One of the things new guitar players often purchase along with their guitar is a pack of picks. They believe that these small plastic accessories are necessary to play guitar but are quickly surprised when some guitar teachers tell them that they don’t necessarily need them.
Let’s look in to when guitar picks are necessary, what types of picks are available, and if new students should use one right away?
Picks Let Players Be More Dexterous
Playing with a pick in private guitar lessons instead of with bare fingers lets players go after single-note or melodic passages easier. This makes it very useful for those who are going to be the lead guitar in a group. It also lets players use an alternative picking technique that lets them quickly hit the strings as their hand moves down and again as it moves up. However, picks aren’t necessary for every type of guitar.
Players Who Use Steel Strings Need a Pick
If you or your child wants to play a guitar that uses steel strings, whether it’s acoustic or electric, a pick is a necessity. These strings are harsh on the fingers, and players who play without a pick will find that their fingers are sore after a session. For these types of guitars, you will need to purchase picks to use from the beginning.
Classical Guitar Players Don’t Need a Pick
On the other hand, if you’re learning using a classical or a Spanish guitar, you don’t need a pick. The strings on these guitars are made from a softer nylon material, and players can pick without damaging their fingers. Your kid’s fingers are still likely to get sore at first because they’re not accustomed to playing the guitar, but they will build up calluses over time.
If your child is learning guitar, you may need to constantly reassure them about this. They may want to give up because their fingers are sore and hurting. Limit their practice time early on until they get used to playing. Their teacher can help you create a realistic practice schedule and give you some tips on helping soothe any discomfort they have.
Overall, When Should a Beginner Use a Pick?
Beginning players should use a pick if they’re playing an instrument with steel strings. They should also use a pick when they’re playing melodies or as lead guitar and when they’re playing a rhythmic chord progression. Another good time to use a pick is when they’re improvising.
On the other hand, players don’t need to use a pick when they’re playing solo or playing arpeggiated or broken chores. If you or your child is ever uncertain if a pick is needed, you can always ask the guitar instructor.
What Types of Picks Are Available?
While all picks are made from small bits of plastic and are of a similar shape, they’re not all the same. For a beginner, however, a basic plastic pick is enough.
Later on, when beginners are learning how to strum chords, a flexible pick is helpful because it makes it each to move the pick over the strings without encountering a lot of resistance.
There are also picks that are a little thicker than normal. These picks are good for playing melodies or for playing lead guitar. However, a regular pick can work for this as well. You can find picks for sale at any music store or Amazon.
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