I just heard a term describing a picking technique for guitar that I hadn't heard before. Can anyone enlighten me as to what circle picking actually is?

2 Answers 2


It's a way get speed and finesse to ones picking.

Basically you're using the pick to move in tiny circles on your strings, you're barely touching the string allowing speed and touch.

Listen to Roy Buchanan as an example:


  • 4
    If you could add times for when he uses circle picking in those videos, it would help a lot. I'm having a hard time finding it. Aug 13, 2018 at 17:12
  • 1
    I'm failing to see any circular motions.
    – Tim
    Aug 15, 2018 at 10:30

After some research, I found an interview with Howard Roberts that describes "circle picking" Q:Exactly what is circle picking?

A:Remember how you'd draw ovals and circles with pencil and paper, and how they'd tell you in school to just use your wrist and not your fingers? Well I use the fingers and the wrist when I pick. You know how most people write by moving their thumb and their forefinger, and so forth? It's that kind of technique - just like writing your name across the strings.

Q:But can that be up and down?

A:Yes it is up and down.

Q:But yours is also circular, so it's more like drawing curliques.

A:That's exactly right.

So far, this is the best description I've been able to find of circle picking. I may revisit this question if I find a better description.

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