Last Updated on September 2, 2022 by Play Guitar Notes
If you would look closer to seasoned guitarists’ way of playing and the tool they are using, you might notice those tiny triangular with soft edges things that they’re holding on to.
Guitar players would often use that tool as a way to maximize their manipulation of the guitar. Using it properly would significantly enhance your performance and unleash the potential of your instrument.
A guitar pick is a tiny tool used to pluck or strum guitars. Beginner guitarists are often hesitant in using this plectrum because it looks too complicated and most of them find it easier using bare fingers, but picks are made to enhance guitar performance and help the players by giving them more control and consistency resulting in a better, clearer and louder sound.
Guitar picks are mostly made of plastic or rubber shaped like an acute triangle. Each pick has a different texture, stiffness, and thickness which affects the playability of the instrument.
If you find it difficult in playing with this tool, maybe it is because you’re not using the right pick for your style. Here are some guitar picks for you to choose from.
|Dunlop Tortex .60 mm
|Dunlop Max Grip Jazz III
Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.0 mm
Due to the rising demand for tortoiseshell, the hawksbill sea turtles were prompted to extinction. Since then, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered species has banned its commerce. Tortoiseshell was often used as plectrums.
After it was banned, various material was invented as a substitute. The tortex guitar pick, for instance, is made out of tortex plastic that was manufactured by Jim Dunlop.
This alternative became widely popular. Famous bands such as Linkin Park and Metallica use this type of pick. As well as veteran singers like Aerosmith and Jimi Hendrix. This material imitates the grip of tortoiseshell plectrums. It does not easily slip off the player’s fingers. Another great feature of tortex picks is it eliminates the clicking sound other picks, like celluloid products, produce.
The Dunlop tortex standard is famous for its maximum memory and minimum tear. It also produces a bright and crisp tone, perfect for electric leads or acoustic passage. Its dimensions are 3 x 0.1 x 3 inches. It weighs 1.6 ounces. It is ranked as a best seller pick.
Fender 351 Shape Premium Picks
This product is best recommended for players that are still learning. It is compatible no matter what type of guitar or bass you’re playing, but it is most advised in playing mandolin. Its dimensions are 11.42 x 7.48 x 3.54 inches, and it weighs 0.48 ounces which makes it very easy to hold and very flexible. It is ranked no 72 in the best guitar picks. This product has made the consumers very satisfied that it has a 4.8-star rating.
Fender picks are made with celluloid. It is a material used in films, dolls, and other toys. It was created as a substitute for ivory. It is a mixture of cellulose and nitrocellulose.
Cellulose is very abundant in our resources; therefore, the products using this material are inexpensive. Celluloid picks are known for its flexibility, and it produces snappy and bright sounds. It is most suitable for playing acoustic lead songs.
This product is made of celluloid material. It provides a taste of both celluloid and DuraPicks. This pick is carefully designed to produce a warm tone with its wide grip and rounded tip. The sampler offers a wide range of gauges for the players to choose from.
The product provides extra-thin picks whose thickness is 0.50mm, thin picks with 0.60mm thickness, medium plectrums that is 0.73mm and 0.88mm, and heavy with 1mm and 1.14mm thickness. It ranked 45th on the most preferred guitar picks and has a 4.7-star rating.
Customers posted great reviews stating that the wide variety this product offers definitely helped them decide what pick they’re most comfortable with. It is convenient, especially for beginners.
Choosing the best pick for you can be done in a trial and error method. It usually needs a series of purchases. Good thing this product makes it easy for you by giving you a lot of options.
D’Addario Assorted Pearl Celluloid
Celluloid material was first introduced to the market in 1900. The creation of celluloid picks was one of the first steps to aid the extinction of hawksbill turtles because the first plectrums were made from their shell. Celluloid is a widely used substitute for tortoiseshell picks.
Plectrums made from this material are more flexible than tortoiseshell but stiffer than nylon. Therefore, it gives off warm and snappy guitar sounds.
This product comes in bundles of tens or hundreds. Of course, the price varies on the number of pieces per pack. It offers wide diversity in shape, size, and thickness. This is advantageous for rookie players who still haven’t decided on the type of pick to use.
Plectrums may be a tiny part of the performance but choosing what suits you the most really matters. This product weighs 0.208 ounces and has the dimensions 5 x 3 x 1 inch. The D’Addario celluloid pick is a top-rated product. In fact, it is ranked number 1 among the best guitar picks and has a 4.7-star rating.
