I find it much, much much much easier to play melodically with a pick. I started out with a pick, and never tried to learn how to finger pick. However, I find that, in trying to play chords, using my fingers is what comes most naturally and most easily.

So, in a magical land, I'd play chords with my fingers, then switch to a pick instantaneously for melodies. However, given that this obviously can't happen, do you find it practical to play chords with a pick, or do you have to do without?

One thing I will say is that, in playing with a pick, you'd be limited to playing 4 strings simultaneously, under the premise that you'd be holding the pick with your thumb and one finger.


You can play chords with a pick, and many players do, however what might be your ideal pick for soloing may not be appropriate for strumming because of it being too hard. You may want to try to find a pick that compromises between the two types of playing, hard enough to let you solo but flexible enough to let you play a strumming pattern.

BTW you may want to check out the "flat picking" style of playing (aka hybrid picking or "chicken"-picking), which combines elements of strumming and finger picking (but is always played with a pick). Learning some of the flat picking techniques may help you develop a strumming style with pick that suits your taste.


Of course you can play chords using fingers, pick or in fact anything. The majority of guitarists you will see on TV use a pick for chords.

It looks like you are getting hung up on the difference between playing every note simultaneously (eg when you pluck 4 strings at once with your fingers) and playing them almost simultaneously by strumming down across 4, 5 or 6 strings.

You are absolutely not limited to 4 string chords when using a pick, so I'm not sure why you say this.

As an example, play a G in open position, and then strum down with your pick across all 6 strings. You just played a G chord with a pick!

That said, there are some guitarists who have worked out ways to quickly palm the pick in order to move to fingerpicking, and yet others simply throw the pick out into the crowd, play using the fingers, and then take another pick from their store (tucked under the pick guard, clipped to the mic stand etc)

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