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.
26. May 2021 6 Comments
In our article “How to choose the right guitar pick,” we did a deep analysis on the qualities you should consider when deciding which plectrum to use.
In this article, we will discuss the most important characteristics needed in a guitar pick in order to make the playing experience as comfortable as possible and obtain the best results. These characteristics are not as obvious as others but are essential to getting the most out of this accessory.
The Cambridge Dictionary says premium is “used to refer to something that is of higher than usual quality."
Therefore, a premium guitar pick will exceed in qualities like material, shape or texture and will provide a playing experience that’s above average in terms of precision, durability, comfort, tone, or other areas.
Put simply, a premium guitar pick will perform better than regular picks.
Reducing the definition of a guitar pick to its basic intrinsic features, it is easy to understand how to improve certain areas.
For example, it is logical to conclude that better materials will have an impact on the guitar pick’s tone and durability.
Also, with the help of basic ergonomic and design laws, you can create a shape that enhances grip or slides better. The key is to know what you are looking for.
Back in 2018, with the help of a number of professional guitar players, we defined the requirements the Rombo picks had to achieve:
With these premises, we started a journey to identify the qualities that would provide an above-average experience in every area.
Grippy, non-sticky surfaces are perfect for the guitar pick’s hold area. 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 is uncomfortable for long practice sessions.
When developing the grip texture, our focus was to create a type of grip that allows the player to maintain flexibility and freedom along with a feeling of security and control.
More information on guitar pick grip can be found here.
A guitar pick with a polished tip allows the player to experience more control and less friction. Reduced friction between the plectrum and the strings of the guitar will increase the durability of the pick because it will wear less and reduce its noise.
Noise reduction is a feature especially useful for recording studio tracks.
Furthermore, a polished tip produces more clear individual tones, a requirement for some guitar techniques such as sweep picking.
One of the less common characteristics in guitar picks is variable thickness. It is ideal for the pick to be thick for better control; however, this could significantly reduce its flexibility.
For that reason, plectrums of variable thickness have been created, giving us the best of both worlds.
That is to say, we could have a guitar pick with a solid, thick body that gives us better grip and control. Additionally, it features a thinner tip that provides enough flexibility to achieve greater versatility when developing various guitar techniques.
Remember that an increase in the thickness of only two sheets of paper will substantially reduce the pick’s flexibility!
Read more about the advantages of using a guitar pick with variable thickness here.
By following ergonomic models, the surface of the pick can be adapted to feel more comfortable and also look great.
Similarly, we can take advantage of concave or convex surfaces, as they help keep the plectrum’s position oriented and avoid losing control in turning movements.
The shape is also closely connected to the tone of the guitar pick. Just like with the design of a surfboard, you need a specific shape to optimize your energy when catching a wave. The same effect is caused when the guitar pick plucks the strings; different shapes will produce different results.
If your hands are doing an arduous job, then they deserve the best tools, right? Many people spend a lot of money on guitars, amplifiers, strings, and other accessories, but they overlook the guitar pick. This is a big mistake.
The material with which the pick is made can influence the tone, attack, flexibility, durability, and many other aspects. Therefore, without paying attention to it, you can hardly find your personal sound.
Are you curious about the materials used for the Rombo guitar picks? Read a full article on the topic here.
The design of everything you own is a way of expressing yourself and defining your personal style.
When it comes to guitar picks, functionality is everything. This is the reason we have spent so much time integrating beautiful geometric patterns that also fulfill the functional requirements for every technique.
In short, guitar picks are personal items that are bound to subjective perceptions. However, some aspects are measurable and can be improved to fulfill requirements that every guitarist needs.
Don’t overestimate this small piece of gear.
Not sure what is the right guitar pick for you? Let us help you here.
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.
04. April 2021 2 Comments
Medium guitar picks are the most popular choice amongst guitarists and they offer the best of both worlds, right? Well, it is not that easy.
In our last article, “thin vs thick guitar picks”, we discussed both guitar pick thickness ranges in depth. Medium guitar picks deserve a separate analysis.
Guitar pick thickness is usually measured in millimeters and this is an attribute that can change various aspects of a pick like flexibility, tone, volume, pick noise, durability, control over single notes, and more.
The thickness of a guitar pick is for this reason considered one of the 4 fundamental attributes of a guitar pick, along with guitar pick material, shape, and size.
