Can You Play Electric Guitar Without a Pick?


Almost every famous guitarist uses a pick to play a pick.

However, you may find it hard to use the guitar pick upon trying that trick.

From slipping out to the unnatural feeling, many reasons could make you think about whether it is okay to do away with it.

So, can you play an electric guitar without a pick?

You can play your electric guitar without a pick if that makes playing the musical instrument comfortable and fun.

It matters the most since using the pick or otherwise narrows down to your preference.

Nevertheless, you may want to reconsider setting the pick aside if you are playing in a band for the loudness and sharp tone they offer.

Let’s learn more about playing an electric guitar with and without a pick.

Can You Play the Guitar Without a Pick?

Yes, you can play a guitar without a pick.

Besides, fingers are better known for the natural and warm sound than a pick offers.

However, you stand a chance of other instruments drowning out the guitar sounds since it won’t be as loud and clear as a pick.

In most cases, the alternative to a guitar pick is your fingers.

So, let’s see how the two compare to help you decide whether you should play the guitar with a pick or fingers.

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Playing Slaps

You may not realize how versatile it is to play the guitar with your fingers until you play slaps or arpeggios.

These guitar-playing techniques are hard to come by when using a pick.

So, a beginner using a pick may never master these tricks as long as one is practicing using a guitar pick.

That’s why learning to play the guitar without the pick is advisable first to avoid limiting your potential.

Playing Multiple Notes and Strings Simultaneously

Again, the versatility of playing with your fingers comes to play.

Using a pick hinders playing multiple notes and plucking several strings simultaneously.

That’s something most guitarists can’t afford to overlook, and that’s why they might choose fingers over picks.

Playing notes simultaneously allows you to play rock and other guitar styles like fingerstyle.

However, if your focus is rock, using the pick is ideal.

The pick ensures the rock riff sound is as sharper, louder and clearer as possible.

Control and Speed

In this sector, using a pick carries the day.

It makes playing the guitar faster, and that’s why it is suitable for guitar solos compared to fingers.

Equally important, playing with the fingers means relying on your finger joints.

On the other hand, you will move the guitar pick using your wrist, which gives you much control, especially if you are double-jointed.

Controlling your guitar plucking strength is difficult when your fingers lock up unintentionally.


Using a pick to play guitar enhances your accuracy.

You will mostly strike the right strings when using the pick, and muting becomes rare.

Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about accuracy upon becoming an experienced guitarist.

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However, accuracy is paramount for clear and precise sound output during difficult leads or solos; hence not irrelevant.

Volume and Tone

If you are looking for a loud volume and a sharp tone, consider playing your electric guitar with a pick.

As for low volume and war tone, fingers will do the trick.

So, use a pick when playing with other musicians using loud equipment, especially in a band setup.

The same applies to performances involving large crowds.

On the other hand, if you are playing the guitar at home, performing in a small room, playing solo, or recording, consider fingers.

Is It Hard to Play Electric Guitar Without a Pick?

While most people assume otherwise, playing an electric guitar without a pick isn’t hard.

So, do not hesitate to set the pick aside if that’s what you prefer.

As long as the loudness of its sound output is unnecessary, the pick remains irrelevant in playing the guitar, at least most of the time.

You will also enjoy the natural feeling of playing without a pick, not forgetting how easy it is to play simultaneous notes and multiple strings.

Is It Okay to Play Electric Guitar with Finger?

It isn’t bad to play an electric guitar with your fingers.

Like picks, fingers have advantages and disadvantages; hence unfair to dismiss them entirely.

Whether it is okay to play an electric guitar with fingers depends on the setup and the sound you want to produce.

If you are looking for a sharp and loud tone, it is not okay to use your fingers.

However, go for fingers if you need a warm and natural tone and the versatility of playing slaps, various guitar styles, and multiple strings and tones simultaneously.

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On the other hand, avoid fingers when looking for fast speed, optimum accuracy, and easy control.

Can a Beginner Play Guitar Without the Pick?

A musical instrument is a foreign object as you learn to play a guitar.

Introducing a pick means dealing with an additional foreign object.

To avoid the confusion that may arise under these circumstances, it is advisable to set the pick aside as a beginner.

Learning this new skill becomes easier if you handle one foreign object at a time.

Over time, you will learn to handle a pick since the guitar and the pick will no longer be foreign objects.

Until that comes naturally, avoid using the pick and embrace your fingers.

Besides, a pick isn’t as versatile as the fingers, limiting the playing styles you can master.

What Can I Use Instead of a Guitar Pick?

Besides using a pick, there are other ways you can play your electric guitar.

The most common alternative is using your fingers for a natural sound.

Most people find learning difficult but later admit it was worth the effort.

If you want a shortcut, a slide guitar is an excellent choice but most effective for rock and blues.

You can also consider a plastic piece, aluminum foil, or a coin.

Other options include the bottleneck or regular slide; you only need practice to perfect your chosen tool.


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