Video: Learn How To Correctly Hold A Guitar Pick
Want to know how to correctly hold a guitar pick?
Learning how to do this massively improves your guitar playing and helps you to play faster, cleaner and more consistently. However, many guitarists use a very inefficient grip to hold the pick.
Good news is, this is very easy to correct.
Learn how to hold the pick the right way on guitar and start playing up to your greatest potential:
Click on the video to begin watching it.
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Use the approach in the video to hold the guitar pick correctly and make playing guitar much easier.
What is another fundamental aspect of guitar playing that is critical to get correct?
Minimizing tension in your body while you are playing guitar.
Knowing how to do this helps you get rid of sloppy mistakes and make playing guitar fast feel much easier.
So, how do you eliminate excess tension in your body?
Let me help you understand by telling you a short story:
I once had a guitar student who had a particular problem he struggled with.
Although most guitarists have too much tension in their guitar playing, he was actually relaxing far too much.
Remember: Keeping too much tension in your body and staying too relaxed are both issues you want to avoid.
In his case, he was holding his guitar pick too loose, while keeping his hand was so loose. So much so that he couldn’t even keep his wrist lined up with his forearm. This made lead to his open strings ringing out, making his guitar playing sloppy in the process.
But the worst part was:
His guitar picking was so weak that it was very hard to hear what he was playing.
Fortunately, I helped him fix this very quickly and his guitar playing was totally reborn.
But here is what you need to learn here:
You don't only want to minimize your tension levels – you want to optimize them.
Your picking hand often needs tension to articulate and play notes clearly. Picking with a weak attack will not help you do this.
If you do, it becomes hard to keep both hands lined up in sync.
Additionally, sometimes you can fight excess tension with more tension!
How is this done?
Simply tense up your entire body as hard as possible for just a few seconds.
Then relax all the built up tension.
This puts your body in a much more relaxed state.
Do this anytime you're feeling tension and it'll help you relax while playing guitar so you can play like you need to.
Here is yet another way excess tension can affect your guitar playing:
Pay attention to what happens when you switch from playing from slow speeds to fast speeds.
This is comomn for guitarists even when they are usually good at controlling excess tension.
Fortunately, this is not hard to fix.
Here is what to do:
Exhale before you begin playing with more speed.
This does a couple of things for you:
- It gets rid of tension you are currently holding in your body
- It stops your body from becoming tensed up as and after you exhale
After doing this, you play faster, cleaner and more consistently than before.
Now you understand how to hold the guitar pick correctly and play guitar with the right amount of tension.
It's time to improve your other guitar skills (learning new guitar techniques, developing better aural skills, expanding your music theory understanding and a lot more), so you can finally integrate your skills and become a great overall player.
I can help you achieve this with my Breakthrough Guitar Lessons.
This is how taking lessons works:
First, you complete a form that tells me everything I need to know about your musical goals, your skills and your previous guitar lesson experience (if any).
This is not a test of any kind, it simply just tells me exactly what I need to know to begin teaching you effectively.
Then I get started working for you.
Once you become a student, I will create a strategy for you based off of your evaluation form, then I put together your first lesson.
As soon as I’m done, you get all your lesson materials sent directly into student account on tomhess.net and I send you an email so you know that it's ready.
This entire process takes a few hours for me to complete for you. (Please be patient with me on this part. I want to make this strategy and lesson plan as specific to your needs as possible. The better your lesson strategy – the more quickly you get better. That’s why this process takes time.)
What do you get in your first guitar lesson?
Exercises, concepts, drills and techniques that help you quickly become a better guitarist to reach your musical goals.
Each lesson helps you get closer to becoming the kind of guitarist you want to be.
Plus, as a guitar student of mine, you also have get access to the following:
- Weekly live video Office Hours.
- Weekly live video training classes.
- Live guitar practice training sessions.
- The ability to ask me questions at any time.
- The ability to send me recordings of your playing for feedback.
You also get access to the tomhess.net private student forum. There you can get help from my top guitar students – many of whom are also professional guitar teachers.
Then you get to work practicing. You don’t have to practice for hours per day – half an hour per day (3-5 times per week) is generally enough to begin getting results.
All you have to do is complete the steps I lay out for you in your guitar lessons. And keep doing this not just for the first lesson, but in all the lessons that you receive in the future.
Check out the results my guitar students are getting:
“July of 2012, I had been managing in a retail store and was kind of reaching this point where I was really getting frustrated because I had been struggling to progress in my guitar playing. I had this mindset that I had to teach myself everything... you know and the best players are all self taught and stuff like that...”
...and I remembered Tom Hess from that book, and I said “You know, it’s time to look this guy up and see what he’s all about.” And it didn’t take me very long to figure out that this is the kind of person that I needed to get on board with.
