16 Ways To Make a Guitar Pick Less Slippery


ways to make a guitar pick less slippery

Slippery picks are one of the most common annoying issues guitar players have to deal with when playing. Guitar picks are supposed to ease and enhance the guitar playing experience, but that’s impossible when you cannot keep the pick in your hand long enough to get through a song. Fortunately, there are various solutions you can employ to address this problem, including some crafty DIY hacks.

Here are 16 ways to fix your slippery pick problem:

  1. Ensure your hands are dry.
  2. Try a different holding technique.
  3. Change your strumming pattern.
  4. Use a different pick angle.
  5. Roughen your pick.
  6. Drill holes into your pick.
  7. Use double-stick tape on both sides of your pick.
  8. Ensure the pick points to the guitar’s bridge.
  9. Get a larger guitar pick.
  10. Experiment with pick thickness.
  11. Buy a textured or non-slip guitar pick.
  12. Apply adhesive to your fingers.
  13. Use guitar pick sleeves.
  14. Use a thumb pick.
  15. Buy guitar pick rubber grips.
  16. Practice with different guitar picks.

In this article, I’ll explain how these tips help guitar players prevent their picks from sliding, thus enhancing their playing experience. Keep reading to find out more.

ways to make a guitar pick less slippery

1. Ensure Your Hands Are Dry

There could be numerous reasons why your guitar pick keeps slipping. One such reason is that your hands are wet. Holding a guitar pick with wet hands 一 either from water or sweaty palms一 increases the likelihood of slipping as you play.

Most guitar picks are made from nylon and plastic material. These materials are relatively slippery when they come into contact with wet surfaces. This causes the pick to move around and slip from your fingers due to the opposing force from the strummed strings.

Ensuring your hands have no traces of water or sweat will significantly enhance your ability to grip the pick and prevent it from sliding.

So before you begin playing, wipe your hands dry and avoid touching wet surfaces or sweaty parts of your body. And if your hands keep getting sweaty due to the heat generated as you play, consider investing in a bottle of talcum powder (AKA, baby powder) and make a habit of carrying it for every gig.

2. Try a Different Holding Technique

Your holding technique could be another possible reason your guitar pick keeps slipping. If this is the case, consider a different holding technique that gives you enough leverage and flexibility to strum and pick guitar strings without losing hold of the pick.

Guitar players use different pick-holding techniques depending on the type of pick, personal preference, comfort, and the type of song.  For instance, songs that require light strumming need a different holding technique from what’s used for songs with accented strumming.

The ideal holding technique should allow you room to express yourself on the strings with little hindrance. Play around with your grip on different songs and see what suits you best. Try tightening or loosening the grip while strumming, taking feedback with each adjustment. 

Next, compare the feedback from the various grip strengths and use that information to choose the most comfortable pick-holding technique for your playing style. Ensure you use a firm but relaxed grip to allow your pick to move along the strings flexibly as you play.

Another tip you should try if you use thin picks is to hold them closer to the tip. Doing this offers extra leverage for more action on the strings, preventing the guitar pick from moving or slipping.

3. Change Your Strumming Pattern

Your guitar pick could also be slipping because you use the wrong strumming pattern. To find out whether this is the case, try changing the strumming pattern and see if it fixes your slipping pick problem.

Most beginner guitarists usually have a stiff or robotic motion to their strumming pattern, which causes the pick to slip most times. This is because the strumming pattern’s stiffness does not provide the pick enough space to adjust to the opposing force exerted by the strings as you strum.

Rather than strike the guitar strings stiffly, think of it as applying paint with a brush. Your strumming stroke should be as smooth and gentle as a brush doing up and down the strings. Focus on moving the pick by rotating your forearm rather than moving the elbow vigorously.

Changing to a better strumming pattern that is gentle on the strings minimizes the force between the strings and the pick, which prevents it from slipping. It also reduces the rate of wear on your guitar pick.

change your strumming pattern

4. Use a Different Pick Angle

Your guitar pick could also be slipping because of a wrong pick angle. While the pick angle is closely linked to your strumming pattern, it’s significant enough to cause pick slippage on its own. So if changing your strumming pattern didn’t fix your problem, try hitting the guitar strings at a 45-degree angle.

Usually, striking the guitar strings with a pick at different angles produces distinct tones. It also produces varying opposing forces from the strings because the pick angle dictates how much force you apply to pluck the strings.

