18. December 2022
Tone, timbre, ring, and sound, are some of the terms that are usually used to refer to the sound waves produced by your guitar and amp.
Music doesn’t understand restrictions. So, one way for you as a guitarist of expanding your repertoire of guitar sounds is by asking yourself simple questions:
We will cover these aspects and discuss some specific examples of guitar picks and guitar techniques and tones.
As a guitarist, you should not only reflect on your practice and skill improvements but also look for ways of increasing the amount of totally different sounds your guitar (in your hands!) is able to produce.
Imagine the wide palette of different sounds and effects that you would need to learn 30 songs from different genres.
The advantages of mastering ways to change the sound of your guitar playing are countless:
In other words, you will be a better guitar player.
Think about the “chain” of connected elements that is present when you play guitar. I like to reverse it and start from the sound source:
It starts with your guitar amp and amp settings and continues through the cable (from a specific brand and specs) and your particular effect pedals. After another couple of cables, your guitar pick-ups, circuitry, wood type, and guitar strings will play a role in the tone too. What comes after that? The guitar pick and your picking hand. Note, that also your fretting hand will have an influence on sound (string pressure).
If you replace just one element, the sound will change.
The good thing here is that this is 100% measurable by recording the guitar. So everyone at home with a mid-class microphone can start noticing the differences. Of course, then, the microphone and audio interface will play a role on tone too!
Now you know what to “adjust” to allow you to make the same guitar passages sound differently.
Go again through the complete sound chain. From all the mentioned elements, guitar picks have three main advantages when your goal is changing the tone:
Sure, using another guitar or replacing one of your pedals will have a much higher impact on tone! Nevertheless, something as simple as using another guitar pick can create appreciable differences that you will hear and enjoy.
Guitar picks can be reduced to 4 main qualities: Material, Thickness, Shape, and Size.
These qualities define the “personality” of the guitar picks to at least 80% and they affect how guitar strings vibrate. In consequence, the different guitar string vibration patterns are different.
Some materials like Nylon produce warmer, mellower tones. Others like Tortex, create brighter sounds.
The material can also influence grip and flexibility.
Pointy guitar picks have more attack and produce brighter tones. Rounded guitar picks are especially useful for soft release and warmer tones. In techniques like strumming, rounded picks will produce less pick noise.
Thin picks and some medium picks are very flexible. This quality can produce a very characteristic “snappy attack” that is not possible with very thick picks.
Of course, everything is interconnected: Flexibility also depends on the material and shape! Thickness affects grip and guitar pick noise too.
The larger the pick, the more “mass” it has. Picks with high mass will produce warmer, darker, and fuller tones. Small picks tend to be much less flexible and have a more aggressive attack.
As you can see, you have to consider all factors together. A Tortex pick is able to produce warm tones, it needs to have the right shape, thickness, and size. On the other hand, the same happens to Nylon picks: A very pointy medium-sized Nylon pick can produce brighter sounds than the average less pointy Tortex guitar pick.
Let’s compile three ideal examples:
An ideal guitar pick for thick, full, and dark overdrive or distortion sound could be made of Nylon. It should have a sharp tip for note control and at least 1.5 mm thickness. The larger the pick, the thicker and fuller the tone.
One specific example of this could be Jazz iii XL or Rombo Diamond. The last one uses variable thickness along its body to increase its total mass and create even fuller tones with high bass in the background.
Strumming is especially easy to perform when the tip of the guitar pick is rounded. To achieve even warmer tones the ideal strumming pick should have enough mass. The material Nylon, in combination with a medium thickness and the already mentioned rounded tip, will help reduce the pick noise.
Depending on your preferences you can use medium thickness or heavy thickness. The last one is more difficult to master but will reduce the pick noise substantially.
Clear and defined guitar tones are produced by pointy pick tips. Ideally, the surface of the tip is polished and has a beveled edge.
Most guitarists prefer small picks for these kinds of tones. Sweep picking, alternate picking, pinch harmonics, and other advanced lead guitar techniques are much easier to perform with such picks.
Depending on your preferences you can then choose different materials: Tortex will increase the attack and create very bright peaks, while Nylon will produce a fuller sound with more bass. Other materials (celluloid, carbon, wood,...) will behave differently.
Rombo Jade is the perfect candidate for speed, control, and attack.
Do picks change your guitar tone? Definitely yes!
Not only the tone is affected but other aspects like flexibility, grip, pick noise, attack, or control will be affected by the guitar pick too.
Sound changes will remain as a way of adding some color and dynamic to your music and guitar picks can help you here. With a very low budget and little time, you can experiment and add some fresh input to your daily guitar practice.
The most convenient way of trying many different guitar picks in just one session is by trying a variety pack containing many different guitar picks. Here you can find ours!
27. March 2022 4 Comments
One of the most valuable skills when it comes to guitar playing is versatility.
Versatility allows you to adapt to different environments and enriches your playing, making a difference in the final result.
Music is about staying dynamic and monotony kills dynamic. Therefore, the most logical step for you as a guitarist is to expand your repertoire of guitar skills to keep that vital, engaging sound that makes music so joyful.
If you have decided to use a guitar pick for playing guitar, there are seven techniques that are a must.
They will take time to learn and master, but believe me, they make the difference.
If you have listened to the music of the last 70 years, you can probably recognize this guitar technique in most rock classic hits.
Tremolo is an Italian word which means “to shake” or “to tremble”.
In the context of guitar, it involves striking one (sometimes more than one) guitar string very fast with alternating strokes. Therefore, this technique is a form of alternate picking. Tremolo picking is very easy to learn but it requires strong discipline and practice to master.
Tremolo picking is essentially useful for any style of music and obviously a big part of the surf guitar sound (I’m a big fan of it!).
In guitar literature, sometimes the words tremolo and vibrato are reversed. This technique has nothing to do with a “tremolo bar” or a "tremolo effects box".
WHY IS TREMOLO PICKING IMPORTANT?
If one of your long-term goals in your guitar learning process is to increase speed, tremolo picking is a good place to start.
It is not only very fun but also can add new textures and some dynamics to your compositions. You would be surprised how well this technique fits even in metal or hardcore music.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH TREMOLO PICKING:
The surf rock version of the song “Misirlou”, from Dick Dale, is probably the greatest example of tremolo picking. The original one is a traditional song from the Eastern Mediterranean area dating back to 1927!
The version of Dick Dale got very popular after appearing in the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction in 1994.
BEST PICK FOR TREMOLO PICKING:
The most influential factors when choosing the best guitar pick for tremolo picking are thickness, material, and grip.
It’s important to have a snappy, responsive guitar pick. For this, medium picks with a medium/pointy tip are my recommendation.
However, there is no consensus in the guitar world for this. Many players have reported preferring thick, rigid picks.
In my case, I have found the best stability and speed using Rombo Origami. This pick can be described as: Flexible but still rigid enough for note control. Right amount of flexibility for a snappy fluid attack that's bright and crisp. The concave surface on the hold area ensures an ergonomic and comfortable hold.
Everyone’s hand is a little different in how they hold the pick and move. The best way to find out is to test different shapes and thicknesses, and then try them out
One very extended technique often performed in the rock, metal, and punk genres is pick slides or pick scrapes.
By holding the edge of the guitar pick against the guitar strings and moving it along the edge, the pick catches the strings’ windings, causing the strings to vibrate and produce a very pleasant textured noise.
Usually, guitar pick slides start near the bridge and end over the higher frets. However, there are countless variations of pick slides depending on the direction, the angle of the pick relative to the strings, and other variables.
Unfortunately, performing pick slides completely ruins the edges of the guitar pick, especially on thinner ones. This won’t directly affect the tone or control of the plectrum, but the damaged sides will develop some dents.
What makes a guitar pick durable? Find our here.
WHY ARE PICK SLIDES IMPORTANT?
Guitar pick slides are not the most relevant aspect of your playing. Nevertheless, a correctly performed slide in the right place will add so much to the moment.
The noisy textures produced by this technique are the perfect weapon of choice for songs using high distortion levels.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH PICK SLIDES:
The first use of the pick slide is attributed to Bo Diddley and can be heard in the opening of his song "Road Runner" from the 60s.
Today, some guitarists have taken this technique to a new level and have created signature variations. A shining example of pick slides from the last years is the metal band Gojira with their famous signature “Gojira-Scrape” that was created by accident and combines several guitar pick techniques
BEST PICK FOR PICK SLIDES:
If you are going to do pick slides frequently, then you need to consider two things:
Otherwise, your guitar picks will be inoperative after a couple of sessions. The dilemma is that most players get better noisy sounds with a medium guitar pick.
