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by Judith Heindorf 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!
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by Carlos Diez Macia