Question: I’m trying to find out how to hold a guitar pick…is it better to hold it perpendicular to the strings or slightly tilted? Especially when sitting with the guitar in a classical posture, the guitar body is tilted to a certain angle, so when I pick or sweep pick the movement goes in a certain angle instead of '90 degrees straight' along the path. I also noticed if I pick with my elbow, the path will be tilted, and if I pick with both my elbow and shoulder, the path is able to be perpendicular to the strings. So which one is the best?

Tom Hess's Answer: The best guitar picking angle to use while playing is between 10-30 degrees. By holding your guitar pick with a slight angle, you will be able to transition smoothly from string to string. This is a much more efficient use of movement than picking using a strict 90 degrees angle (where you must lift the pick away from the guitar in order to move between strings).

In addition to using a picking angle as described above, use a combination of your wrist, forearm, and elbow while picking on a single string. When changing strings, your forearm should be moving the pick and the wrist will pick on each individual string. Also, remember to keep your wrist aligned with the forearm in a straight line as you move from string to string.


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