12 Best Guitar Picks in 2017
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to lead a bluegrass stompdown or if you’re the lead in a face-shredding metal band, you need a great guitar pick, and we’ve got some great options to get you started. Anyone who owns a guitar already has a few picks, but maybe it’s time to freshen up your supply and try some new materials, shapes, or thicknesses to add a new spring to your strings.
Not all playing styles are the same, and if you have the right tools for the job, you’re going to be ready for plucking, shredding, or just a bit of old-fashioned strumming. Picks are also a great fashion statement, and a perfect gift for any guitar player. They’re portable, inexpensive, and essential, and we’ve got a list of some of the best guitar picks for the professional musician or weekend bluesman.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Guitar Picks Comparison Table
- Tips for Selecting the Right Guitar Picks
- What Are You Playing?
- What’s your pick problem? Cost? Organization? Availability?
- Are You Looking for a Gift?
- Top 5 Best Guitar Picks Reviews
- Final Thoughts
Top 12 Guitar Picks Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Picks per Pack||Thickness||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Dunlop Tortex Standard .60mm Orange Guitar Pick||12||Medium-light||4.9|
|2. Pick Geek Guitar Picks Jazz Set||18||Assorted||4.9|
|3. Pick-a-Palooza DIY Guitar Pick Punch||75||Assorted||4.8|
|4. Dunlop KH01T088 Kirk Hammett Monster Pick Tin||12||.88mm||4.8|
|5. Fender 355 Sharp Triangle Shell Guitar Picks||72||Medium||4.8|
|6. Guitar Picks Pack of 60||60||Assorted||4.8|
|7. Fender Moto Style Guitar Picks||12||Medium||4.8|
|8. ChromaCast Pearl Celluloid Guitar Pick||48||Assorted||4.7|
|9. Fender Premium Picks Sampler||24||Assorted||4.7|
|10. Dunlop PVP101 Pick Variety Pack||12||Assorted||4.7|
|11. Planet Waves Beatles Signature Guitar Pick Tins||15||Medium||4.7|
|12. BoloPick Felt Pick for Ukulele 6 Pack Multi Color||6||Very thick – 3mm.||4.5|
Tips for Selecting the Right Guitar Picks
There’s a few things to keep in mind when you’re choosing the best guitar picks to keep you playing, so we’ll run down a few things to keep in mind while you’re making your selection. Just because you started your playing career with one kind of pick doesn’t mean you can’t mix it up. After all, the best musicians are all about breaking the rules.
What Are You Playing?
- Acoustic Guitars – Acoustic guitar players tend to prefer thinner picks when they play. A thin pick requires less pressure when it’s applied to the strings, and less pressure also means less risk of developing tendonitis.
Thin picks also make a different sound when they strike the strings of an acoustic guitar, and many acoustic players find the sound of thick picks to be distracting from their music.
- Electric Guitars – As a general rule, electric guitar players tend to prefer heavier-gauge picks. These picks strike the strings easily, and lend themselves to both strong chords and rapid picking.
Thick picks are also well-suited for fast and aggressive playing styles, because they offer a thicker body that isn’t prone to wearing down or cracking, which can happen to thin picks under extreme situations.
- Ukuleles and Soft-Tension Instruments – Using a rigid guitar pick, even a light one, can produce a harsh sound on ukuleles or classical guitars. Felt picks give you the ability to strike the strings while still maintaining those soft, natural tones that non-metal strings are able to produce.
Felt picks are also larger and thicker than regular picks, making them a great choice for children or players who aren’t quite used to the fine control that some picks require.
- Mandolins – The proper pick for a mandolin player can be just as important as having the right bow for a cellist. Correctly striking the strings makes all the difference in tone and volume while you’re playing the mandolin, and not just any pick will do.
Mandolin picks are often larger and thicker than standard picks, and will commonly have a triangular shape. Because extended playing will wear down a pick, this allows the player to rotate the pick in their hand, giving them a fresh, defined surface to use until it’s completely worn.
What’s your pick problem? Cost? Organization? Availability?
- Large Assortment Packages – Let’s face it; if you’re a guitar player, you have probably lost at least half of your guitar picks. Sometimes it seems like they just disappear, so having a few extras never hurts. We like to have more than a few on hand, because we know we’ll lose a few, and we don’t want to run down to the music store every time we feel like playing.
- Pick Holders – Instead of buying more than you need, you may want to carefully organize the picks you have. Pick holders are a great way to keep track of your picks while you’re at home or on the road.
Pick holders can be leather pouches that attach to your belt, decorative bags, or small collectible tins. Pick holders are also a great gift idea for the guitar player who seems to have everything.
- DIY Picks – For the resourceful musician, a pick punch means that you’re never without a pick. These metal punches look like staplers, but they can turn almost any product of the proper thickness into a pick.
Pick punches can take old IDs, used-up gift cards, random scraps of plastic, sheets of cardboard, and even wood veneers, and turn them into picks.
