You may have seen or heard people use a plectrum to play the guitar, but what exactly is it? A plectrum or pick is a small flat object you hold between your thumb and index finger to pluck the strings of the guitar. It can be made from wood, plastic, felt, rubber or metal and most are quite thin. They come in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes.
Playing with a pick will give you a different sound to playing with your fingers. It is often used for rhythm playing, strumming chords and picking lead lines. Using a pick is generally considered easier than using your fingers because you don’t need as much control over the movement of your fingers to get the strings to sound clearly. To play single notes cleanly with your fingers takes time and practice – especially if you want to play fast – so many players prefer to use a pick to achieve this sound quickly.
The sound produced depends on several factors including the type of material used and its thickness. For example certain types of plastic produce a very bright tone whereas nylon picks tend to be warmer sounding. Some players like to combine both techniques by using their fingers for some parts and then switching to using a pick for others.
There are some things that are
But as a beginner, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a real plectrum and cheap substitute. So if you’re on a budget, buy some cheap ones and when you know what to look for, upgrade.
You can get guitar picks in many different colours, and some even have designs on them. I’ve got one with a cartoon character. But these can all be distractions when it comes to playing so I’d recommend sticking with plain black or white ones to start with.
Personally I use Fender medium 351 shape picks because they feel comfortable in my hand, but everyone has their own preference so it’s worth trying out different shapes and sizes until you find one that suits you.
Playing guitar is a great way to express yourself and while there are millions of guitar players worldwide, every single one of them has their own style.
There are various elements that go into a great guitar performance. This blog will cover the basics of picking a plectrum and how to properly use it but first we’re going to discuss some basic anatomy.
The strings on a guitar are thin wires that are strung between the bridge (where they are anchored) and the headstock (where they get wound around tuning pegs). The strings run across the top of the fretboard, which attaches it to the neck, which then connects to the body of the guitar.
When you strum your plectrum across any string, you create vibrations that travel down through the bridge, into the body where they resonate and produce sound.
Understanding Plectrum Styles
Plectrums come in different sizes, thicknesses and shapes. They can also be made out of different materials such as plastic, metal, wood or tortoiseshell. Generally speaking, thinner materials will make your strings feel softer to play while thicker ones will produce a harsher effect. Which type is best for you depends on what sound you want and what feels comfortable
One of the things that I get asked all the time by students is what plectrum they should use. The answer to the question is quite straightforward, it’s whatever you like. It’s just a little bit more complicated than that.
There are so many different types of plectrum available these days, in a variety of materials and gauges, as well as shapes and “grippiness”. With all of these it can be hard to know where to start. The first thing to say is don’t get too hung up on what gauge or material you use, just find one that feels good in your hand, is comfortable to play with and doesn’t slip out of your fingers.
There are however a few things to bear in mind when selecting your plectrum –
Plectrum shape is important. It sounds like such a small thing but it does make a difference.
The thickness (gauge) can also make a difference – thinner picks tend to give you more control, thicker ones will give you more attack and volume.
The plectrum is the most common pick used for playing a guitar. The word “plectrum” comes from the Latin word plectrum, which means “anything to strike with,” and comes from the verb plectere meaning “to weave, plait.” A plectrum can be made of different materials such as felt, tortoiseshell, wood or metal.
The first kind of plectrum that I would like to mention is the Fender 351 Shape Classic Pick. This type of pick is made out of celluloid and has a medium thickness to it. This material allows this pick to have a flexible feel to it and also produces more sounds than other picks. The Fender 351 Shape Classic Pick is shaped in an elliptical way so that it can easily be gripped between your fingers. The Fender 351 Shape Classic Pick comes in a variety of colors and costs between $1.50 and $2.00 per pick.
The second kind of pick that I would like to mention is the Dunlop Nylon Max Grip Pick. This type of pick is much thicker than the Fender 351 Shape Classic Pick and also has a softer sound than the Fender 351 Shape Classic Pick making it easier on your strings when you are strum
Choosing a plectrum is easy. You just need to understand the difference between the many shapes, sizes and materials available.
There are three main considerations:
Gauge (thickness) – The thicker the gauge, the more volume and attack you get but it can be harder to play quickly.
Shape – This is a matter of personal preference but there are certain characteristics that can help you make your choice.
Material – Generally, a softer material gives less volume and attack while a harder material has more volume or attack but can be harder on your strings.
Plectrums are as varied as the people that use them. There is no one size, material or shape that suits every player. Plectrums can be made of different materials, including plastic, metal and even wood. Each type gives a different sound and feel to the string.
The thickness varies from thin (0.5mm) to thick (2mm). The thinner plectrum produces a much softer sound and less attack on the string than a thicker one. Thicker plectrums were traditionally used on acoustic guitars with heavier strings, but nowadays some players prefer to use thicker plectrums with electric guitars and lighter strings to achieve more sustain and attack.
Plectrums come in different shapes, though most are variations of the traditional triangle design. The shape of the plectrum can have a big impact on how comfortable it is to play with and how long it lasts before you need to replace it.
If you’re looking for a new plectrum, why not try our pick picker at www.pickpicker.com? Simply answer four questions about your playing style, the type of guitar you play and the tone you want to achieve, and we’ll give you recommendations for musical picks that will suit you best –