Best guitar pick for building your picking skills

CHOOSE A PICK THAT WILL HELP YOU INSTEAD OF HURT YOU

A very fat pick with a well-rounded tip is the best tool you can invest in if you want to build your picking skills to a very high level. Picks like these enable you to get away with a higher degree of inaccuracies, which again means more progress faster.

Whenever you are faced with a larger challenge you might find it useful to look for a way to:

  1. Divide the challenge up into smaller challenges
  2. Decrease the size of the challenge

Using a thick pick with a rounded tip will decrease the size of the challenge, allowing for faster results, more enthusiasm and motivation.

ChoosingPick copy

THE TWO STAGES OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Any technique is developed in two main stages: First the developmental stage where you build the actual raw skill or technique and then the refinement stage where you create the ability to control your sound even very high picking speeds.

Choosing the right tool for each stage can be crucial. If you start out with a very sharp pick, the challenge of building the basis of your technique will be huge. Thereby increasing the likelihood of you getting frustrated and impatient many times. And, there is no good reason to make it harder on yourself than absolutely necessary.

Here’s an old and very dear friend of mine:

ChoosingPick2 copy

This is the pick I used during the two years I really focused on developing my picking technique. It not only has a thickness of two millimeters and a rounded tip, it’s also very slick and slides across the strings with a minimum of surface resistance. There are other picks that will do the same for you, but now you can pick this up at the store and both see and feel what I mean.

“Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything”
Wyatt Earp


Best guitar pick for building your picking skills

19 thoughts on “Best guitar pick for building your picking skills

  1. John says:

    After 30 years I’ve never used a fat, thick, round pick. Funny, but I will try it and see what happens going back and forth between pick style attack and tone. Thanks for your insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for all your tips. I have really found these useful since discovering this blog a few months ago. Especially the practice tips. I use a 3mm Dunlop Stubby and it has been amazing for me. It can make my rhythm playing a little harsher, but I tend to be more riff based so it works fine for that as well.

    Anyway, great stuff as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rick Odom says:

    Amazing!, this really worked for me Claus. Wen I picked up your 3rd power hybrid picking course 2 years ago, this is the exact pick I started using because the pick I used for years was a red Jim Dunlop Jazz III and the exercises seemed difficult and I wasnt making alot of progress. intuitively, instinctually, or whatever.I switched to the purple 2mm and then the violet 1.5mm But now I have switched over to a Dunlop Jazz III and wow, what a difference in my sound and over all dynamics. I cannot thank you enough my friend. You have helped me so much.one day In hope to meet you and thank you personally! 🙂 warm regards my friend! \m/ \m/

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Scott says:

    OK, I went out today and bought the purple Dunlop. I usually use Fender Mediums in the larger round corner triangle size (#346) Somehow I have always just enjoyed a bigger pick especially when strumming acoustic guitars. I did notice that the new Dunlop does rollover the strings on my strat more easily and is more forgiving about exact placement. Quite a change though! As usual I will take your coaching and start working with this pick. Your reasoning seems well thought out (no surprise there!).

    Your post intimates that you have probably migrated to a thinner sharper pick now that you are more accurate. What do you play with now?

    I so look forward to your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Scott says:

        So after this comment from you and re-watching your video above on picks, I am surprised that you have stayed with the fat round tip stubby. You said in the video that after honing your skills you can start the migration to a sharper thinner pick which will bring back some of the attack sound to your playing and bring out the brighter end of your notes. I indeed notice a real change in the tonal quality using these, new to me, fatter rounder picks. More mellow and rounded. It seems a bit muffled to me.

        So with you continuing to use the stubbies now that you have mastered picking technique, do I understand correctly that you are doing this because you are looking specifically for that round mellow sound and therefore are not concerned with a brighter sound with more attack?

        Thanks Claus!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Scott. It’s not about how fat the pick is but whether you have a fat round tip or a thin sharp one. The big stubby has a very thin, sharp tip and the 2-3mm purple dunlup has a fat round tip.

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  5. Scott says:

    Ahhhhhhhhh, thanks Claus. Now I understand. Didn’t realize that the “big stubby” was a brand name of a specific pick and thanks for explaining the tip configuration. Got it! I will check it out; now back to practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Almost everyone says that pick thickness is purely preference, which I have to somewhat agree. But I find that anyone being somewhat of a serious player would always consider using a pick that is 0.60mm+, particularly made of something thick, such as delrin (Dunlop Tortex). If you’ve ever used thin picks, they’re really just for gliding around on guitars for chords and whatnot. They don’t provide enough attack for serious playing, and have serious slack when hitting the strings. On another note, you should eventually talk about how deep to attack into the strings. I’ve seen people gouge out their sound hole area or pickup area and it’s an odd concept to me. haha Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan says:

    Great tip Claus. I tried a Big Stubby about 3 years ago and have been using it ever since. I have also mostly used the rounded rather than pointed part of a pick for many years. I use a file or sandpaper to rough up the sides of one of the rounded parts and flip the pick around for more attack and bite when desired. Also, being so heavy, the Stubby gives more dynamic range.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Daniel says:

    I really love your articles, Claus. What do you think about the Dunlop .38 mm? A saw a Jazz Fusion player use it and play super fast with it. I tell you this because after the show he came down stage and I’d get to ask him, and he showed me the pick he was using, I’d try it my self, but….seems like everybody that wants to play fast are using very fat picks….so…..I don’t know…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Using a fat pick will give you a more mellow tone, but it will also even out small inconsistencies in you picking. The sharper the tip of your pick, the more accurate your picking has to be. I have written an article on this that you can find on this website.

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  9. Pete. says:

    I took my cue from the playing of the great Birelli Lagrene. He usually uses Dunlop tortex picks 1.5 mm(light purple colour) whether he is playing Gypsy jazz or any other jazz, all of which he is a maestro at. But he turns them round and uses the rounded shoulder side of the pick. I think he got the idea when he found out that Django often used a plastic button. My playing improved as soon as I did this. Larry Carlton has reverted to doing this instead of using Jazz 111, George Lynch does, Pat Metheney, and Stevie Ray Vaughan did. You don’t have to go back to a pointed pick for a harder attack, you just angle the shoulder side parallel to the string. Normally this wouldn’t work with the pointed end because it wouldn’t glide properly, but with the smoothness of the Tortex it works perfectly. Unless of course you want to argue with Birelli Lagrene’s technique. Good luck with that.

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  10. Tom says:

    I also use the rounded side of my Fender “Heavy” picks. I am definitely going to try out the Dunlop now. Does string gauge play a roll in speed development? Playing blues, I use 11-48’s.

    Like

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