Medium guitar picks range in thicknesses from 0.55 and 1 mm.
The following is what a survey performed in March 2021 has shown. Thousands of guitarists were asked to define the following pick thicknesses:
With both limits established, we obtain the thickness definition of medium guitar picks.
The maximum thickness of a thin guitar pick was defined as about 0.55 mm by 2.292 guitarists.
The minimum thickness of a thick guitar pick was defined as 1 mm by 1.308 guitarists.
Medium guitar picks are guitar picks with a thickness between 0.55 and 1 mm. These guitar picks are very popular because of their versatility; in some areas, they offer the advantages of both thin and thick guitar picks.
Medium gauge picks have the broadest flexibility range. In this pick thickness interval, the material will play the most important role when it comes to defining the flexibility of a pick.
In other words, thick guitar picks are always stiff and rigid. With thicknesses over 1 mm, even the most flexible pick materials are stiff, and therefore the material has less influence on the flexibility of the pick. This relation creates a broad flexibility range amongst medium guitar picks, which can be very flexible or very stiff, depending on the material used.
The same effect can be applied to tone, durability, and pick noise.
Typically, medium guitar picks are used by lead guitarists who also implement rhythm guitar techniques and look not only for an all-round compromise between single-note melodic phrases and strumming, but also potentially developing a more versatile guitar career that integrates different techniques and mixes both worlds together.
Thin guitar picks (under 0.55 mm)
Medium guitar picks (0.55 - 1 mm)
Thick guitar picks (over 1 mm)
Medium flexibility or stiff, depending on the material.
Lighter tones, less bass
Warm tones for softer materials. Brighter tones for harder materials.
Warm/dark tones and mellow tones
Maximum volume is limited. Lower dynamic range.
Can provide high volume with the usage of hard materials.
Provide high volume. Broader dynamic range.
Guitar pick noise
Noticeable pick noise
Reduced pick noise when the pick has a variable thickness.
Reduced pick noise
Depending on the material.
Less control for single notes
Very versatile. Control of single notes is possible if the player is experienced with this type of pick.
High control of single notes
Rhythm guitar, strumming, tremolo picking, ...
Very versatile. A combination of both thin and thick guitar picks is possible if the player is experienced with this type of pick.
Lead guitar, shredding, sweep picking, ...
Common type of players
Beginners, acoustic guitar players
Most popular thickness. Medium thickness is used by beginners, intermediate and advanced guitarists.
Intermediate and advanced guitarists
This makes medium gauge guitar picks the most difficult picks to estimate without having tested them, and it is one of the reasons why we created the “guitar pick parameters” included in every product page, like in Rombo Origami.
For most beginner guitar players, medium gauge guitar picks are the best option. You are in a process in which experimenting with sounds and learning new techniques will shape your profile as a guitarist in the future.
You might change your music taste during this process or even change your guitar type. You must stay flexible and versatile to allow your skills to develop in all directions and be a more rounded guitarist.
For this, a medium guitar pick is perfect, since you will be able to try different techniques with a pick that works very well in many different areas. After you have decided the direction of your development as a guitarist, increasing or decreasing the gauge won’t be that difficult.
Therefore, this is statistically the best option to start with if you want to try different guitar learning paths.
However, there are some exceptions: Some beginner guitarists know exactly what kind of player they want to be. They know from the very beginning if their dream is to become a very technical metal player, if they prefer being an expert acoustic guitar rhythm player, or if they will focus on songwriting and not on their guitar skills.
These examples are very rare, but they exist. In this case, you might want to consider starting with a guitar pick that has been designed for the type of skills you want to improve.
If you are a beginner, this might be interesting for you: Guitar pick for beginners
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 ergonomic and comfortable hold.
Rombo Prisma guitar pick - 0.8 mm (available in September 2021)
A classic shape enhanced by modern surface technology. The geometry on the main body has different height levels for the most comfortable hold and grip.
Rombo Crisp guitar pick - 1 mm (available in September 2021)
Medium thickness combined with geometric concave design surfaces. The result? Unexpected flexibility with great bass tones. Its medium-sharp tip provides extra warm tones.
Each pick has a specific purpose, and you choose the pick based on the sound you want to achieve as well as other personal preferences like comfort and grip.
