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> The Great Pick Thickness Debate !
Ben Higgins
post Aug 14 2014, 10:25 AM
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Pick thickness - what's your choice ?

Hello fellow abusers of the guitar. I asked a load of people on Facebook (some of you even answered!) what size pick they used and I got a whole cross section of answers, as was to be expected.

The thinnest pick was 0:46mm and the thickest sizes I saw was 3.0mm. Our very own Germanic master Guido is a man who likes a big one in his hands....... as does Fayeed..... wait, where was I ? mellow.gif

Perhaps the highest count of a particular pick size / style was the Dunlop Jazz III. Although it's woth bearing in mind that the Jazz III does come in a few variants of different materials which do flex differently so 2 different people who use Jazz III's can still be using a pick that feels and responds differently.

So, what are the obvious properties of thinner picks ?

Well, they bend easier when you hit the string which reduces the resistance that the pick feels when moving through the string. This means that they require less muscular effort to grip and guide through the strings. For strumming it's an absolute breeze. Really comfortable. When I first started using picks I happened to have thin, floppy picks. I didn't know there was any other kind.

The increased flexibilty of these picks mean that, in theory, they're not as accurate for fast, intricate playing. Also, they don't hit the strings with as much force so the tone isn't as strong. But then again, we can all think of somebody who blows that theory out of the water. Our very own Darius Wave ! Darius has a killer picking technique and also a killer picking attack. (You're welcome Darius.. 500 Euros we agreed, yeah ?) So it just goes to show that you can make anything work to your advantage. So thin picks.... less effort and if you work at it you can even do the same stuff you can do with a thick pick ?? So why do we play thick picks at all ?

Let's look at the properties of thick picks.

Reduced flex from anything over 1mm to zero flex with the picks around 2-3mm. This gives people a fatter tone and we could argue that, because the picks are more rigid, we don't have to hit the strings with as much force to get a louder, clearer response from the string. So, the advantages of the thin picks could be lost if you have to use more force to get more volume and attack from a flexible pick.

The rigidity of thick picks mean that we can be confident that where we point the tip is where the tip actually is. This is ideal for those who want to delve further into the world of speedy techniques, not just in metal but in jazz and other genres that require great dexterity.

But the abilities of people like Darius brings this theory into question ? So what is the truth here ?

I want to hear your own experiences with pick choice. How has the size and flexibility level of picks affected your guitar playing ? Or maybe the question should be, how has your guitar playing influenced your pick choice ?

Where there any particular revelations you had ? Moments of change and discovery ? Do you alternate between different picks for different purposes now ?

It would also be great to hear from some of my fellow instructors like Guido, Fayeed and Darius about why they chose picks at the extreme range of pick sizes. Our resident pick artisan Von Hotch may also have some valuable insight to add to this. So let's begin this great pick discussion !


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Darius Wave
post Aug 14 2014, 10:34 AM
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Great topic Ben!

I'm in the minority of players who use thin picks - mostly 0,73 to 0,88. Reason of this choice is trying to use flexibility of a pick to add extra amount of attack (not the volume - just the treble end, sharpness). It makes me abe to get tight tone even on the amps that are a but "muddy" and hard (in good sense) with dynamics response. It's highly important especially when Playing fast runs with Palm Muting. Also...I love the wasy sweep picking sounds when playing with thin picks.


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Bossie
post Aug 14 2014, 10:37 AM
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I tend to use pick with a little bit flex on it...not the real floppy ones.
and i always angle the pick a bit for lead playing...when you angle a semi-flex pick the disadvantage of flexibility disappears a lot.

And you still have the strumming advantage
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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Aug 14 2014, 11:08 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 14 2014, 09:25 AM) *
The thinnest pick was 0:46mm and the thickest sizes I saw was 3.0mm. Our very own Germanic master Guido is a man who likes a big one in his hands....... as does Fayeed..... wait, where was I ? mellow.gif

Ben, I hope this wasn't your intention here, haha?!

Anyways,
I found out that if I use a thin pick, the rebound takes too long before hitting the next note, the result could be an unprecise tone.
This is the reason why I want to have something big in my hand(yeah, Ben biggrin.gif )
So I played the Jim Dunlop big stubby nylon 3mm for years and I was really happy with it because of the thickness, the tone and grip. But I always had to rasp the tip a bit to get it very sharp, this helped me to play faster and more precise. This was a real disadvantage because it only took a few hours after the tip wasn't sharp enough anymore. So my house is full of 100s of rasped picks. :-D
Then I discovered the great www.Gravitypicks.com (sunrise type)made from acrylic, there really durable, better tone, great grip and also look awesome! And the pointed tip is reaaaaaalllllly sharp, exactly how i need it!
Go check them out!

