What Is the Difference Between Thin & Medium Guitar Picks?

by Robert Godard
Different guitar picks allow you to play different styles of music.

Different guitar picks allow you to play different styles of music.

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Different guitar players have different styles of playing. How you play will reflect how you use your pick and, ultimately, what pick you choose to use. The best way to figure out which guitar pick to use is to switch between several different types. Understanding the differences between picks can also help you to make a decision.

Thin Picks

Thin picks can be used for either acoustic or electric guitar and generally describe a pick size less than 0.6 mm thick. Thin picks tend to bend very easily and can break if they are played too hard. In addition, it can be hard to play individual notes or melodies with a thin pick because they bend. For this reason, thin picks are among the least popular picks to use. However, thin picks can be useful for strumming chords.

Thick Picks

Thick picks describe picks with a thickness more than 0.8 mm, and extra thick picks can have a thickness that is well more than 1 mm. Thick picks give a guitar player great control over his instrument and are used to play melodic guitar riffs. For this reason, players of heavy metal may find that thick picks provide for them an ability to play fast melodies without the pick bending and without losing control. Strumming chords with a thick pick has a potential for danger, because you risk breaking or putting too much strain on strings.

Medium Picks

Medium picks describe a thickness between 0.7 mm and 0.9 mm, and are an ideal compromise for those who wish to strum chords with the same ease as a thin pick but also play individual melodies when needed. Medium picks can be used to play a variety of music for this reason and do not fall into the pitfalls of either thick or thin picks. Still, if you are predominantly playing either a strumming or a melodic style, it may be best to choose a thin or thick pick.

Medium Versus Thin Pick

One of the main complaints of a thin pick is that it causes a sort of brushing sound when it is played, especially on an acoustic guitar. When just simply strumming chords, this sound may hardly be noticeable, and in fact may even be desirable. However, a medium pick can remove this sound. Just moving to a pick that is at the lower end of the medium thickness can significantly increase the amount of control over your instrument and the variety of musical styles you are able to play.

About the Author

Robert Godard began writing in 2007 for various creative blogs and academic publications. He has been featured on multiple film blogs and has worked in the film industry. He attended Baltimore College, earning his B.A. in history.

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