We’ve all tried picks made with different materials, weights and sizes. You may find yourself asking the question which is the best guitar pick for quite a while. Some notable guitarists have used coins as picks. It’s documented Brian May from Queen and Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top have both used coins. Although the solid non-flexible nature of the pick and brash tone from the metal is the most obvious attractive traits, I would bet the rounded edge plays a role as well. Using coins or any pick made from metal should be approached with caution. Metal is likely to wear your strings down and scratch your guitar so be warned.
The Edge from U2 chooses to play with the shoulder of a regular pick. He’s not the only one who finds this to be the best guitar pick for his style. Using the rounded edge provides a rounder sound. You still get plenty of attack but it’s not quite as brittle. Turning a regular pick to it’s side causes no extra wear to your strings or guitar. Plus you can switch back and forth during a song or a set. It’s like having 2 picks in one.
Playing from the pick shoulder can really help in situations where the amp is just a tad too bright. You may still want presence and find turning down the eq seems to dull out the sound. Playing on the shoulder may be the best guitar pick to tame those ice pick stabs. It will also bring out the tone in lower strings as opposed to that thin smack of the pointed tip.
To my ears it’s one step closer to what it sounds like when you use your fingers. This may not be your preference when you’re going for a super punchy attack. In that situation a pointed tip will work best. It isn’t about converting you, it’s about giving you options as the world isn’t always filled with absolutes. There is no rounded pick doomsday cult or anything…. at-least not yet.
Mandolin players will often tell you the best guitar picks are rounded as they often use the dulled edges to subdue the abundance of high end on their instruments. Ya see it’s not just because they’re weird!! Well… They are weird but not because of their picks.
They often use Dawg picks or Golden Gate picks. The Dawg and Golden Gate picks are great except there aren’t a lot of options for thickness. They’re mostly extra heavy. You can also check out Blue Chips guitar picks. But again, only available in 1.mm and heavier weights and cost about $40. a pick!!!! The only person you’ll make happy with those picks are the sound-men who will find them onstage after you’ve dropped them. Cha-ching!! Guitar players lose picks almost as quickly as they lose brain cells.
Even some mandolin players like Sam Bush think the best guitar pick is the shoulder of a fender celluloid. Personally I like Fender Mediums so a heavy Dawg or equivalent pick doesn’t work for me unless it’s one of the few occasion that a heavy pick is better suited for the song.
The beauty of using your pick sideways is you’ll have flexibility to try many different materials and weights for more tonal variations. If you’re crafty and enjoy doing man like things to create the best guitar pick you can purchase an emery board designed for acrylic nails to sand down the pointy end. Then use dry wet sandpaper at 1000 to 1500 grit to smooth it out. Although turning it sideways will save you a lot of time and energy, some might not like the way the pick sits.
It’s nice to know what tonal variation you can create with the tools you use everyday. It’s not always practical to go through your pick collection on stage to find the right pick, but you can turn your pick around and get some more colors.