I have found a solution that works for me: medium-heavy picks that are large enough to scrape with higher areas of the pick that won’t touch the strings. From our picks, I prefer Rombo Horizon the most for pick slides. Also, the curvy edge creates different pressure on different strings and that’s nice.
Do you know any guitar player who does not like pinch harmonics? I do not either.
Pinch harmonics are created by the picking hand. Playing this technique produces high-pitched tones. This phenomenon occurs when you stop a part of the string vibrations in the right position and create a "node".
There is a simple way to test this; pick a note and apply a small pressure anywhere on the string such that the vibration doesn’t stop completely.
WHY ARE PINCH HARMONICS IMPORTANT?
Pinch harmonics are often related to high gain tones and metal music but they are a powerful tool to add dynamics and textures to any genre of music or type of guitar; electric or acoustic.
It is considered one of the most abstruse techniques for intermediate players. Common problems are pinch harmonics that aren't loud enough or additional noises that make the harmonics not sound clean enough.
Root causes of this problem can be:
the guitar player does not know the right places on the strings to play pinch harmonics
there is unwanted noise coming from unmuted strings
the pinch harmonic is produced isolated, without combining it with other techniques like vibrato.
Most guitar players (including me) played their first pinch harmonic accidentally.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH PINCH HARMONICS:
Guitarist Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top is considered the father of pinch harmonics. Not because he invented them, but because he brought them to the mainstream. Although he is a well-rounded guitarist with a focused skillset based on blues, he is best known for his pinch harmonics.
BEST PICK FOR PINCH HARMONICS:
There is no special pick to do pinch harmonics. The pinch harmonic is technically produced by the thumb of your picking hand.
However, this technique is widely used in lead guitar in combination with other advanced techniques that work especially well with thick, small guitar picks.
Therefore, although you can learn pinch harmonics using thin picks, I recommend using thick picks.
#If you want to learn more about the differences between thin and thick guitar picks read our article "Thick guitar picks vs thin guitar picks".
Palm mute is a very regular technique used by most guitarists. By placing the side of the picking hand on the strings close to the bridge and dampening the guitar strings (when necessary), the strings produce muted sounds.
You can control the dampening effect by moving your hand to a different position further from the bridge.
Although this technique isn't seen as a very difficult one, these are common mistakes that prevent players from learning it properly:
WHY IS PALM MUTE IMPORTANT?
As a guitarist or bassist, you are always on the lookout to make your music sound natural, creative, and exciting.
Palm-muting is a great skill for dynamic control exercises. This means you will automatically learn how to shape your sound using fluctuations in volume and intensity.
With this skill in your repertoire, your music will sound more vocal and dynamic.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH PALM MUTE:
This technique is very old. As old as the invention of the electric guitar (1936). Most classical players have been using it for centuries with all kinds of instruments.
Today, palm muting is widely used in heavy metal, thrash, speed, and death metal. It is often found in music that features distortion effects.
Is there any good song to practice palm muting for getting better at it? “Master of Puppets” from Metallica—it’s a masterclass in palm muting and down picking.
BEST PICK FOR PALM MUTE:
I recommend using a thick guitar pick for this. They provide high volume, a broader dynamic range, and more control over single notes (in case you use palm mute arpeggios). In addition, palm muting is a demanding technique that causes a lot of guitar pick wear. As you might know, thick guitar picks are more durable.
My favorite choice for this technique is Rombo Diamond.
Guitar pick strumming is a way of playing guitar. A strum is a sweeping action where a pick (or finger!) brushes over the guitar strings and generates sounds.
For most guitar players, this is the first technique they learned and the technique that caused most headaches as a beginner.
Learning how to strum correctly takes time and practice. Most beginners lack the necessary muscle memory it takes to play while remaining relaxed or having a good posture.
WHY IS PICK STRUMMING IMPORTANT?
In many ways, understanding this skill is essential for understanding guitar. Great strumming skills mean being a great rhythm guitarist. Therefore, this should be your number one goal as a beginner.
Learning chords is important, but they are just static shapes. The diversity of the hundreds (if not thousands) of strumming patterns available will inject musicality and rhythm into your playing.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH PICK STRUMMING:
“Bad moon rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, is a good place to start. It combines easy chords (D, A, G) with a very simple progression and a very catchy, bluesy melody.
BEST PICK FOR STRUMMING:
My best advice for beginners is to start with a very thin guitar pick. It can help to practice with something below 0.6 that’s nice and bendy. As you improve your skills, you can try with thicker picks, as they will add more bass to your tone.
For all the beginners out there, my best choice would be Rombo Classic.
However, if you are in the very beginning of your guitar journey, please read this article where I explain, why starting with medium guitar picks can be a better choice for you. "Medium Gauge Guitar Picks".
Downpicking or down-stroke picking is a very beloved guitar technique in which the player moves the guitar pick only in a downward motion. The tip of the pick does not brush the strings as the hand moves back to the original position for the next down-stroke.
It is one of the most underrated skills on guitar and although performing this technique might seem easy, the required endurance for long passages with fast tempo is very often a problem even for advanced guitarists.
WHY IS DOWNPICKING IMPORTANT?
But first, why would you want to remove the upstrokes (alternate picking) and then increase the necessary effort for the same number of strokes? Why would you torture your wrist muscles in this way?
This technique is widely used in metal and punk guitar and the main reason is that when mastered, downpicking can make the guitar’s sound very powerful and rhythmic.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH DOWNPICKING:
Famous punk guitarist Johnny Ramone used this technique in the mid-70s in combination with fast tempo (180 to 200 bpm). The technique was very innovative at that time and influenced many current guitarists like James Hetfield who has been regarded as “the King of Downpicking”.
Many beginner guitarists start with songs from Ramones because of their simplicity in terms of chords and lack of tempo variations.
BEST PICK FOR DOWNPICKING:
For downpicking, there is a basic rule: the more mass the guitar pick has, the thicker and more aggressive the sound.
Therefore, a thick, large guitar pick with a pointy tip will be the loudest and most rhythmic one.
I recommend Rombo Diamond.
The interesting thing about hybrid picking is the fact that the player uses a plectrum as well as one or more fingers. This can be done alternately or simultaneously.
Typical styles for this technique are rockabilly guitar, country and bluegrass, and more classical passages with acoustic or classical guitar.
Hybrid picking can be very hard if you are a beginner. Before you think of learning this technique, you will have to learn how to play with your fingers and with a guitar pick. This is a requirement you cannot avoid.
WHY IS HYBRID PICKING IMPORTANT:
Three major arguments should convince you to learn hybrid picking:
The pick is generally used to play bass notes with a longer duration and very noticeable timbral differences caused by variations in the vibration of the strings. Therefore, your playing will sound more interesting combining pick and fingers.
Hybrid picking allows you to pick two to four strings simultaneously. This makes it very different from strumming and gives an approach much more similar to piano techniques.
Managing this technique, you will be able to change between fingerstyle playing and guitar pick playing within the same song or passage.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH HYBRID PICKING:
Hybrid picking was popularized by guitarists like Steve Howe some decades ago. Most players that learn this technique today start with a more classical approach.
A great song to start with this technique is “Amy” by Tommy Emmanuel. However, the complexity of the chords makes this song only possible to play for intermediate and advanced players.
BEST PICK FOR HYBRID PICKING:
There is no such thing as a “good” or “bad” pick for hybrid picking. You can use the pick you think fits the best for the song you are playing.
Because this technique is widely used by rhythm guitarists, there is a consensus that picks around 1 mm will perform well. However, it is up to you to try and decide which one is best for every passage.
Discover more about guitar pick thickness here.
For some reason, sweep picking is the trend. Every guitar forum gets new threads with this topic week after week. Perhaps it’s due to the high speed and visually nice arpeggios that make the guitar produce cyclical sound patterns and put us in a status of trance.
This technique describes the action of playing single notes on consecutive strings using the same motion, either all down-strokes or all upstrokes.
Sweep picking has been recognized as a difficult technique. It is more for advanced players and it can take years to master it.
WHY IS SWEEP PICKING IMPORTANT?
Sweep picking is used by guitarists to play arpeggios at high speed. The phrasing sounds produced by this technique sounds typical of other instruments like the piano.
