At enjoymuzic we stock a varied range of plectrums and for new players it can be confusing as to what plectrums to use.
Let’s start with guitar plectrums (there are plenty of them!). Also called picks, plectrums come in different shapes, sizes and thickness. There is no official right or wrong plectrum but you have to decide what suits your playing style and what feels comfortable.
Tortex guitar picks are my favourite (after 10 years of using a wide variety of plectrums), they are plastic picks and come in different gauges (thickness). The textured surface provides a good grip even if your fingers are slippy.
Dunlop also make plenty of different plectrums, make sure to check them out. Ernie Ball have a plain plastic plectrum range and also have a nylon style that offers more grip for those (like myself) who like something to hang on to. My colleague loves Planet Waves Picks because they’re cheap, good quality and come in loads of different designs from tortoiseshell to rainbow!
Sharkfin plectrums are shaped like a shark fin. The green sharkfin is so flexible you can bend it completely over on itself. The black ones are the heaviest and provide no give at all. Acoustic players often like to use the thin plectrums as they can control dynamics, whilst still maintaining their tone whereas thicker picks give a louder, brighter sound.
If you have a favourite band, film or television programme the chances are you will be able to get them on a guitar pick. See our selection of character and rock band plectrums here – we even have Spongebob Squarepants picks! Many of them come in pick tins – a very handy way to keep them safe!
If you don’t know what plectrums to use I would advise to buy 6 – 10 different ones that vary in both shape and gauge. Have a try of them all and hopefully you will find out which plectrum suits you. Starting at 3 for £1 for good quality, branded picks, you can’t really go wrong!
Other picks and accessories you might need…
Bass players tend to use a very heavy gauge of plecs as the strings are much thicker. Big Stubbys are popular with bass players ranging from 1mm to 5 mm in thickness.
Folk instrument plectrums
Some players like to use guitar plectrums for their folk instrument whilst others believe that the strings on folk instruments will be damaged from the use of plastic plectrums and the tone will be poorer.
Felt plectrums are commonly used on ukuleles as they are soft on the strings and reduce the clicking sound on the strings that you get with plastic picks. We sell both thick and thin felt plectrums. We also stock leather plectrums that are designed to give you a bright sound yet it doesn’t compromise playability. These can be used on ukes and mandolins.
Banjo players use finger and thumb picks. These are normally made of nickel or plastic and help to produce a clear picking sound. They come in different sizes to help find the ones that snuggly fit onto fingers and thumb. You can try a plastic thumb pick on your guitar if you find it difficult to grip a normal plectrum.
Where to keep them without losing them?! The problem with guitar picks is that even if you put them in your wallet/pocket/a special place at home, they do mysteriously disappear.
Dadi pick holders are great as they are small and store a good amount of plectrums for the size and price. They even have a sticky patch on the back so you can stick it to your instrument case or music stand.