For most beginners, the struggle to use a guitar pick or their fingers to play the guitar is common. While there is no hard and fast rule about which method is better, the decision depends on one’s preference at the end of the day. However, each method does come with its pros and cons. Once you have an idea about what these are, you can make the right decision for what works best for you.
To learn more about what these aspects are, read ahead. Once you are done reading, you are sure to have made up your mind. If not, you can give both methods a try for a few days and see which settles with your comfort zone. So, without any further delays, let’s dive into it!
Guitar Pick vs. Fingers: A Breakdown
Using A Guitar Pick
A guitar pick is commonly used by most guitar players. The myth surrounding how guitar picks are not used by professional players has been debunked. A lot of famous guitar players still use guitar picks.
What makes guitar picks a great guitar accessory is the convenience it offers. In addition, several other pros are on the list. Here are some of them.
1. Allows You To Play Fast
If you’re into playing songs that are fast or more towards the rock or metal genre, then guitar picks can help you sail through with ease.
2. Increase Volume And Tone
If you are looking for a sharper tone and louder sound, then the guitar pick is your best buddy. This is because it tugs harder against the strings compared to your fingers.
3. Makes You Sound Consistent
Unlike fingers that produce variations, the guitar pick can help bridge this gap by providing a consistent sound.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the cons.
1. Takes Time To Gain Control
The guitar pick requires practice, thus making it a tool that requires your time and focus. Everyone learns the guitar at a different pace, some may pick up the pace earlier on, while for others the guitar pick may not sit well between their fingers. Whatever the case is, try not to force yourself. You can give your fingers a shot if the guitar picks don’t work for you.
2. They Can Slip
Guitar picks can easily slip while you’re playing the guitar. This is exactly why they require practice from before.
3. They Often Get Misplaced
The biggest con of using a guitar pick is having it misplaced. This is something that most guitar players face. Thus, making it awkward when you have you play on stage and are frantically looking for your guitar pick.
If, however, you do choose to use the guitar picks, there are a few ways in which you can ensure your guitar pick doesn’t get misplaced. These tips are towards the end of the article.
Using Your Fingers
If you wish to learn about the pros and cons of using your fingers, well, we have that broken down for you as well.
1. Produces Music That Is Authentic And Richer
You are sure to sound more authentic while using your fingers, this is especially the case for folk songs or country songs. By using your fingers, you can add more depth and dimension to your guitar playing skills.
2. Improves Muscle Memory
Using your fingers can help you retain music notes and jog your muscle memory. When your hand and muscles are in coordination, you can have a better idea about strumming your guitar. This can help improve your muscle memory when it comes to playing difficult songs later on.
3. Makes Playing Non-Adjacent Notes Easier
Playing high and low notes using your fingers is easier when you use your fingers. You can play more than one note at once along with a combination of different parts simultaneously.
1. Leads To Calluses
During the initial stages, you may develop calluses on your fingers. This is because of the friction produced while using your fingers to play the guitar. When healed, the top most layer on your skin is sure to harden and develop abrasions and calluses. This can become inconvenient in the long run.
You can click here to learn about how to minimize the discomfort and soother sore fingers.
2. Harder To Play Fast Songs
When playing fast songs, you might find it difficult. This also leads to an inconstant tune that can make the strumming sound out of tune.
3. Producer Softer Sounds
The fingerstyle method produces softer music, thus making it ideal for songs that are slow and mellow. If you are inclined to play loud sounds, then this method won’t work well for you.
Tips On How To Keep Your Guitar Pick Handy
If you choose to go for guitar picks, but are concerned about having them misplaced now and then, then there are a few tips that can help. By keeping these in mind you can prevent losing your guitar pick.
Let’s have a look at some of them.
View It As An Essential Item
Just as a drummer can’t play the drum without his drumsticks, or the violinist can’t do much with the violin without a bow, a guitar player who has settled down with using a guitar pick to play the guitar cannot do the same either. If you keep this comparison in mind, you are sure to be vigilant about where your guitar pick is and where you might have placed it. As you bring this change in your mindset you are sure to always have your guitar pick by your side at all times.
Always Check Your Pockets
When doing your laundry, you might want to check your pockets. You are sure to find a guitar pick in them. In this way, you won’t have to invest in a new guitar pick every time. Similarly, trace your steps and check under the carpets. Guitar picks love finding their way under mats, beds, furniture, and carpets.
Guitar Pick Holders Can Help
You can place a guitar pick holder on the body of your guitar. In this way, you are sure to have your guitar picked by your side at all times!
The Bottom Line
All in all, using a guitar pick or your finger boils down to preference. See which option works best for you. You want to enjoy yourself while playing the guitar, not be stressed and worried about the pick slipping between your fingers, or your fingers hurting. So, practice a few songs. Who knows, you may be able to play some songs with the guitar, pick better, and others with your fingers. That’s something that is totally on the list as well!
If you wish to learn more about guitars, their maintenance, storage, or even tips on how to start your own band, then head on over to Musician Authority! We provide a wide range of resources related to music and how to make your music journey enjoyable.
For more information, you can even get in touch by dropping us a message. We shall get back to your queries as soon as possible.
Eduardo Perez is a multi-instrumentalist with over 20 years of experience playing instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Having arranged songs and produced music in a recording studio, he has a wealth of knowledge to share about analyzing songs, composing, and producing. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Musical Studies at Berklee College School of Music. Featured on Entrepreneur.com. Subscribe to his YouTube channel, or follow him on Instagram.