How To Hold The Guitar and Guitar Pick

Choosing the way you hold your guitar and your guitar pick can be crucial in the beginner stages of learning guitar. How you hold your guitar and your guitar pick will determine how comfortable you feel while playing. The more comfortable you are, the longer you will be able to practice. It also develops a long-term technique, which is often difficult to correct in the later learning stages.


Download PDF Workbook For The Lesson Here


How To Hold The Guitar

In this lesson, you will learn how to hold the guitar and a guitar pick.

You will learn three different ways to hold the guitar.

Guitars are generally played either sitting down or standing up. The three ways to hold the guitar are

  1. Casual Way Of Holding A Guitar
  2. Classical Way Of Holding A Guitar
  3. Standing Up With Guitar

The casual way and classical way are used while sitting down. All of these have their advantages and disadvantages. It is advised to practice your guitar the way you are going to perform. If you are going to perform standing up, practice standing up. If you perform sitting down, practice sitting down. For beginners, it is a good idea to start with sitting down and later on practice playing standing up.

Let us discuss the different ways to hold the guitar: -l.

Casual Way Of Holding A Guitar

A casual way is achieved, sitting down either on a stool or a chair without any armrests. While you are sitting down on a stool, the guitar 'casually' rests on your thigh, and you fret a right-handed guitar neck with your left hand and strum with your right hand.

How To Hold A Guitar -Casual Way Image

Pros Of Casual Guitar Posture

  • Easy to get acquainted with. A good starting point for beginners.
  • No Footstool or other accessories are required.

Cons Of Casual Guitar Posture

  • Beginners tend to slouch forward, resulting in a bad posture.

Classical Way Of Holding A Guitar

Classical guitar posture comes from Spain. In this style, sit down on a stool, place your left leg on a footstool and place your guitar body in between both your thighs and you fret a right-handed guitar neck with your left hand and strum with your right hand. The neck of the guitar is angled upwards. This way, the neck of the guitar gets elevated and is more easily accessible.

How To Hold A Guitar - Classical Stance

Pros Of Classical Guitar Posture

  • Keeps the back straight and helps develop a better posture
  • It is easy to access the fingerboard
  • Results in a better strumming hand grip.

Cons Of Classical Guitar Posture

  • Requires a footstool.
  • Can be a little challenging for beginners.

Holding Guitar While Standing

You probably have seen several concerts in which guitarists are standing up and playing. To hold the guitar while standing up, you will require a guitar strap. The rules remain the same. A right-handed guitar player frets the neck with his left hand and strums with his right hand.

Pros Of Playing Guitar While Standing

  • You are portable. Move around, entertain the crowd.
  • Some people get a better sense of rhythm while they are standing up and playing.

Cons Of Playing Guitar While Standing

  • Some people feel a little difficult to play the guitar while standing, completely depends on the person.
  • If you have a heavy guitar, you might get shoulder aches.

There are many ways of holding a guitar. Contrary to popular belief, there is no one “right” way to hold the guitar. The only consideration you need to make when selecting your style, what will work best for you.

While it's okay to not hold the guitar in a certain way, there are certain things that you should avoid.

  1. Do not Use Chair or Stool With Arms: - Use a chair or stool with arms. If you use one with arms, you will not be able to place your guitar comfortably.
  2. Slouch Forward: - Beginner tends to slouch forward to look at the fretboard. This should be avoided and one should keep the back straight.
  3. Lay Your Guitar Flat: - Do not lay your guitar flat on your couch, as it might slip down and break.
  4. Keep Your Guitar Strap Loose: - Your Guitar Strap should be tightened in such a way that your guitar does not move when you stand up and the fingerboard is nearly the same height as it was sitting down.

If you are just starting and have no idea which grip will work best for you, it's probably best to go with the "Casual Style".

Another thing to consider is if you are a right-handed or a left-handed player?

If you write with your right hand, you are probably a right-handed player. If you write with your left hand, you are probably a left-handed player. Most people you see around you are right-handed guitarists and use a right-handed guitar.

A left-handed guitar player uses a left-handed guitar. It is not advised for left-handed guitar players to play a right-handed guitar, but if you do not have a choice, get started and get playing. Your mind will adapt.

Check out some famous left-handed guitar players like Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Paul McCartney.

Avenged-Sevenfold-BergenCalling-2011-Christian Misje-5503 Zacky Vengeance and Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold Band. Zacky Vengeance is a Left-handed Guitar Player and Synyster Gates is a Right-handed Guitar Player

How To Hold The Guitar Pick or Plectrum

Guitar picks are another crucial part of guitar playing, especially for beginners. Guitar picks of made up of different materials and of different styles, know more about guitar picks here.

Generally, the index finger and thumb are used to hold the guitar pick. Before we learn how to hold the guitar pick, let us first learn how not to hold your guitar pick.

  • Do not hold your guitar pick between the tips of the index finger and your thumb. This will not give you a good grip and will make it difficult to play the guitar. Also, your guitar pick will fall a lot.
  • Do not hold your pick from the edge of a guitar pick. This will also result in your guitar pick falling a lot.

The right way to hold the guitar pick is to make a gun with the index finger and the thumb of your strumming hand. Next, you place the guitar pick on the index finger middle part. After this, you close it with your thumb. Watch the video to learn the step-by-step process with visuals.

Once you have understood how to hold your guitar pick, make sure you know how to use it.  Watch the video lesson to learn about the right picking technique.

Now you know how to hold your guitar and how to hold your guitar pick. Let us put your knowledge to the test.

Download the PDF sheet and go through a quick quiz. Put your answers in the comments sections below and share them with the community. If you have any other questions or suggestions, feel free to post them in the comments as well.

In the next lesson, you will learn How To Tune The Guitar.


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1 comment

  • Ajay Rawat

    Thanks for this lesson.

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Udeeksh Sood on

Udeeksh is an Audio Engineer. He loves to produce music, research music gear, play guitar, go on treks and road trips.