Hand cramping with picking?

Hey folks. Been a while since I was on here. I started trying to work on my picking game, and I keep getting thumb/palm cramps. I have tried a whole bunch of pics and settled on the big triangle dunlop 1.9 mm tortex.

I dont know if I am just applying too much pressure or holding it wrong. The wy Josh demonstrates [I call "hand full of pick] I find uncomfortable–i.e. with the thumb and index roughly parallel. I tend to use more of a “cross” figure with the thumb straight across but then y index angled almost 90 deg down.


I get this. Previous injuries to my hand doesn’t help. Really couldn’t hold the pick at all. It was a mother. I Got some thumbpicks and it helped immensely.
So, i don’t know that to be the answer, but you can get three of them for under 5 bucks on Amazon.might be worth giving it a shot.

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You are definitely applying too much pressure.

Your grip on the pick should allow for some give between how strongly the pick is held between your finger and your thumb.

Make no mistake: don’t go too loose, as to have a floppy pick, but just slightly loosely held to allow your wrist to have some influence on how your pick strikes the string.

It’s a balance thing you have to master. Loosen up on your finger/thumb pressure on the pick until it’s too much; then back that off. You’ll feel when you’ve got your pick hold in balance. It’s totally a feel thing.


Try this….
Grab a pick and noodle as opposed to trying to control it and play something at the same time. This should be more relaxed without added pressure.
Then do some very very very simple things, exercises, not songs, or, a riff you know by heart and don’t have to think about.
Or even some earlier B2B lessons, even if they are simple, or, Josh’s latest (or close to it) video on picking (you can find it linked here or on BassBuzz TouTube.
This will let you get used to the pick in your hand.

Relaxing is key (to everything in life it turns out).
Get complex later.


I use whatever grip allows me to securely grip the pick but keeps my fingers relaxed. Without the pick in your hand, curl your index finger as much as you can without causing excess tension and close your index and thumb together. When I played guitar, I found playing with a pick really awkward… it took me quite a bit of playing to get more comfortable with it and if I don’t do it for a while, it gets awkward again.

Normally I have a very relaxed playing style and almost never have trouble with pain in my hands but I do find though that whenever I’m working on some new techniques that im not familiar with, I’m much more likely to end up gripping the pick too hard or fretting too hard. The more comfortable you become with a technique, the easier it is to relax which makes it easier to play accurately and quickly.

I think people expect that playing with a pick should just be simple but I find finger style much easier.

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Lots of solid advice before this, but you might also consider different types of picks. I got a pack of bogstreet style picks that give you a better grip with thumb/index.

I used a guitar to really vet out my issues with pick holding, as playing chords will throw the pick out of your hands if you have a weak grip, but death gripping is definitely unnecessary. Start at the minimum, and find your perfect harmony with positioning that doesn’t hurt and works.


Sounds like you’re gripping too tight. I agree with what @sshoihet says about curling your index finger and then closing your index and thumb together. The creases your index finger make in that position should hold it without needing much pressure.

I would get cramps when I first started playing years ago. The cause is you are gripping too tight. Three solutions. 1. I got a Dunlop thumbpick and used one for 20 years. No more cramps and I never dropped it. 2. Learn to adjust and not grip the pick so tightly. This will come with time and you become more confident and relaxed. 3. Get a pick that you can grip. Dunlop makes a whole bunch of these with grippy. texture. The tortex pick you are using may be too big and too heavy.

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