There are so many brands, thicknesses/hardnesses/gauges, materials, cores, styles, grips, etc. that I'm as lost as Devo at a Bluegrass festival.

I bought a 2005 MIM Strat HSS, soon to arrive. It's agave blue with all maple neck and in like new condition (if it arrives like the pics/desc. have it). Not bad for a learner guitar I think. Everything's stock on it except the strings (the seller may have replaced them with same as originals, not sure).

The type of music I hope to eventually play on it is blues-rock (ZZTop, SRV, Buddy Guy, Clapton, etc.). I'll likely also tinker with some hard rock and metal stuff along the way to guitar godhood. er.. yeah, right.. ok.. anyway...

What gauge strings do I need for this? Since I'll be using a modeling amp (pc), do the strings really matter that much, since I can pretty much craft nearly any sound I want?
Or, do I need to get accustomed to the feel of specific gauges for say, when/if I eventually use non-modeling/tube amps?
Should I stick to Fender standard strings (as came with the MIM) or replace them with something more appropriate (or durable)?
I assume different gauges and materials produce various tonal characteristics and that some are more conducive to proper bending, but what about stretching/detuning issues?

I presume type of music matters with picks, since different picks create different sounds on different gauge/material/type strings, right? I'm guessing I'll want a 351 shape.

I've been reading reviews on the various types and brands of picks. Here's some of what I've gleaned so far:

1. Fender California Clear picks chip and break easily/quickly, but they're cheap.
2. Fender tortoise shell picks shred/wear quickly.
3. Celluloid, while flammable, is still popular (all brands).
4. Delrin is durable, but is too slippery (and round edged) for my preferred style.
5. Tortex is popular, seems durable and has a non-slip texture.
6. Ultex is a tortoise shell substitute, but sounds flat/dead in comparison.
7. Molded texture grip (bumps) is better than no grip, coated grip is better still, molded (indent) is most secure.
8. Thin picks are for acoustic; thick is for metal; medium is for blues/rock (but there are many in-betweens, what mm to use?).
9. Ink/logo on some picks wears off, staining the user's hands.
10. Stone and metal picks (even railroaded coins!) make interesting sounds, but aren't popular and certainly nothing a beginner should be using.

Do I need a really good/sticky grip while I'm getting used to holding a pick, or would I learn just as well how to keep ahold of a regular pick?

I'd like to buy blue to match the agave color of the Strat, however, blue in most brands seems to be 1.0mm thickness, and it seems the more popular thicknesses are less than 1.0mm. Yeah, it's purely aesthetic, but still would be nice.

It's really all about personal preference.


No such thing as better for this style of music. People prefer certain things for certain playing styles, but then it's still a matter of preference. Just buy a couple of different strings brands and gauges and see which one you like best. Same with picks, buy a couple of different shapes, gauge and materials.
Especially with picks. My dad and I both play blues and he loves these thick, stubby picks with an indent in them and I absolutely hate them. I've been playing abot 1.5 years and still havn't used a pick were I say, wow, that's the one. I like thinner picks for my acoustic and for electric I use either a .73 or 1.0. As a beginner I would suggest 9's for strings. They will be easier on your fingers and easier to bend. You can always try different ones the next time you change strings. Picks and strings are cheap, so try a bunch out.
It's mainly down to your own personal preference.
But generally if you're just starting out get some 9 gauge strings (they're the sort of standard gauge) as these are quite slim and allow you to build up some callouses- if you start out with heavier gauge strings you will most likely find them difficult or painful to play which will discourage you from playing.
Pick wise it's again personal preference. Generally if you like playing lead guitar (solos etc.) a thicker pick (basically 1mm and above) is generally more desirable as it gives more attack on the single notes. If (like me) you like playing rhythm (chords, riffs etc.) it's generally more desirable to have a thinner pick (50/60mm) as this allows easier strumming and allows you to really strum hard.
Although this is just in general- some people play rhythm with 3mm picks and vice versa.
Generally seeing as you're a beginner (and probably playing basic chords and scales etc.) I'd recommend 73mm Tortex picks as these are sort of in between and will give a good balance between ease strumming and soloing.
Didn't realise I'd rambled on that long, sorry.
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Wall o' text, for an OH IT'S THAT THREAD AGAIN, topic.


