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How to hold a guitar and a guitar pick

TGR340 How to hold a guitar and a pick
(Image credit: Future)

You may be thinking, “Do I really need a lesson on holding a guitar?” Well yes, as it turns out, because there’s a best way to do it. And it’s the same with how you hold your pick.  

Get your posture, grip and hand position sorted in the early stages of your guitar-playing journey and you’ll save a lifetime of trying to undo bad technical habits mis-learnt early on. Let’s get it right from the start.

Sitting

If you’re right-handed, the guitar rests on your right leg. Find a chair where you can have both feet flat on the floor. And, sitting or standing, if you can keep a straight back and shoulders level, your spine will thank you.

TGR340 How to hold a guitar and a pick

(Image credit: Future)

Fretting finger position

You’ll need to use your fingertips for accuracy. For most playing contexts, your thumb should be on the centre of the back of the neck, pointing either vertically, or slightly towards the headstock.

Standing

TGR340 How to hold a guitar and a pick

(Image credit: Future)

Wear the guitar high enough that you can place your fingers on any string at any fret. Wearing it low might help you channel your rock ’n’ roll mojo, but it’s harder to reach around the neck – so you won’t play as well.

Picking – Trigger Grip

TGR340 How to hold a guitar and a pick

(Image credit: Future)

Your pick rests on side of your index finger, with your thumb on top.

Picking – Pad Grip

TGR340 How to hold a guitar and a pick

(Image credit: Future)

The pick rests between your thumb and the flat pad of your index finger.

Picking – Middle Finger Grip

TGR340 How to hold a guitar and a pick

(Image credit: Future)

Your pick rests between the pad of your middle finger and thumb. Optionally, your index finger can be included for support.

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Total Guitar is one of Europe's biggest guitar magazines. With lessons to suit players of all levels, TG's world-class tuition is friendly, accessible and jargon-free, whether you want to brush up on your technique or improve your music theory knowledge. We also talk to the biggest names in the world of guitar – from interviews with all-time greats like Brian May and Eddie Van Halen to our behind the scenes Rig Tour features, we get you up close with the guitarists that matter to you.