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Picks - An important tool for guitarists

Posted by Jack Phillips on Jul 6th 2018

Such a simple little tool.A small, flat item used to make sound on a stringed instrument.What do you call it?  It has many names – picks / pick, plectrum, plectra – the plural of plectrum.Funny little words.What is the proper term?  Apparently in English, it is plectrum.I never heard it called that here in the US!  It has always been picks!  My friends and family often ask me, why are there so many guitar picks?To me it was obvious.It is probably the single most important tool for a guitarist.There are almost as many types of picks as guitarists in the world!

Guitarists practically marry their picks.They carry them in the pocket.They are in wallets.They are often found in the laundry too!I’ve talked to people who seem to mourn the loss of a favorite guitar pick.They are where a lot of the tone comes from.They are volume enhancers and a way to make trick sounds.They can even allow you to play faster than anyone ever dreams of!A pick is important part of the tool bag – and should not be treated as an afterthought.

Next week we will discuss some different pick materials available.