Acoustic Guitar Community

Welcome to the Acoustic Guitar Community.

I am only on my 4th lesson (newbie for sure) and the teacher says I have to learn with a pick before moving on to fingers. I find that I am more comfortable using my fingers, but of course I want to listen to my teacher. Anyone else feel this way and any teachers out there want to express their thoughts on this? Sometimes, when I practice, I find that if I put the pick down, I am better able to concentrate on the chords and such. Is this just a frustration I need to overcome and it will eventually feel more natural as time goes by?
Thanks for any comments!

Tags: acoustic, finger, frustration, picking, practice

Views: 50

Replies to This Discussion

Hi. Susie,
Welcome to the guitar!

I too usually advise my beginner students to try to start out using a pick, but once in a while someone really does feel significantly more comfortable with their fingers.

My rule of thumb (uh-oh - mixing metaphors here?) is that if you are learning strumming as a technique, it's best to try to get used to the pick, as that will keep more options open for you in the future.

If you're headed towards fingerstyle playing, then the pick can go.

Hope this helps!

Best wishes with your guitar journey, Lisa
Yes, I want to learn finger style and it is what my instructor uses, but he still says I have to use a pick, I will keep practicing and hope to get more comfortable with it, Thanks!
Hi Susi, I'm new to playing, too and found the pick very hard to get used to. Lisa's advice here sounds very sensible. I can "trick" myself into using the pick by allowing myself some "play" time outside of practice, just to mess around with the guitar and befriend it, without the pick. Then when it's time to get down to business with the dern pick, I feel a bit more comfortable, little by little. Perhaps others will comment that this approach is a mistake. I don't know, but it helps me, as long as I keep on practicing with the pick, too. Eventually you may need a pick for something and be glad you know how to use it... sort of like another tool in the toolkit. That's what I've been told. Best to you! Dianne
Yes, sort of what I do, I play the song with my fingers and then practice with the pick, more to please the teacher as I do want to make sure I follow his instruction! Thanks!
Greetings Susi, I just turned one month old as a newbie acoustic guitar player. My teacher and I spent the first 4 lessons using fingers only and just last we we started with the pick and strumming. Yes a agree with you Susi I'm also more comfortable using fingers vs the pick. Seems like I have more control when I'm using my fingers. As Dianne shared the pick is another tool that we'll will need as we grow and learn more. Remember the key is practice practice and more practice. And most important have fun! George
So true, good to learn both, Thanks!
Hey... I'm a 1-year newbie and find that I use BOTH. There are some songs I play that I definitely feel better, and sound better, with my thumb and fore-finger for down- and up-stroke strumming. But I also find that there are other songs that I feel are easier and more comfortable with a pick. To me it depends on the song. The picks I use are EXTRA soft that my coach makes for me out of plastic coffee can lids. The softness takes the harshness out of the "string slap". I'm working on being able to strum, up and down, with my thumb. I have a hard time with the up stroke. The side of my thumb hangs up on the upper E-string and gives me a harsh "twang" that I don't like. But the best advice I've recdeived is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!! Dean
I will keep practicing! Thanks!
I'm on board with Lisa here. I've had three students in the almost 9 years I've been teaching that just sounded horrible using a pick. With the very first one, I worked and worked and worked again to try and help him; but there was no success. I finally one day said to throw the pick on the floor and taught him to strum with his fingers and fingerpick. OMG! He was an outstanding player! Since then I have two more students who had the same issue and I immediately got rid of the pick. I don't ever look at it black and white though, because as Lisa said - if you can use a pick, it will keep more options open for you. One student who stopped using a pick is turning into a classical player and the other plays everything; -- and he did eventually pick up a pick (sorry couldn't resist) and started playing lead guitar stuff.

Personally, I prefer my fingers -- but my passion is fingerstyle and classical. I also really like strumming with my fingers. I feel a better sense of playing when I can directly feel the strings. However, I am very glad I am proficient with a pick because there is a lot of music that sounds great with a pick.
Yes, right now I am learning "Single Girl, Married Girl" and when I use a pick it sounds stiff and forced and when I use my thumb it sounds natural and flows more easily. I do want to progress to finger picking , so I guess it just feels more comfortable.
Thanks for the comment!
My short opinion, learn to use the pick at the same time as you're learning the chords. Getting use to a pick doesn't take that long.

Is your problem holding the pick? If so try different picks. I tried cat tongue picks and gorilla snot. I even drilled small holes in picks as grips. Then I sent for an acoustic sample pack of V-Picks, They slip slightly if my fingers are cold, but once my fingers warm up no slipping. I used to strum with my fingers becouse of picks slipping. I use a pick most of the time now but still put the pick down on a few songs and strum with my fingers.
I think you should do what your teacher tells you to do. That is why your taking lessons in the first place. Either trust in them or find another teacher and after a month I think it's too soon to switch teachers.
Everybody needs to know how to use a pick. So get comfortable with one then move on to the fingers.
Teachers, like Doctors, don't really like it when you tell them something based on "Internet advice" even if its good advice.
At best the internet is screen to screen while a teacher is face to face thus adding the human element.
For the time being I'd listen to the teacher.


Check Out the Latest in Acoustic Guitar

Free e-newsletter!

Sign up for Acoustic Guitar Weekly—the weekly e-mail newsletter that delivers coverage of players and gear, lessons and technique tips, and advice about performing and recording. Get it now!




Be alerted to the latest articles on, including lessons, CD, guitar, and gear reviews, how-to tips, and player profiles.

© 2016   Created by Acoustic Guitar.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service