How To Improve Your Picking Technique

How To Improve Your Picking Technique


Knowing how to improve your picking technique is one of the essential things to know in guitar playing. No matter if your playing rhythm guitar or lead guitar. No matter if you’re playing acoustic guitar or electric guitar. So paying attention to your picking technique & working on improving it will help your playing tremendously.

Here are 4 easy steps you can take today that will help you to improve your picking technique.

Remember, that a guitar pick is your best friend when it comes to playing the guitar.  Some people choose not to use one, but if you do, you want to take time to learn how to hold and use it.  It can work wonders for you and your guitar playing.


Step 1. Practice alternate picking:

This is picking up & down. Work on finger exercises across the fretboard in any way you choose and pick each string individually up & down. Upon the first note & down o the second & so forth & so forth.

alternate picking

Practice this slowly at first & focus on getting a good tone. If you’re playing electric play on a clean channel so that you can really hear yourself & study your approach & listen to yourself.


Step 2. Practice in front of a mirror:

Get the mirror to focus on your picking hand so that you can see what your hand is doing & you’ll get insight into your playing that you didn’t already see.  This insight can be very beneficial to your guitar playing progress.

playing guitar in front of a mirror

A lot of times in life we don’t see certain things because of our point of view. This mirroring technique will allow you to see things from a different point of view & show you things in your hand positioning that you didn’t see before & allow you to make changes.


Step 3. Practice strumming:

Strumming is a very common technique to master in any type of guitar playing. It involves the wrist & fingers working in unison together to get the right sound. This technique looks easy when you see people do it, but when you try it yourself it can be a bit tricky.

strumming the acoustic guitar

Strum down first & then once you get that figured out you can work at strumming upward. Then work at doing both together. It does take time & doesn’t happen overnight, but if you give it an honest try it will help to improve your picking.


Step 4.  Learn songs:

I cannot stress the importance of this enough.  In my teaching career, I come across a lot of people who think that learning songs is a waste of time, or that it is not necessary to get better.  This could not be further from the truth.

Here’s why?

When you learn to play songs by your favorite players, you learn things about music that you don’t learn from just studying chords and scales.  You learn how songs are constructed, you learn different approaches to playing the guitar, and you learn how to improve your picking.

Guitar Tricks Free Trial

Not to mention the fact that it is fun to play songs and you get better in the meantime.  Especially with today’s technology, learning to play songs by your favorite players is easier than ever.  So take my word for it and give it a try.  You might amaze yourself with what you discover.


Lesson Conclusion

Focus on your hand. Focus on the way your holding the pick & focus on how you’re approaching the guitar. The more you do this the better your overall playing will become. It’s not going to always be easy, but if you keep trying you’ll see some positive results very quickly.

But you must put in the “string time” and it must be consistent. If you truly give it your best shot, I guarantee your picking, your strumming, your timing  & your guitar playing, in general, will improve.  Thus making you feel good about yourself.  Nothing like the feeling of accomplishment.

Dwayne Jenkins Guitar Method Books

If more help is needed in this area, be sure to check out my guitar method books.  They will show you how to quickly improve your guitar playing.  Including your picking technique.

Be sure to check out additional training lessons:

How to find your notes on the fretboard

5 tips that will improve your guitar playing

Until our next lesson, take care.

Dwayne Jenkins

Dwayne Jenkins