Although sweep picking is a very important technique for building speed and fluency on string instruments, my advice would be to not learn this technique unless you have mastered other techniques that can give you more versatility.
Sure, it is ok to use sweep picking occasionally but that is not what you are going to play most of the time. In my opinion, a lot of bands overuse this technique. Therefore, you should reflect if the time needed to correctly learn sweep picking could be used for other more relevant skills.
A FAMOUS SONG WITH SWEEP PICKING:
Although often regarded as a “modern guitar technique”, pick sweeping has been around since the 50s. The technique was first used and developed by jazz guitarists.
Today, it is commonly used in metal but many students start with the song “Give Me the Night” by George Benson. Practicing sweep picking with clean tones can help you develop a more accurate technique.
BEST PICK FOR SWEEP PICKING:
What qualities are you looking for in a pick to perform sweep picking? Small and easy to handle, good maneuverability and stability, and good string separation. This means: Thick, pointy guitar picks like Jade or Horizon.
However, I have a bonus for you: We have received some E-Mails from professional guitarists using Rombo Prisma for their sweeping techniques, a pick that wasn’t developed for this. However, its sharp tip, combined with a very large, beveled edge, and the total “mass” of the pick (variable thickness), makes this pick a great candidate for bright tonal sweep picking solos.
08. May 2021 32 Comments
We all know how complex guitar picks can be. Qualities such as pick thickness, material, shape, and size define the character of a pick.
We want to help you solve one of the most difficult tasks every guitar player faces: how to choose the right guitar pick.
Guitar picks are the bridge between you and your instrument, a hidden hero in the hands of most guitarists, and the loudest amplifier in your hands. If you have a better definition, we'd love to hear it!
A guitar pick is a very personal item, and selecting the best one for you is dependent on a number of factors. There is no such thing as a perfect pick, but each pick serves a specific purpose, has strengths and weaknesses, and performs differently when used with different techniques or instruments.
The right guitar pick for you will be the pick that makes you feel most comfortable with your playing style and will meet your needs in terms of tone and control.
The right guitar pick can make you feel like a guitar hero. You just have to find it!
Guitar picks have many advantages over finger picking.
They help speed up your playing, produce a louder, brighter sound than fingers, and can be shaped to achieve better results when using different techniques like strumming, palm muting, pinch harmonics, and more.
Furthermore, certain types of guitar picks can easily change the tone. This allows you to experiment with different tones until you find the one that works for you.
There is a simple and fast way to make your guitar sound different: try another guitar pick.
The guitar pick affects not only tone but also volume, flexibility, and grip.
You will feel different grades of control and comfort depending on the guitar pick. Every pick is unique and will perform differently depending on your guitar-playing techniques, the type of guitar and type of strings, and your level of expertise.
In order to choose the right plectrum, you must understand some basic concepts.
The following are the most important attributes when it comes to guitar picks:
These characteristics define 80% of how a guitar pick will feel and perform and are the best points from which to start.
The thickness of your pick is measured in millimeters and mainly affects the tone and the flexibility.
A minimal change in the thickness of a guitar pick of only 0.2 millimeters (equal to two sheets of paper) is enough to change its properties drastically.
For most guitar players, this is considered the most important characteristic when choosing the right guitar pick, and this is the first information you will find on a product page when purchasing picks online.
Properties and techniques
● Trebbly tone
● Low dynamic range. Maximum volume is limited
● Noticeable pick noise
● Low durability
● Less control over single notes
● Flexible or stiff (depending on the material)
● Warmer tones than light picks
● Can provide high volume with the usage of hard materials
● Reduced pick noise
● More durability than thin picks
● Versatile in terms of technique and control
over 1 mm
● Warm and dark tones
● High volume and broader dynamic range
● Reduced pick noise
● More durable
● High control of single notes
Keep in mind these properties are categorized in a general way, and most of the properties will depend on aspects like material and shape.
Thin guitar picks are thinner than 0.55 mm. How did we come to this number? We performed a large survey in March 2021, which you can find here.
This type of pick is usually good for rhythm guitar but not great for lead guitar because of the lack of control when playing single notes. These picks tend to fold when plucking the strings due to their flexibility, and the maximum volume is limited as a result. This can be an advantage because it works like an analog limiter. These picks always provide a fluid sound (even if your arm does not follow).
Most beginner guitar players use thin picks because their skill set at the start is limited to strumming. However, we have discussed why medium guitar picks are actually better for beginner guitar players here.
Medium gauge guitar picks have a thickness of between 0.55 and 1 mm.
These are the most versatile guitar picks and are perfect for solo guitarists who use different techniques in the same songs (e.g., strumming, solo, palm mute).
They combine comfort, precision, rhythm, and speed of play and have the advantages of both thin and heavy thickness.
This thickness range on plectrums is the most complex of all and deserves a separate article (which you can find here).
Thick picks are over 1 mm. Since there is no limit to thickness, some players like to use “extra thick” picks, which are over 3 mm thick.
Thick picks give the guitar player more control over volume and attack on the strings. They are the favorite amongst advanced guitarists.
Advanced guitarists choose this thickness because they require precision for their high-level playing and solo parts. Game speed is guaranteed!
Because they are thicker, heavy picks produce more mellow and dark tones. A bevel edge can be created (more on this below).
Guitar picks can be made out of anything: metal, wood, plastic, and fabric. In the past, some exotic materials like bone were used to produce guitar picks.
The technological wave that came with highly specialized polymers created a new era of materials with amazing properties. Generally, the following are the main properties that a good material should have:
In addition to thickness, the material of the guitar pick will have a substantial influence on the tone, the flexibility or stiffness, the durability, and the grip.
The most common guitar pick materials are Nylon, Delrin and Celluloid. Other materials found nowadays are leather, rubber or fabric (especially for Ukuleles).
At Rombo, we decided to adapt the properties of common Nylon by changing its formula. We were able to keep the tonal properties of Nylon and improve its durability and grip. We believe we have achieved an excellent balance of sound, comfort, aesthetic properties, and durability.
Our guitar pick material is manufactured in Italy, and we discussed its properties here.
This is the first quality you’ll notice when using a pick for the first time.
Due to the high number of guitar pick makers online nowadays, there is a virtually infinite number of pick shapes. However, there are some classical shapes that need to be mentioned. Here are the four most common guitar pick shapes:
The most popular pick shape is the standard shape. Nearly every brand offers a pick in this shape and in different sizes.
They are a good starting point for beginners because of their size and their tip. The tip is neither too round nor too sharp. This means they are an all-rounder pick that can be used for almost every technique.
Nevertheless, there are some variations of this shape that include a very pointy tip and, of course, after the pick wears down, it will get a rounded tip. You can read more on durability here.
A good example of this pick is Rombo Origami.
If you are looking for precision, this may be your best choice. There are many variations of teardrop picks, but all of them have the same goal: to allow the player to get closer to the strings, providing better feedback and control.
Because of their small size, they require a certain level of control and can therefore only be used if the guitar player has learnt how to use them properly.
A good example of this pick is Rombo Jade.
Ironically, jazz-shaped guitar picks are most often used by players who love rock and metal.
These picks have gained popularity over the years. Unlike standard picks, which are designed to be versatile, jazz picks are designed to achieve two things: speed and precision.
Jazz picks typically have heavier gauges with a significant beveled edge and sharper tips. There are many different sizes, from very small (the most common type) to Jazz XL, like Rombo Diamond.
Nearly every triangle-shaped pick is an equilateral triangle (60° tip and all sizes with the same length). These picks are very popular among bass players and are usually larger than the average picks.
The practical side of this pick is that the player can play with all three corners.
A good example of a triangular pick is Rombo Prisma.
Sometimes each corner of these picks has a different thickness. We do not recommend this. You want to avoid external factors that can cause mistakes when playing guitar. Varied thickness on a pick will lead to complications.
Thе shape of the guitar pick tip іѕ one factor that рlауеrѕ оftеn оvеrlооk. Mоѕt реорlе focus on the shape and thickness and won’t think about the sharpness of the tip.
The shape of the guitar pick tip has a huge impact on the tone.
Bright tones are achieved using a pointed tip, while warm and less defined tones are produced by guitar picks with a rounded tip.
This is the main reason why guitar tones can change as picks wear down.
Tip: A beveled edge on the tip with rounded edges can promote smoother string friction, resulting in more efficient strokes and speed. More on this topic below.
