How To Hold The Pick – Lesson 4

Lesson by: SynGates.com


Staff member
Sep 11, 2019
In this lesson, we show you the proper technique for holding the pick.

Let me just say that this is the way that MOST great guitar players, (including Syn), hold the pick. However – I held the pick “wrong” for 40 years and still managed to play guitar for a living. I started working on holding the pick the right way about 3 years ago, and when I do – I still play at about 70% of my ability. It’s a daily battle for me.
So I would say, if you are a beginner or intermediate – by all means – work on holding the pick this way.
If you are an advanced player and hold the pick differently – you’ll have to decide if it’s worth the effort and sacrifice.
I believe that the ends justify the means. However you can play great – do that.

I will add one last point – if you’re not confused enough already. And that is: A great deal of Syn’s sound, smoothness, tone, speed & fluidity is due to the fact that he holds the pick the way I show you in this video.

Calvin Phillips

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2019
cambridge ontario
I have not given in and changed yet but one thing I've noticed while playing is the fingers only there cause it wants to be.it isnt really adding support to anything I do. And it does annoyingly get in the way of some things. I find myself trying to move it on the fly out of the way sometimes lol

Ezequiel Romanko

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2019
i held the pick wrong for 7 years and when the site was launched for the first time i changed to the way is shown in this video and it changed a lot for me mostly that i couldn't even play 3 notes without saying what im doing with my life haha, but now i feel really comfortable and it improved my technique a lot, so thanks to syn and papa gates for that!
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Edward John

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2019
James Hetfield holds it with several fingers, I think, as Satriani said, do what is comfortable.

Jak Angelescu

Guitarist for Unknown. Queen Cat of this school.
Staff member
Sep 24, 2019
Kansas City, MO
Here's the thing about this topic. Everybody can agree that doing what's "comfortable is best". However Edward cited James Hetfield as using all fingers or multiple fingers to hold the pick. He is also a primary rhythm player. Although he can play lead he is not known for it. There is actually a physical limitation in your wrist for certain lead techniques that holding it that way can make it very difficult to Garner speed on. Sweeps are a very big prime example. When you hold it with multiple fingers, your pick approaches the strings at a different angle. I used to hold it this way as well because that was what was comfortable for me. However it was almost impossible for me to improve on my speed. Things like pinch harmonics and sweeps are substantially easier and it's ergonomically more gentle on the wrist joint. Ever since I changed my picking technique it was quite literally this lesson that shuttle launched my Improvement


Feb 12, 2020
This is good stuff. I think i first started doing this after watching John Petrucci's hands in Rock Discipline. Paul gilbert too.