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!
30. August 2020 8 Comments
In May 2020, Judith and I had finished the first 3D sketches of our four new guitar pick models. However, the picks weren’t 100% ready.
The thickness, the size, and even the names of the picks were still undefined.
We decided to take a new approach and involve as many guitarists as possible to help us co-create our new guitar picks.
Signature guitar picks are common in the guitar pick world.
These picks were developed with the help of some expert and famous guitarists from a specific music field.
From our point of view, this is a very narrow design path that only considers the opinion and guitar playing style of one person.
The guitar community has strongly supported Rombopicks since its beginning in 2019.
We did not want to create new guitar picks without asking the people who have been with us since the beginning. You guys and girls are the core of Rombo, and you should decide which products we develop.
The most logical step was to create a big survey to allow users to tell us how they prefer their guitar picks.
We think this is the only way to develop our guitar picks, based on the wants of our users, allowing us to make essential decisions about our company's direction.
This is only possible by listening to the thoughts of every guitar player.
In addition, by asking precise questions about guitar picks, we are able to create more awareness of complex issues, like: Why are guitar picks thick or thin? How they behave when the size changes? Does the flexibility of a guitar pick affect the tone? What about the material?
Since the beginning, we have been researching all these areas and are sharing them with you. With every article about plectrums we have written, we have contributed to the knowledge you have about your gear so you will be able to decide which gear is the best for you and understand why.
1.552 guitar players (including us) have participated in the survey and therefore have took part in the design process of these new guitar picks for 2021.
336 of them left a private message with detailed information.
Pick number1: 18,8%
Pick number 2: 14,8%
Pick number 3: 27,8%
Pick number 4: 38,7%
Rombo Horizon: 34,5%
Rombo Sense. 33,9%
Rombo Summit: 14,1%
Rombo Mood: 7%
Other names: 10,5%
Average Thickness: 1,378 mm
Average Size: Medium Size with 71% of the votes
Rombo Prisma: 76%
Rombo Spin: 7,7%
Rombo Treble: 8,4%
Other names: 7,9%
Average Thickness: 0,831 mm
Average Size: Large Size with 73,5% of the votes
Rombo Crisp: 47%
Rombo Split: 22,1%
Rombo Prisma: 16,4%
Other names: 14,5%
Average Thickness: 1,028 mm
Average Size: Medium Size with 59,7% of the votes
Rombo Jade: 33%
Rombo Shift: 17,6%
Rombo Slope: 12%
Rombo Summit: 10%
Rombo Dune: 7%
Rombo Cascade: 7%
Rombo Wizzard: 4,9%
Other names: 8,5%
Average Thickness: 2,37 mm
Average Size: Small Size with 56,6% of the votes
A total of 336 people left us a private message regarding guitar picks.
We have read all of them carefully and we will use all this information during the development.
Here are the important questions we have received and our comments to them:
The new guitar picks will be available in early 2021.
If you want to receive an E-Mail as soon as the picks are availabe, join our mailing list below on the footer.
This is the timeline we created for this project:
However, the current development of the Covid-19 could postpone the project a couple of months. We want to launch the product when we are able to deliver worldwide.
Kickstarter campaigns turn dreams and ideas into reality. Rombo is still a small start-up run by two people, and with limited access to resources. Through Kickstarter, we involve the community of guitar players, showing our guitar picks before launching.
This process brings us in contact with the real guitar players and their necessities. It forces us to remain flexible, accept changes, and challenges us to create new designs to fulfill the expectations of our audience.
We love open and critical criticism, and this is the best place to get it, where all comments and thoughts are visible. By sharing your experiences, we can listen to your needs and wishes, and create guitar picks that make a difference.
19. December 2019 1 Comment
Guitar picks can really be made out of anything. In the past, some exotic materials were used to produce guitar picks.
The technological wave that came with highly specialized polymers created a new era of materials with amazing properties.
The material of a guitar pick is strictly connected to its flexibility and tone. It is hard to imagine that such a small piece can have a big impact on playability.
However, you will clearly notice some sound differences when testing a couple of different guitar picks.
Luckily, these small useful gems are the cheapest guitar accessory you can acquire, allowing you to test many guitar pick models.
When it comes to guitar picks, changing the properties of a material is not an easy task.
Flexible guitar pick materials can create mellow and warm tones when using specific guitar techniques. However, they can also achieve brighter tones when holding the pick very closely to the pointy tip or “attack area”. This is the reason they have been the go-to choice for guitarists for decades.
Stiff guitar pick materials can create a snappier, bright tone that can be very delightful, provide more volume and more clarity to your chords and solo notes. These picks are often used for more specific guitar techniques by lead guitarists.
Thickness, shape and size will play an important role too!