Dunlop Tortex Standard .60 mm Orange
Tortex picks are compatible with playing electric leads or acoustic passages. It is carefully crafted to match your preferences. This product promises great memory, bright and crisp tone, and a snappy fluid attack. This item weighs 3.2 ounces with the dimensions of 3 x 0.1 x 3 inches. Its vibrant orange color gives off cool vibes, which makes it perfect for warm tones.
The customers are very contented with the product’s build and quality. It has a 97% rating in thickness and texture from happy consumers. Its thickness, which is 0.6 mm. gives a snappy guitar sound because it is not too stiff but not too flexible.
The item is very durable as well and can withstand fast-paced music. In terms of comfortability, the users rated it 93%. The pick has a good grip and does not easily slip. It also strums smoothly among the guitar strings. The design, color, shape, and texture have left buyers satisfied because it was created with the user’s comfort in mind.
Dunlop Max Grip Jazz III
This plectrum was cleverly designed for good grip. It has raised geometry texture engraved. This little raised shape gives extra texture for the fingers to hold on to. Jazz III guitar picks have a teardrop shape. It has a wider grip area making it very comfortable to hold.
The Dunlop max grip makes the shape even more secure by putting texture. When in a gig or practicing your guitar skills, this pick can assure you that you would feel comfortable, and it will be easy on the hand.
As guitarists, you would want a pick that would not let you down when performing your hard-practiced piece. You would want a tool that would not break when it’s your time to show off your guitar solo skills. This pick would give you no less than that. Whether if you are a beginner or a seasoned musician, you will absolutely enjoy this pick.
Is it better to strum with or without a pick?
How you strum the strings of a guitar plays a very important role in your performance. Using fingers or a pick is optional. It depends on how you want to play.
Guitar picks are mini sound amplifiers so if you want softer and quieter sound, you can use your fingers instead. However, it is advisable to learn with a pick, especially for rookies, for a more controlled tone.
Picks help starters and experts produce clearer, louder, and more accurate notes than strumming with fingers. You should use a pick when improvising, playing lead lines and melodies, and strumming rhythmic chord progressions.
It also prevents damages to your fingers. Playing fast-paced songs without using the help of a pick will wear out your finger, and strumming for a long time might cause a numbing sensation that will most likely affect your music. Therefore, using a guitar pick is beneficial as it enhances your music quality and prevents you from injury.
How do you hold a pick?
This question might seem like something a beginner would ask, but some great artists that played for a long time have noticed improvements just by changing how they hold a pick.
The way you use this small tool is a matter of preference. The genre in which you play contributes to your grip as well. On the other hand, some newbies are genuinely curious and eager to learn how to hold a guitar pick.
One of the most common ways in gripping a guitar pick is the elongated o shape. Point your index finger towards your chest, then put the pick at the top of your index finger, then place your thumb on the top of the guitar pick in a way that the tip is coming out the side of your thumb.
Another way is pinching the pick with your index finger and thumb. The pinch method is an alternative way that offers more flexibility in strumming ideal for using light gauge picks.
Can you strum without a pick?
Using guitar pick in strumming is optional. Some players prefer using bare fingers in playing. However, choosing this technique results in cuts, pain, tenderness, bleeding, and inflammation.
In the long run, you get used to these injuries as it becomes callous. Prominent guitarists like Derek Trucks, Roby Krieger, Stanley Jordan, Lindsay Buckingham, and Mark Knopfler developed unique guitar voices without the help of the plectrum.
There are a lot of approaches to playing with your bare fingers. The most common style is strumming with your thumb. Take your time and study the best angle you’re most comfortable with.
Another method is using your index finger, strumming downstrokes with your nail and upstrokes with your finger. You can also put your thumb and index finger together. Imagine holding a pick, maintain that position with your fingers, and use that to strum the strings.
Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way in. You can play with hand strokes to come up with your own style and develop a technique that suits your preferred genre. These approaches are only a guide as you find the method that brings out the best in your music
How many types of picks are there?
There is a long list of guitar gear and accessories. Most guitar-related tools are varied for aesthetic reasons. The variation of the guitar pick, on the other hand, is designed with a purpose.
