Experts, guitar players, and music teachers debate whether there is a “proper,” way to hold your pick.
Holding a guitar pick with your middle finger is perfectly fine if that’s what is comfortable for you, however, there may be some reasons you might want to consider other grips.
On the one hand, having a standard pick-posturing technique is common sense. Conversely, critics argue prescribing a “one-size-fits-all,” approach to pick holding may frustrate beginner guitar players and cause them to give up the instrument altogether.
Guitarists should be aware of basic techniques for proper playing while understanding that pick-posture is a matter of personal choice. Gripping your pick too tight can cause injury, while a loose grip could cause the guitarist to lose the pick.
Additionally, the guitarist should consider the type of pick they have, the pieces they will be performing, and the best posturing for your pick arm and hand.
Guitar Pick Grips
Choosing the right pick ensures that players can hit the notes they want, how they want. Picks come in various weights and thicknesses. Depending on the type of sound you’re playing, will determine which pick you use. Lighter picks are for strumming, while medium picks are for basic riffs and picking scales. If you want something great for electric guitars, heavy picks are an awesome choice.
Another pro-tip, buy picks in bulk. Experts in the industry recommend buying at least 10 picks at a time, you never know when one will get lost or misplaced. Further, purchase brightly colored picks so they’re easier to find.
Here’s a good overview of guitar pick grips:
Holding the Pick, the “Traditional” Way
Again, there isn’t a “formal,” or “proper,” way to hold a pick. Various techniques work out for guitar players at all levels. One of the more common ways, holding the pick between the thumb and the index finger, is known as the “traditional,” way. Many guitar teachers and players use this form to play the guitar.
Nearly, every type of musician from jazz players to hard rockers uses this technique.
It’s simple yet can feel counterintuitive, especially for a beginning guitar student. This technique allows great dexterity with your picking hand.
Before playing, be sure to relax and stretch the picking hand. Players should remain relaxed and loose so as not to cause stress injuries. Another crucial component of holding your pick “properly,” is keeping it stationary between the fingers. Practicing this technique ensures that notes ring out loud and clear.
When holding the pick between the thumb and the index finger, the pick should be placed under the center of the thumb and the middle of the index finger. Leave a large section of the pick exposed when strumming. To play for more accuracy leave a smaller section exposed allowing the fingers to get closer to the strings. Remember, always keep a relaxed grip on your pick.
Holding Guitar Pick with Middle-Finger
An alternative to the thumb/index finger approach, holding guitar pick with middle finger is another popular grip. There are plenty of advantages to this technique including the more natural feel. Students often struggle with the counterintuitive feeling of the thumb/index finger technique, but the thumb/middle finger technique feels better for a lot of students.
Comfort is a key factor when choosing how to hold a pick. Guitar players who feel relaxed and comfortable while playing produce better results. Using a comfortable technique enables players to play faster and more accurately. Holding guitar pick with middle finger allows players to leave their index finger extended and play other notes. The legendary Eddie Van Halen developed his signature style of tapping with his free index finger.
Is it bad to hold pick with middle finger?
No. There’s nothing wrong with holding guitar pick with middle finger. Using this technique does not hinder a player’s ability to successfully play the guitar. Some of the greatest guitarists in the world use the thumb/middle finger technique. Two equally skilled guitarists can play well using different pick posturing.
However, while experts suggest experimenting with various techniques, there are some fundamental basics to follow:
• Keep the pick stationary between your thumb and only ONE other finger. It may be tempting to use multiple fingers on the pick. Using multiple fingers will prevent the pick from moving fluidly and smoothly across the strings.
• Also keep fingers straight if fingers drift while playing they can accidentally mute other strings.
Is it bad to hold pick with middle finger? Short answer, no, but it is bad to practice poor technique and posturing.
The Picking Arm Outweighs the Picking Hand
Many beginning guitar students worry, can I hold a guitar pick with my middle finger? Yes, of course, but the real important guitar-playing technique is the picking arm. Experts agree, how you hold the pick is less important than how you hold your picking arm.
The way you hold your picking arm is more important than the way you hold your pick. Improperly holding your picking arm is not a preference, it’s a technical flaw. You should pay attention to any tension in your arm, wrist, and elbow. Playing through this discomfort can cause repetitive stress injuries and keep you from playing at all. Keep your stance and pick arm, loose and relaxed, watch live performances of some of the greatest guitarists in the world. They all look and feel extremely loose while on stage.
Moving forward with hold your guitar pick with your middle finger
Can I hold a guitar pick with my middle finger? Yes, if that is what you prefer and what feels most natural to you. Focus more on the results you achieve from various techniques rather than the motion itself. By focusing on results, you learn to understand which techniques work best for you, and which need improvement.
Comfort is key when playing the guitar, too much tension in the arms and wrists will hinder your ability to smoothly move your pick across the strings. Relaxed grips and comfortable technique make a great guitarist.