Medium picks are not just the picks in the middle of thick and thin guitar picks. They are a perfect approach for those guitarists looking to develop versatility and flexibility in their learning path.
Due to the high influence the material has on these picks, they are the most difficult picks to estimate before testing them, and every medium guitar pick is unique. Despite this, they are the best choice for most beginner guitarists.
However, if you have a very clear idea of the skills you want to develop in the future, you might be looking for either thin or thick guitar picks, which we discussed here.
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!
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.
02. December 2020
You can visit online guitar pick websites and compare products. This will make you a more educated customer that can take decisions based on facts. It will make you reflect on your guitar playing style and which necessities your guitar pick should cover.
It is as easy as sending an e-mail or a PM on Instagram, and you will be talking directly to us, the founders.
In the social media era, small start-ups manage their own profiles by themselves. I have had great conversations with customers from all over the world about guitar picks! We receive lots of questions every week and try to answer every private message. So far, I think we have answered 100% of the messages, or at least I have tried!
Regarding this point: not only the customer profits from this, but also the guitar pick maker, who gets to know the customer in a more detailed way and becomes aware of the problems to solve.
A few months ago, I talked to a customer who had purchased his guitar pick Rombo Diamond back in July 2019, directly from our first campaign on Kickstarter. After a year of playing daily, he made a new order and sent us a picture of the new pick vs. the old one.
That was amazing! It was a great feeling to know that somebody had spent so much time with a product we have developed and that it still worked! Also, I wonder how he could keep the pick for so many months without losing it!
Depending on how old you are, you probably remember the time when purchasing goods on the internet was a surprise: you wouldn't know if the product was of good quality until it arrived.
It is very easy to find guitar pick reviews online, sometimes even on Youtube. These reviews can help you a lot. Especially if the product page of the guitar picks is missing some important information, like in the following this example, a review “Jan” left on Rombo Origami:
Now, let’s suppose you want to purchase Rombo Diamond for your bass because of its guitar pick thickness. Maybe after reading this review you change your opinion!
This point is connected to the previous one.
Considering that the founders read the reviews, and they can have direct influence on the product, the best idea you can have is to tell them what points you like/don’t like.
We have a very good example here in a review from Matt Samuel on the Guitar Pick Holder:
We received this review on the Guitar Pick Holder some weeks ago. After a couple of small workshops together, we have now designed a packaging, which we hope to implement in a couple of months.
A simple action like this can have a big impact on the product you will get! Thanks for that, Matt Samuel!
In our big survey from June 2020, 1552 guitarists were able to choose the names of our new guitar picks. We had some ideas for their names, but two users offered a new fresh source of inspiration when they decided to give their input and suggest new names.
Rombo Horizon and Rombo Jade were suggested at the beginning of the survey by random users and the votes kept rolling in for those names. Two days later, these names were the winners and more customers kept voting for them until the survey finished. We will be using these names as soon as the guitar picks are launched in 2021. These two unknown participants are heros for us!
Some weeks ago we received an e-mail from a customer that said: “Hey guys, you should create a special edition of your guitar pick Rombo Origami in the color white, like paper origami”.
How cool is that? Of course we will do that sometime in the future, it is such a great idea! I can already visualize the packaging with different white tones and the white guitar picks on it and I just feel extremely happy to have such a great guitar community around Rombo picks.
You can visit the stores anytime from your couch or while you commute in the metro. That’s quite practical!
Guitar picks are very small pieces of gear and they fit in a small envelope. This means, you don’t even need to be at home to get them delivered because they fit in your mailing box.
One of the best advantages of such small products is that they are very adequate for surprising your friends. Imagine you come home after a long day, you open the mailbox and find a strange letter on it containing a couple of cool guitar picks. That probably feels very good! This is one of the reasons we created the gift boxes.
Let’s admit it, sometimes we - guitarists - just want to shop a little bit and have a couple of new experiences trying new gear.
If you feel like this and don’t feel like spending much money, guitar picks are a very good option. Guitar picks are the loudest amplifier in our hands and will have a direct influence on the tone our guitars produce! Therefore, why not try lots of them and use them for different purposes?
In our article Guitar Picks for Beginners we talked about the importance of having at least 3 favorite guitar picks. Let’s go find them!