I should add here too when I play strumming on acoustic guitars I prefer thinner picks because of the crips sweet sound.

This post has been edited by Guido Bungenstock: Aug 14 2014, 11:19 AM


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klasaine
post Aug 14 2014, 04:09 PM
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Jazz III XL 'reds' for me.


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 14 2014, 07:33 PM
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QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Aug 14 2014, 10:34 AM) *
Great topic Ben!

I'm in the minority of players who use thin picks - mostly 0,73 to 0,88. Reason of this choice is trying to use flexibility of a pick to add extra amount of attack (not the volume - just the treble end, sharpness). It makes me abe to get tight tone even on the amps that are a but "muddy" and hard (in good sense) with dynamics response. It's highly important especially when Playing fast runs with Palm Muting. Also...I love the wasy sweep picking sounds when playing with thin picks.


You make me want to try thin picks, man !! smile.gif

How does it feel to you if you pick up a thicker pick ?

QUOTE (Bossie @ Aug 14 2014, 10:37 AM) *
and i always angle the pick a bit for lead playing...when you angle a semi-flex pick the disadvantage of flexibility disappears a lot.


Interesting observation man. Does any other flexi picker notice this ?

QUOTE (Guido Bungenstock @ Aug 14 2014, 11:08 AM) *
I found out that if I use a thin pick, the rebound takes too long before hitting the next note, the result could be an unprecise tone.
This is the reason why I want to have something big in my hand(yeah, Ben biggrin.gif )


biggrin.gif

See, these are the kind of chats we like to have in a guitar forum. Little bit of innuendo is good for the soul cool.gif

QUOTE (Guido Bungenstock @ Aug 14 2014, 11:08 AM) *
Then I discovered the great www.Gravitypicks.com (sunrise type)made from acrylic, there really durable, better tone, great grip and also look awesome! And the pointed tip is reaaaaaalllllly sharp, exactly how i need it!
Go check them out!


The 1.5 looks very nice !

QUOTE (klasaine @ Aug 14 2014, 04:09 PM) *
Jazz III XL 'reds' for me.


Yes, I use the black ones but have got a couple red. There definitely is a difference. There's just a fraction more flex on the red.


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klasaine
post Aug 14 2014, 09:52 PM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 14 2014, 11:33 AM) *
Yes, I use the black ones but have got a couple red. There definitely is a difference. There's just a fraction more flex on the red.


Yeah, weird right? They say it's the dye. It changes the strength I guess - ?


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waynedcoville
post Aug 15 2014, 01:39 AM
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i use wooden picks. i think they're rosewood and they're 2mm thick.they really dig into the strings when i play hard and have a nice earthy "thonk" tone. for fast parts, i slightly angle the pick and play with the edge, a la mandolin. i've never broken one or wore them out. as far as i can tell they last for ever.


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Mith
post Aug 15 2014, 03:09 AM
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I've been messing around with picks alot atm
From V picks 11.85mm Insanity pick (which is suprisingly easier to play on than it looks)
from some Von's aluminium picks

So far my favorate is the V pick Mummy for a around pick. The Von aluminim one is great for getting some speed

The insanity has been good for practicng my picking. really need to focus to get it to work well


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Todd Simpson
post Aug 15 2014, 05:05 AM
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A man after my own Heart!!! smile.gif I'm a big fan of VPICKS and VON PICKS myself!! smile.gif I've tried WADS of picks and I am always trying new ones but I keep coming back to the VON (my all time fave remains the OCTAVIOUS)
Attached Image
and now and then i use the Vpick custom that Vinny made for me.
Attached Image

The Octavious is pretty thick but goes to a thin point, and the VPICK is about 1.5. I like 1.2 as a MINIMUM. Also, I DESPISE any flex/bend in a pick as it tends to get in the way of precision, but that's just me smile.gif




QUOTE (Mith @ Aug 14 2014, 10:09 PM) *
I've been messing around with picks alot atm
From V picks 11.85mm Insanity pick (which is suprisingly easier to play on than it looks)
from some Von's aluminium picks

So far my favorate is the V pick Mummy for a around pick. The Von aluminim one is great for getting some speed

The insanity has been good for practicng my picking. really need to focus to get it to work well


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Aug 15 2014, 05:06 AM


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 15 2014, 09:29 AM
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QUOTE (waynedcoville @ Aug 15 2014, 01:39 AM) *
i use wooden picks. i think they're rosewood and they're 2mm thick.they really dig into the strings when i play hard and have a nice earthy "thonk" tone. for fast parts, i slightly angle the pick and play with the edge, a la mandolin. i've never broken one or wore them out. as far as i can tell they last for ever.


