A pick is a must-have if you play an electric or acoustic guitar. A guitar pick affects the sound and playability of the instrument. It is a privilege for guitarists to know the various kinds of picks and how to choose the right one for them. A pick is not just simply a pick because it varies in size, shape, thickness, and materials used in making one.
Be aware of the varying characteristics of a pick. Here are some tips you can consider in choosing the right guitar pick for you:
Different genres of music are associated with the use of a certain size of pick. For instance, jazz guitarists prefer smaller picks because it can involve string contact with the fingers to create the warmer muted tone suited for jazz. Standard-sized picks (approximately 1.3 inch long and wide) are preferred by acoustic and electric guitar players performing pop, rock, blues, and country music because it is large enough for a firm grip and it is easy to switch to finger-picking.
The shape of the guitar pick depends on you because it sets your individuality as a guitarist. Find and know the shape that fits you well. It should offer a great comfort while you play. Also, consider that the most essential part of the pick shape is the tip. If you’re into playing rhythm (strumming chords), rounded tips are great for you. If you are playing the lead, picks with sharp tips are perfect for a fast and precise picking.
0.38mm to 0.68mm – Thin
0.69mm to 1.0mm – Meium
1.0mm to 1.5mm – Heavy
1.5mm above – Extra Heavy
Extra Heavy picks are ideal for bass guitar players who prefer picking. These can bring out a really loud and deep tone for the bass guitar. However, these should not be used for strumming because it can break or damage your strings.
Heavy picks are preferred by metal guitarists because of the great precision picking it can provide. Because of the increased thickness, there is a room for power playing and great volume. These are also cool for solos and licks.
Medium picks are used by a lot of players because just like the thin picks, these are good for strumming and has an added feature that is better than thin picks – it allows a better precision picking because of the increase of thickness. They are really flexible picks.
Thin picks are suitable for using acoustic guitars. It is gentle enough to strum and to give a bright sound, but these picks are not suitable for fast and precise picking.
Materials used (Density):
Guitar pick makers are innovative so you can find guitar picks made in almost any material possible. The materials used, just like the other characteristics of a guitar pick, is a factor in providing the right feel and sound for the purpose of your playing. Pick material is also a matter of personal taste, but here are some things to consider:
Picks made from heavy woods and metals are dense picks that provide a heavier and fuller sound. These are the choice of metal and hard rock players.
- Picks made from plastics and nylons are less dense that offer a brighter sound perfect for acoustic guitar players and some electric guitar players.
All the technical aspects of being picky in getting your guitar pick are guidelines for finding your personal choice of pick. Of course without knowing these things, we can determine a certain pick that we like because of its design or ‘feel’ but it is important that we know what is behind the variations of picks. Awareness to these things makes us know more about our music and makes us better musicians as well.