holding a pick/plectrum
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It is your decision if you want to use your fingers or a pick/plectrum to strum and pluck the strings.
I recommend learning with a pick first and then decide later if you want to play with a pick or fingers. This way you can make an informed decision rather than choosing one over the other without trying both ways.
If you start by using your fingers and then try to use a pick later, you will find the pick harder to use and most people abandon it without ever learning to use it properly.
In my experience it is much easier to learn to use a pick first and to make an informed decision about which you prefer later.
But as I stated earlier, it is your decision if you prefer to use a pick or to use your fingers.
When using a plectrum it is a good idea to experiment to see what feels right to you, in reguards to how you hold it.
This is a good place to start.
Hold your thumb and index finger together, using the pad of the thumb against the side of the first knuckle of your index finger.
Then place your pick inbetween them.
You do not need to grip too tight, just tight enough not to drop the pick. You can fan the rest of your fingers out or you can curl them up.
When strumming the strings it is best to brush across the strings with the pick at a slight angle and not straight, this will help the pick to glide across the strings better.
When you first start to play it is better to play with a thinner plectrum. This will feel more comfortable.
When getting used to holding a pick it is common to grip it a bit too tight as to not keep dropping it.
This is normal!
A thinner plectrum will glide through the strings easier as you are getting used to holding it.
As you start feeling more comfortable and your grip relaxes you can change to thicker picks if you wish.
Try using using the nail of your first finger when strumming down and the flesh of the finger when strumming up.
Alternatively you can use the your thumb in a similar way.
You could also try using the nail on your finger to go down and the nail of your thumb to come back up.
Experiment and see what feels comfortable to you.