My playing has definitely improved technique-wise, but probably the most important change I have experienced is just in my overall mindset as a player and as a practicing musician. I just feel like I have a much better frame of mind and a much better idea of where I am going and where my guitar practicing is taking me. Whereas before I just felt like I had to practice everything and I had a whole bunch of stuff going on. It’s a lot more focused now.
Being in the environment that Tom has created with his other students is incredibly motivating. I had always been in my own little shell, kind of just stayed on my own. Coming out here... like when I came out here last year was a big step out of my comfort zone. Getting around all these other musicians... it’s unbelievable how great some of these guys are, not just as players, but as people.
Andrew Tintle, Richmond, California USA
“I had problems with physical playing. I couldn’t hold the pick, I was struggling a lot, there was frustration for like years. I started out looking for a YouTube solution, maybe someone knows how to angle the pick or build up speed and accidentally ran into Tom.”
The video wasn’t about playing, he only had a conversation. I listened up to him. I saw that Tom made a lot of sense in his speech, and I got interested. I went to his site, started looking at what he offered, got very interested, filled out the form, got my first lesson, started building up myself and started getting more results than I was getting before when I was self taught. It was an amazing experience that opened up so many doors, and still there are so many doors to open.
The material is specifically done for your individual needs, to reach your goals. You can always put up new goals. You can have feedback on your playing, see your weak areas and strong areas. Tom cares a lot about his students. He always reviews and watches how I am progressing so we can review material, step by step.
Not skipping the steps. He is paying attention to it, and that’s what I like about it. I last felt this kind of motivation when I was 13 and starting out with a band, now I’m feeling the same fire and passion. There are students who are more advanced, more knowledgeable and have more experience. Instead of feeling jealous, I feel much more motivated to push myself further.
Freddy Kuiva, Estonia
“I started playing guitar maybe about 15 years ago. I had a really crappy teacher. Basically, based on some bad advice I went to learn classical guitar. I mean I wanted to learn electric guitar, but my friends learned classical, then acoustic, then electric. So I foolishly went to the music school and said I want to learn classical guitar, but they never asked me why, what do I want to do, so they said yeah ok, here’s a guitar, let’s go.”
So after about a year of faking trying to learn music notation, I quit. But I really loved, music, the guitar, so, I’m a pretty creative person in general, so I just you know, came up with a whole bunch of stuff on the guitar. I was self-taught for many years, until I came across Tom’s website. And then what happened was… after reading all of his articles, I used his article on how to choose a guitar teacher, and I went around my local city in Kuala Lumpur, trying to find teachers based on that criteria and of course they couldn’t even meet one criterion. And I actually went for a few lessons, and after a while it was like, well, it’s not worth it, I’m just going to go with Tom.
He has a lot of freaking awesome students. I’ve been playing guitar for 15 years, I’ve been a correspondence student for about 5 years or 6 years, everything prior to that was just a waste of time.
The forum is beyond words. I mean, I ask a question and I get 20 responses or 10 responses from very helpful people. Everybody is trying to help there. Nobody is criticizing like anybody. Everybody is just so helpful. It’s like having 20 Tom Hesses. It’s like, you know… 20 mentors, 20 people… more than that actually. So I think the forum is awesome for that. Not only because of the information available there, but just because of the people willing to help.
Vishaal Kapoor, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
“I started lessons when I was a young kid. I was in school. I had a casual teacher, but he only taught us chords, like basic stuff if you want to learn like 3 chord songs. But I wanted more than that, so I went to a local guitar teacher. But he also gave me the same thing. But after like 5 or 6 years of lessons, like I found myself, like if I heard a backing track or something, I couldn’t play with someone. I mean I didn’t feel like a musician, I feel like someone who can just move his fingers from like fret 1 to fret whatever. But with Tom, he’s giving me the tools to become what I want to become, become the musician I want to become. And this is exactly what I want.”
Tom Hess was basically the only guy on the internet with the credentials and the reviews, and basically everyone recommended him. He even had his own students webpage. All his students were like established guitar teachers and professional musicians and they had their own sites and I contacted like 7 of them, and they all recommended Tom Hess, and that’s why I joined him.
I like taking lessons with Tom because he gives me what I want. It’s not like something general for everyone. Like if you want to learn blues, he gives you lessons for blues, but I want to become a metal player and also a neoclassical player, so he’s giving me exactly what I need and what I want. And if I have a problem I just post a thread on the amazing forum, and I get like answers, not just short answers, but really detailed answers. I feel like I am taken care of, I don’t have to worry about anything. If I just follow everything word for word what Tom gives me in all of the lessons, that’s if I have time, because they’re so big, I mean every lesson, people think it’s overpriced, but each lesson, if you want to master it, take everything out of it, is going to take you like 4 weeks of 2 hours of work every day.
Mohamed Karim Koleilat, Beirut, Lebanon
Want to start getting results like these in your guitar playing too? Click the "Start Now" button below to learn more.