I did wonder if anyone used wooden picks !!

So.. you got wood.


Sorry, had to. wink.gif

QUOTE (Mith @ Aug 15 2014, 03:09 AM) *
From V picks 11.85mm Insanity pick (which is suprisingly easier to play on than it looks)
from some Von's aluminium picks


This is actually a thing ??????

Well call me Zeus and paint me purple

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Aug 15 2014, 05:05 AM) *
Also, I DESPISE any flex/bend in a pick as it tends to get in the way of precision, but that's just me smile.gif


This is the sort of passionate language I love to hear !!


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Guido Bungenstoc...
post Aug 15 2014, 09:36 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 14 2014, 06:33 PM) *
See, these are the kind of chats we like to have in a guitar forum. Little bit of innuendo is good for the soul cool.gif

The 1.5 looks very nice !

Absolutely mate! As long as you ask for MORE tabs! tongue.gif

The gravities are really nice, a bit more expensive but worth it!


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 17 2014, 07:24 PM
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Me - well smile.gif Thin ones - 0,69 for acoustic playing and 01.00 for electric playing - favorites?

Well, the Von Hotch ones - love those! And I also started fancying the Jazz III picks. I used those a lot lately and I found them particularly comfy when riffing and playing lead as well - they lack that special 'clang' provided by the Von Hotch ones, but otherwise, they suit my playing nicely!


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Mith
post Aug 18 2014, 06:31 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 15 2014, 04:29 PM) *
This is actually a thing ??????

Well call me Zeus and paint me purple


http://v-picks.com/productdetails.php?q=39&page=picks

Its totally a thing. Still deciding if its helping my picking or not for practice.
Plus I think its more my lefts hand lagging behind my right hand at the moment anyway


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Ben Higgins
post Aug 18 2014, 07:31 AM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Aug 18 2014, 06:31 AM) *
http://v-picks.com/productdetails.php?q=39&page=picks

Its totally a thing. Still deciding if its helping my picking or not for practice.
Plus I think its more my lefts hand lagging behind my right hand at the moment anyway


Man, that must be like using a lump or iron ore to play with !! laugh.gif


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Mith
post Aug 18 2014, 08:52 AM
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QUOTE (Ben Higgins @ Aug 18 2014, 02:31 PM) *
Man, that must be like using a lump or iron ore to play with !! laugh.gif


I think thats kind of the idea. Its such a bitch to use that you have to have good picking to get it to work so when you then use a normal pick it feels easier. One thing I have noticed is when I go back to a normal pick the gap between strings feels huge.


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PosterBoy
post Aug 24 2014, 08:14 AM
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V Pick Stiletto fan here, I also use the small pointed and Dimension Jr these other two are a little thicker and are great for training a relaxed grip.

I won't try Gravity picks out of my respect for Vinni of V-picks


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Cosmin Lupu
post Aug 24 2014, 10:51 AM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Aug 18 2014, 07:52 AM) *
I think thats kind of the idea. Its such a bitch to use that you have to have good picking to get it to work so when you then use a normal pick it feels easier. One thing I have noticed is when I go back to a normal pick the gap between strings feels huge.


Was it intentionally thought as a picking correction device?

I can't really see myself being able to play with such a thing laugh.gif The thickest picks I have ever used, were Steve Clayton 3mm picks and those seemed huge to me.


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Mith
post Aug 24 2014, 12:14 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Aug 24 2014, 05:51 PM) *
Was it intentionally thought as a picking correction device?

I can't really see myself being able to play with such a thing laugh.gif The thickest picks I have ever used, were Steve Clayton 3mm picks and those seemed huge to me.


I think it had more to do with people with hand injuries. Thats y it was made.

I do like using it because after using it for a while using normal thick picks feels like like i'm just gliding through the strings.

I do recommend one for someone working on their picking. I kinda of treat it as another exercise.


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jstcrsn
post Aug 24 2014, 02:47 PM
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I use gator grips , 2.o out of necessity . I broke my arm when I was young and the dr. did not set it right, so I can not hold the pick the normal way. I f I hold it the normal way (everyone suggests) I have to force my hand to twist further than the injury wants it to go and I end up having no strength with my index finger and the pick falls out/moves or my timing gets screwed up whilst my fingers tries to wrestle the pick for the upstroke. so my thumb and index finger have to be held together to give my finger enough strength for the upstroke, but to do it this way , a lot more of the pick has to stick out and I can't angle very much at all( thru alt picking runs) except for A.H. . that is way I use a thick pick that doesn't flex as there is so much pick sticking away from my thumb

This post has been edited by jstcrsn: Aug 24 2014, 02:47 PM
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