Aug 3, 2015

Weird Guitar Picks

          With the limitless variety of materials to try as guitar picks, it's incredible that most guitarists never stray from the ever-popular celluloid.  Nonetheless, there are hundreds of viable materials available for those looking for a slightly different tone and feel from their guitar.

Picks made from wood are somewhat common and vary greatly.  They are generally more durable than celluloid and most produce a sharper attack as well, the harder the wood.  Ebony picks are so hard that they are comparable to stone.

Stone picks take the durability and attack of wood to the next level.  Especially on acoustic, the pick attack will be very clear and noticeable on the strings.  Most stone picks are quite thick, for better or worse, and may take more time to get used to.

Queen's Brian May is famous for using an English sixpence coin for the different tone.  I've experimented with all sorts of coins and found that the attacks are actually smoother sounding than you would expect from metal.  Although the metal is much harder, the round edges (especially on smooth edged coins like nickels) allow the strings to slide off, making the tone both smooth and bright, and ridged edges give a different tone as well.

Tortoiseshell picks used to be very popular before overuse became an environmental issue.  Seashells, however, can sometimes also be used as picks, and are guaranteed to be unique.  Look for very hard, smooth shells that are thick enough to be durable but not too thick to be clumsy.  The sound is very similar to stone if not somewhat smoother.

There are many other materials and especially different designs to be found, with the links below giving more different examples for you to discover :)

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