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forget the pick reviews, go out and buy a handful. try em all. sorted.
i use ultex Hetfield blackfangs and they are brighter than jazz 3's definately arent dead.
jazz III's are good for lead work, and just standard tortexs are good to start, but like i said, get a handfull, try pick the best.
you should be aiming to change your strings every 6-8 weeks for light use.

also, look in guitar books mags and forums to familiarise yourself with maintainance. its the people who take their guitar in ( every time) to get the strings changed, get a mate or the shop to show you how, then go for it.
good luck
Everyone here has said about everything there is to say (that is, IT'S PREFERENCE), but I'll add this: locking tuners are a great investment. Makes changing strings much easier, especially if you are going to be trying different kinds of strings.
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Thanks for the input, folks. I expected most would say it's a matter of preference. That's pretty much a given. I just wanted to get a sense of what the majority of seasoned players are using for this particular style, so I appreciate the specifics mentioned.
Quote by Guitarbaddie
Wall o' text, for an OH IT'S THAT THREAD AGAIN, topic.

I'm sorry if The Wall caused aggravation due to your short attention span.

I searched the forum prior to posting. A search for "pick", "what pick", "beginner pick", etc. yields many irrelevant results. Only after I wasted a fair amount of my time did I bother posting.
Ordered Fender California Clears medium (blue) and Fender Super Bullets 3250L (.009-.042).

Received the picks and they're stiffer than I expected. I may never need heavies.

My fingers are fairly tough, as they get rough treatment from activities like auto repair, woodworking, metal working, electronics repair (yep, burned 'em & poked 'em a lot, too), but decided to go with light strings for starters anyhow.
Both are personal preference.

Both picks and strings are cheap.

Try a new set of strings every once a month or so until which thickness and brand you like best.

Picks, you could just buy a bunch and play. If you don't like them, leave them to get lost in the mess of your room.
Quote by WtrPlyr
^how so?

Locking tuners theres no string winding just pull the string thru and tighten it down and tune.
Cut my string change time in half.

But really if your just begining theres no reason to be modding your shit yet.
Like everyone said go and pick up some diff picks and try all of them out. dunlop picks are pretty popular.
String gauge id stick with 10-46 guage or maybe 9-42 thats what most guitars come strung with. Brand wise same thing all your choice.
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Well, a general rule of thumb (for me and alot of guitar players) is for lead/solo stuff, heavier picks will work and for strumming, light or med picks. Its just a reference point if you need it.

Once again..personal preference.

I use Fender Heavy picks. They dont even mention the thickness. I get it because its cheap and lasts long. I'm not that picky about my picks. << That was punny. <<so was that.

No, I'm not 13 years old and I don't have a short attention span!!!!!!! People tend to stereotype alot.
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?
Quote by Fret Not

9. Ink/logo on some picks wears off, staining the user's hands.

This made me laugh. After several years, I finally switched brands of picks. Well during practice I put one in my mouth to finger pick the song. It tasted DISGUSTING. They had to stop practice as I was gagging then our singer was like, oh yeah, those have a weird sealant coat on them. lol. Be careful
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Quote by metaldood91
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I sugest using 9-42 ga strings. Ernie Ball and D'addario Nickle wound strings are some of the easiest to find and are of excelent quality. For picks Try the Tortex .60 they are the orange picks. But in the end it is your preference.
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Quote by bluekirby7
I put one in my mouth

Did you put the entire thing in your mouth????????? I just keep it caught up in the strings near the tuners....

No way I could keep a pick in my mouth for 5 mins without resisting the urge to swallow it.
Quote by FEngHLyan

She will join the prom.

She insists to wear this lights.

I don't think so.

How can I persuade her?