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Thinner Picks For Lead Playing


souvenir

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Well it's been a long time since I posted so I thought that I'd come back and throw this question out there.

 

Just wondering if any of you folk use thinner picks for lead playing?

 

The reason I ask is because there seems to be some misinformation that you need a heavy pick to be able to play lead guitar with any kind of speed. I see that guys like Paul Gilbert, Trevor Rabin and Eddie Van Halen all prove that wrong with their use of thinner picks.

 

Anyone have some thoughts on this they'd like to share?

 

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I personally find that thin picks don't have as much projection or "bite" plus I believe that there's always a faster gun in the west - so speed is not my goal.

 

Speed isn't my goal either to be honest...

 

As far as the bite thing goes I actually find thinner picks have more of a bite than thicker picks!

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I'm probably the wrong guy to get in on this, because I've recently moved into the monster pick camp, but part of the issue is, how thin is thin? I never had a problem with good old Fender thins, back in the 70's & 80's, but those super thin Dunlops (.75mm or thinner) would actually warp in my hands - couldn't use them. IMHO, if your pick bends under pressure, you're losing dynamics, and wasting energy.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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i am no shredder by any stretch of the imagination. but i only use thin picks for acoustic strumming. anything else is a Dunlop Big Stubby 3.0 mm.

a thicker pick IMHO sounds beefier. plus when moving fast you do not want the pick bending and moving. i find it creates less accuracy. Big Stubbies are very thick and this gives you a nice smooth tip for gliding across the strings.

 

BIG STUBBY is the way to go.

just my 2 cents

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I personally find that thin picks don't have as much projection or "bite" plus I believe that there's always a faster gun in the west - so speed is not my goal.

 

Speed isn't my goal either to be honest...

 

As far as the bite thing goes I actually find thinner picks have more of a bite than thicker picks!

 

if you are after bite dig up a Dava metal tipped pick.

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I'm probably the wrong guy to get in on this, because I've recently moved into the monster pick camp, but part of the issue is, how thin is thin? I never had a problem with good old Fender thins, back in the 70's & 80's, but those super thin Dunlops (.75mm or thinner) would actually warp in my hands - couldn't use them. IMHO, if your pick bends under pressure, you're losing dynamics, and wasting energy.

 

Thin, for me, is a .60mm or .50mm Dunlop Tortex. :)

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I've been using Dunlop .73 Ultex Sharp's which I don't consider thin. I used to use .60 Tortex and now they feel "thin". I can't imagine using a 3mm pick. I break strings often enough as it is. I would think that using that thick of a pick would worsen my string breaking problem which. Heavy handed bashing of strings is one of the major causes I've found.
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I've been using Dunlop .73 Ultex Sharp's which I don't consider thin. I used to use .60 Tortex and now they feel "thin". I can't imagine using a 3mm pick. I break strings often enough as it is. I would think that using that thick of a pick would worsen my string breaking problem which. Heavy handed bashing of strings is one of the major causes I've found.

 

No I never could use 3mm or anything like that either. Strumming with them proved very difficult for me.

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I've not looked at the actual measuremnets o f a pick in over 30 years ( see related concurrent thread) but I've always found that a thicker pick allows for a greater dependence on the pick being where you might expect it to be when playing fast passages.

As for rhythm parts, that's a "grab bag" :laugh:

d=halfnote
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For me it's not a matter of thickness but flex. The less flexibility a pick has, the more accurate I can be with it. I also like a more pointed tip, once again for accuracy purposes. Right now I'm a Dunlop Jazz III guy. I don't even know how thick they are to be honest.

 

I think those are something like 1.34mm....

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As mentioned in a recent thread, I used thin picks for many, many years, Never even considered a heavy, thick pick until about 5 years ago. A friend gave me a Dunlop Big Stubby 3.0 and said just try it for a few days. Because he is such a great player I decided to give it a go.

I have to say that it has improved my tone, attack, feel, control and overall approach to my picking technique immensely. There were certain thresholds that I was having difficulty mastering... after changing picks and taking a little time to adjust to the differences, I just blew through those thresholds.

