Is It Okay To Not Use A Pick When Playing Guitar?

Playing guitar is an art, you can give your own magic to it. However, when it comes to playing the guitar there are two groups of people; one group uses a pick, and the other group uses their fingers. But which one is the better way? 

It’s okay to play guitar without using a pick. You can either use a pick or simply use your thumb. However, it is recommended to use a pick if you want more volume or playing any intense piece such as metal music. Despite such claims, it can be said how you train yourself to be a guitarist says a lot about it. 

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This article will present you with both the good and bad sides of playing the guitar using a pick or without a pick. In addition to that, you will get an overall idea of starting the guitar lessons in the perfect manner.

So, without any further ado. Keep on reading the article. Remember not to skip any parts. 

What Is a Guitar Pick?

Guitar Picks are made of plastic materials that are used to play guitars. It was Dándrea Picks who first introduced pick to the people back in 1938. 

Playing the guitar using a pick surely makes the sound brighter than the sound produced using fingers. They also help to contrast tones by plucking different locations. It is also confirmed that a lighter pick produces a darker sound. 

In order to produce a brighter and more focused sound, the pick needs to have a pointed pick. On the other hand, for a rounder and less defined sound, you need to have a rounded tip. 

Plastics like nylon, celluloid, or Delrin are mainly used to make guitar picks. You will also find wood, metal, glass, stone, felt or rubber picks Mostly in a triangular shape. 

Usually, the thumb and index fingers are used to grip the picks while playing the guitar. However, each guitarist might have differences. 

Is It Better To Play Guitar Without A Pick?

When it comes to playing the guitar with or without a pick, it completely depends on what you are comfortable with. You can choose to use your bare fingers to play the guitar. On the other hand you might find using the pick to be the most comfortable one. 

When you use your fingers to play the guitar that is playing the guitar without a pick will make you feel more intimate with the guitar. However, in the case of playing an intense music style, you might find using a pick is the wise decision. 

When you use your fingers to play the guitar, you find it closer to the guitar and will be able to explore many tones without any confusion. 

In contrast, depending on what you choose to play, might make you choose the picks. When you are into rock or metal music style, using a pick is recommended. As in such situations, you might harm your fingers. 

What Is The Main Difference Between Pick And Fingerstyle?

Both pick and fingerstyle can be a good and bad option for you. You just need to do your research and find the one technique you are comfortable with. 

Whereas pick is used to get a sharper and louder tone, fingers are used while creating a warmer tone. The finger technique helps to play a versatile piece.  

The notable differences between Pick and Fingerstyle Guitar Techniques include; 

SpecificationPickFingerstyle
VolumeLouderSofter
ToneSharpWarm
SpeedFasterSlower
ControlMore controlLess control
AccuracyMore accurateLess accurate

Now it is all your decision which one you prefer. Let me warn you do not just choose the one from here. Practice for a few days in both techniques, then find the one you feel comfortable with. 

Should I Learn To Play The Guitar Without A Pick?

Yes, it is easy to say choose the technique you are comfortable with. As mentioned earlier, you need to choose the way of playing the guitar by finding your comfort zone.

But, how to discover your comfort zone? I mean to ask is, when you start learning to play a guitar, what way should be chosen?

Well, it mainly depends on the style you play. For example, when it comes to metal music, you need to learn to use a pick because it will require intense rhythmic phrases. 

However, if you want to be a solo singer and want to play smooth music, you might consider playing with your fingers. It will help you to explore and discover new tones. 

However, it might differ from person to person. You can also choose to expertise in both techniques. It will make you a versatile guitarist.  

Is It Convenient To Play Guitar Without Picks? 

Many claim it is easier to play guitar with picks is easier as it minimizes the risks of cutting fingers. Then again, just like any other story, there is an opposite group of people who would prefer to use their fingers to play the guitar. 

Nonetheless, you need to know that different styles might require different techniques. Using a hand to play a piece of passage that has a combination of single strings would be a good choice. 

Some people find using the pick to be complicated. As fingers can get to the exact string at the exact time, guitarists find the transition smoother.

But when it comes to playing intense music, like metal, you will find the picks are helping to make this transition quickly and the tone stronger.

Limitations Of Playing Guitar Without picks:

  • Limited In Volume: Yes, you can play without picks, but the volume will be limited.
  • Less Variations: Using a pick allows so many variations that you can’t do with your thumb. By practicing with a pick, try different picking styles and see how fast you can pick. Playing fast with your thumb takes years of experience but if you learn how to hold a pick properly, you can play really fast within a week.

Can I Play Guitar Using My Finger And A Pick?

Well, you surely can play using both fingerstyle and pick technique. When you use both your fingers and a pick to play the guitar, it is called Hyper Picking. 

As I claimed earlier, playing a guitar is an art. And how you master the technique is all up to you. You might find people who use a pick and the middle & ring finger to play a guitar. 

However, this style requires a lot of practice and training. You need to use the pick and hide the pick constantly in between while playing the guitar. 

How To Hold The Pick While Playing A Guitar?

The way of holding the pick lets a lot about the guitarist. You cannot hold the pick too tightly. Just firmly hold the pick using your thumb from the top and the other finger lightly from the other side.

You can use two or three fingers to hold the pick. Just remember to practice and find the exact number of fingers you are comfortable with. 

Remember to keep the pick a little exposed. It will help you a lot while hitting the single notes and increase your accuracy. Keep the pick at a 15 to 20 degrees angle to keep up with the desired tone. 

Watch this video to get a better understanding on how to hold the pick properly:

Related Question

What Happens If You Don’t Use A Guitar Pick?

When you avoid using a pick while playing a guitar, you will find the guitar produces a warmer and softer tone. The accuracy will be lower but you will be able to play versatile tones. 

Do Any Guitarists Play Without A Pick?

A guitarist should follow his heart when it comes to playing the guitar. If he is comfortable playing the guitar without a pick, then he can definitely play it without the pick. 

Then again, he can also play with a pick or in a hybrid manner. That is, using the pick and fingers to play the exact tone he wants. 

Final Thoughts:

In my opinion, It is perfectly fine to not use a pick when playing guitar but it is limited by volume. It actually depends on your preference. Play it the way you feel comfortable. I have friends who always play with picks. They say thi 

I personally didn’t use picks in the past. I felt like playing guitar using my thumb is easier than using a pick. But once you learn how to hold picks properly, things get a whole lot easier.

So, I highly recommend the use of pick while playing any intense piece like metal music only if you are comfortable with holding a pick and playing with it. If you haven’t tried picks yet, go buy some picks. Try to get lighter ones

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