I was working in the studio the other day with an artist who had only ever played an acoustic guitar with fingers. We were working out a guitar part for one of his songs, and realized it needed to be strummed with a pick for brightness. Strumming with fingers sounded good, but wasn’t cutting through the mix.
I ended up showing him how to strum with a pick, and then the question of how many fingers to hold the pick came up. It’s something I had never given much thought, and I happen to play with thumb + 2 fingers.
So I posted this question on Facebook and Twitter to see what my guitarist friends might say:
“Guitar Players: While strumming an acoustic, do you hold a pick with thumb + 1 finger or thumb + 2 fingers?”
Below are some of the responses:
Most said thumb + 1 because
- “definitely frees up other fingers for picking”
- “it allows you to finger pick w your middle & third and even pluck w your pinky”
- ” thumb & index to hold a pick which leaves 3 digits free for fingerpicking should the situation call for it”
- “Usually one, since two fingers have a greater chance of brushing the stings / killing the sound…”
Some said this about thumb +2
- “It makes me feel secure…”
- “Not a guitarist, but if I do, it’s thumb+2! “
- “Using 2 fingers to hold a pick seems not very efficient.”
- “depends on the pick and what feels natural”
- “try putting something tacky on a pick .. rubber cement”
- and my favorite: ” 2 fingers? What fresh hell is this?”
How do you hold a pick for strumming an acoustic guitar?