Proper Posture and How to Hold the Pick

Erich Andreas
A free video tutorial from Erich Andreas
#1 on Udemy! 30+ Years, 1000s of Students, Millions of Views
4.5 instructor rating • 8 courses • 282,934 students

Lecture description

This video discusses proper posture and how to hold the pick for the most effective technique.  Holding your guitar incorrectly can hinder your playing greatly.  Please don't skip this cornerstone video!

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40:16:10 of on-demand video • Updated October 2020

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English [Auto] You can take this lesson of proper posture and how to hold the pic is probably one of the number one lessons that you can learn in regards to how it's going to affect your playing. OK. Now obviously you can have perfect posture be holding the pic perfectly and there are still other things that we're going to need to learn OK so obviously we're we've got a we have many things to learn it's going to be a blast. OK. But holding the guitar and holding the pick are two things that are very very important. OK. And to talk about some different styles. OK. So first off when you're holding the pick the way you want to hold the pick you can see that this is a triangle somewhat of a triangle and there are pics of different shapes here. I've got some different ones here. I would just use our basic pick here you're going to see this. Ninety nine percent of the time. Basically what you want to do is you want to hold this between your first finger and your thumb and you hold it to where the long part of the pic is pointing away from your hand. OK. Some people will hold the pick with their thumb and second fingers some people will hold it with all three fingers. Some people will hold it between their thumb and their first knuckle. I would not suggest doing that suggest using your first finger and your thumb or some variation thereof. Basically because what you're able to do things a lot more accurately playing like this than you would be playing like this. OK. This is kind of like you're just gripping it you can't really move around too much. Can't move the pick around whereas with your fingers you can manipulate the pick. So it's scootch. If it's scootch in on you while you're playing you're going to have to grab it with the other hand and move it around. Whereas if it's on your fingertips you can take the other fingers and move them around to get the pick where it should be. So I highly suggest doing that. It's going to feel awkward at first and you're going to hear me say that a lot throughout the program because everything feels awkward when you're just doing it for the first time. First time you rode a bike. It was awkward the first time you a solid food. It was awkward the first time you ate food it was awkward. OK everything's awkward in the beginning. So just remember that. And if you feel like hey I'm a klutz this pick keeps falling out of my hand. Guess what did with Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen and every other great guitar player since the beginning of time so you're in good company. All right. So don't worry about it is going to happen. And one thing that you can do a great thing that you can do especially in the beginning is you can carry a pick around with you everywhere bring it with you everywhere put in your pocket religiously put it in your wallet whatever and constantly have it in your hand. You can be at the office you can be at school wherever you're at. You can have it with you walking around the mall you can have that pick in your hand because what it's going to do is it's going to make you aware just like holding a pencil or if you've ever tried to brush your teeth with your other hand or any sort of thing like that. Whenever you practice you get good at it. So it's going to feel awkward at first if I brush my teeth with my left hand it feels awkward but if I did it all the time it wouldn't. OK. Or if I held it I walked around all day holding a toothbrush in my hand my left hand when I go to brush my teeth it would feel more comfortable because I'm doing this and I'm holding onto it and I'm not really thinking about it too much. So number one thing you can do is in the beginning here is holding on to that Pick a lot. OK and whatever hand that you're that you're doing this with. OK. Let's talk about posture when we're talking about picking the strings and all that. A little bit later on. Let's talk about the posture because posture is very important. You can see that the posture that I've got right now is basically where the guitar the rib here is resting on my right thigh and I'm a righty. OK so I'm playing the guitar with my strumming with my right hand and my left hand is fretting the guitar. So this is just a very classic probably 99 percent of the folks out there when they play guitar are doing this if they're not standing OK they're standing and they've got a strap and the guitar is going to be generally in the same place. OK. Now this is what we call like just traditional or folk style. There's one other method that I'll talk about which is the classical style which is basically when we take the guitar and we put it on the left thigh. If we are a righty OK opposite of you're