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#1
I promised to make this thread, so here it is.

History of guitar picks

The first record of picks I could find was from Ancient Egypt, around 3150 BC. There were images of stringed instruments with some sort of pick on Pyramid Walls.

Skipping forward a bit, the first pick to really resemble the modern day kind was made from tortoise shell. This became the material of choice around 1800. However, because these were costly and difficult to make and obtain, the search was on for different materials.

The material used today for picks is usually celluloid based. It was Mr. D'Andrea who sold the idea of using celluloid to the music industry in the form of a celluloid prototype. in 1920.

From that point on, guitars became more popular and the variety of pick materials, shapes and sizes grew like never before.

Sources: Picks! By Will Hoover and Wikipedia.

Guitar pick varieties

Thickness:

Most people know that picks come in various thicknesses. I’ll keep this brief and just say that thinner picks to me sound brighter, make it easier to strum evenly but wear and tear faster, and you tend to get extra picking/strumming noise. Thicker picks are less prone to bending, will last longer and have a deeper sound to them. They are arguably a better choice for heavier string gauges. I personally tend to use a thinner pick when recording clean or acoustic for their brightness and ease of strumming, and I use thicker picks for my metal and lead playing.

Approximate guidelines to thickness ranges are presented in the following table:



Sources: Wikipedia and personal findings.

Common Materials:


Celluloid used to be the most common, but has largely been discarded because this material is highly flammable. Still very common though.

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Nylon is the material of choice for most thin and extra thin picks because it is so easy to produce thin sheets of it. Most manufacturers add a high friction coating to these, because they are very smooth and slick naturally. They also come in thicker varieties.



Tortex, pioneered by Jim Dunlop is one of the most common. Sturdy, and usually treated to be matte and easy to grip.

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Common shapes:




Left to right: Standard, Teardrop, Jazz, Equilateral-Triangle, Sharkfin Guitar Picks

Standard picks are the most common shape. Wide enough for a firm grip, with a gentle point for strumming. When picking, the point tends to slide off the string, giving a mellow tone.

Teardrop and Jazz guitar picks tend to be more rigid than a Standard pick of the same thickness. Players love them for their fast response especially for picking. When strumming, or looking for more mellow tone, slide your fingers back slightly and relax your grip.

Equilateral picks are easy to hold, since there is no right or wrong edge to grip. They can last longer since you can turn to another point if one wears down or breaks. These are also good for players who wish to experiment with filing down the point since you get three tips to experiment with.

Sharkfin guitar picks are used two ways: as a standard pick, or rotated to use the multi-point edge to create multiple contacts per strum. Some like the multi-contact tone produced by the multi-point edge.

Source: start-playing-guitar.com

How to hold a pick


There are no rules in music, so don’t take this as the law but as the general consensus good/effective place to start.

1. Make a thumbs up fist

2. Place the pick with the strumming side facing away from your hand approximately on your index finger knuckle/midbone

3. Hold the pick in place with your thumb.

Should look like this:

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Remember to try and be relaxed about it. Don’t strain yourself clamping down hard. Keeping it in place between your thumb and index finger is enough. As you grow more comfortable you’ll realize you don’t need to keep your hand in a fist shape. Be free about it, see what’s comfortable for you.

Questions and recommendations


Background and beginners info is cool, but this is a forum. I’d like you to discuss your favorite picks and make pick questions/recommendations using this thread. Any question is fine ofcourse, but if you want a pick recommendation, or have a pick recommendation I would like you to follow this format:

- Requesting/Recommending a pick
- Genre
- Style/application
- Why you are suggesting it/What led you to requesting a pick
- picture if applicable.
WTLTL 2011
Last edited by Mark G at Sep 2, 2009,
#2
I’ll start it off:

Recommending the Dunlop Jazz III XL


Genre:
Metal

Application:
Rhythm playing

Why
: The Jazz III picks are very nice and sturdy, very rigid without being overly thick and cumbersome. They also have this nice bassy sound to them which to my ears helps thicken up metal tones. I’m suggesting the XL version, because the regular is very small and didn’t give me enough grip or control.

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Recommending the Fender Medium Premium

Genre: Rock and Metal

Application: Cleans

Why: These are very bright sounding giving a nice sparkle to the cleans without being overly bendy. They are rigid enough to not give way too much which I like, and give a nice string attack. Also of good size, similar to the Jazz III XL.




Please refrain from trolling in addition to the regular forum rules.

