Fingers or Pick? The best way to learn guitar for the absolute beginner…

This is sort of a question, only because I’ve heard a whole bunch of differing opinions on this topic. I bought a ton of picks for my various string instruments (I heard they get lost super easily, and that doesn’t surprise me at all) over the past year.

However, I’ve recently heard from a bunch of guys I’ve talked to over the past few shopping trips (customers and workers alike) that I might consider learning how to play with my fingers versus the picks.

Hmm…this looks like a job for the crazy researcher chick in my brain.

I firmly believe in learning both ways, I just wonder about which way would be best to start.

Typically, I’m one of those people who tend to do the hard stuff first so that the rest will seem so much easier. I took that approach when I went into teacher training for high school. I decided to teach Geography that year because I figured if I could teach the most troublesome high school grade and the subject in Social Studies that changed the most for a year and not go crazy, I could teach any of the courses.

Turns out, I did pretty well according to teachers and classmates, and was able to help a few who could get a job out with some ancillary materials and my own notes.

But I digress.

Anyhoo, that was training for a job I’d wanted most of my life…not training and practicing for something I’ve dreamed about doing, and wanting to make it go beyond a mere hobby. I’m too old to be a pop star (and wouldn’t wanna be), but if there were some happy, fun players around who wouldn’t mind me joining in and maybe making some bread on the side, then why not?

Okay, slang slightly before my time, but when there’s a lot of 70s flicks on the tube, hard not to take it in.

I’m getting all sides when I Google search about starting with your fingers versus the pick. Frankly, the more I look, the more I think it would be better to start with the fingers.

I admit I have short semi-fat fingers (guess that excess weight had to be evenly distributed). I also have concerns about how well I can control the movement of my fingers. Not only do I want to train my ears to hear and understand music better (and realize when I’ve made a mistake or gone out of tune), I want my fingers to get that muscle memory down.

I suppose starting with the fingers would be the hardest part, learning how to pick the strings you really want to play just right without hitting the ones you don’t want to. I’ve had trouble with that, and yes, I’m just starting out.

On the other hand, I’m not even sure I’m holding the pick right when I pick it up to play. As much as I hear about how much you can pick up from videos (and I have picked up a lot), I believe there won’t be a decent substitute for knuckling down and paying for lessons sometime soon.

There are some sales going on before July, and I’ll see how everybody’s schedule’s going before I think about signing up for some. More research is needed for that.

And I’ll be starting on my acoustic-electric, not one of my strats.

Here’s a few videos I watched to consider this training question:

Your Guitar Sage:

Thomas Michaud:


And, of course, I can’t wait to learn from these two fab players… eventually:

Carlos Santana

and Tom Morello

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