The size of the pick is the most important factor when considering comfort. Because no two people are alike, this is a very personal choice. Besides, this point is strictly connected to the shape of the guitar pick.
You may find small picks make it easier to shred and play with speed. Your fingers are closer to the strings, so you feel what you are playing more. The downside to these picks is that they can be dropped easily because their total surface is smaller.
You may also discover that larger picks are easier to hold and feel more comfortable in your hand. They can provide better grip, since there is more surface in contact with your fingers. However, they can add a lot of bass to your tone because of the larger material volume.
Experiment with different sizes to determine what is most convenient for you.
Usually, the size varies between 15 and 40 mm in height.
Thickness, material, tip and body shape, and size make up 80% of a guitar pick.
However, the remaining 20% can make the playing experience much more comfortable, giving you better results and a more enjoyable experience.
The following aspects are essential to consider for those players who want to get the most out of this guitar accessory:
The grip a guitar pick offers is created by the material, the shape, the size, and the surface texture.
This is one of the most debatable aspects of guitar picks because it is quite subjective. While some players want a comfortable pick with no aggressive textures, others require the maximum possible grip to feel secure.
External aspects like sweaty hands will also directly influence grip. (If your hands sweat while playing the guitar, you can avoid this problem by following simple steps here.)
In our case, we tried to find a balance of comfort, tone, grip and durability. When designing our grip, we considered material and texture. We developed the hold area of our picks using variable thickness and 3D geometries.
If you want to go deeper on this topic, read our article entitled “Understanding Guitar Pick Grip: Essentials”
A bevel edge can be created if your guitar pick is thick enough. This means more speed and therefore more fun!
Beveled-edge guitar picks are the best option for guitar players who want to use thick, pointy tips that also produce warm, fluid tones.
Using guitar picks with beveled edges may feel strange at the beginning. The pick feels different: it slides differently, and the feedback you receive from it is different. However, after some practice, you will begin to notice that some techniques are in fact much easier.
We published an article called “The Guitar Pick: Bevel, Tip and Shape,” which discusses the relationship between these attributes.
Guitar pick thickness is important. What are the advantages of using a pick with variable thickness? Actually, there are quite a few.
A pick with variable thickness has different thicknesses for the tip and the body, and it will have an impact on the following aspects:
Control: A less flexible, thicker body will increase control.
Tone: The pick’s extra mass will produce more bass tones and therefore will have more presence.
Versatility: Since the pick is thinner than the body, more adequate techniques for thinner picks can be used with the control thick guitar picks offer.
Grip: The thicker hold area will allow the designers to create 3D geometries that enhance the grip without aggressive grip textures.
A good example of such a pick is Rombo Diamond. Its tip is 1.35 mm, whereas some areas of its body go up to 2.65 mm thick. The tilted surfaces act as a support for your fingertips.
Adding textures on the tip of the pick can slightly change the tone and sound.
The surface of the guitar pick tip can be:
We decided to implement the high mirror polished tip in our picks because of the advantages it provides in terms of noise, tone, and durability.
A guitar pick with a polished tip causes less friction between the strings and the pick, and this is the reason the pick noise is reduced and the pick lasts longer.
Durability is affected by a number of aspects, such as pick material, shape, thickness, and the gauge of your guitar strings.
Durable guitar picks are perfect for players that use aggressive techniques like shredding. I have heard of some guitar players whose pick is gone after just a few hours!
If you are a regular player using common guitar pick techniques with less than two hours of practice a day, this is not something you need to worry about.
Creating long-lasting guitar picks was one of our goals when we began making picks, and we achieved this by using an improved version of Nylon.
A point that sometimes is forgotten is that the tone of your guitar will change as guitar picks wear down. The relationship between tone, durability and wear is described in depth here.
Medium-gauge guitar picks (thicknesses between 0.55 and 1 mm) are best for beginners, despite people telling you to use thin picks.
You are at the beginning of your journey, so your tastes, preferences, or guitar types may change.
A medium guitar pick will give you the versatility you need at the beginning and will allow you to change to thin or thick picks more easily.
In our article “Medium Gauge Guitar Picks,” you can find more details about these picks and decide if they fit your profile.
Another good option is a variety pack, which contains guitar picks with different attributes. This is a good way to test several picks and track your development as you start increasing your skill for each one.
Through perseverance, patience and discipline, you have reached a guitar skill level many people dream of. Congratulations!
The guitar-learning process is a journey, and your gear choices will influence it substantially. Guitar gear won’t make you a better guitar player, but it will add more fun, more creativity, and more knowledge to the learning process.
We can’t say this often enough: Every guitar player should have at least three favorite guitar picks and, most important, know why.
As an experienced player, you probably have many different skill areas that require different gear. For example, some phrases of a song might require warm single note tones, while other songs require bright tones and lots of volume.
If every song has different requirements, why always use the same guitar pick?
We know how complex these guitar picks are.
If you are still having trouble choosing the right guitar pick, send us an email using our contact form and answer the seven questions below, and we will send you a personalized suggestion. We try to answer every email in less than 72 hours.
- Do you play electric guitar, acoustic guitar, or bass?
- What music genre do you play?
- Are you a lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, or both?
- Are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced player?
- If you are an advanced player, what are your favorite techniques?
- Do you prefer bright or warm tones?
- Do you prefer flexible or rigid picks?
If you are a practical person, you can try by yourself and make your own judgement by getting a variety pack containing picks with varying thicknesses, shapes and sizes.
There are thousands of different guitar picks and even more types of guitar players. The possible combinations are infinite, and that’s what makes music so beautiful.
Not only is the harmony theory important for a song to be wonderful, but so is the way it is played and the way it sounds.
Here is the secret: there isn’t a right guitar pick for you. There are hundreds of them that could change your playing in a way you couldn’t imagine, so go discover them!
I wish you the best in the endless journey of experimenting with your guitar.
13. March 2021 3 Comments
Thin guitar picks vs. thick guitar picks. This eternal battle has been a part of every guitarist's conversation for decades. It is time to finally evaluate both alternatives in depth.
The thickness of a guitar pick is generally measured in millimeters, and it is an attribute that influences many physical aspects like tone and flexibility. For most players, this is considered the most important attribute when choosing the right guitar pick.
However, after doing some online research, nobody seemed to really know how thick a guitar pick needs to be to be considered as a thick or heavy guitar pick. Where is the line?
Therefore, the first thing we did was to create a big online survey on our Instagram guitar community.
The survey we created was online for 24 hours on an Instagram story and the participants were asked to answer two simple questions.
This question was the first one, and its aim was to see if guitar players prefer thick or thin guitar picks. Here are the results:
It seems that over two thirds of the guitar players prefer guitar picks considered as thick. Honestly, I thought there would be a 50-50 relation and this surprised me a lot.
This was the second question, and the guitar players could select different thicknesses they considered to be the “least thickness needed for a guitar pick to be considered as thick or heavy”.
The results showed that on average, a pick must be at least about 1.0 mm to be considered as a thick guitar pick.
These results are very interesting, since the information we found during the research claimed that a pick is considered as “thick” or “heavy” if it surpasses 0.8 mm thickness. We did not find any study or survey with more participants than ours.
Of course, we have to consider that we do not have any way to track more specific characteristics of the participants like skill level, music preferences, guitar type, age, and so on.
Additional research on this topic showed that during the past decades, the average thickness of the guitar picks has increased substantially. Thin guitar picks are even considered as vintage by many players due to the tone they produce.
This is no surprise, given that most modern guitar techniques and effects that require thick picks (like shredding) were non-existent during the 1950s and 1960s.
The thickness of a guitar pick is one of the most influential attributes.
The guitar pick thickness influences:
A minimal change in the thickness of a guitar pick of only 0.2 millimeters (equal to two common paper sheets) is enough to change the properties of a guitar pick drastically.
Let's pretend there are no medium guitar picks and create a clear line that divides both thickness ranges, to make the differences between thick picks and thin picks more appreciable.
Thick / heavy guitar picks
Thin guitar picks
Warm/dark tones and mellow tones.
Lighter tones, less bass.
Provide high volume. Broader dynamic range
Maximum volume is limited. Lower dynamic range
Guitar pick noise
Reduced pick noise
Noticeable pick noise
High control of single notes
Less control for single notes
Lead guitar, shredding, sweep picking,...
Rhythm guitar, strumming, tremolo picking
Common type of players
Intermediate and advanced guitarists
Beginners, acoustic guitar players.
