When I was learning to play electric guitar my instructor taught me a lot about guitar picks. He explained the various shapes and thicknesses and how to chose the right kind of pick for particular styles of playing. But perhaps the most important advice he gave me, which I am now going to pass on to you, is that picks don’t last forever.
Guitar picks are generally made of a thin layer of plastic which wears away at the tip as it is repeatedly dragged across the metal guitar strings. Depending on what style of music you are playing and your individual technique, your guitar pick can become worn out after only a few hours of playing (or instantly if you are into heavy metal pick scrapes or wild tremolo picking).
It is very important, especially for beginning guitarists, that you avoid practicing with worn out picks. As a beginner the best thing you can do speed up your development is to keep things as consistent as possible. As guitar picks wear out their shape tends to change, from a very pointy tip to a more rounded tip, and trust me, these ever-changing picks with which you’re playin’ will make you give in and cry.
So my advice is to make sure you actually throw away your picks as soon as they start to wear out. Don’t just put a worn out pick aside, actually put it in the garbage so you won’t be tempted to try and use it in practice tomorrow or the next day.
I’ll be the first to admit that for an impromptu performance almost anything can serve as a guitar pick: a coin, a cut-up credit card, whatever. What I’m saying here is don’t PRACTICE with these substandard materials. Practice is not the time to be unnecessarily compensating for things. Practice is a time where you should be solidifying consistent technique. So one of the best things you can do for yourself is keep plenty of new picks on-hand.
Lucky for us, guitar picks are really cheap. You can get loads of high quality picks for just a few dollars. Or better yet, you can enroll as a student at the Gables Guitar Studio and have as many new guitar picks as you like. That’s right. At Gables Guitar Studio picks are on-the-house. Hope you like mediums!