Some guitarists do not use guitar picks; but, then there’s some who do use them. For those that have played or studied classical guitar for instance, normally none are used. In fact, they shun them away as if they are a menace to the craft. Although, for those that play an acoustic or electric guitar, it’s almost a must to use guitar picks! The musicians that definitely use them are those that need to pluck their strings for their leads.
Some guitarists use them because it helps them pluck the strings much easier whereas the classicalist will say it worsens the plucking of a guitar’s original sound. Another reason for using it is that it helps with playing leads. The lead guitarist almost always has a guitar pick row along his/her microphone stand. There noticeable on the mike stand with a row of duct-tape holding them. Consequently, guitarists tend to lose them while playing fast and hard too.
Types of Guitar Picks
There are five main types of picks that should be considered when choosing a guitar pick.
- There are some that are within the .45mm range. These are extra light. They are mainly used for delicate plucking. They do produce a light, feathery sound to the acoustics as opposed to the heavier picks. These light weight picks are normally used for acoustic guitar playing.
- A thin, or extra light pick, may be between the .46mm to .70mm range. Although, they do all vary because of the material it’s made from, these are thin. They are used for strumming the strings, especially with an acoustic guitar as well.
- The medium pick will vary between .71mm to .84mm and are used mainly with the beginners.
- The heavier picks are between .85 mm or 1.2 mm, with .98 mm thickness as the average of the heavy picks. Those that are “metal heads” or listen to heavy rock use these with their electrifying guitars because they are going so fast with the pick it makes it easier to slightly touch the strings with a bit normalcy on an electric guitar.
- Then there’s those heavy duty picks that are extra heavy which go beyond the range of the heavy thickness of a pick. They will make your guitar sound different and are best used with the electric guitars as well.
Choosing the Right Guitar Pick
Choosing the right guitar pick is important to various musicians and the genre they perform. First, there are various sizes, weights, and styles of guitar picks. They’re also made of different materials. These can be picked according to the genre of music that is going to be played. Here are some things to consider when picking your guitar picks.
- Does it wear and tear quickly? Being that some materials are easier to wear and tear can be a contributing factor to your picking of it. Nylon is more durable.
- Again, the feel of the pick when you have it in your hands and playing is recommended before selecting that right one.
- The sound is far more important than anything; so how it sounds when you are using a certain style or size of pick can be the winning factor to your selection of whether to get plastic or metal picks.
The Sizes of the Guitar Picks
The size of the guitar pick is important because of the thickness or thinness to it. Most people will ask how would you know how thick or thin it should be?
The Perfect Pick is Personal Preference
Most of the time, those that select a guitar pick are really doing this because of how it feels with their fingertips as you play. (I normally pluck with my fingers and switch off to a pick according to the notes and the songs.) You will find that as you play more, you’ll go according to feel and texture of your strumming and plucking of the strings. So, consider what music you’ll be playing as well as how fast you’ll be playing. Medium to heavy weight picks are ideal for those fast riffs and hard leads.
The Material That is Best for Your Pick
Metal picks and plastic picks are two of the materials that guitar picks are made from.
It’s recommended that using them for a few days while playing to see how your fingers feel afterwards. You don’t want to hold your lightweight guitar pick too tightly when using it and then come to find out your fingers are sore by the second day. It may be time to change already. Plastics are used mainly in the commercial market. They’re easier to make for the masses and are cheaper. Other materials that a guitar pick are made from are the following:
- DuPont Delrin
The Style & Design of the Guitar Pick
Lots of picks vary with style and design are ideal either for the beginner or for the advanced.
Most of them are pear shaped, some are even triangular. You can actually have any shape you want by personally having them made for you. In general, going for the standard shape, which is the pear shaped, is best for the beginners.
The design shouldn’t play too much of role in performing, but it’s a contributing factor to picking your selection. There are websites that cater to this. Picking a design or logo of your band and stamping or engraving it on the guitar pick can help promote your band, but it will not help you play your guitar any better. These are pricey though, so you may want to factor that into your band’s budget along the way. (It’s the overall comfort that you’ll have when you select your guitar pick.)
Avoiding Health Ailments; The Choice of a Guitar Pick
Most guitarists will tell you that they have arthritis or tendinitis because of playing an instrument, such as the guitar. Tendinitis is the “inflammation of the tendons”. It’s because of the pain and soreness that makes people want to use a pick. Some musicians say that it can be because of using a guitar pick though, but it’s not always the case. Being aware of such health ailments may help you prevent such pain too. It’s better to be safe than sorry; so don’t overdo it. Know your hands, know your picks. Preventing tendinitis and some of the stiffness of the joints that come from it will keep you from playing the right way. So, it’s good to know the strength of the picks, and the design of them, because it can help you while you play your instrument.
Finally, when you are selecting your guitar picks for the first time, strum a few chords and play your guitar for awhile so as to get that feel of your pick that you may end up using for awhile. It’s good to have various ones so when you do play various music tempos and songs, you’ll be able to use the ones that make you feel comfortable while you’re playing. Most of all, the guitar picks that help you sound good too is always important for any guitarist.
The bottom lines
All in all, the right sound and comfort is what you should really be going after when you select your guitar picks. Consequently, buying the various sizes, styles, and weights are three of the biggest factors when you first buy your guitar picks and when you begin playing your guitar with them. In the long run, you’ll eventually find the right one down the road and you’ll be throwing out those stylish picks out to your fans once you make it onto that stage!