how to choose a pick
Never overlook the details. A pick affects your sound more than you might realize, so inform your choice. Like a mouthpiece for a saxophone or a pair of sticks for a drum, the intersection of pick and string is the start of your sound. The material, thickness, texture, and shape all change your sound in different ways, so take a look below at what makes up your ideal pick.
- Material – In general, the denser the material, like stone, hardwoods or even metal, the brighter and crisper the tone. Softer materials such as wood and leather will yield a more ethereal tone. Plastic and nylon are by far the most common materials for picks, from punch-your-own to synthetic tortoiseshell. The sheer variety of plastics available makes it difficult to generalize about the sound it lends, so our recommendation is always to try it out before you buy it.
- Thickness – In general, the lighter the pick, the lighter the sound. For acoustic strumming with a strong treble range, try something in the .4-.6 range. Many folks prefer mid-range thickness for a well-rounded sound, between .6 and .8. This is a popular range for lead guitarists and rock players. For stronger lines and less pick noise, try a heavier pick – anything over .8. Picks larger than 1.5 are commonly used in jazz for a warmer, more mellow sound.
- Shape – Standard picks are roughly triangular to teardrop shaped. Smaller, heavier picks with more pointed tips incur less drag and allow for more articulate playing. Fuller, rougher sounds will require a flatter or rounder side contacting the string.
- Texture – Texture is usually considered a factor for grip, so that your pick doesn’t fall out of your hands in that sweaty coffee-house jam. It can also be a factor in your sound, using the rougher raised areas to create effects on your strings that you might otherwise miss.
Wind Works carries a variety of picks, including some hard to find varieties.
The standard Delrin pick, with matte finish for good grip and the perfect amount of snap and crisp attack. Available in a variety of thicknesses.
Made to be warm, flexible and resilient. Used on some of the most iconic rock hits known today. Available in a variety of thicknesses.
Ideal for quick playing styles, these Delrin picks are have a slick surface for instant release of the string. Available in a variety of thicknesses.
Dunlop Jazz III
With a small profile, quick-release molded edge, and a sharp tip, the Jazz III gives you control, speed and precision with clarity. Available in the warm sounding Red Nylon or the brighter, more aggressive sounding Black Stiffo.
Contoured for smooth release, these picks provide an extremely positive attack for super-fast licks. Great strength, grip and durability.
Generally used for ukulele. Special, high grade hard felt pick. Manufactured from a high density wool & cotton material. Beveled playing tip.
Dunlop Finger and Thumb picks
Nickel silver fingerpicks and thumbpicks deliver a bright and classic sound on banjo, pedal steel, resonator or acoustic guitar. Available in plastic as well, and a variety of sizes.
Primarily celluloid, available in a range of thicknesses, shapes and sizes.
Similar to the Dunlop Tortex, but with a star shaped cutout to lend a better grip.
A favorite with dulcimer players, the Herdim picks are three sided, with each side having a different texture. Comes in three colors. (If you are looking for the old red ones, the new blue version is supposed to be the closest to it.)
A strong pick to provide stiffness and power with enough give to protect your strings.
Just for fun. Alien image – glow in the dark