Pick weight

Guitar Tricks Forum > Guitar Basics > Pick weight

micren

Registered User

Joined: 11/30/11

Posts: 2

Total noob here. Are there any factors to consider in selecting a pick other than the feeling? I've found I strongly prefer heavier picks to lighter - am I going to cause problems down the road by using them? Is it something I would change based on the song I'm playing?

#1

Total noob here. Are there any factors to consider in selecting a pick other than the feeling? I've found I strongly prefer heavier picks to lighter - am I going to cause problems down the road by using them? Is it something I would change based on the song I'm playing?

SebastBerg

Full Access

Joined: 02/01/10

Posts: 421

Well this is a "what feels good to you" situation. There's no right or wrong. Everyone is different and everyones hands are different. Whats' good for one, sucks for another. So experiement with a bunch of them and pick what you like best.
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

#2

Well this is a "what feels good to you" situation. There's no right or wrong. Everyone is different and everyones hands are different. Whats' good for one, sucks for another. So experiement with a bunch of them and pick what you like best.
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

hunter1801

Registered User

Joined: 01/26/05

Posts: 1313

If different sized picks were "wrong", then they wouldn't be making them. Professionals use all different kinds. Like SebastBerg said, it's what feels good to you. Just experiment with all of them until you find one you like.

Oh and the "heavy, medium, etc." terminology doesn't refer to it's weight. It refers to it's thickness. The thicker they are, the "heavier" they get labeled.

#3

If different sized picks were "wrong", then they wouldn't be making them. Professionals use all different kinds. Like SebastBerg said, it's what feels good to you. Just experiment with all of them until you find one you like.

Oh and the "heavy, medium, etc." terminology doesn't refer to it's weight. It refers to it's thickness. The thicker they are, the "heavier" they get labeled.

micren

Registered User

Joined: 11/30/11

Posts: 2

Right, I'm using weight in the same sense Smilie Thanks for the reassurance. I'd seen some random chatter about lighter picks making it easier to play faster, but I really don't like how they feel.

#4

Right, I'm using weight in the same sense Smilie Thanks for the reassurance. I'd seen some random chatter about lighter picks making it easier to play faster, but I really don't like how they feel.

SebastBerg

Full Access

Joined: 02/01/10

Posts: 421

Actually its the oppossit. Well, to my feel Smilie

Heavier picks dont bend that much. So when you do fast picking, the pick responds better timing wise. A lighter pick will bend a little and will affect the timing of your picking hand and the fretting hand.
Where talking about quarter of seconds probably but that can be a lot if you are really fast Smilie.
But thats something you can get used too by timing your left hand with the right hand accordingly. So it always comes down to what you feel is better for you Smilie
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

#5

Actually its the oppossit. Well, to my feel Smilie

Heavier picks dont bend that much. So when you do fast picking, the pick responds better timing wise. A lighter pick will bend a little and will affect the timing of your picking hand and the fretting hand.
Where talking about quarter of seconds probably but that can be a lot if you are really fast Smilie.
But thats something you can get used too by timing your left hand with the right hand accordingly. So it always comes down to what you feel is better for you Smilie
- Seb
www.sebastienberger.com

Slipin Lizard

Registered User

Joined: 11/15/07

Posts: 711

There is a notion out there that for ultimate speed, you use a light pick with light gauge strings... but we're talking about people in search of pure speed... no musicality, just going super super fast with non-melodic "solos".. But there's plenty of "fast" players that don't subscribe to that setup. Eric Johnson uses a thick gauge pick, and he's plenty fast. I find that when you go too floppy, the pick just doesn't feel precise anymore. I think I use a 70mm or something... that works for me.

#6

There is a notion out there that for ultimate speed, you use a light pick with light gauge strings... but we're talking about people in search of pure speed... no musicality, just going super super fast with non-melodic "solos".. But there's plenty of "fast" players that don't subscribe to that setup. Eric Johnson uses a thick gauge pick, and he's plenty fast. I find that when you go too floppy, the pick just doesn't feel precise anymore. I think I use a 70mm or something... that works for me.

hunter1801

Registered User

Joined: 01/26/05

Posts: 1313

I've actually heard the opposite to what Slipin said. For me it's heavier picks and thicker strings for faster picking. Heavier picks just seem "tighter" and more responsive to me. You don't get that "floppy" feeling when playing.

I use Jazz III's primarily (1.14mm). Lots of metal players use them.

The green dunlop tortex picks (.88mm) are my second go to picks. I think these are pretty much the "standard" of this size pick that people use.

Then the yellow ones (.73). If I remember, Buckethead uses these. I use lighter strings for strumming stuff.

There are always general rules of thumb, but at the end of the day, whatever feels best to you is the right pick.

#7

I've actually heard the opposite to what Slipin said. For me it's heavier picks and thicker strings for faster picking. Heavier picks just seem "tighter" and more responsive to me. You don't get that "floppy" feeling when playing.

I use Jazz III's primarily (1.14mm). Lots of metal players use them.

The green dunlop tortex picks (.88mm) are my second go to picks. I think these are pretty much the "standard" of this size pick that people use.

Then the yellow ones (.73). If I remember, Buckethead uses these. I use lighter strings for strumming stuff.

There are always general rules of thumb, but at the end of the day, whatever feels best to you is the right pick.