Thick guitar picks will provide mellower/darker tones. The common rounded edges that can be manufactured with thicknesses over 1 mm – combined with their rigidity – increase the bass tones and the volume these guitar picks can provide, while reducing the pick noise the pick produces.
These picks provide more control over single notes and are usually the best option for lead guitarists.
Most advanced guitarists prefer thick picks, because in their guitar journey they develop new guitar techniques that can be performed better using this kind of picks. Thick plectrums provide more control when it comes to single notes and complex guitar pick techniques like pinch harmonics.
One of the biggest advantages of using heavy picks is the durability they provide. Nevertheless, the lifetime of a guitar pick is influenced by many other aspects, as we learnt in the article “Durability of a guitar pick”.
Thin picks are the best option for guitarists looking for brighter tones, especially using acoustic guitars and some strumming techniques on electric guitar.
The flexibility of these picks limits the maximum volume that can be achieved. This can be an advantage because it works like an analog limiter. This is especially helpful in a studio session, where the maximum volume achieved must be controlled.
Most beginner guitar players start using thin picks because their guitar skill set at the beginning includes guitar techniques like strumming.
Note control can be difficult with thin guitar picks. However, some players use this attribute for specific guitar techniques, like in surf music, where a super fast tremolo picking is required.
Rombo Jade is the perfect example of a thick guitar pick. Thanks to its thickness, a very large bevel edge could be implemented to be as sharp as possible, providing the precision needed when using these kinds of picks.
The size is small, a typical attribute of thick guitar picks, and its shape ends with a very pointy guitar pick tip for maximum attack.
Rombo Classic is the thinnest Rombo guitar pick. In the middle, it is only 0.38 mm.
This guitar pick is extremely flexible and has a medium/large size with a standard 5 mm diameter guitar pick tip.
In spite of its thickness, the dynamic range of the pick is great. This is caused by the material used in our picks.
I am sure you already have an idea of your favorite guitar pick thickness. In case you don’t, it is probably because you are at the beginning of your guitar journey.
Is there a wrong guitar pick thickness to play guitar? Any pick you use to get sound out of your guitar can work, if the sound produced is the sound you are looking for. It is entirely a matter of personal preference.
If you are a beginner guitar player, I recommend you start with something like 0.75 mm, as I described here: "Guitar Picks for Beginners"
However, if you are an intermediate player trying to find a way to discover new guitar tones, I do not have better advice than to tell you to try many different thicknesses and start integrating other important aspects of the guitar pick in your decision, like materials, size, shape, etc...
The good news is, you will probably end up having 3 to 5 favorite guitar picks which you can use for different techniques. So, enjoy the journey and be open to experimenting with different tones and textures with your guitar!
For this chapter I included the new guitar picks, which will be officially released during 2021.
As you can see on the thickness scale, there are still some slots missing (for example something like 0.6 mm), we will be filling them in the future, as we design new guitar picks.
However, we might repeat thicknesses if other aspects change a lot, for example the shape, the sharpness of the tip, the size of the pick, or other grip textures.
Another important factor to consider is that some picks do not have constant thickness along its design. But why?
As we did our research back in 2018, we found out that designing guitar picks with variable thickness comes with many advantages.
Let's take Rombo Origami as an example: The guitar pick tip is 0.75, but its hold area is thicker. This simple change makes the pick produce darker and mellower tones without losing much of its flexibility.
In the case of Rombo Diamond, the middle area (where all vertices collide) the thickness goes up to 2.65 mm. We increased this area after experiencing that the relation between the thicknesses along the guitar pick also increases the control over the pick for single notes.
In addition, with more thickness on a given material, you have more possibilities to introduce design elements, like the 3D geometries we use in our picks. These geometries have two positive effects: on one side, they enhance the grip of the pick because of the tilted surfaces, and on the other side, the guitar picks look very cool!
In short, variable thickness will make your picks more versatile and give you extra control.
Thick picks vs. thin picks will remain a hot, trendy topic in the guitar community.
However, if you are already an intermediate player with some knowledge about equally important aspects of a guitar pick like shape or material, spread the word to avoid confusion among the newcomers.
We have already discussed the huge variety of different guitar picks you can find online in our article “Guitar picks online” since this can be overwhelming for some beginners.
The best advice I can give you: love both thin and thick picks and try to understand why they are different. Both need to exist in a world where creativity and different tones and styles are needed!
Now it’s your turn, what is your favorite guitar pick thickness?
16. February 2021 1 Comment
The grip of a guitar pick is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to guitars.
Different materials or shapes of guitar picks make this topic as interesting as confusing to many guitar players.
Everyone is different and everyone plays differently. However, we (guitarists) have the same goal in this area: have a decent guitar pick grip and play as comfortably as possible.
Grip is defined as “a firm strong hold”.
The grip of a guitar pick should be good enough to avoid the slipping of the pick, the turning of the pick, or (worst case!) the dropping of the pick. In addition, it should be able to give you enough flexibility and freedom to change the position of the pick when needed.
The grip is mainly caused by the material and the texture of the surface. Nevertheless, there are other aspects like overall size or 3D geometries that can substantially increase how firmly a guitar pick can be held.
Guitar picks with a high grip can help to keep your pick from slipping. These guitar picks “stick” to your fingers even when you play aggressive guitar techniques.
They are also known for providing a feeling of secure hold and control. Your hand will need less tension to hold the pick and this will help to relax your muscles.
We have already discussed how important it is to have relaxed muscles when practicing guitar in our article “7 easy warm ups every guitar player should know”.
The biggest advantage is their usage in live performances, where control and security is essential to play correctly every chord. However, they can still drop and get (instantly) lost. Therefore we suggest having a couple of extra picks with quick access somewhere on the stage or to use a Guitar Pick Holder.
Although guitar picks with high grip feel very secure, this feature often comes with some disadvantages. The aggressive grip surface can feel uncomfortable or even damage your skin. This is a common problem for professional guitarists training over 2 hours a day.
The high grip sticks to the fingers and this eliminates some of the freedom you have when moving your pick on purpose, for example when you change its position to execute pick slides or harmonic pinches.
Depending on the type of guitar you play, your music style and techniques, or how sweaty your hands are when you play the guitar, you will need a different type of grip texture.
These are the most common grip textures on guitar picks:
Maximum grip. Very aggressive texture. Can be uncomfortable for long playing sessions.
High grip. Aggressive texture. Can feel uncomfortable for long playing sessions.
Medium grip. Comfortable texture and adequate for long playing sessions.
More information about this grip texture can be found here.
Medium grip. Sometimes uncomfortable when holding the pick very tight.
Some players use tape or make scratches on the pick surface to create a custom experience.
As mentioned before, not only material and textures can create grip on guitar picks. There are two factors that are usually unknown and can be very helpful to increase the grip.
3D geometries are an underestimated way to increase grip on guitar picks. The concave and convex surfaces will create a very defined position of the guitar pick and avoid the turning of the pick without the drawbacks of aggressive textures.
In addition, correctly tilted surfaces will use your fingers as support or pivots when moving the pick on purpose.
At Rombo, we believe this is the future of guitar picks and we are increasing our efforts in this area.
One very visible example of this is Rombo Crisp.
The shape and size of a guitar pick are essential to increase the grip. The larger the surface, the more contact it will have with your fingers, and therefore the more friction it will create.
The best example for this are bass players that use picks. The strings of the bass are very thick and with every impact, the pick must be held very firmly. Most bass players use big sized triangle picks or teardrop picks with enough surface on the body.
This is an external factor and not intrinsically dependent on the guitar pick. However, I decided to include it because of the number of players having trouble with this issue and not being aware of it.
If you feel you cannot hold the guitar pick firmly and some techniques make the pick slip or drop, you should question how you hold a guitar pick before you question the grip provided by the pick.
For these people, we created an article called “How to hold a guitar pick”, which can be found here.
The absolute guitar pick grip of our picks is determined by four factors:
The combination of these factors creates a medium-high grip, which is still comfortable enough for long playing sessions and adequate for live performances.
When developing the grip, our focus was to create a type of grip which allows the player to keep enough flexibility and freedom, as well as providing a high feeling of security and control.
With the material, we made no compromises and chose a very improved version of nylon manufactured in Italy. We have discussed its properties here.
It is up to you to find a balance between comfort and grip. Some players prefer non-sticky guitar picks, others need the maximum grip available.
