Guitar picks or “plectrums” as they’re sometimes called are an often overlooked piece of gear but actually play a vital role in playing the electric guitar.
When it comes to guitar picks, they are like the tires on a car – “where the rubber meets the road” as some would say.
I mean as guitar players, we have all the emotion & creative energy within us waiting to burst out and the one thing that ultimately connects us to our guitars & frees our expression is the pick.
Plectrums are an ancient device that goes back hundred of years even before guitars,
But in modern times they have evolved into more mainstream items seldomly given a second thought. That is until recently with the developing trend of handmade guitar picks with Iron Age Guitar Accessories being one of the leading brands in the field.
5 Reasons To Try
Here’s 5 reasons you should consider some of these fine & luxurious items as opposed to the mass produced versions as well as some materials to consider.
- Grip – Handcrafted plectrums can be made to have all sorts of gripping devices such as coarse textures, divot indentations, custom engravings, & grip holes.
- Tone – Traditional picks are thin & flimsy while boutique plectrums are dense & pack a punch! Different materials also produce changes in tone which is akin to a painter’s palette.
- Control – Hand made guitar picks are rigid & have zero flex making them great for fast playing & making every note ring to its fullest. The pick is right where you intend it everytime.
- Comfort – Thick plectrums are easier to grasp & help to reduce tension in your hand which results in less fatigue overall.
- Aesthetic – Regular picks are nothing to get excited about in terms of looks, however boutique picks come in all sorts of shapes & sizes. You’re bound to something that really catches your eye & that itself might be enough to inspire you to pick up your guitar.
That’s just a brief overview of what makes handmade picks so great & worth looking into, especially if you’re looking to explore new options & get inspired.
There’s no hard rules to guitar picks of course, it’s all preference but when you find the right one, it’s like there’s magic in your hands!
Types of Pick Materials
Here’s a few pick materials to consider & some of their general characteristics.
- Acrylic -These are a great place to start as the durability is strong & there are so many variations possible in terms of shapes, sizes, thicknesses, & they look great too.
- Carbon Fiber – This is more of a specialty material that’s a bit harder to find but has the benefit of being thinner than most picks but being extremely rigid and so provide more control, look amazon, not to mention the material is used in supercars!
- Faux Ivory – Real ivory is banned in most places & using real bone can be off putting depending on who you ask. Faux ivory is a solid choice for mimicking the properties of bone by providing a tough & dense characteristic. A good all around material for picks.
- Metal – This is one of the heavier materials but comes in the form of brass, copper, titanium, and even coins. The clarity these types of picks make is tough to match & make your strings ring like a bell.
- Stone – From agate, to jasper, & everything in between, stone picks look amazing & are super durable. Just be careful you don’t drop them on a hard surface!
- Ultem – This is similar to acrylic & although not available in many colors, it is super durable & great for those who play heavy riffs & need a tough pick.
- Wood – These types of plectrums are more on the light-duty side of things however are an outstanding example of natural beauty. If you need more durability go for woods like ebony or iron wood.
When it comes down to it, it’s all about experimentation.
There’s a growing number of vendors out there nowadays but we recommend you look into reputable pick makers.
Some things to look into are how long they’ve been in business, check out their work on social media, and see if they have their own website with plenty of reviews from happy customers.
Whenever you are ready to explore your guitar pick options & take your playing to the next level, perhaps consider starting with Iron Age Guitar Accessories.