What you need to know about guitar picks
You know when you get it, “It” being the perfect tone that most people typically think of the perfect tone as something you get from the amp, the guitar, or a petal. All too often overlooked is a guitar pick. Yep, you heard me right. The simple guitar pick isn’t as simple as it sounds. It can, in fact, have a big impact on your overall sound.
So, do you settle for the cheapest pick available, or do you get the most expensive one available? Well, it’s not just a matter of cheap or the high cost and quality ones available. There is size, shape, material, and thickness to consider all of which can impact your sound, how you play your guitar, and the feel of how you play.
What do I need to know about guitar picks? Well, first there are a bunch of common materials used to make guitar and bass pick-like. This post is in no way the definitive guide on guitar picks. This is meant as more of a starting point to understand what others are using and why they use them.
Celluloid Guitar pics
This is a very common material and most often the material that you might picture when thinking of a guitar pick. Celluloid picks are often said to have a brightness with an attack that is crisp, but sadly they are not durable and don’t seem to last long.
Nylon Guitar Picks
Nylon is also a very common material to make a guitar pick out of that has a bunch of famous players who only use Nylon but swear by them. Really? Like who? Well, I’m glad you asked the first one of my favorite rockers of all time Gene Simmons. (I’ve been a big fan since I was very young.) Jimmy Page is also said to prefer a nylon guitar pick. There are two big names that have been playing and influencing music for a long time, and who am I to argue with them?
Acetal Guitar Picks
First let’s discuss Acetal, which is a fancy name for a highly durable plastic that is stiffer than nylon but not as stiff as other options. Acetal can stand up to aggressive players because of its durable nature and is great for players that like strong attacks.
Ultem Guitar Picks
Ultem is a super stiff material, regardless, which is often referred to as a high-performance material. It is prized for its bright tone and stiffness regardless of the thickness of the pick.
Acrylic Guitar Picks
Acrylic most of us are familiar with since it’s been around for many years. It’s moldable, often clear, tough, and light, plus it looks cool. It’s no wonder it has been used as guitar pick material for so many years.
Guitar Pick Thickness
Yes, not only do guitar picks come in a wide array of materials with all sorts of colors, textures, and other characteristics that can affect your playing. They also come in varying thicknesses. Ranging from thin, medium, heavy, to extra heavy, which also has some pros and cons more about that in future posts.
Guitar Pick Shapes “The Standard” guitar pick
No crazy yet at the mind-blowing number of things that can change your tone when playing guitar. Well then, let’s briefly discuss some shapes that you can get a guitar pick in like a Standard Pick or often referred to as a “standard” guitar pick.
Tri-tip Guitar Pick
This is a shape that is easy to grip and allows users to play on all three sides so as it wears down, they can be rotated to a new point. It is often said that these picks are warmer sounding. If you haven’t tried them, get a few and just give them a spin as they start to wear down and you have a new pick without stopping.
Jazz Guitar Picks
Jazz picks have been popularized by jazz players and are a bit larger and can be textured to keep it from slipping opt flying out of your hand when playing.
Lots of guitar picks to choose from.
As mentioned before, there are a lot of different types of guitar picks available and I’m sure a few we might have even missed when writing this. We feel the most important thing is that you pick the best pick for you. One that sounds good, feels great in your hand, and doesn’t easily get dropped or break. So I guess what I’m saying is that there is no right or wrong answer. Most of a statement, what is the best guitar pick for you? Well, only you can know that by testing the different options available and keeping a bunch around because we can guarantee that they seem to get lost or disappear way too easily.
This was written as a basic guide to help new players understand that so many things can change how they play and sound when playing guitar and we hope it helps motivate each of you to keep on picking away at a great hobby, and passion which is playing an instrument.
If you have questions about the gear, you need to record when playing the guitar, Slick Audio can help you get the gear needed to make your own recording studio or get everything to stream your music to the masses.