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How Guitar Picks Can Make a Difference


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  • How Guitar Picks Can Make a Difference


    Just thought I'd pass on this story. I take my jazz guitar lessons at Ring Music here in Toronto. I also buy all my gear from them. I had finished my guitar lesson last Friday and was chatting with one of the guys in the store who happens to be an accomplished jazz guitarist and works part time in there.

    I put of new set of D'Addario Chrome 11's on my Samick JZ4 so of course, he wanted to play the guitar to see how it now felt and sounded. He plugged my guitar into nearest available amp (a tiny little slightly used Fender) and started playing. I was floored with the tone he got. It was that Wes Montgomery, woodsy, archtop tone......sounded absolutely gorgous.

    The tone I get is nice, but not THAT nice. So I asked him how this could be. He then said, "give me the pick your currently using". I tossed him my thin, medium to soft plastic pick. He began playing and to my amazement, without changing any settings on the guitar or the amp, he produced the same tone as I was getting......exactly. And let me tell you, the difference was night and day.

    So I asked him how this was possible. He showed me the pick that he was using. It was smaller, thicker, harder, with more of a nylon feel rather than a plastic feel. I then grabbed the guitar back and played it with both picks. I was shocked at how much of a difference there was. In 40 years of playing, I've never seen or heard anything like it. Of course I bought a bunch of those picks and came home.

    I tried the using both picks on my Godin and Acoustic. Definitely an obvious difference in the tone out of both guitars. In fact, I don't like the sound that the new pick produced on either guitar, way too dull,...but on an archtop......it rules. Who would have thought!

    I guess the lesson that I learned from this is that when looking at buying a guitar, it wouldn't hurt to try different picks while playing it. Just thought it would be of interest.

    Mr. Lawrie Mann: Toronto, Canada
    My Gear

  • #2
    Lawrie....it's a much overlooked thing, the difference in picks. I was equally suprised to find the sometimes stark differences in different types of material. Over the past 30+ years, I've played nylons, metal, stone, and celluloid. I'm stuck on the celluloid for the past few years. The really "fit" my style and tones I like....cool post
    Trooper 138, Harmony Central Geezer Brigade


    • #3
      thats for amateurs, i use a tennis racket as my pick.
      Originally posted by
      also, most pissed off, energetic drummer you're ever likely to see. his guitarist described it as "beating his way out of his mother's **** every time he plays"


      • #4
        Get a Dava Master control. Bendiness of plastic but with a metal tip so it sounds amazing, and uses strings less than a solid metal as there is some flex.

        looks all metal in the pic, but only the really bright bit is.
        [size=1] (guitpics)
        REAL men use Epiphones ------ Proud member of the MAZI BEE MILITIA, Sweaty Arm Band Division!
        COD2MP on xfire? Me too...


        • #5
          I use a hard little jazz pick, trim a fair amount of it off on one end,and shape it to a point. Then I cut a big hole in the middle of it. I figure the less plastic I have the faster I can move it and the more finger sound I can get into it. Can't use just my fingers because it doesn't feel right to me, but this gives me the absolute bare minimum of pick.
          "I don't see how the fat lady with the dog fits in." Stonedtone

          "I usually know whats going to come out well. Im usually right." Davo17

          "Don't make me spell bitch on your ass with a backwards B." moonlight

          "He believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed."