It may sound dumb but let's say we play A minor scale. When I change strings do I have to hit the next string in the exact same spot? Each time I change strings I keep picking closer to the bridge. And when I go back up, I follow the same path. Basically I'm not going up/down in a straight line, but at an angle.

Is this okay?

Also I see a lot of guys who play a Stratocaster or 3 pickup guitar tend to pick really close to the middle pick up. I'm more between bridge pick up and middle, does this matter?


Going up and down the strings at an angle is natural, and it may be more or less pronounced depending on picking style.

About where to pick the strings, that depends on you, on what you want it to sound like, and on your style and technique.

Minor changes don't make much difference, but if the position changes a lot, so does the sound you produce.

Picking very near the bridge is usually avoided, or let's say, reserved for particular effects and techniques.

Picking very near or even above the fretboard is also usually avoided and only used for particular effects (e.g. wide strumming motions)

In between those extremes, picking closer to the bridge may result in slightly easier picking when going fast, because the string snaps faster around the pick or finger.

The sound will also slightly change, being brighter and harsher near the bridge, and mellower toward the fretboard.

Experiment, listen to the different sounds, and then settle for what you like the most, and what you find most convenient position-wise.


I'd have to see you play to make a useful comment. Just examined what I do, and it's perpendicular to the strings - all of them. But that's me. I tend to have either my palm or forearm anchored - bridge or body .

Listen carefully to the tone you produce. The closer to the bridge, the more trebly it will be, and as you move towards the middle pickup, it becomes more mellow. If you're happy with the sound as you traverse the strings, stick with it. It doesn't matter greatly, but you may find that the tone becomes more nasal as you reach the high strings. If you're not happy with that, you'll have to try to keep more parallel to that bridge. If your whole arm is wallowing around, and you'e not anchored somewhere, that's probably the source of the 'problem'. But it's only a tiny problem.


At the end of the day it's about control. Are you just defaulting to what you can get away with or are you trying to produce the best attack possible.

The short answer is no, you do not have to pick each string at exactly the same place all the time.

But if you are not capable of exerting any self control then what you have described is a bad habit and you should try to fix it.

The tone of the string does in fact depend on where you pick it. The closer to the bridge you pick the more high frequency overtones you will create and that will change the tone of the notes you play. If you are playing electric and using a lot of effects you'll probably never notice. But if you play clean or are playing acoustic then everyone will notice and it could lead to poor sound and performance.

On the acoustic guitar, especially classical, the difference in tone is so noticeable that I see world class guitarists try and shift the right hand so that each finger attacks the the string in exactly the same place, rather than each finger hitting the string a half inch closer to the bridge. This may seem extreme but it's worth the effort if you can hear the difference. And this technique is not applied universally, there are some cases where it's impossible.

You will create a warmer tone by picking closer to the neck and a bright twangy tone picking near the bridge. Some country and bluegrass players will pick very close to the bridge to get a bright tone while Jazz players might play closer to the neck. So in this sense it absolutely does matter. Again, if you don't care about the tone difference then don't worry. But if you want get better and be capable of controlling your tone then you will want to work at being able to move the pick any way you want, Not just towards the bridge for higher strings.

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