lefty. And so the idea here is that the guitar is more up at an angle and it's a little bit awkward with this guitar because it's a jumbo body and normally the guitar would set up more of I had say like a dread not wear or a Spanish nylon string guitar which is what classical guitar is. And so the reasoning behind this stance is that you've got this leg you get your left leg your right leg in your chest holding the guitar so I can literally take my hands off the guitar and it's not going anywhere. OK it's more solid and it allows us to really be able to to grasp the chords easier. OK. Now with all that being said you have to keep your backs straighter and that can be a little bit tiring. Whereas if you hold the guitar like this you can slouch a little bit. Not that I would suggest that I would still suggest keeping your back more straight now don't make it uncomfortable. But again everything is new here so you're going to play guitar you're going to be holding the guitar and it's going to feel weird for you. And and you're going to say gosh my back hurts a little bit. You know it's not like you've lifted something and pull the muscle but you'll be using muscles that you may not normally use while you're watching TV or or eating or that sort of thing so you're holding yourself in a different way. So the posture is really important whether you're doing this traditional folk style or classical is really up to you. I would bet that you would probably choose this method just because it's more comfortable over a long period of time is what I use 99 percent of the time. Now the caveat to this is we have one leg hole and one arm holding this. But the guitar is still a little shaky. So if I don't have my hand on the neck then it's still a little bit shaky. And what tends to be the problem for beginners is that they grab this guitar like a shovel because they don't want that neck to go down or up. They don't want the guitar to fall so they'll hold the like this no wrap their thumb around the neck and that is somewhat of a kiss of death when it comes to playing chords and melodies and what have you. We'll talk more about that later on. So even though this is probably going to be better off for you you probably not going to be too comfortable with that and probably going to sit like this and that's OK. Just make sure that you've got the guitar snug snugly fit under your arm here and then to where the guitar is not going to go anywhere. OK. Now it's going to feel awkward at first and because of that here's another thing that you can do in the beginning really important in the beginning is to bring that guitar all over the house with you. Or if you're going to school we can bring into your work or something like that where you can just sit with it for some time that would be good too. How long depends. The more you do it the better you get. And that's true for everything that we're going to be talking about with guitar here. So folks will say how long should I do this. The more the better. The less the worse. OK so the more you do something the better you're going to get just get the timing about how long you should do something out of your head and just think the more that you do it the better. OK with that being said sit around the house with the guitar in the beginning OK if you're just working through a few of these videos and you have a few nights before moving on to some of the other exercises then just sit with the guitar sit on the couch while you're watching TV you know sit if you're talking on the phone or maybe you're doing some work you know and you can sit with a guitar. Reason being is it's going to feel awkward at first. It is for everybody. OK. So good news. It's not just you it's everybody it's going to feel awkward at first. OK. So better to get used to this and be kind of like holding a spoon. You know so if you were to hold the spoon for the first time it's going to feel awkward but if you gave a spoon to a kid and they just walked around with it everywhere they're going to feel more comfortable actually using it. So when you do get to playing guitar it's going to feel a lot better if you've actually just sat with it for some time. OK. So the two takeaways for you in this. This video in this lesson is you want to carry a pick around with you everywhere and you want to have it in your hand at all times. You can even take it on the side of the guitar or the side of a desk and you can just kind of just do some basic picking even though we haven't got to that yet. But reason being is if you have it in your hands you're going to be feeling a lot better about it it's just going to start feeling more natural as time goes on because every body I've ever experience every student I've ever taught it feels awkward for them at first and they say it. And so I'm telling you you're going to feel that way chances are and have that guitar with you at all times sitting on the couch for hours watching TV talking with your friends talking with your family whatever as long as it's sitting in your lap like this. You're going to feel more custom to it and you're going to start getting more in tune with it. And then we get to our exercise zone picking and what have you going to feel a lot more comfortable. All right let's keep going.