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  • Writer's pictureAaron Carrington

Does The Type of Guitar Pick Matter?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Guest Article

This weeks guest article is by Nick Dozer, the owner of Southern Ohio Academy of Music.

Selection of guitar picks with band names on

Does The Type Of Guitar Pick Matter?

Guitar picks, also known as plectrums, are an essential accessory for guitar players. Although they may seem like small and insignificant items, the thickness and material of a guitar pick can have a significant impact on the sound and feel of the guitar. In this article, we will explore the differences that different thicknesses and materials can make when using a guitar pick.


Thickness

Guitar picks come in various thicknesses, usually ranging from very thin to very thick. Thin picks, usually around 0.5mm or less, are often used for strumming and rhythm guitar playing. They produce a lighter, more delicate sound, and are easier to control. Thick picks, on the other hand, are often used for lead guitar playing and produce a heavier, more pronounced sound. They are typically 1.0mm or thicker and require more precision and control to use.


My personal favorite pick is a dunlap flex Jazz iii style in .88mm. The smaller size seems to add a little stiffness you don’t get from a larger size .88mm. This enables me to use it for a wide variety of styles while not sacrificing “feel” for tone. When I use larger .88mm picks, the flimsy feel tends to throw my lead playing off. This of course is subjective.


Medium-thickness picks, around 0.7-0.9mm, are the most versatile and suitable for many different playing styles. They offer a balance between control and sound and are a great starting point for guitar players who are unsure which thickness to choose.


Material

Guitar picks are made from various materials, each with its own unique characteristics that can affect the sound and feel of the guitar. The most common materials used for guitar picks are plastic, nylon, metal, and wood.


Plastic picks are the most popular and widely used. They are durable, affordable, and available in a wide range of thicknesses and colors. They produce a bright and sharp sound, making them ideal for playing lead guitar.


Nylon picks are similar to plastic picks but are slightly softer and more flexible. They produce a warmer and more mellow sound, making them ideal for strumming and rhythm guitar playing.

Metal picks, often made of stainless steel or brass, produce a bright and metallic sound. They are durable and long-lasting, but require a more delicate touch to avoid scratching the guitar strings.

Wooden picks, made of materials such as maple or rosewood, produce a softer and more organic sound. They are comfortable to hold and offer a unique playing experience, but they are not as durable as plastic or metal picks.

Conclusion

In conclusion, guitar picks may seem like small and insignificant items, but they can have a significant impact on the sound and feel of the guitar. Different thicknesses and materials offer different benefits and drawbacks, and it is essential to choose the right pick for your playing style and preferences. Whether you prefer a thick plastic pick for lead guitar playing or a soft wooden pick for strumming, the right pick can make all the difference in your playing. So take the time to experiment with different thicknesses and materials and find the pick that works best for you.

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