Picking Picks – Picking Up Picks
Sticking picks to microphone sticks.
Clicking picks on strings.
Picking picks with things.
Picking picks that sing.
Fox in socks rocks with picks on git box.
Suess would be proud of me.
Here we’ll take a peek at some picks made from some of the materials mentioned above, as well as some very interesting alternatives, such as woolly mammoth tusk, meteorites, and more.
Ever drop your pick in the middle of a brilliant solo, or a heartfelt chorus? Or how about when the pick ends up turned around the wrong way in your hand and you just have to wait until you have a nanosecond to adjust it?
How about choosing a pick that gives you just the right resistance without stopping you dead in your tracks, or making your attack more like Godzilla than Jimi Hendrix?
There are plenty of problems we guitarists face with choosing, loosing, and hanging on to our picks, and there are just as many people out there thinking about solving those problems.
Some of the answers to these questions lie in the materials used for construction, others with the shape and texture. A few manufacturers have combined both schools of thought and come up with some pretty wild picks.
Acrylic. This is very durable and easy to manufacture in many different shapes and thicknesses. It’s pretty light too.
Celluloid. The first plastic ever used for guitar picks and it’s still in use today.
Nylon. Alot of people think nylon picks are the easiest to hold on to, but that’s mostly because of the grips manufacturers put on them because the truth is quite the opposite, nylon is pretty slippery stuff. Nylon is extremely flexible. You cant break these puppies.
Acetal – or Delrin. Thanks to DuPont, we can rock out with Delrin, a very popular pick material. They’re very stiff, but they seem to slide across the strings easily, yet stick fairly well to your skin.
Lexan and Ultem. Both very stiff and somewhat brittle, especially the Lexan. Bright tones are found here, however.
The not so common:
Metal. Very bright, snappy, and not flexible.
Wood. Only the hardest woods are used. Once again, not flexible, but produce a nice warm tone.
Glass. Has the widest range of tonal variance, depending on the size, thickness and other factors. Again, not too flexible.
There is an almost unlimited number of shapes used for guitar picks. Everything from the standard almost triangle that we’re used to seeing all the way to a perfect circle. Along with the overall frontal shape, the thickness is often varied along the profile, in an attempt to make the picks easier to hold on to – or affect the tone or attack in some way. The Bevel of the attack surface of the pick is also very important to the punch and tone the pick produces.
There are equilateral picks, which are easy to use, since there are three surfaces identical for picking. This (like the circle picks) solves the problem of having to hold the pick in one position only.
Some say the sharks fin (or razorback) picks are easier to hold on to, others say the “fins” are for making interesting noises on the strings.
Jazz picks tend to have a lack of protruding edges.