Best guitar picks for acoustic

Best guitar pick for acoustic

Best guitar picks for acoustic

Choosing the best guitar picks for acoustic guitar and the thickness of it, depends on personal preference, the material of the strings and the type of music you play.
However, there are some general guidelines that can help you make a decision in choosing the right pick for your acoustic guitar.

Which type of acoustic guitar

First of all, let’s check what kind of acoustic guitar do you have, or do you want to buy.
That might be anything between (nylon stringed) classical, or Spanish guitar, a Western acoustic (Dreadnought, OM, Parlor etc.).
You might also think of a Flamenco guitar, a modern (hybrid) crossover, an Archtop, Django Reinhardt style jazz guitar and even a Resonator acoustic, etc. etc.

Steel strings vs nylon strings

We won’t explain all the differences between these guitars here, but it would be best if we, for now, split the guitars in steel string vs nylon stringed instruments.
Please check this website with all the types of acoustic guitars.

In general acoustic guitars should be categorized in steel string vs. nylon stringed, as said before.

Nylon

Nylon strings tend to sound warmer and rounded. The sound of nylon strings lends itself well to classical and fingerstyle playing. Classical guitarists mostly play without a guitar pick. 

Steel strings

Steel strings sound, in relation to nylon strings, bright and more articulate and the have much more sustain and volume. Sustain is the time a note rings out after plucked. Steel strings also stay in tune longer than nylon strings.

Most used steel strings

For acoustic guitars we see mostly the next 3 kinds of strings made out of steel.

Bronze

These strings mostly consist of 80% copper and 20% zinc.
These strings provide a bright sound in the first few weeks and it will mellow over time.
This makes them great for meshing with other musicians in a band, but they lack more complex overtones when playing solo. They are popular for most acoustic guitar music styles.

Phosphor bronze 

Phosphor bronze strings, or 92/8 phosphor bronze guitar strings, are like 80/20 bronze strings but with an added phosphor element that increases the string’s life. The higher amount of copper provides a warmer tone.
Great for band musicians who want a balanced and consistent tone. Even after playing several shows with the same strings.

Steel & silk 

These strings have a steel center, surrounded with silk or nylon and wind metal around it.
Silk and steel acoustic strings offer a full and balanced sound with lower tension for lighter braced instruments. Guitar players also find these to be easier to fret and they are smoother overall. 

Most used for non-steel stringed guitars

Nylon strings

Nylon is a soft, smooth material that is easy on the fingers. It delivers a mellow tone with a signature “plucking” sound. They’re an excellent choice for classical, flamenco, and folk styles of music.
Some nylon strings are wrapped in a metal composite. They offer a pronounced brightness, but they may be a bit harsher on the fingertips than plain nylon strings. 

ChickenPicks guitar picks

Guitar picks

Guitar picks definitely have impact on guitar tone, whether you play electric or acoustic guitar.
And maybe more important; they have to fit your needs in playability and comfort.

You can choose between cheap standard picks like Fender mediums or Dunlop or any other flimsy guitar picks.
Or you could focus on high quality guitar picks such as boutique plectrums. These, in most cases, are thicker than the average standard pick.

Great guitar, but average quality guitar pick

People buy expensive guitars from let’s say $1,000 – $5,000 and much more.
But they might not buy the best guitar pick for acoustic and it may not cost more than just $1.00.
In my opinion it’s like cheap tires on a $100 – $200k sportscar.

It’s worth checking out different guitar picks and thicknesses on your beautiful guitar, as they can really get you a better sound and instant playing pleasure.

Of course, use what you think feels and sounds best to you. Here’s a short list of materials used for the main guitar picks on the market.

Factors to consider

  1. Material: Picks are made from various materials; each offering a different tone and feel.
    • Celluloid: Warm tone, traditional feel.
    • Nylon: Flexible, good for strumming.
    • Tortex: Durable, balanced tone.
    • Ultem: Bright tone, more durable.
    • Thermoset: Bright and balanced tone with more bottom-end, extremely durable

  2. Thickness: The thickness of the pick affects both the sound and playability.
    • Thin (0.45mm – 0.70mm): Bright tone, good for strumming. Minimal sustain. Bad for hand fatigue.
    • Medium (0.70mm – 0.85mm): Versatile, good for both strumming and picking. But bad for hand fatigue
    • Heavy (0.85mm – 1.8mm): Warm tone, good for precise picking. Mostly feels unbalanced and requires more effort to play with when using standard heavy picks.
    • Extra Heavy (2.0mm and above): Very warm tone, great for lead playing. Better grip because of the thickness and less hand fatigue.
  • Shape: Different shapes provide different comfort levels and playing techniques
    • Jazz: Smaller, pointed tip for precision. Perfect for more advanced guitar players
    • Standard 351: Most common, versatile and ergonomic grip
    • Teardrop: Smaller than standard, good for more complex playing styles
    • Triangular: Larger, easy to grip, offers multiple playing tips

