How A Pick Affects Your Tone

Did you know that the type of pick you use affects the tone of your guitar? You bet it does!

Guitar picks come in varying weights and thickness. Maybe this is new to you. Broadly speaking, there are thin, medium and heavy picks.

The thin pick is a popular choice for strummers who don’t want too sharp an attack when playing the guitar. These picks will make your tone mellow and soft. The thin pick is quite a flexible little thing, therefore much of the force when hitting the strings is absorbed. I find that as well as sounding mellow, the thin pick adds a little bit more “click” when it first makes contact with the strings, which you could say adds a percussive dimension to your Tone. A great choice for strumming chords and playing mellow melodic lines.

Then we have the medium pick. This is the pick that is a good all-rounder. It is stiffer than a thin pick so it has a slighter brighter tone and more capability with playing louder. Also, in my experience there is a little less “click” when attacking the strings. A good choice for both strumming and single line playing in most styles.

Then we move to the heavy pick, which is my personal favourite. These picks are solid and have a really direct feel. They also have the potential to hit the strings with a great amount of velocity meaning you can get some loud attacks out of it. As a result they take a little bit more control when playing softly. I find that Heavy picks work well with fast runs, because of the direct feel.

Another factor that can affect the tone is the shape of the pick. Some have a sharp point while others have a more rounded point. The more surface that hits the string the mellower the tone will be. The more pointy pick will have a brighter tone.

So, what it comes down to is trying out a few different picks and seeing what you like. Often it’s the little things that make your tone unique and your own.

Happy pick picking!

What’s your favourite pick?

About the author

I'm really excited to be teaching guitar. Not many people receive the joy that I feel when seeing the progress of each of my students. It's truly a privilege, and I'd love you to join me.  

As I'm sure you know, learning guitar is a long journey, so you must be committed to it. But, if you're willing to put in some hard work for some big rewards, come and join me! 

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