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Guitar picks: All you need to know

Guitar picks: All you need to know

In this blog, we shall discuss all you need to know about guitar picks. A guitar pick or plectrum is an important tool while playing the guitar.

It not only is a direct point of contact between your fingers and the strings but also has an impact on your sound and playability.

How to hold a guitar pick properly?

The first thing to learn is how to hold a pick in a manner that gives the best possible output. Traditionally, a guitar pick must be held between your index finger and your thumb.

The broad part should be between your fingers and the attacking part should be on the outside such that it hits strings every time you move your hand.

For reference, have a look at this image below:

how to hold a guitar pick
how to hold a guitar pick

Guitar pick shapes, sizes & materials

Guitar picks can be made literally from any hard substance, limited by your imagination. However, plastic, nylon and celluloid are the most common and practical materials currently being used.

Other materials include glass, wood and even steel. However, these picks either are not durable enough or tend to do more damage to your guitar strings. Soundwise, there is not much of a difference either.

Thus, keep the fancy picks to show off to your friends and girlfriend and use the practical ones for actual playing.

Picks also do come in various shapes such as triangles, trapezoid, shark fin and heart-shaped. The heart-shaped pick is by far the best guitar pick shape to date.

In terms of sizes, they vary from light to heavy.

Light guitar picks include sizes between 0.40mm to 0.60 mm.

Medium guitar picks include sizes between 0.70mm to 0.90mm.

Heavy guitar picks include sizes between 1mm to even 3mm.

guitar pick size
guitar pick sizes

The best guitar pick

Choosing the best guitar pick completely depends on the type of music you play and how hard you pick the guitar strings.

If you are a beginner or play songs that mostly require strumming, then you should go for a lighter pick or medium pick.

However, if you are more into shredding, metal or songs which require fast licks and precision, you should go for a medium or a heavy pick.

Do remember, the heavier the pick, the more the attack and sound and more fatigue on your wrists. The lighter the pick, the softer the sound and less fatigue on your wrists.

Thus, when it comes to the material and shape, the best choice is to use the heart-shaped pick made with either nylon or celluloid. These materials tend to last longer and giving out a richer tone.

Do check out Jim Dunlop’s Tortex series of guitar picks. These are the favourite of most guitarists across the globe.


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