Right Hand Guitar Technique

Learn How To Strum And Pick Notes On The Guitar!

In this beginner guitar lesson you will be learning the fundamentals of how to use your hand to strum and pick the strings of the guitar. If you have never played the guitar, strumming and picking might feel strange at first.

Let’s start off by looking at how to hold the pick. Curl your index finger on your picking hand and place the pick on fleshy part of the finger between the fingertip and first joint. Now bring your thumb down and lightly pinch the pick to hold it in place. You should have a firm grip on the pick but your hand, fingers, and arm should still be pretty relaxed. If you ever feel any excess tension in your picking hand you should stop and relax.

It is important for you to learn the proper way to strum so let’s take a look a some of the basic things you will need to know in order to develop some good strumming technique. I once heard a great guitar player say that good strumming technique is like pretending that you have some honey on your finger and that a feather is stuck to the honey. If you try to shake off the feather that is pretty much the exact motion that you want when you are strumming. Most of the motion comes from the wrist, but the fingers and elbow help out a bit too.

If you know a chord, make it and try strumming all six strings with a smooth down and up motion. Imagine that the feather is stuck to the pinky of your strumming hand. This may seem silly but it really works well. Make sure to practice often, relax, and check out some videos of your favorite players.

Now it’s time to look at picking single notes on the guitar. Place the pick on the low E string and use a downward motion with your wrist to pick the string with a downstroke. Now use an upward motion with your wrist to pick the string with an upstroke. Go back and forth with upstrokes and downstrokes a few times. Try to move the pick just enough to make the string sound. If you are making wide pick strokes, it will be harder for you to come back to pick the next note. Most of the picking motion comes from the wrist but there are really good players out there who use their elbow or fingers to obtain most of their picking motion.

The angle of the pick on the string is something that you need to be aware of. Some players angle the pick up or down and some keep the pick parallel with the string. This is more of a personal preference but I have found that most players angle the pick downward.

Practice this lesson and get ready to learn how to use your fretting hand in the next beginner guitar lesson!

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