Considering the huge variety of guitar picks, many guitarist ask themselves the question of which pick might be the best for them – especially if they don't have a lot of experience – and if there is something like the best pick over all, which one must have.
The best advice I could give, is to just go out and experiment with a bunch of different guitar picks, to decide which one you like the most and is the most comfortable for you to play with. At least in the beginning, I wouldn't be focused on a single pick too much, because with gaining experience you might encounter, that there might be a pick you have avoided to touch, which is a much better fit for you and what you want to play, other than the first choice you have committed yourself to.
As soon as you have reached a more advanced level it makes sense, to decide on a single pick to play with – or a small amount of different picks, if you like to play a greater variety of styles, where it makes sense to use different picks – because your feeling in the picking hand remains the same.
Of course you can still decide to change your preference later on, if you recognize after a while that there is a better choice for you and you discover a pick witch gives you a better feeling while playing. But as a general rule you should experiment in the early stages to find a suitable pick and than remain on your choice in the more advanced levels, to keep your feeling for the picking hand consistent.
Well I don't want to leave you in the dark without any guidance, so here are some things to consider, which will help you to head into the right direction when choosing a pick:
Guitar picks for lead guitar and rock music:
If you are more into the heavy styles of music and especially if it is one of your goals to play fast solos, you should watch out for some thicker picks (starting at about 1 mm thickness). The reason behind this is, that thicker picks don't bend as easy as thinner picks and therefore react more direct on hitting a string.
When hitting a string with a thin guitar pick, the pick bends itself to the side, before slipping over the string. This delaying makes it hard to play precisely, especially at higher speeds.
So you might go out and try some Picks of different shapes and thickness, ranging from 0,9 mm up to more than 1,5 mm, in order to find one that gives you the best feeling in your picking hand.
Another important point you should consider is to use a Pick witch a sharp edge, rather than one that is rounded. A sharp edge makes it much easier for you to play precisely, while having a rounded edge might cost you to miss the string a couple of times, when playing at higher speeds. When using picks with a sharp edge, you should replace them as soon as the edge get's worn out.
It not only makes it easier for you to play precisely – just like sharpening a pen makes it easier for you to draw much finer contours - but it also helps with keeping the same feeling for your picking hand, making practicing guitar much more convenient.
Picks for acoustic guitar and smoother music:
If it is your goal playing pop music, or smoother music I would recommend you using thinner guitar picks. There is a general rule which says, the thinner the pick, the softer and more pleasant the sound. This being said, I don't mean to imply that you should go out and find the thinnest guitar pick, in order to get the softest sound possible. Because remember, there is this other rule: The thinner the guitar pick, the more uncontrolled the feeling in your picking hand.
The softness of sound isn't only determined by the thickness of the guitar pick, but also by the materials used. I just want to encourage you again, to go out there and try, until you found something suitable for yourself.
The right grip:
A challenge that a lot of beginners are facing, is that they are loosing there pick frequently while playing. It doesn't have to be necessarily a problem of the right pick, you just might not grab the pick strong enough. But of course the guitar pick plays a role in it as well.
What I don't recommend you, is to choose the roughest guitar pick to solve this issue. It depends from guitar player to guitar player which type of grip might be the best for you. Some have the best grip with a completely plain pick, while others feel more comfortable with fluted guitar picks. Simply try all kinds of different “grip types” and don't head right to the “ultra-grip-pick” with the roughest surface available, maybe something else will work much better for you.
I hope I was able to help you with this article and you gained some knowledge about how to choose the right guitar pick.
This article was written by Marco von Baumbach, guitar teacher in Wuppertal, Germany.
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