The guitar pick: this little piece of kit, which is often overlooked by beginners, has a surprisingly big impact on the tone of your guitar. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best picks for jazz guitar.
You’ll rarely see a guitarist without their favourite pick. Every artist needs their lucky charm. Generally, picks are used for electric guitar but you will occasionally see acoustic guitar players using a pick as well, especially if they are new to the instrument.
If you’re still a beginner or if you’ve recently started playing jazz guitar you might be wondering which of these essential guitar accessories is best for achieving the sound you’re looking for.
If you’re searching for the best jazz guitar picks, look no further. Here are some of the best jazz picks to choose from.
Gravity Acrylic Picks
As the name suggests, these picks are made from acrylic with a polished edge. The material makes it easier to handle and produces a nice sound for jazz. The product line includes a variety of shapes and colours that you can choose from and comes in different sizes depending on your preference.
The most commonly used pick is 0.96 inches wide with a 1.5mm thickness. It has a sharp tip, which means that you don’t need to add much pressure to the string to get the desired sound. The precision of the tip is especially useful if you’re looking to play some super fast licks.
If you’re searching for a pick that will give you a clear, precise tone this could be the one for you. The only downside is that it’s a little more pricey than a regular pick.
Dunlop Primetone Standard Grip
Dunlop Manufacturing – founded by Jim Dunlop in the mid 1960s – is one of the most recognised and respected manufacturers of guitar picks. The company produces a wide range of products for various different musical styles, including a few great quality jazz picks.
For many people, the Dunlop Primetone line is considered expensive. However, there are 3 picks to choose from, one of which could match your price range.
This special plectrum offers a thumb grip, making it the best choice for those looking for more grip control.
The brand has been in the market for many years and has maintained its reputation throughout. Guitarists who’ve bought their picks from Dunlop claim they haven’t felt the need to replace them for several years.
The plectrums are made from extra strong Ultex material, which ensures high quality and durability for many years.
This brand offers picks with a thickness ranging from 0.73 mm to 3 mm, which for some players can be a little too thick. However, while some perceive the thickness to be a downside for sound quality, others prefer it due to better handling.
Dunlop Nylon Jazz III
As a jazz guitarist, you must have at least one Dunlop Jazz III guitar pick in your collection. It was originally designed in 1973 by the company’s founder Jim Dunlop and has gone on to become a favourite amongst jazz players across the world.
You’ll get great, durable material for a very fair price. In addition, the set includes six picks so you have a few backups in case you lose one.
There are numerous variations of the Dunlop Jazz III, stiffer versions offer a brighter sound whereas picks like this Nylon version offer a slightly warmer tone – perfect for jazz.
Many jazz players – both amateur and professional – recommend this plectrum as it produces a classic jazz sound and lasts with them throughout their careers.
It has a thickness of 1.3 mm, a broad shape, and a thumb grip. It’s the preferred option for many jazz musicians, but it can be hard to handle for beginners.
Despite the Dunlop Nylon Jazz III’s warm tone, it can be hard to master. Players who choose this line take a lot of time until they get used to it.
Dunlop Tortex Standard Picks
If you’ve recently switched to jazz guitar or you’re still trying to figure out which style suits you best, this pick is a great all-rounder. Unlike other jazz picks, the Dunlop Tortex Picks are great for lots of different styles of music.
These plectrums are made from treated Delrin and come in a variety of thicknesses: 0.6 mm, 0.7 mm, 0.8 mm, 1 mm, and 1.14 mm. The variety of thicknesses makes it easier for you to discover which one you prefer and have more control over.
With its affordable price, the Dunlop Tortex is the best choice for beginners and those who haven’t figured out their style yet. However, for advanced players and jazz professionals, this pick is probably not the best choice.
Fred Kelly Picks: Bumblebee Delrin Teardrop
The Bumblebee Teardrop is a special line from Fred Kelly with a unique look. It’s a flat pick and a thumb pick rolled into one making it a super versatile pick.
For left-handed guitarists and those who are looking for bigger picks than a regular pick, this one should be at the top of their list. The teardrop design makes the pick smooth on the guitar strings, producing a soft, warm tone.
It also allows you to have better control over how much pressure is applied to the guitar strings.
The Fred Kelly Bumblebee Delrin Teardrop is also made from a durable material that protects it from breaking and bending.
How to Choose the Best Pick for You
When it comes to picks, there’s no one-size-fits-all. Every brand and line has its own advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on your proficiency, what style you prefer and what tone you are looking for.
Knowing where you stand as a guitarist will help you choose the right plectrums. Beginner picks may be easier to handle and play with but the sound quality may take a hit as a result.
As a jazz guitarist, you should pick the one you’re most comfortable with. Some plectrums will require time to get used to, while others are easy to use from the offset. Try a few first until you find the plectrum that feels right for you.
We hope you enjoyed this introduction to some of our favourite picks for jazz guitar. Still not sure which to choose?
The Dunlop Tortex Standard is a great all-rounder if you want to play various styles of music on one pick. The Fred Kelly Bumblebee Collection is great for those who want durable picks, while the Dunlop Nylon Jazz III and the Dunlop Primetone are recommended for more advanced players. If you’re looking for a brighter sound, the Gravity Picks are a good choice for those who prefer a sharp tip.
Looking for more gear recommendations for jazz guitar? Check out our list of the best pedals for jazz guitar and don’t miss our recent article on the best Les Paul copies in 2023.