Mandolin picks

Mandolin picks

Mandolin picks have a big effect on sound and playability of your mandolin and your playing.
The best mandolin picks definitely boost your sound, speed and volume.

Mandolin picks are important for every mandolin player, because the pick is the direct connection between the musician and the instrument.
A mandolin pick must feel comfortable. You should not have too much focus on the pick, it just has to feel right.
Now you can focus on the song you like to play.

Picks absolutely make the difference in tone. The nice thing about picks is that in fact, they’re not too expensive, so you are able to test-drive several different picks.
You definitely can find a good picks for less than $ 15.00.


The material of the pick is important as you definitely should not want to play with softer materials like Delrin, Celluloid or Nylon. Softer materials don’t create the attack and pronounced clear tone you’re looking for. And of course, picks made out of softer materials do wear fast.
For more info on all different guitar pick materials, please check this page.

  • A good mandolin pick boosts your sound,
  • It will also be easier to gain speed and volume
  • Material of the pick is really important; the harder the better
  • Harder picks (1.5mm or thicker) will definitely sound better
  • Always have a bunch of picks available because you may lose them faster than you want

How to select your favorite mandolin pick

  • Try a bunch of mandolin picks, to see which one you prefer. You can easily do that at music shops or online.
  • If you’re taking lessons “ask your teacher”.

But the bottom line remains, you don’t know if a pick is good for you, until you try it.

Picks for mandolin

Mandolin picks for beginners

As a beginner there’s no point on buying an extremely expensive pick yet, especially if you have a habit of losing things.

You should wait till you develop more technique in your right hand, because then, subtle differences like picks can make a big difference.

For beginners, the only thing to remember it to get a hard pick, which means 1.5mm or thicker.

Handling Mandolin Picks

Mandolin picks are small and there is a chance you will lose yours, no matter how careful you are. So, it is always good to have a bunch of picks in your mandolin case so they are always good when you grab one.

ChickenPicks guitar picks for mandolin

Since there are no typical mandolin picks nor bass guitar picks or picks especially for guitar, there is a lot for you to choose from.

And of course, at ChickenPicks guitar picks we have several models that are used by many mandolin players worldwide.

You may check the whole range of picks on our website and find the one you like.

Read more about ChickenPicks guitar picks and the reason for me to make my own picks here.

Bermuda III & Bermuda III-XL

While all picks are useful for mandolin, there are some models that are sold most as mandolin picks. The Bermuda III picks have the classic triangle shape that is also called the 346 model. These picks are available in 2.1 & 2.7mm.

The Bermuda III-XL 2.1mm is the same model, but larger.

Mandolin vs guitar

The mandolin is much smaller than the guitar, which can make it easier and more comfortable to hold. However, if you have larger hands, the small spaces between the strings and the frets can make it more difficult to play accurately.

Famous mandolin players you should listen to would be:

  • Chris Thile
  • Bill Monroe
  • Rhonda Vincent
  • Ricky Skaggs
  • Sierra Hull
  • Sam Bush

Mandolin tuning

Strumming- and picking wise a Mandolin would not be very difficult if you already can play guitar.

The problem may be in your fretting hand.

Guitars are tuned E-A-D-G-B-E, while a mandolin is tuned G-D-A-E.

So, the first 4 strings on a mandolin are tuned in mirror image compared to guitar.
This means that chords and all other things played on a mandolin are definitely different for guitar players.

For example, check the open G-chord on the first 4 strings for guitar and the same chord on mandolin; now you understand the difference.

What others say about ChickenPicks guitar picks

Musikhaus Thomann
Chicago Music Exchange
Anatomy of guitar tone


It takes more than a boutique pick to be a good mandolin player.
Just sit down and know what you would like to play and what sound you’re looking for.

The balance of the instrument, strings, set up, how to mic it, the pick and attitude is what makes it work. The player’s skill is the most important thing.

Without practicing, not even the best pick in the world will make you a good musician. So, grab your mandolin, play and have fun!

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. I also play mandolin, but as a side instrument.
Send us an e-mail and let’s talk about guitar tone and picks

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