Choosing the Right Guitar Pick
If you choose your guitar picks by shape and color and you are actually happy with this, you don’t have to waste your time on this article. BUT! If you really want to comprehend what these little guitar accessories are made of, when it is better to play with a thick guitar pick instead of a thin pick (or contrariwise), how to better your grip using a common school-supply thing, and a lot of other things, you should continue reading it.
Guitar picks, also known as plectrums, are employed to strum or pluck strings on the guitar. There are tons of different shapes, colors, thicknesses, and sizes of guitar picks available today. You can customize your picks with graphics, text, or both. Hundreds of musicians throw their guitar picks to the audience. Thousands of people even collect guitar picks. In other words, this little item is a very big thing in the world of music.
Flat Guitar Pick Shapes
The majority of guitar picks have a triangle shape. The wider part provides a firmer grip. The narrow part of the pick is, logically, for strumming and picking.
Standard guitar picks are the most common in the world. They are wide enough to provide a firm grip, while having a gentle point for good strumming. When using a standard pick, this point slightly slides off the strings, which provides a mellow, pleasant sound.
Jazz and teardrop guitar picks are a little odd comparing to the standard ones, although they have the same thickness. Guitar players love these picks for their bright tone and quick response. When playing with this pick and looking for softer sounding, you should slightly slide your fingers back and relax the grip of yours.
Equilateral guitar picks are simple to hold, because they have equal edges. These picks can be more durable, since you may turn to another angle, in case one of them breaks or wears down. These picks are as well good for guitarists, who like experimenting with filing down the angle, because you have three angles for experiments.
Sharkfin picks are employed in two ways – first, as standard guitar picks, and second, turned to play with the multi-point edge in order to make multiple contacts per each strum. Some guitarists like the latter, since it produces a sort of multi-contact tone.
Finger Picks and Thumb Picks
These guitar picks are available in a wide range of sizes, shapes, thicknesses and materials. These picks are very good for picking separate strings. There are even guitarists that use artificial nails on their fingers instead of guitar picks.
You may want to try some of these thumb and finger guitar picks, even if you aren’t really into classic fingerpicking. At times, you might want to play a song, which sounds perfect, when played with one of these picks. Moreover, you can appreciate the sound in the end.
Irregular Guitar Picks
Every single guitarist has had the issue of a guitar pick slipping or falling from their fingers during a song. Hence, some inventors have developed various unusual guitar picks, which allow a tighter hold.
Some of these picks use your fingers’ natural grip by cutting a part of the guitar pick away, letting your thumb’s skin touch your index finger’s skin. There are two companies that make such picks – Planet Waves with a Surepick that has a spiral-like pattern cut into it, and the Everly Star pick.
Other companies use different materials and surface-textures in order to provide better grip conditions. Clayton provides a guitar pick with cork. Wedgie produces various contoured picks with different patterns carved into them.
You may as well locate rarities, such as Wirething, mixing the acrylic grip with a copper or steel wire for bright tone and fast picking, or the electronic bow, Ebow – employed for the creation of string instrument or synth effects. There’s also Fred Kelly Bumblebee Jazz Pick, which employs a loop to provide a use similar to a flat-pick and a thumb-pick. Ultimately, there’s the Jellyfish guitar pick, which features an angular metallic string set that can be employed as a usual pick or brush sideways as if being a good comb.
Customized Guitar Picks
A lot of people fight for guitar picks thrown into the audience by their favorite artists or bands. Each of them has an individual message or image meant to carry some information about them. Did you know that you may actually customize your guitar picks, carving or printing your personal graphic or message into, on them? You can decide on the color, choose the message, choose the material, and even choose the shape of your plectrum. In other words, you can order guitar picks that will respond to your own requirements.
Guitar picks are available in a broad range of materials. Plastic is the most popular of all materials. Other materials that picks are made of involve wood, stone, rubber, felt, and even metal. Each of them has its unique sound, longevity, and cost features.
There are also guitar picks known as tortoise shells. There’s a story behind this name. Some time ago, natural tortoise shell was in great demand for its tone, longevity, and the ability to be shaped by the guitarist. Nevertheless, back in 1973, the use of the hawksbill turtle’s shell for guitar picks got banned. Although some guitarists still have genuine tortoise shell guitar picks, today’s “tortoise shell” picks are made of synthetic materials.
Speaking of plastic picks, the ones made of celluloid were the most popular once. The celluloid popularity has abated because of the availability of other materials and its high inflammability. Nylon is durable and is pretty expensive. Delrin is immensely durable and lightweight. Delrex and tortex are synthetic materials, which simulate tortoise shell.
You should buy several of each kind, in different thicknesses to feel the difference. You will perhaps find two or four picks that suit you best.
Guitar Pick Thicknesses
Plectrums vary from very thick to very thin in their thicknesses. Certain picks, like those made of nylon, are fragile, when are very thin. Other guitar picks, like the Tortex ones, are very dense, lest made in extremely thin thicknesses.
Thinner plectrums have better flexibility, but they are more fragile and can easily break and crack. Thinner guitar picks are perfect, if you’re looking for fast strumming.
Thicker guitar picks provide brighter sounding. You can use them to obtain distinct, bright notes in solos, scales, and runs.
Pick thicknesses are measured in millimeters. Some companies, like Everly, releaseguitar picks with have color codes on gauges to provide a simpler choice for guitarists. This essentially helps to stick to one color, instead of spending time looking for a pick with the needed figures on it.
The tone you get from a guitar pick is dependent upon the thickness, shape, material, and the way you hold it. The looser you hold the pick, the mellower and quieter sound you’ll get.
Guitar picks are released in a lot of different colors, almost any imaginable. They can be customized with your texts and logos. You can also choose from a broad range of materials and shapes.
Tips on Holding a Guitar Pick
In case you have a trouble keeping your pick in a steady grip, you should consider the following tips:
- First of all, ensure you are gripping your guitar pick correctly;
- It is also good to wash your hands before playing. Natural grime and oils will make your fingers slick;
- Make a hole in the middle of your guitar pick with a usual puncher. You will get a guitar pick, like an Everly Star pick, which is a very good one;
- Make a rough surface on your guitar pick by rubbing it with a quality flint paper.
These tips will help you to use your guitar pick the best and the most convenient way.
The choice is all dependent on you and your preferences in music. When you will be choosing guitar picks, remember all the things mentioned in this article and you will end up with a perfect selection. One thing is an oracle – thicker picks are for heavier music and thinner picks are for lighter music. Be thoughtful and practical to come up with an excellent solution.