Guitar Picks come in so many shapes, sizes, materials, and thickness (gauge) that sometimes it’s difficult to know which ones to choose.
1. Understand the four main attributes of a guitar pick:
The shape of the tip
The overall size
2. Ask yourself if you prefer to play rhythm.
In general, rounded tips are best suited for strumming chords and playing rhythm guitar.
3. Ask yourself if you prefer to play lead.
Sharp picks are better for playing lead guitar. Lead guitar is primarily focused on playing one note at a time opposed to rhythm guitar which primarily plays more than one note at a time.
4. Try out different gauges of picks until it feels right to you.
The thickness of picks are generally measured in millimeters (mm) and normally range from 0.38mm (thin) to 1.5mm (thick). Some guitar picks measure up to 3.0mm thick and beyond.
In general, thin picks are good for rhythm guitar but not great for lead guitar. Thick picks are good for some rhythm guitar and great for lead guitar.
Thin picks allow a guitar player to firmly strike the strings without much chance of breaking them or playing too loud. Thin picks bend easily and are designed to make strummed chords sound smooth.
Thin picks absorb the shock of playing chords better than thick picks, thus providing more comfort to those guitarists trying to prevent or treat tendinitis.
Thick picks give a guitar player more control of volume and attack on the strings. There is not much give, so thick picks don’t bend very easily.
5. PICK MATERIALS are also important.
Picks are commonly made out of various plastics (nylon, celluloid, Delrin, etc.), rubber, metal, wood and felt.
The most common are nylon and celluloid.
Rubber, metal, wood and felt are used for special effects. Metal is primarily used for heavy string playing, rubber to slightly dull the “twang” sound, wood for a more mellow sound, and felt for a very muted and low-volume sound.
6. Which pick you choose depends largely on personal playing style and preference.
Try several and see which suits you best.