“Does anyone have a pick?”
The plectrum is a guitar's best friend.
Rarely do we find one without the other, and because so many swear by them, it begs the question,
“Are Guitar picks really necessary?”
(Faux Ivory Guitar Pick, Spearhead)
While the usage of guitar picks is no obligation, they are a staple in the home of every modern guitarist.
The most acclaimed guitarists have used them to record the most iconic albums of our day, the singles you and I grew up on.
Whether or not we choose to use one depends largely on our upbringing as musicians, our biggest inspirations, and preferred playing style.
Other factors that come into play include the type of guitar we use, our innate curiosity to explore the potentials of sound, and the realms of creativity with our instruments.
Being an educated player entails understanding the ins and outs of every style and technique to assure we can make the right decision on what we would like to integrate into our own iconic sound.
Styles of Fingerpicking
As made popular by the classical virtuosos, blues artists, some jazz players, and even Bossa Nova bands of Brazil.
When used effectively, this method helps the players extend their sound and play “to the back of the room” using acoustic instruments with no amplification.
(Larry Jacobsen, 2010)
Keep in mind that some strings are harsh on the fingers, and players who play without a pick will find that their fingers are sore after a session.
On the opposite end of amplification, one of the biggest advantages of using your fingers is the ability to better control your dynamics.
You are more connected to your instrument since you’re making direct contact with the strings,
and this allows you to play softer or louder as you feel it’s necessary. Overall, it allows you to be more expressive.
Plucking with your fingertips or nails can open up an expansive palette of colors and timbres.
However, this requires an entirely different technique, awareness,
and muscle memory than that of our plectrum playing friends.
Famous artists who don't use guitar picks:
What About Guitar Picks?
Whether you're into Jazz, bluesy licks, or into heavy metal guitar, soloing is an experience unlike any other, especially when paired with your favorite plectrum.
The usage of a pick is ideal for strumming chord progressions and laying down some blazing leads.
The use of a guitar pick allows for a faster & more precise execution of notes, it introduces the concept of economy of motion in its own way.
Economy of motion means reducing any unnecessary movements in your playing, therefore allowing faster, more efficient playing, with less fatigue.
This is especially useful when getting into more technical playing such as the various genres of Metal or soloist shredding.
Guitar picks are a must for fast playing, not to mention they’ll save your fingers from getting too sore!
Something that I love about my Iron Age picks specifically is how they get me inspired to play,
they feel great, and I feel confident using a plectrum that is rare and special; I always have it on me like a good luck charm.
Why not both?
Using a guitar pick also allows you to quickly switch between picking and using your fingers.
It’s the best of both worlds and I like to think it’s better to have one and not need it than need it and not have one. One such technique that comes to mind is the use of tapping which can be used in a sort of hybrid manner and be done with either fingers or a pick to hammer on the notes.
A couple more characteristics that are only available with the use of guitar picks and electric guitars in general, is the ability to get creative with sounds.
Not only can you run through searing leads & sweeping arpeggios, but it allows you to play singing harmonics, pick scrapes, and all sorts of other noises that can be used in a creative manner like our friend Charles Caswell here:
So should you use a guitar pick to play guitar?
We here at Iron Age Guitar Accessories say YES,
but it’s ultimately up to you as the guitarist to go out and find your style.
It never hurts to experiment with sound, and with a plethora of options from our store, there are endless possibilities!
Don’t take it from us, we have thousands of real reviews from well-experienced guitarists that trust our products and continue to support our brand.
Find your perfect pick today!
(Crystal Acrylic Guitar Pick, Spearhead)
Thank you for reading this far! Here’s a code for 10% OFF on your next purchase; use code “YESPICKS.”
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We strive for crafting perfection and want to see how much our customers love what we do.
-Emma & The Iron Age Team
“Quality is never an accident.
It is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.
It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
~William A. Foster (MOH Recipient, 1945)