.. with a plectrum.
I've been on/off playing guitar since last year, starting on an Acoustic and getting an Electric this Christmas just gone by. I can change chords fairly well, can strum well using my hand and my picking with a Jazz 3 (small red) is progressing as I'm devoting at least 1 hour a day at the moment to practising.

But I still can't strum with a plectrum / pick
It just doesn't feel natural and I always end up either the pick sliding around between my thumb/finger or just not sounding right and hitting at wrong angles.

Any good pointers to what I could be doing wrong?
Or any clear tutorials or videos where I could learn?

It may be the fact that I'm used to strumming by hand that I find it hard to adjust but I only started learning the strum with my hand after getting nowhere with a pick.

Would appreciate any help
believe me, i know exactly how you feel. I just couldnt strum at all then it all just came in time. 4 years later I am excellent rhythm guitar player. just loosen your wrists, try appregiating chords in a sweeping kind of way. That what help me
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make kind of a fist and put your thumb on the end of your index finger at the nail. Slide the pick in between said thumb and index finger and apply a bit of pressure to play. If you still have trouble, maybe try a pick that is more rounded instead of sharp on the end. It helps me with the moving around. That is a really good way to start, after that you can improve.
the lesser known of the 4
Last edited by 5thhorseman at Mar 19, 2007,
With Acoustic you might want to looking into fingerpicking if fingers feel more natural to you. It's a perfectly acceptable way to play guitar, especially acoustic.

However, since you got an electric now, I would suggest studying other guitar players, how they pick. Whenever I see someone live, and I'm up close, I ALWAYS watch how they play.
Since you say it sounds funny when you pick and you think it's at a bad angle, you're probably right. Try reading (or again, watching) about how you should position your arm and hand when playing.


Try looking at the pictures in that article.

If I still had my webcam working i'd try to give a few snapshots myself :/
Quote by Hovertruck
You guys are forgetting the most important part of sounding like Alexi.
Yao Yao
I reckon you might find it a little easier with a different pick, Jazz picks are great for single-note runs but a bit too rigid for strumming. It's worth trying some thinner, bigger nylon picks just to see if it makes a difference, and if it doesnt, hey, its only 50p's worth of investment or something.
Thanks for the replies, really like how helpful people are here.
I'm getting more comfortable holding a pick for picking but I think you're right horseman as the pick is a Jazz 3 which is small, fairly thick and sharp .. but then if I was to use a different pick it would mean I would have to switch pick during a song (or not be able to play songs where picking and strumming keep switching over).

Do you think I should stop strumming with my hands till I get comfortable with a pick?
I guess this would force me to get better quicker.

I do often watch other guitarists, and the majority play how I'm trying to.
I'm patient but it's been a year and I don't feel any closer, although admittedly I haven't spent much time in the past year practising.

Edit: I do have a range of different picks (mainly 'medium' with tortex, plastic etc) and I think I'd find it easier to strum with them, but that would mean I need to use different picks at times .. surely I should stick with one and become good with it?
Last edited by NeckCramp at Mar 19, 2007,
I agree that its not ideal using a skinny pick if youre gonna have to change to a picked passage within a song, but id still recommend trying it, if anything to help get the right kind of fluidity of motion, then once youre comfortable with it it shouldnt be too hard to switch bach to a thick one.
And no, i see no reason to stop strumming with your bare hand, its not like its a pointless skill to have, and it shouldnt be detrimental to your learning with a pick anyway.
I personally use a thick one all the time no matter what I play, you just get used to it and how it feels. A smaller pick could be a lot better for playing speed really distorted, but since you are strumming, I would say use the bigger ones. (just MO) Atleast until you get good with it and can play with any pick. Kind of like playing a guitar with horrible action or a bent neck, it will just help your hands on a good guitar.
the lesser known of the 4
Last edited by 5thhorseman at Mar 19, 2007,
theres nothing wrong with learning to strum on a jazz III. Sure, it might be a bit harder, but it really instills proper technique

basically, i recommend paying close attension to your picking hand at all time, especially strumming.

You should be able to feel the pick make contact with each string, and eventually, you should be able to tell what angle the pick hits the string without looking, as well as how much of the pick extends below the string (or the amount of attack)

for a good strum, make sure you are strumming in a straight line, and that the amount of pick that extends below the string is constant for each string.

don't think of strumming as hitting 6 strings at the same time, or just hitting the guitar once.
mydadisjewish = avatar stealer
Some great advice there KuurptSenate, up till now I've been almost running my hand up and down as a semi-circle (from what I had read around) and not putting much thought into the amount of attack or how staight the strum was .. correcting that now and it feels a lot smoother. =D Just tried my other picks but larger ones seem to take control away from me .. I'll stick with a Jazz 3 and take the advice said here ..
Another reason I prefere the Jazz 3 is that I don't get the annoying sound of the pick hitting each string, I only play in my room with the amp fairly low so that 'chuck' of each strum almost screams that I'm doing something wrong. I'll practise my strumming a lot over the next week with a pick and hopefully post here next week saying it finally feels right. =D