For instance, using a lower pick angle attacks the strings lightly, drawing less pressure from the strings. On the other hand, striking the strings at a right angle draws more resistance from the strings. The extra resistance pushes the pick from your fingers, causing it to slip and fall.

So before you resort to the somewhat drastic measures we’re about to cover in the next sections, try changing your pick angle as you play to minimize the force exerted on the pick from the strings.

5. Roughen Your Pick

Roughening the pick is one of the most effective DIY fixes for slippery guitar picks. Some guitar picks are made from smooth plastic surfaces, which facilitate slipping and moving.

Roughening the pick surface creates traction and makes it easy for your fingers to maintain grip with minimal movement. You can use sandpaper, but any other appropriate roughening method will suffice.

Ensure you roughen both surfaces of the guitar pick to maximize your finger’s grip on either side. It will enable you to play freely without worrying about the guitar pick flying out of your hand when you least expect it.

6. Drill Holes Into Your Pick

Another DIY fix you should try is drilling holes into your guitar picks. This effective approach makes your fingers and thumbs hold the pick and maintain contact, allowing you to strum as hard as you need to without the pick flying off your hands.

Use a drill or hole punching machine to create holes through the guitar pick. When doing this, ensure the guitar pick is well-positioned and held into place on the surface. This step is important to avoid accidents when drilling holes into the pick.

If you’d rather not go through the hassle of punching holes in your pick, I recommend purchasing Lohanu Leather Picks (available on Amazon.com). They are designed from durable leather material and have easy-to-hold triangle-shaped cutouts in the middle for easy grip. These cutouts serve the same purpose as your drilled holes and allow your fingers and thumbs to hold without stress.

7. Use Double-Stick Tape on Both Sides of Your Pick

Another fix you should try to solve the sliding pick problem is using double-sided adhesive tape on both sides of your guitar pick. This simple and quick solution allows you to stick the guitar pick to your fingers and thumb temporarily.

The glue on both sides of the tape sticks to the guitar pick’s surface and your fingers, ensuring it remains in place as you strum away.

An added benefit to using double-sided tape on your pick is that it also minimizes the chances of misplacing your pick. It is common for guitarists to finish using their pick and lose it afterward because they lack a proper place to put it.

Taping your guitar pick (thin guitar picks vs thick) allows you to stick it on the side of your guitar after you are done playing or when taking a break to use your phone. This way, you always know where your pick is.

I recommend trying EZlifego Double-Sided Tape (available on Amazon.com). It’s a multifunctional tape made from quality acrylic gel material. It’s easy to use, removable, traceless, and doesn’t damage surfaces.

8. Ensure the Pick Points to the Guitar’s Bridge

Another tip to remember is to point the pick slightly towards the bridge when playing.

This small adjustment allows you to create enough leverage to prevent the pick from slipping in the opposite direction and gives you better control of how firmly or softly to grip the pick. This makes playing more dynamic because you can switch between strumming and picking patterns comfortably while preventing the pick from slipping.

Using this trick, along with better holding and strumming techniques, should significantly improve your grip and solve your slippery pick problems. 

guitar bridge

9. Get a Larger Guitar Pick

The next solution you should try to deal with a slippery pick is to get a larger one. A larger guitar pick is beneficial in multiple ways, including providing guitarists with more room for error. 

Usually, smaller picks slide out of your grip after minor mistakes because they have little surface area for you to hold onto. The smaller surface area also makes smaller guitar picks less ideal for aggressive and accented strumming patterns because you’re likely to lose grip and let it slide out.

So if you struggle with slippery picks, switching to a larger pick size might be all you need to do to address your problem. Larger guitar picks are easier to hold than smaller ones, and that minimizes slipping.

10. Experiment With Pick Thickness

Another solution to consider is using a thicker or thinner guitar pick. Pick thickness usually affects various factors, including the sound produced by the guitar and the comfort you feel when playing.

Heavier and thicker guitar picks are typically not ideal for dynamic strumming because they sound louder and often require you to exert more control. Fortunately, manufacturers usually produce picks with varying pick thickness.

Sample guitar picks of varying pick thickness and choose what feels most comfortable for your playing style and level of control. Be sure to factor in the desired guitar sound when experimenting to ensure that the pick thickness you opt for doesn’t compromise your audio quality and loudness.

