Choosing The Best Guitar Pick

Whether you are a beginner or have been playing for years, choosing the best guitar pick is something you have either thought about or will. It is a inexpensive and simple thing to upgrade and improve upon. We will discuss how your pick can effect your playing and how to choose the best guitar pick.

I want to start off by saying that even if you have the best pick in the world, it won’t make you a better player. You must have quality guitar instruction from a trained guitar teacher on an ongoing basis to get lasting results in your guitar playing. New strings, picks, guitars, amps, etc. are not going to solve any problem with your actual guitar playing.

7 Ways Picks Can Effect Your Playing And Tone

There are many kinds of guitar picks. Depending on the style you play the picks will be vastly different. But to keep things simple I’m going to address the most common scenario which is using a standard flat pick or plectrum. Thumb picks and other types are much more rare and specialized to very specific styles.

  1. The most important thing to take into consideration is the thickness of the pick. Many people start out with thin or medium sized picks. Ranging from .35mm. to .75mm. It feels easier and creates less volume. After years of testing many different picks I have concluded that thicker picks are by far better. Anything above .7mm. Preferably 1mm in thickness.
  2. Thinner picks aren’t as loud. The volume isn’t the issue, it is the result of playing quietly. When your mistakes aren’t as apparent due to the quieter sound of the thinner picks you will let those  mistakes slip by more often rather than resolving them. The louder and more obvious your mistakes are the sooner you will get them fixed. It’s more painful at first, but will help you play much more accurately and will result in your playing sounding much better.
  3. Thin picks also flex and bend. This makes playing feel easier and for strumming full chords isn’t really a problem. The problem arrises when you try to do more than just strum full chords. If you play guitar you will have to do this sooner or later and more often than you might think. Then flexing of the pick combined with the vibration of the strings creates two moving objects which makes it harder to be accurate when playing.
  4. In addition to thicker picks not flexing, the physical feedback your hands get from using the thicker picks is more clear which will enable your hands to synchronize much faster than if you use a thin pick. You will be able to play more accurately and play faster and more intricately. This alone is enough for me to choose the thicker pick every time.
  5. The thicker pick will also give your playing a more clean, clear, and full tone. Because the strings will ring out better. Thin picks will create a thin sound and you will hear more of the pick as apposed to the strings.
  6. Thicker picks will also enable you to have more dynamics when playing. During recording strumming parts thinner picks might be more suitable for more control of the volume, but aren’t necessary.
  7. Keep in mind that picks are made from many different materials. Each of these materials effects the tone of the guitar as well. It can range from very warm to to very bright with lots of articulation.

As you can see there are many factors involved when choosing the best guitar pick. As you try different picks, don’t go off just how it feels. If you are using a pick that is new to you, it won’t feel as comfortable right away. Try to base your decision off the points above. These can be summed up like this; thickness and material. If you don’t like the sound of thick picks you have used in the past then try getting some that are made of different materials and compare the sound.

About The Author: Ryan Duke is a songwriter, professional musician, and teaches kids and adult Guitar Lessons Seattle.

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