For this lesson on How To Guitar, I will be showing you how to pick notes on the guitar. Picking notes on the guitar involves holding the guitar pick in your right hand, fretting a note with your left, and then simultaneously using the guitar pick to “pluck” a guitar string which responds by producing a musical note depending on which string and fret you are playing. (more on this in future lessons where we teach you how to actually play notes that are in key!)
How to Pick Notes
Start by grasping the guitar pick with your right hand similar to the picture to the right. You hand should be relaxed and you should be holding the guitar pick just enough that you are in complete control of it but not enough that you are making the plastic warp by holding it too hard! Using your wrist (not your elbow!), slowly and gently start to pluck notes on the guitar. You can pluck just one note at a time, or combinations of up to six notes at a time. You can play with variations such as all down stokes or alternating strokes. We will be talking a lot more about these subjects in future lessons so make sure and stick around on How To Guitar. For now, you are just becoming comfortable with holding the guitar, fretting notes and picking notes. It doesn’t matter if it sounds awful at this point, in short order we will be showing you how to make music that actually sounds good!
If you aspire to be a finger style playing, then you won’t use a guitar pick at all. Instead, you will use either the fleshy part of your fingertips OR your fingernails to produce notes. I don’t actually teach fingerstyle guitar techniques on this website but how to pick notes is still an important part of learning no matter which path you intend to take.
For homework, go to youtube and watch some of your favourite guitarists. Try to see how they hold the guitar pick and also how they hold the guitar. This will become important when you start learning how to actually play real music on the guitar.