Happy requesting/recommending/questioning!
WTLTL 2011
#3


*if Mark wants more reserved posts i'll delete this*
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#5
I like the dunlop tortex in .88 personally.
Schecter flying tiger, Boss ME-20, zakk wylde micro stack

Currently listening to: Bonded by blood (vengeance), Municipal Waste (shredded offering), Gama Bomb (last ninjas unite)
#6
Quote by TakeoutheTHRASH
I like the dunlop tortex in .88 personally.


Thats what I used before. They are also a very good pick.
#7
man you like picks! maybe i havent tried enough different picks to really care that much about them!
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#10
best pick ive ever used is a tortex .60mm
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#12
Purple Dunlop Tortex Jazz.

Used to use Standard Tortex 1.00mms, but gave the Jazz a try. Now I find the standards too large and cumbersome.
#13
Quote by libertines4ever
you could turn this into a column


If anyone has any useful info I'll be glad to edit it into the first posts.
WTLTL 2011
#14
Recommend these for playing acoustic and even electric.



Great for that light-strumming sound on steel-stringed acoustics. It has a very unique sound as it doesn't really make the notes sustain much. Gives a "rake" kind of sound.



Perfect for an all-around pick. Sturdy enough for heavy use yet thin enough to not get in the way and for playing acoustic. Probably my favorite

Originally Posted by evening_crow
Quoting yourself is cool.


WARNING: I kill threads.
Last edited by evening_crow at Sep 2, 2009,
#16
- Skateboard grip tape will give any of your pick the most grip you've ever had .

just change the grip tape once in a while when its losing is grip . a sheet of grip tape cost 7-8 $ and will last for around 250 picks . Your pick wont slide off your hand .


*** dont make the side of the grip tape touch the pick .




im using .73 and .60 dunlop tortex mostly or basically anything called medium can do the trick .
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Last edited by Skysc at Sep 2, 2009,
#17
I used Ice Pix, the pick that sticks, for awhile. Very comfortable, and they stick to your guitar! BUT, they wore out very quickly and developed notches and grooves. I had no idea that Dunlop Tortex picks were so F'n awesome. I bought the black 1.14mm. I have been using the same one for over 2 months, and it barely has a notch in it. It is also such a fast pick compared to Celluloid.

Also, that picture shown in the OP on how to hold the pick is ok for strumming, but when you start doing lead playing and individual note picking I don't see too many folks holding the pick that tucked into a wrapped hand......
Last edited by GuitarDTO at Sep 2, 2009,
#18
Quote by Skysc
- Skateboard grip tape will give any of your pick the most grip you've ever had .

just change the grip tape once in a while when its losing is grip . a sheet of grip tape cost 7-8 $ and will last for around 250 picks . Your pick wont slide off your hand .
*** dont make the side of the grip tape touch the pick .
im using .73 and .60 dunlop tortex mostly or basically anything called medium can do the trick .

lolz

i might try it.
and i want new picks, are big stubbies good?
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#19
come out come out wherever you are...

I was into stubbies for a while, but it was just an excuse to be good at pinch harmonics. Now that I can do them with a standard Dunlop 1mm, it's all I use.
I've always wondered why plectrums with a tough grip on them aren't more widely availible?
#20


What's that I see on the horizon? I do believe it's the most badass pick in THE WORLD.
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#21
Quote by AngryGoldfish
come out come out wherever you are...

I was into stubbies for a while, but it was just an excuse to be good at pinch harmonics. Now that I can do them with a standard Dunlop 1mm, it's all I use.
I've always wondered why plectrums with a tough grip on them aren't more widely availible?


People would loose fewer picks, ergo they wouldn't buy as many?



Quote by Skysc
- Skateboard grip tape will give any of your pick the most grip you've ever had .

just change the grip tape once in a while when its losing is grip . a sheet of grip tape cost 7-8 $ and will last for around 250 picks . Your pick wont slide off your hand .


*** dont make the side of the grip tape touch the pick .




im using .73 and .60 dunlop tortex mostly or basically anything called medium can do the trick .


Thats a cool idea! A friend of mine actually burns a hole in his picks.
WTLTL 2011
Last edited by Mark G at Sep 2, 2009,
#22
personally the Clayton 1.52MM, pretty heavy but for me, its all i been playin for the last 12 years or so.
#23
Dunlop Tortex and nothing else for me.

Also, nice idea for a thread TS. Picks are the unsung heroes of guitar playing along with leads.
Fender Lite Ash --> TC Polytune --> Digitech Whammy V --> MXR Phase 90 --> EHX Small Clone --> Strymon Orbit --> TC Flashback X4 --> Rivera R55
#24
Quote by Mark G
People would loose fewer picks, ergo they wouldn't buy as many?




