Pros and Cons of Guitar Pick

The pick (or plectrum) is one of the essential guitar accessories that helps you a lot while playing the guitar. If your fingers hurt or you need to practice songs with a fast melody, you may need the help of a guitar pick. Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) are:

  • Should I use a pick to play guitar?
  • How to use a guitar pick correctly?
  • If I often use the pick to pluck guitar will I be dependent on it? 

In this article, we will answer these FAQs and point out the pros and cons of using a pick to play guitar.

Picks or No Picks?

A guitar pick is a plectrum used for guitars. It is used to strum chords or to sound individual notes on a guitar. Picks are generally made of one uniform material – such as some kind of plastic (nylon, Delrin, celluloid), rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, tagua, or stone, and the most common is the one made of plastic. They are often shaped in an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners rounded and the third corner less rounded. Currently, there are many types of guitar picks on the market with different shapes such as square, triangle, teardrop, shark fin, etc. with a variety of colors. Choosing the right pick depends on the type of music you pursue. Note that small guitars should use small picks to avoid damaging the strings.

Different guitar pick shapes
Different guitar pick shapes

Whether you should use a pick with your guitar or not is entirely up to your preference. If you like using the pick to play guitar, feel free to use it. On the contrary, if you don’t keen on using it or it doesn’t suit you, just strum the guitar with your fingers. Whether you use the pick or not doesn’t affect your practice much. However, in some cases will need to use the pick to play guitar better, especially when accompanying.

Pros of Using a Pick

Using a pick to play guitar will have some advantages such as:

1. Picks produce clear sound

A pick has less surface area than your fingers, thus the sound produced tends to be louder and more clear than, even when you play fast songs. This can be good if you don’t have an amp and want to hear your playing or if you don’t want to use the amp for the time being. 

Picks produce clear sound
Picks produce clear sound

2. Picks help you get faster speed and are good for fast songs

Some songs can be hard and fast to play while using fingers so a pick can help guitarists play notes and rhythms faster.

3. You don’t need to grow and maintain long fingernails

If you strum your guitar with your fingers, you have to grow and maintain long fingernails. These long nails can get in the way of strumming when you need to use your fingertips for basic fingerstyle, or you simply don’t like to grow long nails. Using a pick is a great solution to solve these problems. 

4. It’s the optimal solution when you’ve broken nails or sore fingers. 

It sucks when you’re strumming but your fingernail breaks. At this point, the pick can be your savior in order that you can continue to play the guitar. 

Plucking with a pick is the optimal solution for injured fingers
Plucking with a pick is the optimal solution for injured fingers

Beginning guitarists that play guitar with their fingers can also experience sore fingers when practicing continuously or playing for a long time. Plucking with a pick is the optimal solution in this case. 

5. Picks are more convenient on strumming accompaniment style

Using a pick is more convenient and easier so you accompany the guitar with strum patterns. 

6. It helps you play guitar scales faster

The pick is an amazing accessory to help you play guitar scales faster, make your practice easier, and avoid finger pain.

Cons of Using a Pick

In contrast, using guitar picks to play guitar has its disadvantages. 

1. You have less control

With a pick, you have less variety in tone and technique, as well as less control. It can be difficult to get control of the sound that you want that your fingers can bring. The feeling of playing guitar is not as complete as using fingerstyle. 

Using a pick gives you less control
Using a pick gives you less control

2. It makes the strings loosen or break faster  

Using the pick will make your guitar strings loosen or break faster than using your fingers. You may need to re-tune the strings on your guitar several times each time you play and change the new strings more frequently. 

3. It brings a sharp sound when accompanying on guitar

When playing the accompaniment, the sound produces a sharp, not warm sound. It’s not really suitable for accompanying on the guitar. 

4. You may become dependent on the pick

Playing with a pick can make you dependent on it. You may have difficulty improving your skills and techniques, and have trouble with your fingers without it.

You may become dependent on the pick
You may become dependent on the pick

5. The quality of sound depends on the picks

The sound is good or bad depending on the quality of the pick you choose. Different types of material also produce slightly different sounds. 

Above is our sharing about the advantages and disadvantages of guitar picks. Hope the article is helpful for you.

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