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Picking and Fretting Hand Posture

The first rule of football is ‘trap and pass the ball’, equally how you hold the pick / plectrum and fret the strings should be the first rule of playing the guitar.

The first thing to remember there are no right or wrong ways to play the guitar, only the correct way to build a better technique, and as technique(s) affects your accuracy and tone it is well worth focusing on.

Picking Hand

First of all find a pick / plectrum that is suitable for you. Personally I favour Jim Dunlop Jazz III Red Normal, though when playing acoustic guitar I tend to use Jim Dunlop Standard Guitar Picks .60mm.

Whether you use the point of the pick or rounded edge like Stevie Ray Vaughan you should aim to hold the pick between your thumb and 1st finger, just like holding a pen.

The pick point or edge should be parallel to the guitar string this allows for maximum accuracy and control when striking the string. Keeping the pick parallel to the strings allows you to navigate accordingly across the guitar strings without the need to stare at your picking hand.

Techniques like Sweep Picking, String Skipping and Speed Picking work best when the pick is angled to the strings (these techniques will be covered soon!)

Fretting Hand

When placing the fretting hand upon the fret board you should be looking to aim your finger just behind the frets. This is the secret to achieving a consistent tone when playing, eliminating buzzing and weak sounding notes.

Visualise the tips of your fingers landing just behind the fret as you pluck the string with your picking hand producing a strong defined note.

There will be occasions when building chords or performing 3 note per string legato licks (as well as another techniques) where you may have alter the position of your fingers to compensate for the technique(s). Though generally the following rules apply,

1. Place finger tips against the frets

2. Add pressure

3. Focus on picking and fretting hand working in synchronization

My next Blog will focus on One Finger Per Fret Exercise

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