Thick guitar picks have a lot of advantages over thin ones, but they require some getting used to. The reason for it is that the first guitar picks we played with usually came for free, and had the logo of the store we bought our first guitar from printed on them. This is what created that habit. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are better options than the floppy piece of plastic we all started playing with. I’d consider a pick “thick” usually above 3-4mm, but it’s really up to you to decide what works for you. Here I listed some reasons and examples for how a thick guitar pick can help you play faster with more dexterity, and for a longer period without hand fatigue.
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Reason 1: Thick picks are easier to hold and grip
This one is more important than you think. The more energy you put towards holding the pick when playing and making sure it doesn’t move – the less time you’ll be able to play before your palm starts to hurt. This pain is also adding up pretty fast and can cause some serious problems down the road. It creates less tension in the arm, which is always a good thing. Some picks are designed specifically to address this issue and you can find some of them in our best ergonomic picks article
Reason 2: They require less hand movement, resulting in faster playing and more control
You should always make the smallest movements required to produce the sound you want. It goes both for using less pressure on the string with your fingering hand as well as for using less movement to produce a note with your picking hand. The thicker your pick is, the less it needs to move. Simple.
Reason 3: It requires less energy to pluck each string
There are two sides to that one. One of them is fairly simple but focused less on the thickness, and more on the weight that comes with it. Playing with a heavy pick makes the string resistance affect your movement softer. It can be compared to hitting something with a bat compared to a feather, just less violent and more musical…
The second aspect is that thicker picks are less flexible than thin ones, resulting in more efficient energy distribution toward the string. I touch on that point in reason #6 too.
Reason 4: Thick picks are more durable
Other than the fact that the thicker an item is, the more time it will take for it to start wearing down. Thick picks are more likely to be made of materials that are more durable. Some examples of these materials are acrylic, epoxy, glass, stone, or wood.
Reason 5: Less pick noise
This is a matter of taste. I don’t like the clicky pick noise sound when I play certain things, but really dig it in others. I have some picks I chose specifically for the click they make, but it doesn’t fit everywhere. Having a few thick guitar picks nearby gives you the option to remove the clickiness when you need to.
Reason 6: Higher volume
As a rule of thumb, the stiffer your pick, the more volume it will be able to generate. It happens because thin picks are easily bent by the strings, resulting in less tension building up. While thick picks bend the strings easily, allowing them to build more tension before they are released and sound is produced.
Pick Makers, if you want your picks reviewed, or have anything cool you made and want to share – send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!