Recommendations

  • For beginners: Although you could start with a standard medium thickness pick, why not start with something that will improve your playing from the start. My advice may be a standard shaped (351 model) pick with a 2.0 – 2.5mm thickness.
  • For strumming: You may go for a thinner pick (0.45mm – 0.70mm), when you just like to strum and sing with friends. It will provide a bright tone and be more forgiving when strumming chords. But if you’d like to be more precise and get some more volume out of your guitar, you could check for a thick guitar pick.
  • For solo and precision: Use a heavier pick (2.0mm and above). It provides more control and produces a warmer tone. The better- and looser grip helps avoiding hand fatigue.
Best guitar picks for acoustic

ChickenPicks guitar picks for acoustic

In fact, there is no specific guitar pick for electric- or acoustic guitar.
ChickenPicks guitar picks provides several picks that are perfect for electric- and acoustic guitar as well.

They’re made out of a thermosetting plastic called “Thermoset” which, in combination with the thickness of at least 2.0mm, provides more mass to the pick.
More mass means more tone (mid & bottom-end) on the one hand and easy to grip on the other hand.

Less fatigue

As said, thicker and heavier picks allow you to grip less firmly. As a result, there is less tension in the forearm of your picking hand, which also allows you to play faster with less effort.

Thick guitar picks have a larger gripping surface, so checking out some heavy picks, may help in finding the right pick for your needs.
To know more about the benefits of thicker guitar picks, please check the 9 reasons to consider thick guitar picks blog.
You may also be interested in how to make your guitar sound better in general.

Beveled edges

The thicker the pick, the more you will see beveled edges. These help you gliding off of the strings very easily. The sharp edges provide articulate- and accurate picking.
We have a blog about these beveled edges, which will make it easy to understand the importance and benefits of beveled edges in general.

The best pick thickness for acoustic

You may think that guitar picks have to be flexible. But for a number of reasons we say: the best pick thickness for acoustic is quite thick. The reason; the pick has to be more rigid for better tone and control.
Depending on the material, thicker picks are more rigid than thin picks in general.

Reasons why not to use flexible guitar picks

  • Flexible guitar picks cause delay to your playing. That should be ok with just strumming, but with playing single note lines, you don’t want that.
  • When your pick bends, you will not be able to control the movements of the pick itself.
    You cannot pick the notes accurately enough, especially when you play single note lines or solos.

A rigid pick allows you to better control the picking hand, because you control the pick and you have to grip not too tightly.
Gripping less firmly may have the same effect as a flexible pick, but now you are able to control it with the pressure of your fingers.
Read more about why most high quality guitar picks are thick and rigid.

ChickenPicks guitar picks for acoustic

  • For standard 351 model picks we’d recommend the Light 2.2 or Regular 2.6mm.
  • When you prefer triangular picks, please take a look at the Bermuda III picks.
  • And when you like these Bermuda III picks even larger, you might also like the Bermuda III-XL.
  • Of course, we offer more different picks, but talking about guitar picks for acoustic, these 4 are the best in my opinion.
  • We also have variety packs, which allow you to test-drive different pick at a discounted price

Pick sizes chart

For all pick sizes and technical information, please check the pick sizes chart on our website.
Of course, most of our products are perfect as bass guitar picks as well as Mandolin picks.

How to hold a guitar pick

Place the guitar pick on top of your index finger with a little less than let’s say 6mm sticking out past the fingertip. The pick is sandwiched between the thumb and the side of the index finger.
The index finger should be behind read more…

Summary: best guitar picks for acoustic

You may see the above guidelines for helping you on your way to find a good pick for acoustic guitar.best
But ultimately, the best pick is the one that feels most comfortable and sounds best to you.

It might be helpful to buy a variety pack with different materials, thicknesses, and shapes to experiment and find your perfect match.

You may always send me an email if you have any further questions about it.

What others say about ChickenPicks guitar picks

Musikhaus Thomann
Chicago Music Exchange
Guitarpickreviews.com

Guitar essentials:

In guitar essentials we write about interesting things every guitarist should know a bit of, especially when you’re new to (electric) guitar.
We definitely don’t dig deep into theories or technical aspects.
You will find many scientific documents about anything somewhere on the internet.

About the author

Hi, my name is Eppo Franken and I started to make my own picks in the mid ’80’s.
In 2010 my wife Jolanda and I started ChickenPicks guitar picks, because we’d like to see if others would enjoy them as well.
I play guitar since 1980 and my favorite style is country chicken picking and some kinds of rockabilly.
Send us an e-mail and let’s talk about guitar tone and picks 🙂

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