We go into different shapes, materials, weights and much more to help you choose what guitar pick will work best for you and your style of playing.
Talk about a lot of decision to make. Just stop into your local, well-stocked music store and ask to buy a pick.
You will more than likely be handed several plastic boxes filled with assortments, sizes thickness, shops and on and on. Or you may be faced with a parts cabinet with dozens if not hundreds of drawers to pick form.
Fender Thumb Guitar Picks Shell, Medium 2 Dozen: I have used the Fender Thumb Picks for years. They are very comfortable, durable and keep their form very well. The are used by some of the most discriminating musicians worldwide.
While selecting the proper guitar pick is largely a personal decision, there are some guidelines that we can discuss here to narrow down your decision.
First of all your selection can be divided into either a plectrum pick. or a thumb pick. (note that I don't recommend picks on your first through third fingers of the right hand because they can really tear up a guitar top).
Thumb picks are used for fingerstyle guitar if you have trouble with your thumb nail being long enough. I recommend that you use your fingernails on your right hand index, middle and ring finger for the balance.
If you are having trouble with nail strength, visit our article on Right Hand Nail Maintenance for tips to get your nail up to the task of fingerpicking.
Often called the Fender pick, the 351 shape is the pick most associated with Fender company and guitar. A wider body and a rounded tip have made this pick a favorite with players of every style.
With regards to the flat pick or the plectrum pick, there are a wide variety of picks available as well.
You can select from triangular picks, standard shaped picks (show above) mandolin picks that are very narrow, plus some very strange shapes as well.
If you plan on being a dedicated flatpick guitar player (in other words a guitar player that uses the plectrum pick), do not stray too far away from the standard shaped pick.
There is reason this pick has been around for so many decades - it works! Also look at all of the super pickers out there and you will see that many of them have chosen the standard shaped guitar picks.
Dunlop Tortex Guitar Picks .88 mm Thickness: The pick used by top musicians worldwide. Tortex picks are carefully designed and manufactured to give the characteristic maximum memory and minimum wear that made original tortoise shell famous.
The weight of the pick is probably the biggest feature that we guitar players look at in our pick selection.
The feel of the pick when we strum the strings or have the machine gun lick we want to play is largely dependent of the gage or the thickness of pick that we select.
Usually thinner picks will give a much thinner tone and one of lesser volume. It will also be more brilliant.
Thicker picks give a much more mellow tone and because they are rigid, you can 'cut through' the strings much better to play the difficult crosspicking lick.
My personal favorite is the Tortex .88 mm thickness by Dunlop.
Dunlop Tortex Guitar Picks .88 mm Thickness I absolutely love this guitar pick. I graduated from Fender 351's to Dunlop Nylon and finally to the Tortex. I finally feel like I have arrived at the perfect pick for me.
The sound production is great, I have a firm secure grip on the matt surface and it's GREEN! That means I can find it on the carpet.
Celluloid Guitar Picks: You cannot go wrong with the classics. One of the most popular is the Fender 351 Premium Celluloid Guitar Pick. Classic shape, heavy weight, Fender Premium Celluloid picks combine the traditional tone and feel of celluloid, with beautiful and unique colors. Celluloid is one of the best pick materials. Ever. It gives you traditional feel, a smooth striking surface and a warm tone.
Tortex Guitar Picks: Used by musicians worldwide, Tortex was designed to provide excellent memory with minimum wear and a powerful Tortex grip. Colors and Gauges: Red .50mm, Orange .60mm, Yellow .73mm, Green .88mm, Blue 1.0mm, Purple 1.14mm. Sharp: Black 1.35mm, White 1.50mm.
The are extremely smooth - almost soft to the touch. Even so you can get a good grip on them. The edges are excellent - the best of all picks and I love the .88 mm thickness that works out just right for my purposes.
Nylon Guitar Picks: One of the more recent additions to the guitar pick arena, the nylon pick has some great features. You can get them with a patterned grip on the upper portion of the pick so you don't loose your grip even with sweaty hands.
Being a molded pick they tend to have a ridge around the perimeter of the pick that I don't like at all. When I used nylon picks, I would sand this ridge off all of my picks because I tend to dig the pick in from the side as well, or use the pick edge slightly.