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Choosing the perfect 12-string guitar pick

12-string guitar pick

When it comes to playing the 12-string guitar, choosing the right 12-string guitar pick is crucial. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced guitarist, finding the perfect pick can greatly enhance your playing experience.

However, with the right 12-string guitar pick, you can overcome the challenges and unlock the full potential of your instrument.

In addition to playability, factors such as pick thickness, material, and size significantly impact the tonality of your sound.

Are you confused about what 12-string guitar strings you should use? We are here for you!

Recommended 12-String Guitar Picks

Let’s look at some of the best 12-string guitar pick choices. You can choose depending on your personal preference and playing style.

Best Thick 12-String Guitar Picks

Dunlop Tortex Guitar Picks

These picks are made from durable Tortex material and are available in a range of thicknesses. They are known for their reliability and grip.

Image by Jim Dunlop

Fender 351 Classic Celluloid Extra Heavy Guitar Picks

These picks have been popular for decades and come in a variety of colors and thicknesses. They are known for their extra heaviness, classic feel, and bright tone.

Image by Fender

Ernie Ball Prodigy Picks

Ernie Ball Prodigy picks feature highly durable Delrin material for a more secure non-slip surface. The machined beveled edge and sharp points allow for less drag, added articulation, and precise control while playing.

Image by Ernie Ball

Jim Dunlop Nylon Jazz III Guitar Picks

These picks have a unique shape and size that is favored by many guitarists for lead playing. They are available in several thicknesses, sizes, grip styles, etc., and are known for their precision and speed.

Image by Jim Dunlop

D’Andrea Pro Plec Standard 351 Guitar Pick

D’Andrea Pro Plec Guitar Picks are designed for quality and precision. Made with a special Thermoplastic blend, they offer a great grip thanks to deep embossing.

Ideal for 12-string guitars, these picks are 1.5mm thick, fitting the standard ‘351’ shape preferred by top guitarists. You’ll get 12 picks in each pack, perfect for any guitarist.

Don’t miss the blog about 12-string guitar tunings.

Best Thin 12-String Guitar Picks

Here are five options that I recommended for choosing a thin 12-string guitar pick.

Dunlop Nylon Standard Guitar Picks

These picks are made from durable nylon material and are available in a range of thicknesses, starting from .38mm. Their flexibility and smooth playing surface are unparalleled.

Image by Dunlop

Fender Premium Celluloid Guitar Picks

The foundation of the Fender Pick collection for many years has been celluloid, a top-pick substance. Picks made of celluloid have a vintage feel and a warm, round melodic tone. The traditional 351 shape is a loved choice for musicians with a variety of playing styles.

Image by Fender

Clayton Ultem Standard Guitar Picks

These picks are made from a unique material called Ultem that is designed to be both durable and flexible. They are available in several thicknesses, including thin options, and are known for their bright tone and fast response.

Image by Clayton Ultam

Jim Dunlop Nylon Max Grip Guitar Picks

These picks are similar to the Dunlop Nylon Standard picks but feature a textured surface for improved grip. They are available in several thicknesses, including thin options, and are known for their comfort and control.

Image by Jim Dunlop

Planet Waves D’Addario Pearl Celluloid Guitar Picks

These picks are made from pearl celluloid material and make a distinctive percussive sound when strumming. They are known for their smooth surface and bright tone.

Image by D’Addario

Thick or thin pick – Which one is better?

It depends. The type of guitar you play, the genre of music, the specific needs of your playing style, everything is a factor in deciding whether to get a thick or thin one as your 12-string guitar pick.

Pros of Thick 12-string Guitar Picks

Thick picks tend to be more durable and made from strong materials. They can withstand rough handling and last long – unless you lose them, which is often the case. Thick picks offer better grip because many have textures, indentations, grip holes, etc, to provide better grip, which thin picks can’t accommodate. The superior grip system provides better control.

The rigidity of the thick picks enables better attack and prevents the picks from bending. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to play intricate melodies or arpeggios on the paired strings of a 12-string guitar.

12-string guitars have strings paired in octaves, so they tend to have more of a mid and treble-heavy sound. Thick picks can also help with keeping a tonal balance as they help bring out defined note sounds, punchy and bassy.

Cons of Thick 12-String Guitar Picks

Thick guitar picks are not the best option for strumming. Many players hate the clacking sound they make from hitting strings. Due to rigidity, the picks don’t flex, so extra effort is required for strumming. They also tend to be more expensive.

Pros of Thin 12-String Guitar Picks

Thin picks bend easily, so they’re the best option for the genre you play and require a lot of strumming. 12 strings in a guitar may provide a lot of resistance, but the flexure of thin picks mitigates it. Thin picks produce a bright and snappy tone, pairing well with clean or lightly distorted guitar sounds. The natural and minimal sound of thin picks is quite pleasing to the ears. 

The flat and larger surface area of thin picks makes them easy to wield, especially for beginners and intermediate players. Less expensive, they can be bought and carried in bulk, so you’re never short of replacements. They also induce less wear and tear on guitar strings and damage pickguards less.

Cons of thin picks

Thin picks wear out fast, which in turn affects tone and playability. As the picks bend, there’s a noticeable loss in control and accuracy, especially while picking complex, fast passages. Thin picks don’t have a grip mechanism, so they might be displaced, rotate, or even slip out of your hands. 

Check out this video to learn more about guitar picks.

Try them all

When selecting a 12-string guitar pick, prioritize how it feels in your hands and whether it produces the desired tone for your music. Exploring various options to get a sense of their feel is recommended.

Remember, you’re not restricted to a specific thickness or thinness; feel free to create a collection of picks and alternate them based on your preferences and requirements. Ultimately, the choice is yours to make.

12-String Guitar Pick FAQs

Rafsan Ahmed

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