Use these free images for your websites, art projects, reports, and Powerpoint presentations! Pick shapes started with guitarists filing down bone, shell, wood, cuttlebone, metal, amber, stone or ivory to get the desired shape.
Many picks have some form of imprint on them from simple manufacturer logos to completely customized artist picks bearing the imprinted signature or bandlogo of the musician. Guitar picks come in varying thicknesses to accommodate the different playing styles and kinds of strings. In rock and heavy metal, while playing electric guitar with hi-gain amplification or distortion, it is generally assumed that thinner picks produce muddier, heavier, less controllable sound and thicker picks produce more delicate, more controlled and well-shaped tone.
Many death metal musicians swear by picks thicker than 1.5mm, because it allows more control over heavy gauge strings. Jazz guitar players tend to use quite heavy picks, as they also tend to favor heavy gauge flat-wound strings. Most manufacturers (D'Andrea Picks, Jim Dunlop, Alice, Teckpick, Dava Control) print down the thickness in millimeters or thousandths of an inch right on the pick.
Some picks have small protrusions to make them easier to keep hold if the fingers start to sweat (very common on stage due to the hot lights). The equilateral pick can be easier for beginners to hold and use since each corner is a playing edge. The shark's fin pick can be used in two ways - normally employing the blunt end or the small perturbations can be raked across the strings producing a much fuller chord or used to employ a "pick scrape" down the strings producing a very harsh, scratching noise. In 1996, Dave Storey introduced the patented Dava Multi-Gauge design pick, later trademarked as Dava Control[2]. Picks are usually gripped with two fingers—thumb and index—and are played with pointed end facing the strings. Jazz guitarist Tuck Andress has written a comprehensive article on picking technique, often cited on the web. Usually, a guitar pick is hidden within a player's hand, so a casual viewer may think that a guitarist plays with bare hands. Dreamweb, a 1994 computer game, starts with main protagonist going to his friend, whose apartment's floor is covered with guitar picks spread randomly. Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny features a mystical guitar pick carved from the tooth of Satan, which possesses supra-natural qualities (a "whole other level above super-natural").
Some fashion studios[3][4] offer jewelry made of guitar picks, such as guitar pick necklaces, earrings, pendants, chains, etc.
This printable acoustic guitar chords chart of "open chords" includes minor and 7th chords, helpful in expanding your chord repertoire.
Over time people have made picks of various materials, including plastic, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, and stone. Most of today's classic guitar pick shapes were created by the company that made the first plastic pick in 1922, D'Andrea Picks. Probably the most famous and easily recognizable name on a pick is the logo of Fender Guitars.


Thinner plectra are more flexible and tend to offer a wider range of sounds, from soft to loud, and produce a "click" that emphasizes the attack of the picking. Thinner picks tend to give less attack and do not give as much control when doing fast tremolo picking.
Bass players tend to prefer thick picks because their strings are far thicker than those of guitarists.
Some other brands (Gibson, Fender, Peavey, Ibanez) occasionally use a somewhat cryptic system of letters or text designations to mark the thickness. Historically, this was the first plastic ever used to produce picks, and it is still of some use today, especially for guitarists aiming for vintage tone.
Popular material, has a smooth and slick surface, so most manufacturers add a high-friction coating to nylon picks to make them easier to grip.
They do however wear the strings quickly and can easily damage the finish on the guitar if used for strumming, especially on acoustic guitars. These gemstone guitar picks range in thickness from 1mm (very rare) up to 5mm, and they don't flex at all. It's very hard (4500 lbf[1], according to Janka Wood Hardness Rating) and its cellular structure is saturated with its own natural oil, giving a pick a unique feel and sound. Some picks (as illustrated) will have a high-friction coating to help the player hold on to them. Some bass players find that coins make excellent picks, though some prefer slightly thinner picks to increase speed and endurance. These picks are made of compound layers of plastic, connected to form a flexible central section of a pick. However, it's a matter of personal preference and many notable musicians use different grips. However, some guitarists may fling their picks out into the audience in an attempt to prompt a dramatic effect from those listening. They most often take the shape of an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners very rounded and the third corner rounded to a lesser extent. The plastic pick was an idea that Luigi, and his young son Tony, Sr., had after purchasing a few sheets of the tortoise shell-like celluloid from a street vendor. All these numbers represent the numbers the Luigi & Tony D'Andrea assigned to each of their new "creations" at the request of the guitarists they serviced.
One of the early "mass distributors" of customized guitar picks was Rick Nielsen of the rock band Cheap Trick. Occasionally, guitarists who smoke have accidentally discovered the extremely flammable nature of this material. Brand names for DuPont Delrin which is specially treated to have a matte, opaque surface, surprisingly easy to grip even with sweaty fingers.
Barely bends at all and it's commonly used only for thick and extra-thick picks (> 1 mm). Brian May of Queen uses picks which replicate his original choice — a silver sixpence coin.[1] Some of them are produced by The Royal Mint of England and are considered to be rare and precious among collectors.


Stone is a surprisingly versatile material because no mold or press is needed allowing a single pick to be crafted to the desired specifications. A guitarist can easily adjust the pick tip's flexibility by applying various pressure to this central section: a hard grip yields hard pick (thicker one) to play lead, a soft grip yields soft pick (thinner one) to play rhythm.
Direct references to guitar picks are usually considered as a sign of somebody having close relation to playing an instrument. It appeared very similar to the real tortoise shell picks the guitarists used in their Greenwich Village neighborhood. Rick was known to toss out hundreds of customized picks over the course of a single concert. Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top uses a regular Mexican peso,[2][3] usually filed down to more usual pick shape, resembling 351. Though they take some getting used to they offer the player a pick that is harder than metal (guitar strings) and can therefore resonate the strings more completely. Many players will often have spare picks attached to a microphone stand or slotted in the guitar's pickguard.
As of 2007, Dava Control offers guitar picks with tips made from nylon, delrin, celluloid and nickel silver. These artist picks have become more popular over the last few decades to the point it's somewhat rare to find a famous artist who doesn't use a custom pick. However, nylon loses its flexibility after 1-2 months of extensive use, becomes fragile and breaks, so guitarists that use thin nylon picks should have several spare picks just in case. As the technology for printing improved over the years, so did the variety and quality of the imprints. What began as simple block lettering has evolved into multi-color and highly-detailed graphics. Steve Clayton was the first pick manufacture to create multi-colored imprinting for guitar picks.
Conversely, some guitarists maintain that the down-up "twitch" motion of alternate picking lends itself to momentum better, and hence trumps economy picking at high speeds. Shortly thereafter, the Clayton facility started offering multi-colored picks over the Internet.
With such a wide variety available, people began collecting guitar picks as a full-fledged hobby. There is even a global network for collectors to trade their picks called PickNET that sprang up in 1994.
Custom picks are available at concerts as the musicians frequently toss used picks out to the audience.




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