Depending on your playing style, your hours of practice, and the environment (solo, studio, live, ...), you might need different guitar pick grips for different occasions.
Personally, I put comfort at the top of my priorities when it comes to guitar playing. Once I get used to a guitar pick, the grip is a secondary aspect to take into account. If I choose a comfortable holding I can put my attention on other aspects like tone or attack.
There are many different levels of guitar pick grip depending on the material, the textures, the size, and other secondary aspects.
The greatest guitar players use different picks for different occasions or instruments, and we recommend having at least 3 favorite guitar picks to vary things like tone, attack, grip or flexibility, and become a more versatile guitar player with the ability to adapt yourself to different environments.
Choosing the right guitar pick grip is a journey every guitar player will experience. I hope you enjoy the journey and try lots of different and interesting types of guitar picks!
31. January 2021 4 Comments
Sweaty palms or sweaty hands are one of the most common issues guitar players suffer from.
Playing with wet hands makes it difficult to play and some techniques like bends and slides can get a bit tricky.
Not only will your playing be affected by sweat, but also your guitar: the salts contained in the sweat will erode your strings and can even damage the neck of your guitar.
If you experience this problem often, you will know the feeling of reduced grip, imprecise movements, and lack of control when playing guitar. This can lead to frustrating moments and, in the worst case, to stop playing the guitar forever.
Nevertheless, we have two good news for you:
You are not alone: sweaty hands is a problem that affects almost 10% of guitarists.
Sweaty hands won’t prevent you from becoming an excellent guitarist. There are many solutions.
We have done our job and talked to many experts to summarize the top 10 ways to avoid sweaty hands when playing guitar.
The most common reason for sweating while playing guitar is being too nervous. Especially in live performances or during studio recording sessions.
At home, you are in a controlled environment and you can reduce the tension of your body more easily, you can take your time and start again from the beginning when making errors.
Some guitar students have reported having sweaty hands only during their guitar lessons or rehearsals.
If this is your case, take a couple of deep breaths and warm up before you play guitar. Try to learn how to control this situation and understand that it is only mental. Good luck with it!
In combination with the first tip, washing your hands with cold water and soap before playing guitar can work very well.
Soap removes dead skin cells and carries away oils and dirt so you will be protecting your guitar from dirt, especially your guitar strings.
Even in the warmest months, looking for a dry place to play guitar can help a lot when it comes to sweat.
One way to reduce the humidity of the air is by using air conditioning. Other alternative ways to keep a room dry is growing plants that absorb humidity or using a dehumidifier.
Using a fan that points to your guitar will help evaporate your sweat and keep your hands cooler, making them sweat less.
The biggest downside of this solution is the noise created by the fan. Especially if you are playing at home and want to relax, the noise of a fan can be annoying even when playing electric guitar.
The same way you tune your guitar between songs, you should dry your hands as well and wipe the strings down after every song and after playing.
Sweat is a guitar string killer, and some people have very acidic sweat that will damage the guitar and strings even faster.
Keep a towel on your guitar case, and after a couple of sessions you won’t even notice you are drying your hands.
Baby powder, also known as talcum powder, is a great home remedy for sweaty hands when playing guitar. It’s simple, fast, and effective.
Many great guitarists have used this method over decades and even carried a small bottle of talcum powder for every gig.
To be confident in your guitar playing, you need to be sure that your sweaty hands are perfectly taken care of and stay dry.
If the talcum powder did not work you might consider looking for professional climbing chalk.
Staying hydrated not only will help you manage your body temperature and make you sweat less, but also have a healthier sweat. What do I mean by this?
When your body is dehydrated, there will be an increase in the concentration of sodium in sweat which is indicated by a higher pH value.
Acidic sweat is very sticky and uncomfortable to play with, and it will damage your guitar and corrode your strings even faster.
Guitar necks are made out of many different wood types and wood finishes, for example varnished or bare wood.
Bring your guitar to a luthier and talk about the problem with your hands. He will recommend the best finish for your type of skin and playing style and you will increase the chance of finding a practical solution.
Everybody’s hands sweat. If you have tested many methods to reduce sweat while playing guitar and this is taking away your enjoyment or affecting your technique, you should visit a dermatologist and check if you suffer from hyperhidrosis, a medical condition that affects 2.8% of the global population.
They work every day with such problems and will know what to do so you can play guitar again without any worries.
Sometimes the best place to start is with a Variety Pack containing different guitar picks.
You are not alone. Talk to other guitarists, share your solutions with them and help each other. The guitarist’s learning path is a path full of obstacles and sweaty hands is just one of them.
Talk to your guitar teacher and let him or her know about your problem. Likely, we will also have had some other students with the same problem.
Please let us know if you have found an even better method to prevent your hands from sweating when playing guitar, so we can include it in this article. Thanks!
02. January 2021 4 Comments
In our first campaign, we focused on outstanding technology at affordable prices. We are now determined to take this to the next level and have designed our guitar picks as an extension to your hands, using the latest technology, materials, and smart models, with your comfort in mind.
We are now focusing on YOU, and your experience, using a fresh design.
Guitar picks are the bridge between you and your instrument. A hidden hero in the hands of guitarists. A guitar pick is a very personal item and choosing the right one depends on several factors.
Back in 2018, ROMBO was born with a mission: Question every aspect of a guitar pick, to redefine what the user really needs. We started our personal search for the perfect balance between tone and ergonomics.
We have learned a lot during the last 3 years, and finally, we are ready to offer new experiences to guitar and bass players around the globe.
Rombo Crisp Guitar Pick Set in color Graphite Black
Try Out Mix Guitar Pick Set
During the creation of these new 4 plectrums, we used the following rules as a guideline:
● Work very closely with many professional guitarists.
● Question our own first designs
● Redefine what a user needs to get the best performance.
● Perform in-depth research, to find the best material improvements.
In addition, we conducted a big survey, (1552 guitarists from 31 countries participated), to define the thicknesses, shape, size, and even the names of the new guitar picks.
After a long product development process, we have reached the point where we are extremely happy with the results!
Rombo Horizon Guitar Pick in color Graphite Black
We are using a thermoplastic polymer, which belongs to the family of the polyamides. This material is used in aerospace and automobile industries, and has high mechanical strength, excellent impact resistance (guitar strings), and superior aesthetic properties.
We believe we have achieved an excellent balance between sound, comfort, grip, aesthetic properties, and durability.
In addition, we offer all our picks in EcoBlack: A 100% recycled material from pre-consumer fibre waste.
Rombo Guitar Pick Set EcoBlack material
When it comes to guitar picks there are four main attributes: thickness, shape, material, and size. These attributes define 80% percent of a guitar pick.
However, the last 20%, contains improvements, and attention to detail, making the playing experience much more comfortable, giving you better results, and a more enjoyable playing experience.
These aspects are essential, to get the most out of this guitar accessory.
Here are the 6 features we have defined for all of our ROMBO guitar picks:
A mirror polished guitar pick reduces friction between guitar pick and strings. With every impact, the guitar pick will suffer less friction and therefore wear down slower. The pick will glide better, and produces less pick noise.
All of our picks have variable thicknesses: The solid and thick body, gives you a better grip and control. The thinner tip will give you enough flexibility to achieve greater versatility when developing different guitar techniques.
The attributes that define the durability of a guitar pick are as follows:
Harder materials will wear down slower. This is one of the reasons there has been a lot of research in the area of suitable materials for guitar picks.
The goal is to find a wear-resistant material, that keeps the tone characteristics that guitar players want, while still giving a good grip.
Other attributes of the pick that affect the durability, are the Tip Shape, and the Tip Texture. Very pointed guitar tips tend to wear down faster, because there is less material on the tip.
However, this problem can be partially solved with the right guitar pick tip texture. A polished tip on the guitar pick will cause less friction between strings and plectrum.
Textures on guitar picks, define not only the important aspects like grip, control, and friction between the strings and guitar pick, but also focus on the equally important details, like comfort, pick noise, and design.
We believe textures on guitar picks are essential for a tool that was designed to be held between your fingers.
The combination of two different surface finishes in the guitar picks, have convinced us, and our testers, of the potential gains a player can achieve:
Rombo Jade Guitar Pick Set in color Honey Yellow
Rombo Prisma Guitar Pick Set in color Graphite Black
Rombo Horizon Guitar Pick Set in mixed colors
Rombo Crisp Guitar Pick Set in color Honey Yellow
The wide curvature on the body and tip allows you to slide smoothly through the guitar strings. Its curious-shaped raised hill on the body ensures splendid comfortable hold.
