If you’re looking for the best guitar picks for playing the acoustic guitar, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, I’ll show you how you can find the right guitar picks for you and recommend some excellent choices that give you the freedom to strum chords, articulate rhythms, and play melodies on your acoustic guitar.
Table of Contents
How To Find The Right Acoustic Guitar Picks For You
Although they’re small, there’s a lot that goes into the design of guitar picks or plectrums, and that’s why there is so much variety out there. However, when it comes to choosing a guitar pick, there are a few things you need to consider, and here are some things acoustic guitarists should look out for when looking for a good guitar pick.
The first important factor to think about when choosing the plectrum is understanding what it’s made out of . There are many different materials used to make guitar picks, but the most common are plastic and nylon. Plastic picks are more durable and less likely to break, while nylon picks are more flexible and produce a softer sound. Of course, as you continue to read, you’ll find that this is contingent on a different feature.
Keep in mind that there also isn’t just one kind of plastic used for guitar picks. You have celluloid, tortex, ultex, delrin, to name a few examples.
People can have their preferences with these, but I find that they’re less important than the next thing you need to examine when choosing a guitar pick.
The next, and arguably most important aspect that you need to consider, is the thickness of the pick. Thinner guitar picks are better than thicker ones for strumming chords because they have more flexibility and can give you more of a rebound when going back and forth. Thick guitar picks are usually recommended if you’re trying to achieve precision with single-note lines; this is why picks that are made from denser or heavier materials are preferred for guitar shredders and bassists.
Well-rounded acoustic guitarists usually go with something between a thin and heavy pick, which is why medium or standard-size guitar picks are very popular amongst beginners and experienced players alike because they allow people to efficiently strum chords, play leads, and do more percussive and articulate rhythms.
Medium guitar picks usually have a thickness of about 0.45mm to 0.80mm. In my opinion, the sweet spot for acoustic guitar players is around 0.60 to 0.75mm, but you’re free to experiment and find out if you want a pick that’s on the lighter or heavier side.
Regarding shapes, I find that your standard guitar pick shape is something you cannot go wrong with, and there’s a reason why they’re considered the standard. These plectrums have been tried and tested for decades!
While a rounded tip is usually the go-to when playing the acoustic guitar because it gives off a warmer sound, some people also really enjoy picks with a sharpened or beveled tip because it can be a little brighter and produce a more precise pick attack against your strings.
What Are The Best Acoustic Guitar Pick Brands?
Now that you know what to look for in a guitar pick let’s look at some of my top choices for acoustic guitar plectrums.
The top 5 best acoustic guitar picks I will discuss are:
- Dunlop Tortex Standard
- Fender Medium 351
- Clayton Ultem Standard
- D’Addario Celluloid Medium
- Ernie Ball Nylon Medium
With this little preview out of the way, let’s dive right into the specifics of what these guitar picks can offer acoustic guitarists like yourself.
1. Dunlop Tortex Standard
One of the best plectrums for acoustic guitarists is the Dunlop Tortex Standard Pick. This pick is made of durable plastic and has a flexible yet sturdy design that makes it ideal for rhythm and lead guitar playing on an acoustic.
While the plastic Dunlops Tortexes are really popular, you can also consider looking into their nylon guitar picks too, which are just as fantastic, in my opinion. They also come with some extra grip, which is a nice added feature.
That being said, when it comes to the standard Tortex picks, I like the yellow 0.73 ones, but you should try one of their sample packs that come with Tortex picks in a variety of sizes so that you can find the perfect one for you.
2. Fender Medium 351
Fender is a company that needs no introduction, and their 351 Shape Picks are some of the best in the business. These picks are made from celluloid, which gives them just the right amount of flexibility and durability.
They’re also available in a variety of thicknesses, so you can find one that suits your style. However, the medium size is great for acoustic guitarists who want to strum and play leads on their instrument.
Overall, the Fender Medium is a classic guitar pick that can basically do anything, but you do have other options, too, since picks aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.
3. Clayton Ultem Standard
If you’re looking for something a little different, then you might want to check out Clayton’s Ultem Standard Picks, which also come in multiple sizes, but you’ll probably want to check out their 0.56, 0.72, or 0.80mm picks if you’re an acoustic guitarist.
These picks are made from ultex, which is a material that’s similar to tortoiseshell but significantly tougher and won’t break. I’ve personally never really had too many picks break in half on me, but I’ve definitely had some wear out pretty quickly, so these are very durable.
Compared to the others so far, I find that these produce a brighter tone, so that’s something to think about too. It can be a nice change of pace from all of the warmer picks out there if that’s what you’re going for in your sound.
4. D’Addario Celluloid Medium
D’Addario celluloid guitar picks share some similarities to Fender’s in terms of their material and overall design as well as sound and feel, but at 0.70mm, these plectrums are just a bit thicker than theirs.
One thing I’ve noticed about D’Addario’s guitar picks is that they do feel pretty consistent throughout the pack you buy, whereas Fender’s picks sometimes feel there is some variation in how flexible some feel and how fast they wear down. Maybe it’s just me, though, because you’d think they’re all cut from the same sheet of plastic.
Nonetheless, I digress, and at the end of the day, D’Addario’s celluloid picks are reliable and a great value for the money for acoustic guitar players.
5. Ernie Ball Nylon Medium
I feel that I’ve only briefly talked about nylon picks throughout this article, and I thought that it’s only right that I gave some more appreciation to these picks. Throughout the years, I’ve definitely enjoyed them as guitar and bass picks, especially the Dunlop Max Grips I mentioned above, but more recently, I’ve got a chance to try Ernie Ball’s, and I love them just as much.
Since my fingers like to sweat a bit, I’ve always appreciated having some grip on my picks, and this one has plenty of it.
Ernie Ball’s medium picks have a gauge of 0.72mm and are pretty versatile, but like all of the others, you can check out ones that are a bit lighter or heavier. For example, the Ernie Ball thin nylon picks are 0.53mm, so they definitely fit the measurements of being an excellent acoustic guitar pick.
There are tons of different guitar picks out there, but these are some of the best ones for playing the acoustic guitar. While, hopefully, this article will help narrow down your search for an excellent acoustic guitar plectrum, you are encouraged to experiment with different materials, thicknesses, and shapes to find the right one for you and your style. They can make a difference in how you enjoy the instrument, so it’s worth it to take the time to explore the little things like guitar picks, capos, and other accessories that can help shape your experiences.