I started to learn guitar a couple of days back. I was told for strumming thin pick is suitable and for normal play thick. can anybody suggest a pick which can solve both purposes (strumming and normal play )?

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Picks are a very personal choice. I don't think many players will have different ones for different jobs, although thinner ones will be more usual for strumming. Trouble is, on guitar, a lot of us are strumming one minute, the, in the same song, picking.

Also bear in mind that there are different materials - tortoiseshell, plastic, metal, wood, etc.

For many decades I've used 0.025" plastic, which do me fine for everything. That's not to say you'll prefer them, or anyone else for that matter. Best solution is to get a handful of different ones, and try each out for a few days. It's very early yet for you to decide, and in a few months, if you do, you may well have a change of plectrum. Your strumming style may also change, meaning a different pick, but I think you'll find a general use one that does for everything. Thick or thin, take your pick...

  • Your favorite guitar store probably has variety packs which make it cheap and easy to try out a range of pick weights. Sixth months in I have a few favorites, and as Tim suggests they aren't the same as my favorites three months in. – Rob Caplan Aug 19 at 15:06

As Tim suggested in his excellent answer, pick type and thickness are a very personal choice.

What I have found personally is a thinner pick is better for strumming particularly for beginners. As you continue to play and grow as a guitarist, your picking and strumming technique will evolve. Until you master the fine nuances of pick angle and flexing of your wrist and hand, you might find that a thicker pick will tend to get stuck between strings during fast strumming whereas a thinner pick will flex and allow for a smoother stroke across multiple strings.

The challenge with using a really thin pick for individual picking is that when you are doing fast up and down picking, the recovery from the flex is too slow to put the tip of the pick in position for the next stroke.

I started with a thinner pick when I was learning to play and mostly strumming chords or doing slow picking of individual notes. As I advanced in my learning and started to incorporate more individual string picking into my playing style, I became more proficient with my strumming technique at the same time and was able to change to a thicker pick that worked for both strumming and picking.

If I am playing a song that requires extremely fast down up strumming, I might switch to a thin pick. But for the most part I use a medium thick pick now. My favorite picks are the nylon picks with a textured grip as they don't slip if my hands get sweaty.

Rob Caplan made an excellent comment. Try a variety of different picks in different sizes, shapes, thicknesses and materials and eventually you will find a favorite or two. Keep in mind that as your technique and playing style evolve, so will your pick preferences.

Enjoy the journey.

As a beginner without doubt go for the softest plectrum you feel comfortable with, 0.60mm or below .This should be your pick for all purposes whilst u learn the basics. However its not just about the thickness ,2 picks of same thickness can be as differant as chalk and cheese.

I still use a 0.40mm when im having issues getting the strumming right on a new song. Dont worry about volume .that comes later!

A soft pick will assist you in getting your strumming rhythms far easier than a stiff plectrum, not only that they sound sweeter when you caress the strings correctly.

Hard is not the way for a new player ,they are unforgiving on errors and will hamper your learning .

Pop down to a local music store and try a few out ,also plenty of tips on the web by online tutors.

After you get the basics right,your hands have strengthened and are coordinated then think about moving to a to pick( plectrum )that delivers the volume /tone you require.

After many years of trial and error I have settled on wooden picks made by Brossard. These take some getting used to; they are totally inflexible.

When you first start using this type of pick you will find it difficult. Eventually I developed a style that enables me to use these picks just as efficiently as someone else might use a thinner, flexible pick.

Why persist with suck a pick? The tone. Put simply I get a bigger, fatter tone than I do with a plastic or nylon pick.

Try a lot of different picks. They are probably the least expensive of a guitarist's kit, so experiment.

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