You can also buy sheets of plastic made specifically for guitar picks, so you can punch out your own colors and shapes.
Are You Looking for a Gift?
- Picks for Everyday Use – If you know a guitar player, you know somebody that will eventually be buying more picks. Even if you don’t know they’re preferred shape or thickness, there are a number of assortments available that will definitely cover all the bases.
- Picks for the New Player – Getting started with an instrument can be intimidating, so give that new player in your life the ability to explore. While instruments aren’t cheap, picks are an affordable way to support them as they play.
- Picks as Collectibles – Not all guitar picks are about function. Just like signature guitar models, famous bands and musicians will often release their favorite pick designs.
Like baseball cards or stamps, certain styles, images, and shapes are also fun and easy gifts for musicians or music-lovers.
Top 5 Best Guitar Picks Reviews
Sometimes the basics are just the best. Dunlop’s synthetic guitar picks have been around since the 1970’s, and there’s a reason that they’re still in use today. While the Dunlop product line includes pedals, capos, and music accessories, they still make the nylon pick that began producing in 1972.
Dunlop picks are known for their durability, color-coded thickness system, and consistent feel. If you played a Dunlop orange pick in high-school, a Dunlop orange will feel the same way today.
Dunlop produces a wide range of picks, from very thin to very heavy, but the orange pick sits right in the middle. It’s an excellent choice for both acoustic and electric guitars, and their durability means that you don’t need to replace them very often.
Another advantage of Dunlop picks is what’s referred to as “memory”. As you play with a nylon Dunlop pick, it won’t start to deform or change its elasticity. It “remembers” the way it was when it started. This just means that an old Dunlop pick and a new Dunlop pick will feel the same, allowing you to improve your playing style without having to adjust to every new pick.
Don’t let the name fool you, because the Pick Geek Guitar Picks Jazz set is ready for more than just jazz. This assortment package gives you a full range of picks for any player.
This set includes multiple thicknesses, from thin to heavy. It’s a great set for acoustic players, electric guitarists, and even bassists. The wide variety of materials also makes it easy to experiment. This set isn’t limited to plastic, as they include picks made from metal as well.
The convenient click-clack container is an easy way to keep your picks together. The metal container snaps open and clicks shut, and it’s small enough to keep in your pocket or gig bag.
Square picks, triangular picks, and even the traditional rounded pick are included. Every playing style and instrument is represented, and Pick Geek’s prices are always competitive.
This pick-punch and holder set has a little bit of everything. The easy-to-use punch lets you turn almost any punchable material into a guitar pick. Anything from old gift cards to scraps of metal can become a guitar pick.
It’s also a great DIY project for any musician. This set includes strips of plastic in a vivid array of colors and patterns, so they can get started punching their own picks right away.
Don’t forget that this set is cost effective. Having a pick-punch around means that you can always make your own picks. Picks may not seem expensive, but this punch makes them a whole lot cheaper.
The included pick holder is also a great way to keep your picks organized. Most picks get lost, but a player who’s made their own picks is more likely to be protective of them, and this leather snap-case is just the way to do that. It also attaches easily to a standard key ring.
Any self-respecting metal fan knows Mr. Hammett as Metallica’s lead guitarist, and if you’ve ever sung along to Master of Puppets, then this set is for you.
This set is made by Dunlop, so you know that the quality is there. The images on the picks and collectible tin and designed by Dirty Donny Gillies, the San Franscisco-based artist that has a long history of working with Metallica. The full-color images are printed in high resolution on the picks and the matching tin.
The tin also includes a Kirk Hammett tour pick. This pick is the model that Dunlop produces specifically for Hammett to use while they’re on the road. If you’re going to play Enter Sandman, this is the pick that you want to use so you can play it right.
The collectible tin is made from thick metal with a sliding lid and compact design that you can throw in your jacket or gig bag.
You can’t talk about American guitars without talking about Fender, and why would you want to talk about guitars at all when you could grab a Fender pick and just start playing.
This pack has a dozen picks, each made from pearly blue celluloid. Celluloid is an excellent material for picks due its rigid composition and exceptional durability.
Fender makes a wide range of picks, but the medium-thickness picks in this pack are like the one-size-fits-all thickness of guitar picks. Everyone from bass players to ukulele enthusiasts will probably want a medium pick at some point, and Fender quality won’t let you down.
One of the benefits of Fender’s celluloid picks, and these picks in general, are the smoothed edges. Other pick-makers will stamp picks from a sheet of plastic and leave a sharp edge that can be unreliable when you’re playing, but these picks have a smooth, rounded edge that’s easy to work with. Because of Fender’s production techniques, you can be sure that every pick will have exactly the same edge.
Picks can personal, so if don’t know exactly what you like, then we recommend that you try out a wide range of shapes, thicknesses and materials to find the best guitar picks. Every musician has their preference, and every musical style has its sound, but we think that the perfect pick for you is right around the corner, and probably here on this list. But don’t take our word for it, because it’s your right to be picky.