A classic shape enhanced by modern surface technology. The geometry on the main body has different height levels for the most comfortable holding and grip.
Medium thickness combined with geometric concave design surfaces. The result? unexpected flexibility with great bass tones. Its medium-sharped tip provides extra warm tones.
Maximum precision. Perfect for shredding guitar techniques. Its wide bevel edge, combined with a decent body thickness, provides a supreme attack, without compromising bass tones.
25. October 2020 7 Comments
Guitar pick noise can’t be avoided completely. Especially while recording acoustic guitar, plectrums tend to create a lot of click and clack sounds and noises that can ruin your playing experience as well as your listeners’.
As you learn how to play the guitar better, you will reach a point where you want to focus on transmitting emotion, playing with impact, and enhanced dynamic control.
In order to master your guitar techniques, you must have total control of every sound produced by your guitar; intended and unintended.
Personally, I think pick noise is a part of the guitar playing, and I even enjoy some vintage recordings where the guitar pick noise seems to be present almost on purpose. However, for most of the occasions, you want to eliminate it.
We have summarized all the tips and tricks we think can help you reduce the noise when playing with a guitar pick. Enjoy it!
Guitar picks create noise when plucking your strings. Holding your guitar pick more loosely will help a lot, since your fingers absorb some of the energy when the pick hits the strings.
We have published an article called “How to hold a guitar pick”, which contains everything you need to know to master this trick.
If you are recording your tracks, one thing that can help is to add some more volume to your instrument in relation to the others. This is a common method used in studios that helps the guitar players to relax.
Whether you are planning a studio session, a jam with your friends, or some solo relax sessions at home, a conscious warm-up before playing guitar is mandatory.
The angle of the guitar pick in relation to the strings is the most discussed element when it comes to guitar pick noise.
Basically, the less pick is in contact with your guitar strings, the less noise it produces. Angle the pick slightly to the strings.
Try different angles when plucking your string. This will require a conscious adjustment from your side, but once mastered will allow you to vary the attack of the pick more easily.
Depending on the guitar pick you are using, the music style and guitar techniques you use, and your skill level, you will need a different attack angle, so focus 30 minutes on trying to find the best one for you and get used to playing this way.
Sometimes you are playing and the flow starts, you mentally leave the room and enter “the zone”, that beautiful place where you sound better than usual.
We get so much into the music, that we just naturally pick harder.
Excessive picking force is one of the most common causes of guitar pick noise. In addition, it can choke out the sustain and cause the notes you are playing to decay in a much less natural way.
The material of the guitar picks not only affects the tone, but also the noise the plectrum creates.
Nylon is considered to be one of the least noisy formulas when it comes to industrial materials used for guitar picks.
This is due to the toughness of this compound, which thanks to its mechanical properties, is able to absorb heavy impacts efficiently.
At Rombo, we are using a modified version of nylon, which adds some extra durability and prolongs the lifespan of the guitar picks. This was necessary since nylon guitar picks wear down very quickly. You can learn more about the materials here.
If you are not sure if you are using the right guitar pick, a good option is a variety pack, which contains guitar picks with different attributes. This is a good way to test several picks and track your development as you start increasing your skill for each one.
As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that heavier picks will be less noisy, which sounds kind of contradictory. But, why is that?
Using very thin picks in combination with fast-playing, like strumming, will cause the picks to bend as they leave the guitar strings, creating a kind of click noise. This happens especially when playing acoustic guitar, since the body of the guitar will act as an amplifier for that sound.
Heavier picks will let each string make its own noise without much unwanted accompaniment.
The variable thickness, included in all our guitar picks, not only improves the control but also reduces the noise. The body of the plectrum is thicker and stiff, while the tip is thinner and more flexible. With this feature, the overall flexibility of the tip is reduced while conserving its original thickness and material. This means more control and less noise.
Thick vs. thin guitar picks. In this article, we discuss all the aspects that make a difference.
Guitar picks with a beveled edge will slide better and cause less noise. In combination with the angle of attack we already mentioned, they can help you reduce the pick noise a lot.
Also, the shape and size of the pick are important, but this is more a matter of preference.
We have frequently discussed the impact a polished tip has on the tone and durability of a guitar pick.
A polished tip also slides quite easily over the edge of the guitar string. On the other hand, guitar picks with a rougher texture on the tip, will produce more treble response even when played on the edge. This also happens when the picks start to wear down.
However, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, some purist guitarists even prefer the pick to create noises and they included it extra in their recordings.
Very experienced live players that don’t have much studio experience sometimes do not reflect enough on all the little nuances on their playing.
A good exercise to avoid this is to record yourself. It is amazing how much we miss when we get into the zone. You will notice pick noise when listening to your tracks and it is much easier to identify critical areas than while you are playing.
If you play acoustic guitar, try to locate the microphone(s) in different locations, you will discover how much of a difference it can make in terms of guitar pick noise.
We can’t eliminate pick noise completely, but there is enough to do to improve our playing and reduce it substantially.
The best way to reduce pick noise is to be aware of it and reflect on your playing to improve your skills and try different picks for different styles and guitar types.
If you discover a new way to reduce the pick noise, please let us know so we can include it in the article!
27. September 2020 5 Comments
This article was created because you asked for it. It is meant to be as transparent as possible, so that you can see who the faces behind Rombo are and how we organize this project internally.
We hope you enjoy it!
Since 2019, Rombo has been researching surface finish and design in order to find the perfect balance between grip, ergonomics, and function in guitar picks and other guitar accessories. Rombo was born thanks to an amazing guitar player community whose aim is to continue this adventure and quest for the perfect guitar accessories.
We are Judith and Carlos, a happily married couple trying to innovate in the world of guitar picks. We live near Stuttgart, Germany.
We both love music, guitars, product development, challenges, and attention to detail, so Rombo was the perfect excuse to mix all these things together and have some amazing adventures.
From Remseck, near Stuttgart in Germany, we do almost everything.
Here, we receive the packaging and the dots we use to fix the guitar picks to the packaging. We try to be very organized and keep the place very tidy. Tidy places also look better for photographs!
In the shipping station, there is one tray for every guitar pick model. We also include a flyer and a “thank you”-card with every delivery. This way we make the experience more personal, while sharing our journey of packing your guitar picks directly with you!
We have a label printer, which is super useful, and thankfully our web system allows us to automate the printing for every customer and create a label with just one click.
Our post carrier receives the boxes from us with all the information they need to bring our products to you, including weight, countries, and import information for the customs.
We ship every order directly from our location.
The envelopes we use are not very cheap, but they protect the product well, they are made of 100% recycled paper and they are plastic free.
We have to be very multifaceted to cover all the tasks we do, from idea generation, product development, graphic design, photography, web maintenance, logistics, social media, packaging development, and accounting, to all the stuff a start-up involves.
We believe that doing everything by ourselves gives us a very close perspective from the customer side.
This means, when you ask something on Instagram or Facebook, you receive an e-mail from us, or we answer your comment. It is us behind the screen typing every word and every smiley!
We love walking a lot. We go for a walk for 5 kilometres almost everyday. Almost every idea we applied to Rombo was created while having a walk. We called it our daily inspiration walk.
Two years ago, at the very beginning of this journey, we could not have imagined how many things we needed to learn!
We have encountered many challenges on the way; for example, I remember it was very difficult to find out how to sell internationally and establish a system that is fast enough for us.
I cannot tell how many books on startups, online marketing, Kickstarter or time management we have read! One of the most useful ones was A Crowdfunder's Strategy Guide: Build a Better Business by Building Community, by Jamey Stegmeier.
A funny anecdote is that Judith and I don’t have our own Instagram profiles. For the first post from Rombo, we had to check out a tutorial on Youtube to try to understand the process. I am glad to say that two years later, we have reached almost 20K followers!
PS: We still don’t have our own accounts, the one for Rombo is enough work! :)
The most complex part is the design process of a guitar pick.
I like to sketch a lot, so I have lots of old ideas and sketches which I use as an inspiration source. Sometimes, we use questions to challenge the design process, like “Is it possible to create a guitar pick that is flexible and rigid at the same time?” While trying to answer this question, we came up with the idea of “variable thickness”, which has proven to substantially increase ergonomics.
Since we have an engineering & design background, we also do the modeling in 3D and product engineering. Every detail is important here to create high-quality products.