Flexible guitar pick materials can create mellow, warm tones. However, when using plectrum thicknesses over 1 mm, the tone will get darker and heavier. This can be used to create the feeling of having more “bass” in your instrument. The same effect happens with the size. The more material you have, the heavier the sound will be.
We have a guide to find your guitar pick HERE. You will learn how these 4 attributes (material, shape, size, and thickness) are connected.
Every guitarist has different preferences. Throughout our development, we have involved as many professional guitarists as possible, and asked them to define how their perfect material should feel.
We came to the following conclusions. The guitar pick material should:
With these premises, we started our long journey: the search for a suitable material.
After lots of tests, feedback rounds and sending dozens of pick prototypes around the globe to our guitar pick testers, we think we`ve found it!
We are using a thermoplastic polymer that belongs to the family of the polyamides. This material is used in aerospace and automobile industries and has the following properties:
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.
We believe we have achieved an excellent balance between, sound, comfort, aesthetic properties, and durability.
Combined with well-thought ergonomic designs, different textures, and very good quality control of the process, this material can accomplish all 5 premises we defined above.
We are also experimenting with recycled materials. In our “ECO-Black" range, we offer the same material formula, but use 100% recycled material from pre-consumer waste.
In this product range, the guitar picks are only available in Graphite Black. Currently, this is the only color we can produce when using this compound.
In addition, during compound manufacturing, there are 90% less emissions, 65% energy reduction, and a 61% reduction of total resources.
We will continue our hard work in this area and someday in the future, we will be able to create colored guitar picks out of this material. When this day comes, all of our guitar picks will be 100% recycled.
Read more about the Eco-Black range and the recycled guitar picks in our article "ROMBO Unveils New “Eco-Black Range Guitar Pick Models".
Finding a material you feel comfortable with is not an easy task, but you will have lots of fun along the way.
We believe material development is fundamental to ensure a future of plenty of functional, good-looking and environmentally friendly materials.
Share this article with friends to help us with our mission: vote for development, for the implementation of new ideas and for questioning deep-rooted standards to find something better.
24. November 2019 1 Comment
In our article “How to choose the right guitar pick”, I summarized the aspects you should care about and consider when deciding which plectrum to use.
In this article, we will discuss the characteristics of a guitar pick we must pay attention to in order to make the playing experience much more comfortable and obtain better results. These aspects are not as obvious as others but are essential to get the most out of this incredible musical instrument.
Grippy, non-sticky surfaces are perfect for the hold area on a guitar pick. The best way to achieve this is to create a texture, that fits between the grooves of your skin and prevents the guitar pick from slipping or creating an aggressive grip geometry that hurts the fingers of the guitarist.
A guitar pick with a polished tip allows you to experience better control and less friction. In this way, reduced friction between the plectrum and the strings of the guitar will help increase the durability of the pick because it will wear less and reduce its noise.
One of the less common characteristics in guitar picks is variable thickness. It is ideal for the guitar pick to be thick for better control; however, this could significantly reduce its flexibility.
For that reason, plectrums of variable thickness have been created, since this would give us the best of both aspects.
That is to say, we could have a guitar pick with a solid, thick body that gives us better grip. Additionally, it features a thinner tip that provides enough flexibility to achieve greater versatility when developing different guitar techniques.
Read more about the advantages of using a guitar pick with variable thickness in our article "5 advantages of a guitar pick with variable thickness"
By following ergonomic models, the surface of the pick can be adapted to be comfortable, provide well-being and does not hurt the guitarist's fingers. It is advisable to look for picks with a 3D surface (those that are not flat) that have geometric patterns that offer a pleasant feeling to the grip. Similarly, we can take advantage of concave or convex surfaces, as they help keep the position of the plectrum oriented and avoid losing control in turning movements.
If your hands do an arduous job, then you must give them the right tools, right? Many people spend a lot of money on fancy guitars, cables, amplifiers, and other accessories but set aside the pick. This is a big mistake.
The material with which it is made can influence the definition of tone, attack, and flexibility. Therefore, without paying attention to it, you could hardly find your personal sound.
Are you curious about the materials used for the Rombo guitar picks?
Read a full article about it here:
If you want to project an image with your own style, you must pay close attention to the design of your implements. To do this, you can try all the shapes and colors of guitar picks available in the market. Just imagine having one with an incredible appearance that is also very functional.
In short, all aspects are subjective and depend on each person. Nevertheless, knowing such valuable information can expand our possibilities and options to choose the guitar pick that best suits our needs.
Tell us if you think this data can help you during the learning process of playing guitar and let us know if there are any other details about guitar picks that you think we should consider.
PS: Remember, you should share your skills with the world. In the article, “MUSIC AND DIY GENERATION”, I explain how the Internet community of guitarists helped me understand the importance of sharing my work.