26. September 2022 1 Comment
In June 2022, we finished the first 3D sketches of our four new guitar pick models. However, the picks weren’t 100% ready.
The thickness, size, and even the names of the picks were still undefined.
We decided to take the approach of involving as many guitarists as possible to help us co-design our new guitar picks.
The aim of this article is to summarize the results of the survey that 2122 guitarists completed. These people directly influenced the final design of our picks.
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 all are the core of Rombo, and you should decide which products we develop.
The most logical step was to create a big survey, allowing users to tell us how they prefer their guitar picks. We think this is the only way to develop a product 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.
2122 guitar players participated in the survey and, therefore, have taken part in the design process of these new guitar picks for 2023.
509 of them left a private message with detailed information.
We discuss these private messages below.
There is a clear winner. Guitar pick number 2 is the favorite for most people.
Could it be because of its similarity in shape and size with the iconic jazz iii guitar pick?
Surprisingly, number 4 is the guitar pick that surprised me the most during the
prototype test. But of course, you never know until you try it!
Average Thickness: 0,66 mm
Size: Small Size with 89% of the votes
Average Thickness: 0,953 mm
Size: Medium Size with 77% of the votes
Average Thickness: >2 mm
Size: Large Size with 55% of the votes
Average Thickness: 0,72 mm
Size: Medium Size with 85% of the votes
A total of 509 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
Here are the top 10 questions we have repeatedly received and our comments on them:
● Will the guitar picks be available in different colors?
Yes! The launch will include all regular Rombo colors.
Other “special edition” colors are in the pipeline.
● Will they have the same grip structure?
Lots of people have sent us e-mails and letters regarding the grip structure. With the micro-nodules, we have the advantage of medium-grip surfaces which add lots of control.
However, a very small number of people want the picks to have more grip. We had to make a decision here, and it was hard. We will slightly increase the “grain density” on the textured areas, so there are more “micro-nodules” per square millimeter.
This way, we hope to satisfy the needs of all groups.
● The material is cool but it produces warm and mellow tones. I prefer
bright tones. Do you plan a new material range?
We have intentionally created our compound in order to reach those mellow tones. However, about 12% of the users reported preferring bright tones.
We have decided to start the research on a new material that will be launched as an extra range as soon as we find the correct formula. The expected date for the launch of the new material is early 2024.
● Why don’t you create different guitar pick thicknesses for each one
of the models?
We want every guitar pick to be unique. As every person has individual preferences, we believe every guitar pick should have its own design. In the future, we hope to be able to create a wider range of plectrum designs to cover each possible necessity.
● What about picks for bass players?
Most of our picks are compatible with bass, as we have confirmed this with some bassists that are using them regularly, especially Rombo Diamond and Rombo Origami. We explained this HERE.
● You should create some merch, T-Shirts, and other stuff:
Maybe in the future. Now, we want to focus 100% on the development of the guitar picks. Every minute we spend on the design of a T-Shirt will be taken away from the quality of the picks! ;)
● Will you offer the EcoBlack range in other colors?
The EcoBlack material can only be produced in one color at the moment.
The recycling process creates a very dark pigmentation. The industry is working hard to find a way to create new recycling processes. We hope we will manufacture all of our picks out of recycled material in the future.
● Why don’t you create boutique picks?
Counter question: What is a boutique guitar pick?
A boutique pick is a unique piece of art with the shape of a guitar pick that you can use for guitar playing. Usually, these picks are handmade and out of exotic materials. They contain some artistic elements like ornament geometries and usually they are unique special edition pieces with elevated starting prices.
Our approach is different. We create boutique-like guitar pick designs at very affordable prices. Otherwise, there would only be a couple of Rombo designs available for the most influential pick collectionists.
We think, this way, we found a niche in the middle of mass production picks and single special editions. With this approach, we bring the boutique feel to a larger number of people, reinforcing the guitar pick community and the awareness of this small but important accessory.
● Some picks I ordered in 2019 had burrs. This is not a problem for
playing but it doesn’t look cool.
We have good news for you. In 2021, we developed a new method to manually remove the burrs from the picks. This means that all Rombo picks are manually revised and processed to remove all the visual aspects that don’t belong to the original design (like small burrs on the border).
This cost us extra time but as a premium brand, we need to keep improving our quality standards to make sure your guitar picks are as good as your expectations!
● Why Kickstarter again?
See below :)
The new guitar picks will be launched in spring 2023.
If you want to receive an E-Mail as soon as the picks are available, join our
mailing list (see the footer).
This is the timeline we created for this project:
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. It forces us to remain flexible, accept changes, and it 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.
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.
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?
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!