When we think the design is ready, we create some prototypes and send them to the testers. If you follow us on social media you will know some of the testers from our stories.
In total, we have about 30 guitar players that help us during this phase of the project and communicate with us which points they liked or didn’t like. Thanks to their feedback, we are able to improve areas of the guitar picks which we would otherwise not have thought of.
For the manufacturing of our guitar picks on a large scale, we use a technology called injection molding.
In this process, the melted raw material is injected into a mold with the negative shape of the guitar picks.
It is a very complex process with lots of engineering in it, the material has to be treated in a special way to keep the proper humidity, temperature and pressure, and to avoid external contaminations.
On the left, the injection mould from Rombo Diamond: Our polimer flows through the mould runner (yellow arrows) after it reaches over 270°C degrees and it is pushed forward.
The red area is the area we use for the grip texture. The blue area is high mirror polished.
On the right: The first ever produced Rombo Origami from 30.11.2018. The first 50 guitar picks we produced were sent to guitar pick testers who gave us feedback about the material, the grip, the tone and the shape.
The raw material we use is produced in Italy. We have worked very closely with our material partner to accomplish every requirement we had, including the 100% recycled material of the EcoBlack sets. If you want to know more about the materials we are using, you can find more information HERE.
We believe packaging is a very important aspect of a product. We not only use it to create an atmosphere and emphasize the quality of the product, but also to inform you about the attributes of our guitar picks.
This is the reason we created packaging with lots of printable areas to describe the guitar picks. We include our parameter bars, a short description of the guitar pick, the 6 special attributes of a Rombo guitar pick, and a QR-code with extra information.
We had a total of about 6 different concepts before we decided which one was the most suitable.
Right now, we are creating the packaging layouts for the new models that will launch in 2021. We have received some samples and they look great!
If you want to see the new models, you can click HERE.
Carlos takes the pictures for social media. We are not very skilled with the camera, but we have learned a couple of tricks and after thousands of trials, we are able to take decent pictures in our living room.
In our Instagram you can find the best pictures.
You have probably noticed that our posts on Instagram are mainly informative. Guitar picks are often underrated and most guitar players don’t think much about it.
However, guitar picks are the loudest amplifier you can have in your hands and are the bridge between you and your guitar.
We try to pass the know-how we have obtained directly to you, so you can make conscious decisions about the products you purchase. Aspects like the variations on the tone depending on guitar pick thickness, or why are there so many guitar pick shapes and materials… And this is the reason we created our blog articles.
Our aim is to create a communication process that goes back and forth between us. Some of you have become friends of ours and have won a new perspective of thinking about guitar picks.
“To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.” – François de La Rochefoucauld, essayist.
We believe we have one of the most engaged communities ever! We try to answer every comment and every private message, and we are sure we have an answer rate very close to 100%.
You all have participated in surveys, and you have left amazing comments and reviews. You post stories regularly and we have had very deep conversations with some of you! Thank you!
Rombo is expanding. We are working with dealers around the world and currently we have sellers in the following countries:
This means, with the help of our dealers we are able to sell in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, almost every country of South America, and South Africa.
Transparent communication with our dealers is a priority with us, and so far 100% of the new sellers stay with us! Together we are developing the brand and taking it to the next step.
During our inspiration walks, we talk about Rombo in the next few years. It is very difficult to imagine what the future will bring.
We would like to bring new designs (lots of them!), to increase the amount of recycled material for the manufacturing of the picks, or even be able to create colored recycled guitar picks. We want to talk more to our customers and share our experiences, and from time to time, share some great music and playlists.
We are only two people and every step takes its time. Some of you have written beautiful thank you letters to us or left very good reviews and we want to let you know that we are working hard everyday not to disappoint you :)
You are the best and you have a vote on the future of Rombo!
15. March 2020 2 Comments
As a guitarist, you experience a very steep learning curve during the first months and years of your journey. All you need are an instrument, a guitar pick and a few songs to learn. Happy days.
Then you hit a wall that slows down the learning process.
You want to sound like those guitar idols of yours who inspired you to buy your first guitar. Further still, you want to create your own sound.
Increasing your picking speed is a long journey full of ups and downs, obstacles and victories, and moments of personal fulfillment. Speed at guitar is a skill that requires patience and plenty of hard work.
The number of hours of practice is important. However, understanding the “right” way of practicing is the key to upgrading your skills.
If you are struggling to play something at the desired speed, it only means you have not defined a sufficiently effective practice routine.
For those looking to improve their guitar playing speed, the following insights will help get you where you want to be:
Alternate picking is the most common guitar pick technique.
With the pick between your thumb and index finger and pointed toward the strings, you use strictly alternating down and up strokes.
Use the 45-degree rule from the picture. Simultaneously, rotate your thumb 45 degrees downwards. The guitar pick will glide very well and won't get stuck.
Every muscle is connected. Your hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and back should all be performing their best during your practice.
Playing guitar can cause fatigue to these areas, and stretching helps to keep muscles loose and limber. It increases flexibility and your range of motion. Stretching before playing guitar will warm up muscle tissues and joints.
Playing faster will cause some areas to tense up. Try to be aware of all these areas and recognize where you should stay relaxed.
Finding the right balance between tension and relaxation will help you achieve greater accuracy and speed. It will also improve the way you hold your guitar pick.
Personally, I like to do some exercises with a ball before playing:
I also have some warm-up guitar scales and arpeggios, which I play every day for the first 5–10 minutes, and which include a variety of guitar techniques.
It is not only the motion of the thumb and index finger that will affect the way you play guitar. The muscles around your wrist are structured in a way to naturally promote back-and-forth movements.
Use them to play more efficiently, and to dissipate the fatigue in your fingers. This technique, combined with the 45-degree guitar pick rule, will achieve the fastest results at the beginning.
Many players focus too much attention on their fretting hand. In order to play at higher speeds, it is essential to make both your hands work with equal efficiency and strength.
To establish the skill level of each hand, play through a passage with the picking hand only, then play the same notes with the fretting hand only. You will probably find that one hand is at least 20% faster than the other.
Now you know which hand is not working efficiently enough. Your goal is to get a deviation of less than 3% between both hands.
Here are some reasons for there being such a huge variety of guitar picks available on the market:
Don’t overlook these factors, and don’t be afraid to try a large variety of guitar picks until you have found the right one for every style you play.
For guitar speed exercises, you should start with 1mm as a reference and then decide if this guitar pick thickness is enough. Thin, flexible picks take too much time to relax after hitting a note.
We created a four-step guide to choosing your guitar pick, which you can find here:
Speed is futile when you are playing without accuracy. The ability to play guitar in time at high speed is one of the most difficult skills to achieve.
Try to use a metronome and play fast, but also use slow tempos and increase your accuracy for different guitar techniques.
Using a metronome is one of the best ways to track your improvements and see your learning progression over time. It will also help you understand which techniques achieve results fastest, and where you should focus most.
After a while, you will learn to play in time without using a metronome because you will assimilate the feeling of playing in time naturally.
Study both hands, analyze your position, reflect after each session and find your weaknesses. What doesn’t it work the way it should? Do you know why?
Ask yourself many questions and be critical of yourself. Create a scale and analyze every guitar technique to know where you stand on any particular exercise, and track your progress:
Create a guitar diary with notes and observations. If some techniques, songs or even specific fingers are too weak to speed up, be creative and create an exercise to encourage improvement in these areas.
Use technology to track your guitar learning progress. Record yourself while playing guitar, observe your posture and try to identify areas with too much tension. You can compare these with videos of professional players and find out which areas you should work on. Then, take corrective action if needed.
Don’t focus on just one technique at once. This approach will help you to improve isolated techniques, but most songs and solos combine different techniques that work fluently together in a song.
Focusing on only one technique might cause your guitar to sound unnatural and choppy.
Try to combine different techniques in 20-minute intervals. You also need to specifically practice different techniques together in the same way you will use them in real songs.
The extra advantage of this is that it will also help you produce richer compositions when you reach the point of creating your own songs.
There is much you can do to speed up your skills on the guitar. Nevertheless, you must remember to be patient and accept that some processes reach a limit and cannot be rushed.
Developing patience is the most important skill for avoiding frustration at guitar. Remember that being a guitarist is a never-ending process. You will always struggle with new techniques and have ups and downs.
Question everything to find new paths and become a very expressive musician.
For example: are you using the right material for your guitar pick?
Find out here: