to visualise. So, here's some pictures to visually explain more clearly what I am referring to.

Strumming (Downstroke)

Strumming (Upstroke)

I hope this post has been useful and helpful. Feel free to ask any questions if you have any doubts.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, been waiting for this tutorial for ages. :)

Chester said...

Hi Daniel, I find this helpful. However, when it comes to fast 16-beat strumming patterns, is there anything else to take note, other than just heavy practicing? I'm currently having a very hard time learning them.

One example of such strumming pattern is the one you used for "Now that You're Near" (the verse part).

The irritating part about my practices is that my pick always fly off my hand. I'm wondering what's causing this.

Any advice? Thanks in advance!

daniel said...

Hi Chester, the first thing I will have to ask is what type of pick are you using. If you are using a hard pick, then it will definitely be harder to hold on to the pick while doing a 16-beat strumming pattern.

For myself, I use either a medium pick or a light pick. I find that because it is more flexible, your fingers will be able to hold on to the pick more easily.

With that being said, as long as you don't hit the strings at a perpendicular angle, it should be easier to hold on to the pick.

Happy practicing!

Crake said...

This was very helpful, thank you Daniel.