How to Play Country Guitar with a Flatpick

Learn how to play country guitar with a flatpick from musician Boo Reiners in this Howcast video.

This is a flat pick or a plectrum, and we use it in all kinds of styles of guitar playing, and especially in country music. We’re playing country guitar and we want to get a nice rhythm going with this thing, so here’s kind of the most basic rhythm you might do.

So that was all downstrokes with a nice, heavy, flat pick. I’m using the point. Some people use the side, which gives it a little bit different sound. Maybe more string sound, less pick sound, but I kind of like hearing a little bit of pick sound. Gives a little bit of sparkle to what I might be strumming as far as chords go.

I use my thumb and index finger only to hold the pick. There’s some great players out there who might use two fingers and a thumb to hold the pick, but I really like just using the index and the thumb to hold on to it. And I don’t squeeze it too hard, just enough so it doesn’t fall out of my hand. The fingers that I’m not using to hold the pick are freed up to play rolls, if I wanted to do a hybrid picking.

I could also go to a lighter pick and get more texture, more pick sound. And that kind of sounds like when when use to pin a playing card to the spokes of the bicycle, it has that texture and quality to it. It doesn’t quite have the same volume and projection, so that’s why we go to a thicker pick. Here’s one that’s a little smaller than standard size, and it’s a little thicker. And it’s good for playing more solo-type stuff. Melodies, scales. And again, it’s got even more of the sound of the guitar, less of the sound of the pick. But like I said, it’s to each his own how much texture they want to get out of their plectrum playing, and I like just a little bit of the sound of the pick in there.

So that’s what it sounds like to use a flat pick in country guitar, and it just takes some practice.