The guitar pick might just be the most variable part of a player’s arsenal. There are so many different shape and material options, each offering something different to both the sound and feel of your playing experience. There are picks that make you sound bright, picks that make you sound warm. There are picks that allow you to play faster leads and picks that allow for smooth strumming. There are even picks that stand up to the thickest bass strings with the heaviest of attacks. In recent years, players have ventured in ever greater numbers beyond the classic shapes and materials. Modern innovations such as Ultex® now sit comfortably alongside time-tested favorites such as Tortex® and Nylon, and the Jazz III and Flow® Pick shapes offer strong competition to the standard 351 shape for the attention of today’s players.

Even so, there remain a number of picks that we like to think of as “unsung heroes.” They don’t get a lot of hype, but each has their own devotees—and for good reason! Let’s look at why.

FINS
FINS

We know what you’re thinking—what the heck is this thing? How are you even supposed to hold it? Well, now, there lies the method amongst the madness. You can hold the Fin Pick any way you darn well please—its three different sides each provide a different tonal and tactile experience, and they all work for both acoustic and electric guitars. The sharp point will make your solos more articulate and brighten up strummed chords, while the rounded edge provides a warmer, fatter tone—perfect for singer-songwriters who want their voice to stand out over a rich backing guitar sound. The serrated edge adds an aggressive texture to your attack and allows you to pull off an absolutely monstrous pick scrape down the length of your strings. Throw in some reverb or delay into the mix, and you’ll have a heck of a sound.

STUBBY<sup>®</sup> PICKS
STUBBY® PICKS

Stubby Picks are on the heavier side of the gauge range, providing a nice heft and excellent control over both your strings and your tone, while their sharp tips give you a bright clarity usually found in thinner picks. It’s pretty much the best of both worlds. They’re made from polycarbonate, which balances out the top end for a soft, forgiving attack that sounds like it has just a touch of compression.

TORTEX<sup>®</sup> TEARDROP & SMALL TEARDROP PICKS
TORTEX® TEARDROP & SMALL TEARDROP PICKS

The teardrop shape was the pick of choice for jazzers and shredders before the Jazz III hit the scene, and some players still prefer its simple shape and design. In fact, you could say the teardrop occupies the middle ground between the Jazz III and the standard 351 shape—small teardrop has a tip that’s more akin to the Jazz III, but it’s streamlined profile allows you to choke up like no other pick. Add the bright, snappy attack and textured surface of Tortex Picks into the mix, and you’ll get an experience that’s both familiar and unique at the same time.

POLY PICKS
POLY PICKS

Poly Picks are as versatile as they are underrated, and they hold their shape for a really long time. They have a nice percussive attack and a beveled edge for easy transitions from note to note, and their textured surface makes it super easy to keep hold when digging in.

JAZZTONE PICKS
JAZZTONE PICKS

At 2mm thick, JD Jazztone Picks bring some serious mass and seriously round, warm tone. Made from polycarbonate with a textured surface, they come in five different shapes, so they’re suited to just about any playing style. JD Jazztone Picks are particularly great for playing fast thanks to their rigid structure and contoured edge. If you’re lucky enough to have a Jazzbox and some flatwound strings, get ready to lose yourself on a tonal trip for hours.

STAINLESS STEEL PICKS
STAINLESS STEEL PICKS

If you want a bright tone and an absolutely cutting, laser-hot attack, then try Stainless Steel Picks. They aren’t for the faint of heart, but many players swear by them because of just how much they make your notes pop. Plus, they’ll just about last forever.

The moral of this story? Don’t be constrained by conventions—checking out that odd piece of gear might just uncover the missing element you’ve been searching for.