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The Guitar Pick: Bevel, Tip and Shape

The guitar pick tip is the pointy bit on the end of your plectrum. The tip and its shape is probably the most important area of a guitar pick.

The pick tip can be rounded or pointy, and if the plectrum is thick enough, a beveled edge can be included to increase the speed and control.

Depending on the shape of the tip, the guitar pick will be suitable for specific techniques.

  • Sharper tips are very good for speed and tremolo playing.
    They are better for fast lead lines.
  • Rounder tips are usually more adequate for strumming chords. They will produce mellower sounds.

Guitar pick information

Why a beveled edge matters:

The bevel of the pick impacts the attack. 

The bevel creates a surface for the strings to glide off on, and with the design of the bevel, you can adjust the degree to which the pick grips the strings.

A well-designed bevel is usually preferred by most players due to the following benefits it provides:

  • Increased speed
  • Improved control
  • Better tone

Put simply, it makes playing easier. Additionally, it will impact the attack your plectrum provides.

Tip: Other attributes such as polished guitar tips can also help you improve your guitar playing. Learn more here.

Attack of a guitar pick - Pros and Cons:

The guitar pick tone is strictly related to its attack. Being able to hear the different nuances of a heavy and light attack plectrum is essential for becoming a great guitarist.

Guitar pick tone

Heavy pick attack - Benefits:

Using a heavier pick attack will allow you to change your tone without losing tone clarity and brightness. 

If you dig in with your pick, your tone will distort. You will create a crunchier sound without the need for guitar pedals. This happens because the guitar strings vibrate in a different way when using a heavier pick attack. Nevertheless, the notes will remain well defined.

This is especially important for jazz and blues players, where the clarity of individual notes plays an important role. 

Heavy pick attack - Drawbacks:

Guitar picks with a very heavy attack can reduce the sustain of your guitar tone. Applying too much pressure to the strings can choke your guitar.

Furthermore, the strings will suffer much more because of each impact. This will subsequently reduce the lifetime of your strings.

Finding the balance:

Using heavier gauges of guitar strings (0.12 or more) can be a solution to the aforementioned problem. This allows you to use very heavy pick attacks without compromising sustain and tone. 

Therefore, my personal recommendation is to increase the gauge of the guitar strings for sharp guitar pick usage.

guitar pick tone

Note: There are many annoying things in life, but there’s nothing more annoying than losing a guitar pick you just had in your hand, and then realize that it has disappeared forever! - 4 Tips To Not Lose Your Guitar Picks

Managing the guitar pick attack: Practical exercise

In order to see the difference in action follow these steps:

  1. Crank the amp to the edge of distortion.
  2. Exaggerate “gentle” playing (as lightly as possible).
  3. Pay attention to the sound and tone.
  4. Exaggerate “hard” playing (as heavily as possible).
  5. Pay attention to the sound differences.
  6. Repeat the exercise for different volume settings.

Finally, reflect on which settings are most appropriate for you. Decide on a point between “very gentle playing” and “very hard playing” that you feel comfortable with.

Knowing this difference will help you define your own tone. Understanding the basics of the attack of a guitar pick can be very useful when creating a versatile guitar playing style.

guitar gear

Mixing both techniques during lead parts is very effective when creating dynamic tones, sequences and highlighting specific parts of your playing. You can change the subjective feel of your playing and develop a sense of tension and emotion.

Tip: You can control the volume amp settings and also the guitar volume/tone settings. It might take longer to finish the exercise, but you will be surprised at how all these parameters work together!

Attack, tone, technique, and flexibility:

We started from the very beginning and went back to the roots, back to the meaning and the definition of a guitar pick. As a result of the study of the physical properties, we defined four parameters to precisely describe a plectrum: attack, flexibility, tone and technique. 

Guitar pick information

Guitar pick parameters

Changing the form, dimensions and material, we can directly influence such parameters. These attributes are strictly interconnected.

Example of a guitar pick with a very high attack:

Rombo Diamond:

Guitar pick diamond

Exceptional picking control and accuracy. Favorite amongst advanced guitarists. The hole in the middle provides an extra control and grip rate. Sharp tip for high attack, and a clean bright tone.

As you can see, a very small diameter of only 3mm, combined with low flexibility make the attack of this pick very heavy.

Learn more here.

Guitar pick diamond

Example of a guitar pick with soft release (less attack):

Rombo Waves:

Guitar pick soft release

Strong dynamic range. Great picking accuracy and rigid body. The round tip allows for a smooth and warm attack and soft release. Its curious shape makes this pick perfect for strumming.

A very rounded tip and less thickness to increase flexibility make this pick perfect for mellow tones and soft release

Learn more here.

Guitar pick soft release

Conclusion:

Depending on your needs, you might prefer using sharper or rounder guitar picks.

The best players are able to use the best of both areas and create their own style.

Understanding the relation between guitar pick shape and attack is essential when mastering guitar techniques.

What about the material? 

How can the guitar pick material influence your sound?
Learn more here.






4 Responses

ROMBO
ROMBO

February 16, 2020

Hello Matthias,

Thanks for that question.
During the development of the guitar pick we “decided” that the side with the groove rest against the thumb.
Nevertheless, in the last months, we have seen some people who like it the other way!

We asked them how they decided which way works better but didn’t get a concrete answer that can be applied for everyone.

I guess, everyone must find “their” side =)

Have a nice day!
Judith

Matthias R. Miller
Matthias R. Miller

February 16, 2020

Love your picks. Really digging the Origami. Dumb question – hold to hold the Origami? Should the side with the groove rest against my thumb or on the index finger? I suspect it rests against the thumb, but I am experiencing advantages in both directions. To get the maximum benefit, what was the design intention on this. Nowhere on the website is there an explanation on how to hold this pick…which would be valuable as it is a unique shape with two different sides. I am also enjoying your other picks, and I believe no one makes a better guitar pick than Rombo.

ROMBO
ROMBO

January 05, 2020

Hey Sam!

Thanks a lot =)
4 new designs are being developed right now!
We hope to launch them at the beginning of 2021.

Sam!
Sam!

January 05, 2020

Hey guys!
That information is amazing!
I received my variety pack last week and now I am testing which pick is better for my playing style (at the moment Origami).

Love the designs and grip!
Thanks for such a lovely product!
Sam

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