11. Buy a Textured or Non-Slip Guitar Pick

The best solution for slippery picks (other than fixing your technique and applying DIY fixes like drilling holes into your pick) is changing to a non-slip or textured pick.

Textured guitar designs are specifically designed with coarse surfaces with enough traction and friction to prevent slipping. This gives you more control over your grip, ensuring you play well. 

So if you are using regular guitar picks with smooth surfaces that exacerbate the slipperiness, you should consider switching to non-slip guitar picks to solve the problem. If you already have a textured pick that now keeps slipping, chances are it is worn out and needs to be replaced. Don’t hesitate to get a new pick of better quality to enhance your playing experience.

If you are interested in a new guitar pick with a reliable grip, try the Dunlop 449P.60 Max-Grip® (available on Amazon.com). It is made of durable nylon with cutting-edge max grip technology to prevent slipping. It’s also available in numerous gauges, making it suitable for many guitar types.

textured or nonslip guitar pick

12. Apply Adhesive to Your Fingers

Another easy solution to consider is applying adhesives to your fingers. These sticky substances are designed to help your guitar picks stick to your fingers to prevent them from slipping off.

Adhesives are especially helpful to people with sweaty palms and fingers that hinder their grip. Just be sure to choose an adhesive made from natural substances. This way, you’ll minimize the chances of allergic reactions on your skin and make it easy to wash off the adhesive after you are done playing.

One such product you should try is the Gorilla Snot Pick Grip (available on Amazon.com). It’s a gripping aid developed for professionals looking for flexibility, functionality, and efficiency when working with their tools. It’s also formulated from tree rosin, a natural substance that allows you to maintain a steady grip with minimal chances of allergic reactions. 

13. Use Guitar Pick Sleeves

You should also consider using guitar pick sleeves if your picks keep falling off when you play. 

Guitar pick sleeves are specially designed ‘pockets’ that you can slide over the pick to cover its smooth surface with a rough cover that has traction. Rather than have your fingers hold onto the smooth and slippery surface, you hold the pick by the rough sleeve, tightening the grip and preventing slipping picks.

Guitar pick sleeves are a great option because they are removable. This allows you to remove a worn-out or broken pick from the sleeve and replace it with a new one. In other words, you can use a single sleeve with multiple picks.

I recommend getting the Fender Mojo Grip Guitar Picks (available on Amazon.com). This removable sleeve provides extra grip and thickness, which are essential in preventing picks from moving and sliding off your fingers.

14. Use a Thumb Pick

People new to the guitar world may only be familiar with one type of guitar pick. However, there are two guitar picks: the flat pick and the thumb pick. The flat pick is the standard triangle-shaped pick with a sharp tip that many guitarists are familiar with.

If your flat picks keep slipping off and interrupting your playing experience, consider changing to thumb picks. Thumb picks are wearable guitar picks designed to fit your thumb, so you don’t hold the pick’s flat surface with your fingers.

You wear the thumb pick as you do with a ring. This gives you more control, flexibility, and comfort, ensuring picks don’t fall off in the middle of a strumming pattern.

I recommend buying Music Gifts Plus Herco Picks (available on Amazon). They are flexible enough for any thumb size and are made from quality and durable material.

guitar thumb pick

15. Buy Guitar Pick Rubber Grips

You should also consider purchasing guitar pick rubber grips for your picks (here’s how to keep your guitar pick from slipping). Unlike pick sleeves that go over your pick, rubber grips are thin accessories that you attach to the pick.

They look like small dotted rubbers, a design that offers a comfortable place to place your fingers for improved grip. This ensures that your picks do not keep falling as much as when using ‘naked’ picks with no covering.

I recommend purchasing Epic Accessories 20-Pack Grips (available on Amazon.com) to help you address the slippery-pick issue. They are thin, comfortable, and convenient and come in a pack of 20 to provide you with enough grips to stick on both sides of your guitar pick.

16. Practice With Different Guitar Picks

Practicing playing different music genres with different guitar picks allows you to get used to holding picks for lengthy periods.

This is important because most beginners usually lose their picks because they have not grown comfortable playing with the picks. Practicing improves your pick-holding, strumming, and knowledge of what picks work best for you.

David Sandy

Hey there! My name is David Sandy and I'm the founder of Sandy Music Lab. I've been playing guitar for several years now and created this site to be able to share and explore music with others. Check out my recommended guitar gear!

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