Whether you like it or not, pick chirp (not to be confused with guitar pick noise) is something most guitar players deal with. It mostly felt with high gain, but can be quite annoying even when playing clean.
What causes it, how to prevent it, and maybe even use it? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
What is Pick Chirp?
Guitar pick chirp (or pick chirp) is the high-pitched sound we get when the pick hits the string. Its source is the vibration between the position of the pick to the nut rather than the bridge, which is the reson it is so high pitched.
What Affects It?
Pick chirp is affected by many things:
The Type of Guitar Pick You Use
As the exciter of this sound, the pick itself has much to do with the chirp’s velocity and quality.
Some materials are known for having little to no chirp. Other materials, such as stone and metals, have an extremely sharp one.
Some proprietary blends are designed to have no pick chirp at all.
Here you can read about many different types of guitar picks.
A round bevel will produce a very different chirp than a pick with a sharp bevel.
The wider the tip of your pick, the less likely it is to chirp because the pick hits to the string at a lower velocity, and as a result creates less unwanted vibration.
A rule of thumb is that the heavier the pick is, the louder its chirp will be. The higher the gauge, the heavier the pick.
The impact on the pick’s weight is important, but not as important as the material, bevel or tip angle.
Your Picking Technique
Angling your pick reduces the pick’s impact on the string when it hits it but not when it releases it. So, just by angling your pick, you can get rid of a lot of the unwanted chirp.
This one goes without saying. The harder you pick, the harder the chirp, but remember that you can play fast without picking hard.
Unlike when you just learn to play the guitar, where pick accuracy means to hit the right string, in this context it means something else.
The distance the pick makes on the string after it hits it determines the length of the chirp.
The Point On The String You Pick
Since the chirp is the result of the vibration of the string between the pick and the bridge, the position on the string you hit the string with sets its frequency.
How to Eliminate Pick Chirp?
Use a Different Pick
As mentioned earlier, the shape and material of the pick have a lot to do with the characteristics and the intensity of the pick chirp.
Another pick known for having no chirp is made by Hippie Picks. This is thanks to the proprietary blend they use, which eliminates it.
If you want to use a pick closer to what you’re used to, try finding one with a wide tip angle.
Improve your Picking Accuracy
Try to hit the string as close as you can to the tip of the pick so the contact between them will be as short as possible. This won’t eliminate the chirp, but will significantly shorten it, making it almost inaudible.
A guitar pick that can help you develop this technique is the Stylus Pick.
Pick Closer to the Bridge
It doesn’t even have to be very close to the bridge, as long as it is closer to the bridge than the pickup you’re using. Doing that will completely eliminate it because the pickup won’t be able to capture the vibration.
How to Use Pick Chirp
As a musician, you know that every sound that has a distinct pitch can be useful, and this includes pick chirp.
It’s not easy, but you can practice the location of a few notes that are useful for a certain solo. Be creative, you don’t need to repeat the notes you play. You can play thirds, fifths, or any other intervals.
Today we learned what causes pick chirp, how to get rid of it with different methods, and even of a neat way to musically use it.
If you have used the chirp in your music in an interesting way, or eliminated it in a way thet is not shared here, please share them in the comments below!