Free Online Guitar Lessons
Guitar Hand Position and Body Posture
How to hold a pick
If you are using a steel stringed guitar you'll need a guitar pick for strumming. A pick is basically a small triangle-shaped piece of plastic you use to pluck the strings. These can be bought anywhere for very cheap. There is no set way to hold it, but the two most popular methods are:
If you are sitting and playing, the guitar should rest in your lap. Put your right hand (unless you're using a left-handed guitar) round the back of the guitars' body and let your palm rest close to the bridge (if you don't know where this is check out the guitar diagram). Your left hand should hold on to the neck close to the head. Here's a photo:
When starting out with chords you'll find that you have to apply a fair amount of pressure on the strings to have the sound resonate clearly - your left palm and thumb is going to help you with this. By letting your thumb rest on the back of the guitar's neck, you'll be able to press harder with your fingers. Like this:
When you are standing and playing do not hold up the guitar - that's what your strap is for! Also, it might look funky if the guitar hangs on your knees but it's impractical - adjust the strap so that your hands can comfortably reach and be free to strum and fret (press notes on the strings).
Holding your hand in a loose fist-shaped position, slide the pick between your thumb and index finger - this method will initially feel awkward and at frist you'll have to pay attention to the pick to avoid dropping it.
Holding your pick between the thumb and index and middle finger. Slightly bend the three fingers holding the pick.
Feel free to experiment a little with the pick to see what works for you.
It's important to learn the correct guitar hand positions and body posture to ensure that you're comfortable when playing. Many guitarists who teach themselves develop lot of bad habits simply because their basic technique is wrong - don't make the same mistake. Read on...