Matteo Miller

Registered User

Joined: 07/24/11

Posts: 63

I use 2.0-2.2 thickness agate picks. They don't bend, and don't break. They strike the string EXACTLY when I hit it. At faster speeds, this is extremely important!

A thin pick will break often, and will off-set your timing. It's also harder to pluck the strings because you have to make wider motions, since the pick will bend when it touches the string. Means you need to push it farther to get it past the string.

However, if you never plan on playing fast, then it doesn't matter. They make different sounds. Heavier is very full sound, while light is very sharp sound.

If you plan on playing fast but can't yet, play with a heavy pick. It will save you a lot of frustration transitioning...
Matteo Miller-Nicolato
Free Progressive Metal-Jazz-Punk Fusion Music
www.matteomillernicolato.com/Music.html

San Diego School of Guitar
Free Guitar Playing Instructional Resources
www.guitarlessonsinsandiego.com/Resources.html

#8

I use 2.0-2.2 thickness agate picks. They don't bend, and don't break. They strike the string EXACTLY when I hit it. At faster speeds, this is extremely important!

A thin pick will break often, and will off-set your timing. It's also harder to pluck the strings because you have to make wider motions, since the pick will bend when it touches the string. Means you need to push it farther to get it past the string.

However, if you never plan on playing fast, then it doesn't matter. They make different sounds. Heavier is very full sound, while light is very sharp sound.

If you plan on playing fast but can't yet, play with a heavy pick. It will save you a lot of frustration transitioning...
Matteo Miller-Nicolato
Free Progressive Metal-Jazz-Punk Fusion Music
www.matteomillernicolato.com/Music.html

San Diego School of Guitar
Free Guitar Playing Instructional Resources
www.guitarlessonsinsandiego.com/Resources.html

Slipin Lizard

Registered User

Joined: 11/15/07

Posts: 711

Originally Posted by: hunter1801
I've actually heard the opposite to what Slipin said. For me it's heavier picks and thicker strings for faster picking. Heavier picks just seem "tighter" and more responsive to me. You don't get that "floppy" feeling when playing


Yeah, don't get me wrong, I'm not advising the "light on light" setup as the way to go, but it was you'll find many hardcore shredders using... we're talking lighting fast playing, hot pick-ups, whammy bar stuff, etc, and of course, lots of tapping. Its all about economy of effort at that point, and its just a fact that heavier gauge strings will require more effort than lighter ones... but then you don't get the tone either.

#9

Originally Posted by: hunter1801
I've actually heard the opposite to what Slipin said. For me it's heavier picks and thicker strings for faster picking. Heavier picks just seem "tighter" and more responsive to me. You don't get that "floppy" feeling when playing


Yeah, don't get me wrong, I'm not advising the "light on light" setup as the way to go, but it was you'll find many hardcore shredders using... we're talking lighting fast playing, hot pick-ups, whammy bar stuff, etc, and of course, lots of tapping. Its all about economy of effort at that point, and its just a fact that heavier gauge strings will require more effort than lighter ones... but then you don't get the tone either.

^Chacron^

Registered User

Joined: 03/06/02

Posts: 312

I've looked this up a number of times over the years, when I was aiming for what I heard various heroes doing I'd try to find out what pic and string gauges they used and I always got varying information on just about everyone, I sometimes think guitarists just like winding people up by saying 'if that's what people say I use then it might as well be true.' Even an interview where someone reveals that information about their setup has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Which is why I advocate the trial-and-error approach.

My two cents in this one:

Electric: .9, .11, .16, .26, .36, 46. D'Addario's. Pick: Jim Dunlop USA Medium.

(That's the see-through purple ones in the UK, don't know if there's anything different elsewhere. Everyone seems to think a lot about the pick thickness, nobody talks about what the pic's made of, I notice. The ones I use are a plastic that feels nice to me. I've tried the same thickness with wood and with more abrasive types of plastic and neither do it for me. It's got to be this clear one.)

Acoustic: .13, .17, .26, .35, .45, .56 Pick: don't use one, the fingers are the tone I like best. If I want to play as if I'm using a pick I just shape my hand as if holding one and use the fingernail on my index finger.
'There's no such thing as bad weather, there's only the wrong clothes...'

#10

I've looked this up a number of times over the years, when I was aiming for what I heard various heroes doing I'd try to find out what pic and string gauges they used and I always got varying information on just about everyone, I sometimes think guitarists just like winding people up by saying 'if that's what people say I use then it might as well be true.' Even an interview where someone reveals that information about their setup has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Which is why I advocate the trial-and-error approach.

My two cents in this one:

Electric: .9, .11, .16, .26, .36, 46. D'Addario's. Pick: Jim Dunlop USA Medium.

(That's the see-through purple ones in the UK, don't know if there's anything different elsewhere. Everyone seems to think a lot about the pick thickness, nobody talks about what the pic's made of, I notice. The ones I use are a plastic that feels nice to me. I've tried the same thickness with wood and with more abrasive types of plastic and neither do it for me. It's got to be this clear one.)

Acoustic: .13, .17, .26, .35, .45, .56 Pick: don't use one, the fingers are the tone I like best. If I want to play as if I'm using a pick I just shape my hand as if holding one and use the fingernail on my index finger.
'There's no such thing as bad weather, there's only the wrong clothes...'