It's probably not for everyone but for me it was a major turning point. Best single tip I have ever received.

SEHpicker

SEHpicker

 

The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it." George Orwell

 

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Thin, for me, is a .60mm or .50mm Dunlop Tortex. :)

 

Those curl up in my hands, until they look like a U-shaped potato chip. Don't know if it's heat, pressure, body chemistry or what, but the Tortex and the Delrin both do it. I switched to V Picks a while ago, and retired all my other picks.

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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I used to use extra heavy pyramid shaped picks for many years. Then I noticed I liked the strum sound of a thin pick on acoustic.

 

I think the tone is better if you master the snappiness of it. I can play anything just as dynamic and exact with any pick. I prefer these because they have a softness. They get a different thwack that has more vibe to me.

 

But its all personal pref. I used to hate them.

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Well it's been a long time since I posted so I thought that I'd come back and throw this question out there.

 

Just wondering if any of you folk use thinner picks for lead playing?

 

The reason I ask is because there seems to be some misinformation that you need a heavy pick to be able to play lead guitar with any kind of speed. I see that guys like Paul Gilbert, Trevor Rabin and Eddie Van Halen all prove that wrong with their use of thinner picks.

 

Anyone have some thoughts on this they'd like to share?

 

I've never heard that you need a heavy pick to play fast, but heavier picks do hold up longer with a heavy attack in me experience. And I have a Paul Gilbert pick from the '90s and I don't remember it being too thin, it seemed to be closer to a heavy.

 

I like the jazz 3 because of its sharp tip and raised letters that are good for gripping, and its rigid composition. It lasts long for me, plus the red ones are easy to find when I drop them.

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red ones are more slippery though. Is it worth dropping your pick more often to be able to find it better after?

 

I know the black and red are made of different materials but the raised letters go a long way to help my grip issues for either one.

 

I suppose there is also the smaller size that also affects the "gripability." The Jazz 3 XL is a more standard size of the series, but I still prefer the smaller size. And as far as I know the Jazz 3 XLs are only available in red...

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I think a thin pick can work for lead playing if you tend to "dig in" a lot. Heavier picks seem to work better if you use as less of the surface area. At least, that's been my experience.

 

As I've gotten older, I've found it easier to use a wider variety of thicknesses. For a long time I really couldn't use anything other than a Tortex .73mm or similar, but now I use pretty much everything (though mostly somewhere between medium and thin...the purple Tortex picks are about as heavy as I can get).

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Thin, for me, is a .60mm or .50mm Dunlop Tortex. :)

 

Those curl up in my hands, until they look like a U-shaped potato chip. Don't know if it's heat, pressure, body chemistry or what, but the Tortex and the Delrin both do it. I switched to V Picks a while ago, and retired all my other picks.

 

Yes the .50mm also curl up in my hands too! Probably just the material they're made from.

 

 

I've never heard that you need a heavy pick to play fast, but heavier picks do hold up longer with a heavy attack in me experience. And I have a Paul Gilbert pick from the '90s and I don't remember it being too thin, it seemed to be closer to a heavy.

 

Paul Gilbert uses Dunlop .60mm Tortex picks now.

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Right now I'm a huge fan of different materials for picks and I tend to lean more to heavier picks, although in the end I could care less as long as it isnt thinner than the green tortex picks. I use a lot of different picks from www.brossardpicks.com and also some from www.picksandstones.com (some picks I have are made of filipino ebony, macassar ebony, cocobolo, indian rosewood, snakewood, ram horn, bone, agate, etc). Every material has a specific sound to it (such as ram horn is unbelievably warm to the point of sometimes being muddy and is great in some cases as a jazz pick, while the snakewood one creates this crisp clarity about the notes that I dont get with celluloid picks)

My Gear:

 

82 Gibson Explorer

Ibanez 03 JEM7VWH

PRS McCarty Soapbar

Diezel Herbert 2007

 

Peters '11 Brahms Guitar

Byers '01 Classical

Hippner 8-Str Classical

Taylor 614ce

Framus Texan

 

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