Choosing The Right Guitar Pick by April 17, 2016 0 comments

Choosing The Right Guitar Pick

One of the most overseen aspects of guitar playing is learning to hold a plectrum. And before you do that, you should be well aware of how to choose the right plectrum or pick for you. Picking the right guitar pick is not that difficult if you can understand the purpose of you playing a specific genre and the different types of picks that are available in the market. Yes, the picks depend on the genre and more importantly, the type of strings that you are going to play on. Choose the right guitar pick and you would add to your speed as well as skill while the wrong one is going to take you back to the beginning again. Here, we would be talking about some of the easily available and popular plectrums that can be used by beginners and intermediate guitar players for enhancing their guitar playing skills.


What Would You Like To Play?

Yes, that should be the first question you should be asking yourself before you pick the right guitar pick. If you love country music and would like to try that out, you certainly can’t give that a shot with a plectrum designed for metal lovers. So think straight and try to figure out what genre or type of songs would you like to play.
Not just that, the pick and its design would change even if you plan to shift from lead to rhythm or vice versa. Yes, the pick used for strumming can’t be used for fast alternate picking in leads.


Picking The Pick

Now, consider these 4 attributes-

  • Overall size
  • Shape of the tip
  • Material
  • Thickness of the pick


These are the four attributes on the basis of which picks can be classified into different categories. Now as a beginner, you must know that not all picks are same and each of the picks have a specific style of playing to be associated with. So let’s begin with the beginner’s plectrum pick first.

For the beginners, regardless of the guitar they have (electric or acoustic), the best choice of plectrum will always be a plectrum of less thickness that is flexible as well as light and can easily bend. The thickness of the plectrum is measured in ‘gauge’. The best beginners pick should be a plectrum of 0.38 to 0.60 gauge thickness. Apart from being very light and easy to handle or hold, these plectrums are flexible and will help you pluck and strum better for sure.


The Tip For ‘Tip’

Shape of the tip of a plectrum as mentioned above is a determining factor in how well you would be able to play in your chosen forte. The round tip is best for rhythm guitars. The round shape of the plectrum makes it easy for the guitarist to easily slide up and down the strings for playing the chord.

On the other hand, the pointed or slightly pointed (less round) tip of the plectrum is best for lead playing. Sharper the tip of the plectrum, the better you would be able to play the lead of the songs or the melodies.


As Per Guitar

The plectrum choice varies from guitar to guitar and guitarist to guitarist. No, there is no hard and fast rule for choosing the plectrum but these suggestions come from past experience. If you are about to try your hands at an acoustic guitar, go for a light gauge plectrum for all purposes- like playing some lead and strumming. The gauge range should be somewhere around 0.40 to 0.70.

As for the electric guitar, the plectrum used should be of a thicker gauge like somewhere between 0.70 and 1.0. A thick gauge pick allows easy plucking of strings while going for the lead parts. It would be helpful if the thick gauge plectrum you choose for lead playing in electric guitar would also have a sharper tip (less round) for smooth transitions.

Remember, the right gauge can of course help you learn better and improve while choosing the wrong gauge pick for your guitar will break the sync between your fretting and strumming hands.



Guitar picks can be made of different materials such as celluloid, wood, plastic, rubber, metal, nylon, etc. Even though the most common are nylon and celluloid, the picks made from rest of the materials are also widely used for different type of strings and genres. Light wood picks can be used with nylon strings whereas for heavy strings, metal picks are the only option.


Final Word Of Advice

I have already mentioned that choosing guitar picks has no hard and fast rule set that you need to follow so yes, your comfort comes first. Follow these guidelines and check for your comfort at the same time while choosing your plectrum so that you can have a better guitar playing experience.

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