5 Best Exercises: How to Play Guitar Without A Pick

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Last Updated on September 18, 2022 by

Most guitarists pick up their instruments and pick and get to playing right away. This isn’t necessarily the best way to play, however, and it’s especially bad if you’re new to the guitar world! That’s why we’ve put together this article on the 5 best exercises to help you build strength in your fingers and dexterity in your hands before you start strumming those strings.


Strumming is a great way to build up finger strength. Start by strumming down on an open string repeatedly, without any fretting (you want to focus on speed and not accuracy), until you can strum as fast as possible.

Once you can do that, move on to more advanced exercises. As far as musical equipment goes, getting your hands on actual musical instruments could help you develop better dexterity and even stronger finger muscles than using more traditional workout equipment would.

An electric guitar with a whammy bar is also a great exercise tool if you’re looking for something with a different feel—be sure to keep it tuned! If possible, working in groups can be great motivation; one person can play while another person hits from behind or attacks from above.

The result is chaos, but fun. You’ll see how quickly practising certain techniques becomes easier when other people are around and helping you out.

Alternate Picking

Alternate picking is a more advanced technique that you can use when playing fast on your guitar. It means moving between two notes instead of one at a time. This allows you to play much faster without sounding too jumbled.

If you’re just starting with alternate picking, try applying it only during certain parts of songs until you become comfortable using it in all aspects of your music. It will take some practice but it’s worth it when used properly! Once you have mastered playing a song or part of a song with alternate picking, move on to another difficult part and apply it there as well.

As you continue doing so, you should notice an improvement in speed and dexterity—you may even be able to play entire songs without any downstrokes at all!

Legato / Tremolo Picking

One of the most common techniques used to play guitar without a pick is legato/tremolo picking. It’s a technique that combines hammer-ons and pull-offs, and it’s very similar to fingerpicking or hybrid picking.

The main difference between the two is that tremolo picking tends to be faster than fingerpicking, so it’s often used for melodic lines and solos. Fingerpicking tends to be slower and is more commonly used for accompaniment or rhythm playing.

This method does not require an actual pick. It can be played with your fingers, and can even be done on an acoustic guitar with excellent results.

Slapping / Tapping

Slapping is where you hit the strings with the back of your thumb. Tapping is where you use your fingers to tap on the strings, similar to a keyboard player.

The key to this technique is to hit the thickest strings and let them ring out. Practice by hitting just one string, then two, then more until you can hit all six strings. Then try playing some simple chords with your fret hand while you play notes with your picking hand.

For tapping, start by tapping on one string several times in a row and then moving up or down one fret at a time as you go along. This will help ingrain the feeling of tapping into your fingers so that it’s easier for you to do later on when there are more notes involved.

Picking / Fretting

In contrast to tapping/slapping, picking/fretting is done without any assistance from tools or strings. You just use your fingertips and press them on different frets on your guitar depending on what note you want to play.

It sounds complicated at first, but once you get familiar with it, it becomes second nature. First, the thumb of your picking hand should be behind the neck of the guitar, and the fingers of that hand should be on top of the strings over the soundhole.

Second, your index finger is used for fretting all notes on the second string, your middle finger is used for fretting all notes on the third string, your ring finger is used for fretting all notes on the fourth string, and your pinky is used for fretting all notes on the first string.

Third, you need to alternate between your index finger and middle finger to pick each note.

A Final Thought On 5 Best Exercises To Play Guitar Without A Pick

In summary, there are many more ways to play the guitar without a pick than we’ve discussed in this article. These five methods should serve as a good starting point for you, however. Of course, the transition from using a pick to not using one might be difficult for some. It will take time and practice. But it is always worth it.

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