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Should Beginner Guitar Players Use a Pick?

"Do I have to learn guitar a pick?" is a common question asked by our students in our guitar classes online. "Can I not just use my fingers instead?"

Everyone has their own set of tastes. A common complaint among those just starting to learn guitar is that they have difficulty maintaining command over the pick. It slides away from their fingers, the pick doesn't strike the strings as hard as they want it to, and they don't like the sound it makes on the guitar.

Others are unable to get their fingers to perform what they are meant to be doing, and they are unable to tolerate how rigid the finger muscles are in their movements especially in our guitar classes online. It's all a part of the frustration of a new student who wants to learn guitar. It'll pass in time.

So, which one do you like, which one is superior, and do you really need to master both at the same time, This is another common question in our guitar classes online.

We recommend those who are taking our guitar classes online to learn and love both modes of learning to play the guitar. Both pick and fingerstyle guitar techniques have several advantages and provide new aspects to your guitar playing. As you continue your guitar classes online, or even learn guitar on your own, you will see the advantages to both styles of picking!

Let's take a look at both strategies, their advantages and disadvantages, and how they may enhance your playing so you can decide if you want to favour one over the other or profit from the best of both worlds.


In fingerpicking, also known as fingerstyle, you pluck the strings directly with the fingertips or fingernails, rather than with the fingers or fingernails.

As you progress in our guitar classes online, there are many approaches that may be taken with this strategy. Use your thumb for the low E-string (6th string), your index finger for the G-string (3rd string), your middle finger for the B-string (2nd string), and your ring finger for the high E-string is one of the most frequent methods to play the guitar (1st string).

When compared to using a pick, the fingerstyle method results in a softer and warmer tone on the guitar. This is since you're rubbing the strings with the flesh of your fingertips on the strings. For folk, singer-songwriter music, acoustic blues, and other types that call for a soft, pleasing tone, this method is excellent.

As you learn guitar, you will notice, combining the skin of your fingers with the nail of your fingers might result in a tone that is much more vibrant and richer in texture. Pluck the strings with the skin of your fingers and a portion of your nail (if you have one) (make sure you grow your fingernails a bit).

This rich tone is created by combining the gentle, warm tone from your fingers with the aggressive onslaught of the nail. Before you can master it, you must first explore and practise a little bit even after your guitar classes online are done for the day!

For any fingerstyle pattern to become flexible, supple, and fast, it takes time and practice. But don't worry, there are plenty of tunes out there that have fingerpicking patterns that are either slow or mid-tempo. You may gradually go from beginner fingerstyle songs to more expert fingerstyle tunes in this manner.


A plectrum, also known as a guitar pick, may be used for any kind of music and any type of instrument. However, electric guitar players and lead guitar players are particularly fond of the guitar pick because it allows them to play faster and more accurately. Even though there are always exceptions. Famous fingerstyle rock guitarists such as Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck (after years of playing with a pick) are well-known and superb exponents of fingerstyle rock guitar. Having said that, the guitar pick is used by most electric guitar players.

There are a variety of strategies for utilising the guitar pick, and each has its own influence on the tone, the pace, and the fluidity of your playing. Here are some examples.

You'll learn how to apply all of these approaches as you go along in our guitar classes online, whether you choose to employ them alone, in combination, or in part.

1. Strumming with a pick

2. Downpicking

3. Alternate picking

4. Sweep picking

Strumming with a pick

When it comes to playing rhythm guitar, utilising a pick has several advantages. You can play your guitar much harder against the strings and get far more loudness out of it. The fact that you are performing in front of an audience is a positive development.

Down picking

Down picking, also known as downstroke picking, is a method in which you only use a pick to play downstrokes on a guitar. It's often used in strong rock riffs and metal songs, and it lends a continuous, aggressive rhythm tone to the music.

Alternate picking

Alternate picking is characterised by the use of picking strokes that are rigidly alternated downward and upward continually. You're continually selecting down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up-down-up.

In the case of a scale or three-note-per-string lick, the first note is picked down, the second note is picked up, the third note is picked down, the fourth note is picked up again, and so on.

Sweep picking

Sweep picking is a method of selecting in the direction of travel. Whenever you're travelling below, use a downstroke, and whenever you're heading upward, use an upstroke. Sweep picking is a technique that is often utilised in jazz and fusion music forms, but it is also popular among shredders and other guitarists. Once the technique is perfected, it produces a sound that is smooth and fluent.

These various picking methods provide you with a great deal of versatility and control over your guitar playing style. A common criticism among beginners as they learn guitar, is that the pick sounds excessively harsh; nevertheless, the dynamics of the sound are determined by how you grip, strum, and hit the pick. The material, thickness, form, and texture of your pick, as well as its shape and texture, all influence your overall tone.

Always keep the pick between your index and middle fingers. Place the pick on the top of your index finger and press your thumb down on top of it to secure it in place. Keep your grip on the pick firmly. It takes time and effort to get comfortable with a pick, but the results are well worth it.

Everything ultimately boils down to your own musical tastes and the types of music you want to master now and in the future as you continue on your journey to learn guitar.

According to our guitar instructors, you should learn to master both approaches, just like the majority of skilled guitar players do. It will broaden your repertoire of tunes, genres, and approaches that you may use, as well as improve your overall playing ability. Furthermore, once you get the hang of it, both talents are entertaining and highly addicting.

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