There are different types of pick, which are categorized into: thickness; size/shape; texture; and material. These distinctions affect the quality of the music it produces.
- Extra Light – under 0.40 mm
- Light – 0.40 mm- 0.63 mm
- Medium – 0.63 mm- 0.85 mm
- Heavy – 0.85 mm- 1.22 mm
- Extra Heavy – 1.22 mm and above
- Standard 251 pick shape
- Pointy or sharp pick shape
- Triangle pick shape
- Shark fin pick shape
- Jazz III pick shape
- Teardrop pick shape
- Sandpaper grip
- Raised geometries or logos
- Micro-nodules texture
- Grip holes
- Homemade scratches
- Tortoise shell (banned)
- Ultex (polyetherimide)
- Bone, Ivory, Ebony
- Carbon fiber
- Kevlar leather
How to use a pick guitar?
Once you’ve discovered how to hold the pick, practice strumming it on the guitar. When you are using an electric guitar do not put your arm on the guitar. Let it drift in the air instead.
Then use the plectrum to strum the strings in a downward stroke. Your wrist must be the only part moving when strumming, not your whole arm. Practice strumming downward and upward strokes.
Once you’ve mastered maneuvering your wrists, learn the alternate picking technique. Start with up and down movements on your sixth string, then on your fifth string until you reach the first string. Once you get to the first string, start practicing on the sixth string again until you get comfortable playing riffs. You can also improve picking speed by adjusting the pick to 45 degrees.
This prevents the drag in stroking and allows you to have a faster pace. Remember that in picking a quicker tempo, you might try to lose tension in strumming. Make sure to express every note.
Do guitar picks make a difference?
Plectrums were used by musicians over a thousand years ago. It offers more texture, volume, and tone. It also allows amateurs to have more control over the guitar.
Each guitar pick has a distinct feature. It is carefully designed to impact the sound of the guitar. The thickness, shape, texture, and material are not merely for style. They influence the guitar performance. For instance, heavier picks produce bolder sounds than lighter ones.
It is frequently used in lead guitars, while light picks are used for rhythm guitars. Thick guitars can offer more control, but beginners find it challenging. The thickness and shape of a guitar pick also vary according to the genre. For black metal, a medium pointy tip is a good match.
A thin pick is preferred for country music because it glides over the strings effortlessly, producing a smooth sound. Standard sized pick is suitable for rock or blues performers because it is large enough to prevent the fingers from accidentally touching the strings.
What guitar pick is best for acoustic?
When playing acoustic, you tend to strum a lot. Therefore, you need a durable pick that is not too thin and not too thick. It must be flexible enough for even amplified volume on each string but thick enough for control, specifically, .38, .46, .60, .73, .88, 1.0mm. In terms of shape, smooth and round edges are advised for acoustic music. Materials in which the pick must also be considered.
Celluloid picks are known for their flexibility and balanced tones. When the tortoiseshell picks were banned, this material was a great substitute. Nylon plectrums are also very flexible and are great if you prefer thinner than celluloid picks.
Here are some specific recommendations:
- Dunlop Tortex Standard
- Fender 551 Shape Classic Celluloid
- Dunlop Nylon Jazz III
- D’Addario Dura Grip
- Dava Control Picks
- Gravity Picks
- Dunlop Nylon Standard Plectrum
- Dunlop Nylon Standard Plectrum
- Dunlop Tortex Flow
- Graph Tech TUSQ Guitar Picks
- Chicken Picks Badazz III
What type of pick is best for electric guitar?
In playing electric guitar, any plectrum can be used. Guitar picks do not necessarily change how the guitar works; it is only responsible in influencing what sound you want to produce.
Therefore, the type of pick depends on the genre you want to perform. Electric guitars can play diverse genres. However, it is commonly associated with rock, metal, and blues. Rock music is one of the first genres that give prominence to fast guitar solos. In playing metal, fast-paced strumming is also observed.
Important factors that must be considered in playing fast but precise are the plectrum shape, size, and thickness. In choosing the form, go for the pick with a sharper tip.
This allows you to have more control while enhancing plucking speed. In terms of size, a smaller plectrum allows quicker strokes than bigger ones. Thick picks are too stiff, while thin ones are too flexible. Therefore, choose a pick that is sturdy but not too thick. The 1.0mm thickness is perfect for strumming quick strokes.