Holding the guitar is your first thing to learn before you even try to play a note. A good posture will benefit your overall playing and learning experience.
Watch this video on my soundslice channel as you go through the lesson below.
It is best to practise guitar sitting down. For right-handed people, your left hand holds down the strings on the fingerboard , and we call it the fretting hand; and your right hand plays the strings down near the bridge with a pick, and we call it picking hand. If you are left-handed and you play a left handed guitar, your right hand is your fretting hand and your left hand will be your picking hand.
First, get a chair with suitable height so that your laps are level when you sit down.
Keep your back straight. Open up your legs and rest your guitar on your lap. The neck of the guitar should be more or less horizontal. The body of the guitar should be vertical or slightly inclined towards your body. The forearm of your picking hand should rest lightly on the upper face of the guitar body, leaving your picking hand free to move and at the right position to play. Do not use your fretting hand to hold the neck.
Check that your shoulders should be level and fretting hand arm is more or less at right angle when you press the strings. Your body and arms should feel relaxed with your guitar balanced nicely. While playing, the neck of the guitar should always be balanced so that it stays in the same position when you take your fretting hand away.
Check that your lap is flat when you sit on your chair. If your chair is too high, it may be difficult for the guitar to balance on your lap. you may get a adjustable chair so that you can adjust the height. Alternatively you can get a chair with adjustable leg rest .
Holding a pick
Here's the video on my Soundslice channel explaining how to hold a pick.
The pick is held between the tip of the thumb and the side of the first finger, with the thumb and finger right angle to each other. Most of the pick should be gripped. There doesn’t need to be much showing to hit the strings.
The two main ways in which the pick can be used to strike a string are downstroke and upstroke. The technique called alternate picking means to use alternate downstroke and upstroke to play.
Simple picking exercises
When picking single notes, the picking action comes from the rotation of your wrist. This video shows you how to play downstrokes and upstrokes. Begin with a steady count of 1-2-3-4. On The count, play each open string four times with downstroke. (Don't worry if you don't understand the notation and tablature. Simple follow the my playing in the video).
Now, at the same tempo, say the word “and” midway between each count. Play the downstroke on the count and an upstroke on the “and “. You hit the string eight times over each count of four.