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Pick Question

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Eminent Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 15
Topic starter  

When I first started playing, I began with a pick that is considered "middle of the road" in regards to its stiffness. It is .73mm to be exact. However, when I started working on songs that had faster alternate strumming patterns, I wanted to try a thinner pick for those songs only. Now, I'm finding myself to like the thinner picks for all songs, regardless of picking and strumming patterns.

Should I stick with the philosophy of "do what feels good"? Or, will sticking with a thin pick somehow slow my progress down the road? Just curious.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 41

I choose my pick according to my string gauge. I've heard lots of metal guitarists say that thicker picks are more economic for speed riffs and shred. I think thinner picks are better for strumming. I think its more a matter of personal taste though

Honorable Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 484

I choose picks on 1) what they cost (because redbear picks do sound good, but not $25 good), 2) How they sound 3) how they feel 4) can I get custom graphics on them. I have changed picks about every three years I think, you get used to them, they get boring, you try something different. I have gone through deralin, pvc, Wedgie, Cactus picks but today I tend to stick to The Classic Celluloid Fender Mediums or D'Andrea Classic II Celluloid of the same thickness but slightly smaller. I got to Fender by way of a stocking stuffer about 4 years ago and they are my favorite, but I like the D'Andrea's because you can buy in bulk and get whatever you want - I like brown celluloid with the word "Abide" in gold lettering. But I have started keeping a set of Dunlop "max-grip" .88's around lately for times when I'm sweating and hitting the drummer in the face with picks - something that happens a lot actually.

Picks are pretty unimportant though - I wouldn't cancel a gig because I forgot them.. and I wouldn't forget them either. Don't sweat the picks. If you think your picks or strings or pickups or amps are stopping you from progressing as a player - you're looking in the wrong direction.

Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 41

What ever works for you. Like Ezra said, your pick isn't really all that important compared to everything else. Really, who hasn't used a makeshift pick scavenged from whatever happened to be laying around.

Honorable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 549

I love the pick question. It's so fundamental to what we do, yet ultimately so unimportant, as Ezra noted. I've been in some pretty vicious arguments (and started more than a few) about picks, which is silly, and I should apologize to a few people for that, but you can argue about anything, especially on the Internet....

My own pick evolution: from Fender mediums to Dunlop 500 1.14mms, to no picks at all. About 15 years ago I dropped the flatpick altogether, convinced that anything you could do with a pick you could do with bare fingers. That made me happy for a long time. Recently I've started working with a good jazz player, and I'm rethinking my attitude toward the plectrum. It CAN do some things fingers can't do. Right now I'm working with Dunlop 500 2.0mm and Big Stubby picks (and flatwound strings). I also have picks of brass, sterling silver and some kind of indestructible polymers that are all kind of interesting.

Try everything and keep an open mind.

"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa

Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459

Not really sure if it will hold you back although if you want to shred your not going to be using a thin flexible pick there is too much give.

When I began I found it hard to hold a pick and strum without dropping it. Thin picks make that slightly easier but in the end you can pretty much do anything with a thick pick that you can with a thin by just easing up on how you grip the pick.

But I don't think there is any right or wrong pick to use.

The right pick is the one that you feel comfortable with and that allows you to do and sound the way you want.

Of course that is only my opinion, personally I use a 1 mm pick and find it just about right.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!

Active Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 11

The thickness of the pick you are using is a matter of personal taste. The general rule is that you use thin picks for strumming and harder picks for single note playing. A lot of guitarists prefer heavier picks because of their sound.. Heavier picks produce a fatter tone. Many believe that it is easier to play fast with a hard pick/ I personally use something less than a mm., I prefer tortex. Tortex is a kind of plastic that is used for pick manufacturing.


Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184

i use the heavies because i break the thins and mediums. that's about it, though. there's nothing special about them.

Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 27

I'm a beginner and wondering if having a thicker pick would make you a better player because it has less "give"? Could be totally wrong on this...