Strum Flawlessly: The Best Acoustic Guitar Picks

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 to find the right plectrum for you and also suggest some excellent choices that give you the freedom and control to strum chords, articulate rhythms, and play melodies on your acoustic guitar.

How To Find The Right Acoustic Guitar Picks

Although they’re small, a lot 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, and before going into my recommendations, 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.

Material

The first important factor to consider when choosing the plectrum is understanding what it’s made of. Many materials can be used to make guitar picks; for example, celluloid, tortex, ultex, nylon, and delrin are ones you’ll definitely come across.

Certain materials are more durable and less likely to break than others, while some plastics, like nylon, are more flexible and produce a softer sound, and people will always have their own preferences with the material their picks are made from.

Keep in mind that some of these aspects can also be contingent on the thickness gauge, which is a feature you’ll learn about next.

Thickness

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. Because of this, thin picks are often suggested, but they might offer less control for other aspects of your playing, so you might like something a step up from thin picks.

Medium or standard-size guitar picks are also very popular among beginners and experienced players because they allow people to efficiently strum chords, play leads, and do more percussive and articulate rhythms. These are, overall, the most well-rounded kinds of picks, in my opinion.

I find that the sweet spot for acoustic guitar players is around 0.5 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.

However, thick guitar picks aren’t usually recommended for acoustic guitarists, but they do have their uses. They are good 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.

Shape

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.

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.

My Acoustic Guitar Pick Recommendations

Below, you’ll find several fantastic plectrums from different brands for playing acoustic guitar! These come in varying materials and features and, of course, different gauges to suit your preference. Some of them even have variety packs to help you discover what you like most.

Dunlop Tortex Standard

One of the best plectrums for acoustic guitarists is the Dunlop Tortex standard – a pick made of durable plastic and has a flexible yet sturdy design, making it ideal for rhythm and lead guitar playing on an acoustic.

While the Dunlops Tortexes are really popular, you can also consider looking into their nylon guitar picks, which are just as fantastic, in my opinion. They also come with some extra grip, a nice added feature I endorse for anyone who needs it. You’ll also find this in some other picks coming up in this guide!

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.

Sale
Dunlop Tortex Standard Picks Sample Variety Mix Pack (2 of each gauge) 12/Player’s Pack
  • Contains 2 each of the following picks: .50, .60, .73, .88, 1.00, 1.14
  • Great for experimentation and practice
  • Recommended for beginning guitar and fretted instrument players
  • 12 pick package

Fender 351

Fender is a company that needs no introduction, and its 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 various 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 351 is a classic guitar pick that can do anything, but you have other options, too, since picks aren’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

Fender Premium Celluloid 351 Shape Picks, Medium, Black Moto – 12 Pack
  • PREMIUIM PICK MATERIAL: Celluloid is a premier pick material and the cornerstone of the Fender pick collection for decades.
  • MEDIUM SHELL PICKS: Celluloid picks give the traditional feel and a warm, round musical tone.
  • POPULAR 351 SHAPE: The traditional 351 shape, our most popular pick design, is a perfect accessory for players of versatile styles and techniques.
  • CLASSIC FENDER FEEL: Experience the classic feel of Fender no matter what guitar or bass you play.

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, a material 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.

Clayton Ultem Guitar Picks (Select from gauges .38mm – 1.20mm)
  • Produces a clean crisp tone with limited flex
  • Resembles real tortoiseshell in sound, feel and color
  • Unlike real tortoise shell this material will not fracture
  • 12 guitar picks per pack

D’Addario Celluloid

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.

D’Addario Celluloid Guitar Picks – Guitar Accessories – Guitar Picks for Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar – Natural Feel, Warm Tone – Assorted, Medium 0.70mm, 25-pack
  • 0.70MM MEDIUM GUITAR PICK: Medium gauge (0.70mm) works well for both strumming and articulate picking
  • NATURAL FEEL & WARM TONE: Premium quality celluloid provides natural feel and warm, fat tone
  • COMFORTABLE PLAYING: Standard shape for comfortable playing
  • PACKAGING: 25 picks per package. The D’Addario, formerly known as Planet Waves, pick packaging is designed for minimal waste and environmental impact
  • GIFT FOR GUITAR PLAYER: D’Addario picks make great guitar accessories gifts for men, women, and kids. They make great acoustic guitar picks, electric guitar picks, bass guitar picks, and more.

Ernie Ball Nylon

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 had a chance to try Ernie Ball’s picks, 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.

Sale
Ernie Ball Nylon Guitar Picks, Medium, 12-pack (P09136)
  • Product Type :Instrument Parts And Accessories
  • Package Dimensions :9.652 cm L X11.43 cm W X0.508 cm H
  • Package Quantity :1
  • Country Of Origin :United States

D’Addario Nylflex

The Nylflexes are quite similar to the previous ones in that they both are great nylon picks that have a nice gripped texture on them.

However, with the Nylflexes, you’ll find that their thin picks are 0.5mm and their mediums are 0.75, so they’re slightly different in that regard, but you might notice the subtle differences, so it’s worth trying both out.

I’ve always loved nylon picks because of their feel and tone, and I can’t recommend them enough, regardless of the shape or who makes them. One downside is that the Nylflexes are a little bit more expensive, but these are good quality plectrums that feel consistent and don’t wear down fast, from my experience.

D’Addario Accessories Nylflex Guitar Picks – Nylon Guitar Picks with Grip – Great for Vintage Electric Sounds and Acoustic Strumming – 10 pack, Medium (.75mm)
  • NYLFLEX PICKS – Now you can finally experience the feel and tone that was so eagerly sought out by now Hall of Fame guitarists during the birth of rock-n-roll.
  • WARM TONE – Nylon picks provide the warmest tone you will find in the D’Addario pick offering. Great for vintage electric sound and acoustic strumming.
  • MOLDED GRIP – Inspired by the revered nylon picks of the ’50s and ’60s, the D’Addario Nylflex is the first nylon pick to capture the flexible feel, warm tone, and molded grip pattern of the original, delivering an authentic, vintage playing experience in its entirety.

Dunlop Gator Grips

While a ton of guitar picks can have a lot of similarities with each other, like the Ernie Ball and D’Addario nylon ones, Dunlop Gator Grips bring some new things to the table.

Unlike a lot of designs out there, Gator Grips use a matte finish, giving you some extra grip that you can’t get with the Tortexes. However, the grip isn’t as strong as a lot of the alternatives, but it’s still nice to have.

What I really like about these picks is their tone quality, which I find to be thick and powerful, which is why I’ve used higher-gauge ones when playing bass. On an acoustic guitar, you’ll get some extra fullness with each strum, and the beveled edges will also influence the way it glides across the strings.

Sale
Dunlop Gator Grip Picks Sample Variety Mix Pack (2 of each gauge) 12/Player’s Pack
  • Contains 2 each of the following picks: .58, .71, .96, 1.14, 1.50, 2.00
  • Great for experimentation and practice
  • Recommended for beginning guitar and fretted instrument players
  • 12 pick package

Conclusion

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 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.

Like acoustic guitar strings, your guitar pick 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 valuable tools that can help shape your experiences. 

To learn more about those, check out my guide to the best acoustic guitar accessories you should get your hands on and get a rundown on why they’re essential!