4 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick

How to play guitar without a pick

Playing guitar with a pick is not mandatory. Even I don’t play guitar with a pick from the beginning.

If you hate to play with a pick. So, this question might bother you some time. How to play guitar without a pick? Or HOW TO STRUM WITHOUT A PICK?

The answer is just throw out the pick. But the fact is if you used to it. How to overcome it?

Some people do want to use a pick. Because a harsh and sharp sound will produce while playing with this.

I don’t suggest using this.

The guitar is a kind of string musical instrument. Which need so much practice.

You can produce a ton of style playing guitar with a bare hand.

A pick can’t hit a string like those want to. Sometimes it slips away between fingers.

It takes practice to put a pick between your fingers to play with it.

So, what you suggest? Practice playing guitar or practice to use a pick.

A guitar player must learn the finger-style. If he/she wants to be professional on it.

While playing with pick you can’t do it. Right!

But both pick and finger-style have some benefits to play the guitar.

Let’s Discuss both.

Before that here is the best three fingerpicking guitar for you.

How to play guitar without a pick?

There are many ways to guitar strum without a pick. Here is the basic technique you have to follow.

I personally use this one. It works great every time.

Strumming guitar without a pick.

A used to player can understand this easily.

  1. Assume that you are holding a guitar pick between your index and thumb finger.
  2. Just strum the strings with a finger in the down position and with thumb in the up position.

That’s all. You don’t need to keep long nails to replace the pick. If you are interested in this. Read this. Can you play guitar with long nails?

This is the most popular and straightforward way to play guitar without using a pick.

The Bass Strum Technique:

This is the 2nd best method to used to playing guitar without using a pick.

This one is incredibly useful for the studio or recording uses.

This makes the sound richer. It seems like two instruments playing one by one. I.E. The guitar and Bass also.

You can see the use. Paul McCartney used it on Yesterday song.

4 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick 1

Exercise 1:

At first, hold down the G chord.  Then play the E string with your thumb and then strum the D, G, B, and high E string down with your index finger.

Until feeling comfortable keeps on repeating this exercise.

Exercise 2:

Play the bass with your thumb on beat one, then strum down three more times on beats 2,3 and 4.

Exercise 3:

Now speed the process by playing 8th notes.

At first play the bass with your thumb and then “up -down-up” using your index finger.

Benefits OF Finger-style:

4 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick 2

Finger-picking or Finger-style is a technique. The process you pluck the strings directly with the fingers or fingernails.

  • It gives you the softest and warm tone.
  • It works great for a folk, music composer, acoustic blues, a singer that sweet pleasant tone.
  • Pluck the strings with your own skin of fingertips and also a part of the nail.
  • A lot of slow tempo, a mid-tempo song to practice this finger-style to become advanced.

Benefits OF Using Pick:

A pick is also known as a plectrum. It can be used for any style and type of guitar.

But Electric guitar and Lead guitar players love to use a guitar pick.

You can add different sounds and effects on the sound by adding speed on the guitar pick.

This technique can rich your guitar playing experience.

Benefits OF Using Pick

  • Down-picking.
  • Alternate Picking.
  • Sweep Picking.
  • Economy Picking.
  • Hybrid Picking.
  • Strumming with a pick.

Pretend Pick Strumming:

In this picking system, you have to hold your thumb and index finger. As holding a pick. So, your Index finger will use as a pick.

4 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick 3
Image Credit: Cyberfret.com

How To Strum Your Guitar?

If you practice enough open chords, barre chords, hammer, sliding will not be a problem.

But, I have met so many persons. Who has been playing guitar for more than 14 years? But one single song he can’t play on guitar.

He can play finger-style but not rhythm. Strumming is much more than practice.

It’s all about feeling. It requires subtlety, feel emotion, confidence and much more.

Can Play chords are 50% and Strumming fills up the last 50%.

If you understand, How to strum a guitar? This is the first step to learn the guitar perfectly.

4 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick 4
Image Credit: National Guitar Academy



  • Sit in a comfortable place.
  • Sit in a correct posture.
  • Your wrist and strum are in a parallel position.
  • Make touching the last four strings with your index finger(For Down-strokes).
  • Make touching the first two bass strings with thumb finger(For Upstrokes).

How To Hold And Use A Guitar Pick?

It will go between your index and thumb finger. Don’t hold your pick so hard. If this you can’t able to play fast or it does hamper your pick, guitar strings also your finger too.

A lot of picks out there in the market. Beginners should go for the gauge 0.65-0.73. Some like this.

how to hold a guitar pick


  • It feels like a feather. It makes a barrier between you and your guitar easily.
  • Don’t go much thinner than this. And also don’t go for the hard one. Like steel pick.
  • Some steel pick can be used for electric or bass guitar.
  • Try to make less use of your guitar pick.


How to play guitar without a pick. It depends on your own preference.

If you ask me what to follow. I suggest first to go without picking. Then you can enrich your playing experience by adding pick with you.

Thank you.

4 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick 5

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