Thats a cool idea! A friend of mine actually burns a hole in his picks.
I've always wondered this: does the company who have supplied the retail oulets with plectrums get paid only when people actually buy the plectrums. Or, does the supplier get paid in bulk by the shop owner after he buys mass picks? So the company is always paid whether they are sold or not?
#25
I have a massive collection of picks, Jazz III's, Stubbies, Tortexes in .73 all the way to 1.14, Fender picks, but so far my favorite is the Tortex Jazz III, 1 mm tortex, and jazz III xl.
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yea its way too much for my little stick lol
#26
Quote by AngryGoldfish
I've always wondered this: does the company who have supplied the retail oulets with plectrums get paid only when people actually buy the plectrums. Or, does the supplier get paid in bulk by the shop owner after he buys mass picks? So the company is always paid whether they are sold or not?


It probably boils down to the same deal, even if they don't get money from the shop, the shop won't buy them if they don't sell well. In any case, if they don't sell the company doesn't get any money.
WTLTL 2011
#27
V picks anyone?
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#28
Never tried them.....

BUT! You should try these



Planet Waves Black Ice. I bought them one day when I had a show and the next shipment of Jazz IIIs was a week away. They offer the articulation of the Jazz III, with the no slip grip of the Delrin "Tortex" material. Excellent picks! I've been using them ever since.

The biggest advantage is that I was having to use a razor blade to score the Jazz IIIs on both sides to help keep them from slipping during high intensity gigs. I don't have to waste time doing that with the Black Ice picks
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#30


The only pick I'll ever need.
WHY IS EVERYONE IN THE PIT A FUCKING METALCORE KID
#31
Quote by Kartman


The only pick I'll ever need.


What are they like?
WTLTL 2011
#32
i only use these dunlop jazz tortex 1,14


and the dunlop tortex 0.88s , the green ones
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#33
i've been using 3 different picks lately. all sharpened down to my prefered sshape: dunlop tortex .73's, 1.00's, and a 2 mm big stubby
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#34
Quote by Mark G
What are they like?

They're the perfect pick, thick enough for lead playing and thin enough for good strumming.
WHY IS EVERYONE IN THE PIT A FUCKING METALCORE KID
#35
Quote by TimBFMV
V picks anyone?

i use v-picks ultra thin pointed and dunlop ultex sharp .90mm
depends on what im playing
Member of the Schecter Hellraisers
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#36
.60 dunlop tortex for me, i like my picks to have a little give to them.

i used to be a mod, then i took an arrow in the knee.
#38
Quote by Bloodshed
Never tried them.....

BUT! You should try these



Planet Waves Black Ice. I bought them one day when I had a show and the next shipment of Jazz IIIs was a week away. They offer the articulation of the Jazz III, with the no slip grip of the Delrin "Tortex" material. Excellent picks! I've been using them ever since.

The biggest advantage is that I was having to use a razor blade to score the Jazz IIIs on both sides to help keep them from slipping during high intensity gigs. I don't have to waste time doing that with the Black Ice picks

Hmm I have the extra heavy 1.5mm ones, and personally for me I found the tone to be way too soft, no matter how hard I picked, but it could be because the tip is pretty thick. Also, it could be that I have skinny fingers, but the "oversized" jazz pick shape was too big for me (what I'm expecting from a jazz shaped pick that is).

I would recommend that pick the (the planet waves black ice pick) to people with somewhat big fingers who like the jazz pick shape, but find it a bit too small. It's probably perfect for them, just be sure to get a bit thinner gauge, as i don't really like the soft tone of the extra heavy ones. And as an extra bonus, I think during the manufacturing stage the factory polishes the pick, so that the sides of the pick don't have tiny ridges from the molding proccess as other picks do. A big plus personally, as I hate the sound the ridges make, and hate playing for a few hours like that before they wear down. The material used in the pick is simialr to tortex btw.
#39
ive fallen in love with stubbies.
i use 2.00's and i really love em
Classical Guitarist
#40
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Great thread Mark!

I'm now very fond of the Jazz IIIs thanks to Kevin Saale but also use the Fender mediums and am now experimenting with coins.


See what putting a little thought and time into a Thread does peeps?

Hey same with me (except i refrain from playing with coins, as i think that the edge of the coin wrecks the string).

I generally use Jazz IIIs for picking and Fender mediums for strumming.

-Gibson LP VM
-Silvertone Kentucky Blue
-MXR CC Delay
-Ibanez TS-9
-Egnater Rebel 20
-Avatar 1x12

My rig is simple
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You're not truly playing guitar unless you know theory.
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