How to use a plectrum


Most people, when they first hold a plectrum, allow too much of the plectrum to stick out past their fingers.
Apart from making it harder to strum the guitar or pick the notes, it also doesn't sound as good.
There is a way of using a plectrum that involves using your index finger, thumb, and the plectrum to get the best tonal response out of the guitar, while at the same time helping you to pick the notes faster.

It all starts with holding the plectrum correctly.
Plectrum on index finger
Here's how the plectrum should look on your index finger before you close it off with your thumb
holding the plectrum with thumb and index finger
And here's how the plectrum should look between your thumb and index finger
Here's a video showing how I use a plectrum. It starts of with palm muting, but then it moves on to my picking technique, how I get harmonics out of the guitar and some basics of strumming.

How to use a plectrum video: Palm muting, strumming and harmonic picking

Strumming with a plectrum.
When doing straight rythm guitar strumming, I tend to relax my fingers a bit more than when I'm playing
power chords or doing slower lead runs.
This is simply just a matter of moving my index finger a little further out than what's shown in the picture
above on how to hold a plectrum.
What it boils down to is that the nail on my index finger is no longer in the path of the strings, so a little
bit more plectrum is exposed. It seems to work better for me then.
Of course holding the plectrum correctly is only half the story, there's all sorts of things like timing and
picking patterns to take into consideration as well.
Strumming power chords.
With power chords I pull the plectrum in slightly so my index finger's fingernail can come into contact
with the string first, and then the plectrum.
By simply altering the angle of my picking hand slightly, I can determine how much harmonic content
I want to get out of the chord.
I have noticed after some inspection of exactly what the hell I'm doing, that sometimes I'm actually
using the fleshy part of my thumb as a third contact with the guitar string.
I think my picking technique came from some time back when I was about 14 years old and trying to
imitate the sound of a mosquito on guitar.
I needed to get the highest pitch possible out of my guitar.
How I use a plectrum when playing lead guitar.
This is when a combination of both approaches seems to happen. When I'm playing slowly, the
plectrum is tucked in more so that my fingernail and the plectrum can be used together, but when I
speed up, I have to let go a little, so the plectrum is slightly more extended.
Hey! Maybe it's centrifugal force or something.
Funny thing is - I've only really noticed what it is that I'm doing because I decided to make this website.
After all...... You can't just tell people to hold the plectrum, and best of luck.
The Electric Guitar

How to tune the Guitar

How to use a Plectrum

Beginner Guitar Chords

How to play Barre Chords

How to play Power Chords

Guitar Scales

The C major scale on Guitar

The Pentatonic Scale on Guitar

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