Hi I'm pretty new to guitar and I've been trying to teach myself so I don't have a teacher I could ask about this. When I first started playing(2 months ago) I learned some basic things off the internet like chords and how to hold a pick and what not. Anyways, I decided I wanted to play a song with power chords a 'heavier' song if you will. I ended up picking Smells Like Teen Spirit because a friend of mine had told me it was pretty easy. So I started playing it and I managed to pick it up fairly easily so I was pretty happy. But I noticed my strings had started turning red in the area I was playing so i looked at my pick(which is a red 351 Fender Medium Celluloid, don't know if that matters) and it was shaved away on the sides, I don't know what to do because I've really been liking these picks because of their thickness so I was wondering if there's a pick made of a stronger material or if there's something I can do to keep it from shaving off. Thanks and I'm sorry if I used any incorrect terminology.

It's gonna happen to some degree. Haven't had one leave behind material in the strings that bad, but all my picks wear out and have their edges rounded over time.

Will Lane The tortex wear out quick for me, and I'm using their thicker jazz iii. They last a bit longer than regular picks.
The dunlop ultex should be even tougher than them though.
This really hasn't been much of an issue for me, but I'm using Gravity Picks 2mm Razers.
Celluloid (the same stuff that we call nitrocellulose when it's thinned down to a lacquer consistency) is not a high-wear material.
Whatever Gravity is making their picks from seems to be seriously tough. But the pick I'm using is thicker and stiffer as well, and it takes less effort to make loud noises on the guitar, even if you have very low action. If you have a heavy picking hand, this may help you lighten up your touch and develop even better dynamics.

These picks are six buck picks. That's good news and bad news. Losing a pick is a minor issue when your picks are cheap, and you don't want to lose a six-buck pick. OTOH, I have yet to lose one of these picks. Maybe because I know it's expensive, I take better care of it and keep it away from my pick-thieving friends.
I just buy picks in bulk. I usually get a 2mm pick to the point I don't like the shape/feel after 2-3 weeks.
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I have some Ish carbon fiber picks that leave black powdery residue all over my fingers, etc., as they wear, but other than THAT, they're killer.

My jade picks are very tough, and have taken years to go from pointed to slightly rounded.

My Pickboy carbon nylons seem tougher. Along with my agate and my various metal picks, they seem not to wear at all. Which means they're probably working their way through the strings.

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Celluloid (the same stuff that we call nitrocellulose when it's thinned down to a lacquer consistency) is not a high-wear material.
Yeah, that's the answer. Cheap picks are generally made from very fragile materials, and celluloid is among the most fragile. I briefly used Dunlop celluloid standards and anything that required heavy picking just took the tips right off them.

The good news is, materials more durable than celluloid can still be had at pretty reasonable prices, with Dunlop's big ones being ultex and carbon fibre. Some more niche, specialised manufacturers often use something called UHMWPE*, or things like metal or various kinds of stone. Something's always going to give eventually. Within the realm of plastic picks, there's nothing completely immune to wearing down, though all the aforementioned materials will last substantially longer than celluloid or nylon. I use ultex at the moment because I do like the feel of traditionally-shaped plastic picks for the styles I play; it lasts well but does gradually wear down and/or get cracked close to the tip, which eventually starts to be a problem. I've used UHMWPE too, and after a while the point wore off that one also, and that was a pretty meaty pick, as well as carbon fibre Jazz IIIs. Given enough time it's always the same story.

If you move on to metal or stone picks, those can last much longer, in some cases years. Popular consensus seems to be that those eat through your strings particularly quickly, which may well be more expensive to deal with. I should think with a light touch a very smooth polished metal or stone pick wouldn't be an issue and could last decades, but in practice I've only ever used metal picks with fairly sharp edges and a light touch is not something I do as a matter of course, so I can't offer an informed opinion on that.

If you like the feel of plastic, I've found Ultex standards to be the best compromise between that and durability. However, even the lightest of those (0.60) will probably be stiffer than the Fenders, I'd suspect. As you're still starting out, getting used to something entirely different probably wouldn't be as big a problem for you as you might imagine. Be prepared to experiment. I've been through about 10 or 11 different favourite picks over the last five years, probably double that if you count different gauges of the same style.

*Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene/polyethene
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Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at Oct 11, 2016,
Stone picks tend to have polished edges, so they're not as rough on the strings as metal ones typically are.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
i like the carbon fiber jazz iii's i use. i have a hard time noticing wear after months.

i also buy in bulk.

i too burned through tortex.
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Wow okay thanks all of you! I got a medium/heavy Dunlop variety pack thingie today and I'm liking the .88mm Tortex and the .90mm Ultex Sharp I got with it. I think I might look into something a bit thinner(Maybe closer to .73mm I think bc apparently that's what the medium Fender picks are), but I'm pretty happy with these. Thanks again, I'm new to forums so I was really surprised to see this many responses and I really appreciate it.

I used to do this all the time. I changed my technique many years ago so the point doesn't shave across the strings, but hits it straight on. Now picks last forever, and my tone is clearer and more consistent.
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Those Ultex sharps should last a long time and they are the best sounding picks in my opinion.
Last edited by mastodontusk at Oct 14, 2016,
Heavier pick or don't pick so hard..... I'm not sure what mm size pick you were using but on muy atx c7 I used one light pick on it, got into what I was doing and toll I was through one tune it looked like the equivalent off sawdust all over muy guitar and there was almost no pick left lol