Best Guitar Picks For Acoustic

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by Justin

Acoustic guitars produce their enchanting tones thanks to the interplay between the strings and the guitar’s hollow body. Part of that magic also comes from the type of pick you use. Guitar picks have a significant impact on your playing style and the sound your guitar produces. In this guide, we’ll delve into the top choices for acoustic guitar picks and what you should consider when selecting one.

My Top 10 Best Guitar Picks for Acoustic

Below are 10 of the best choices when it comes to acoustic guitar that I’ve personally tried over the years. There were so many guitar picks that could’ve made this list. Ultimately I chose 10 that I think work for all types of acoustic guitar players. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the best guitar picks for acoustic players:

1. Dunlop Tortex Standard .60mm

Jim Dunlop Standard Tortex 0.60mm

Dunlop Tortex Standard .60mm picks are an excellent choice for acoustic players who enjoy strumming. The Tortex material closely mimics natural tortoiseshell, providing a bright and crisp sound, which resonates beautifully on acoustic guitars. The .60mm thickness delivers enough flexibility for fluid strumming without sacrificing control.

2. Fender 351 Shape Premium Medium Celluloid Pick

Fender 351 Medium Celluloid

Celluloid picks, such as the Fender 351 Shape Premium Medium, are a popular choice among acoustic players due to their warm tone. Their versatility, durability, and classic look make them a favorite. The medium thickness of this pick suits acoustic players who mix strumming and picking.

3. Clayton Picks Exotic DWS/3

Clayton Exotics Wood Picks

If you’re looking for something different, try the Clayton Picks Exotic DWS/3. These are wooden picks, which can provide a unique and warm tone that complements acoustic play. The thinness of these picks adds a delicate touch to your strumming.

4. D’Addario Assorted Pearl Celluloid Guitar Picks

D’addario Pearl Celluloid

The D’Addario Assorted Pearl Celluloid Guitar Picks set gives acoustic players a range of options. The pack includes various thicknesses, allowing you to experiment and find the perfect pick. Celluloid provides a warm tone, perfect for an acoustic guitar.

5. Dunlop Nylon Jazz III

Dunlop Jazz III Nylon

The Dunlop Nylon Jazz III picks are loved by many guitarists for their precision. Their sharp tip allows for accurate picking, making them a good choice if you’re an acoustic player who likes fingerpicking or intricate solos.

6. Dunlop Ultex Tri Guitar Pick

Dunlop Ultex Tri-Tip 0.60mm

The Dunlop Ultex Tri is a triangular pick with a larger gripping surface, which can be useful for beginners or players with a heavier strumming style. Its Ultex material offers durability and a clear, vibrant sound, enhancing your acoustic guitar’s resonance.

7. Snarling Dogs Brain Nylon Picks

Snarling Dogs Brain Picks 0.53mm

Snarling Dogs Brain Nylon Picks have a grip surface that helps prevent the pick from slipping from your fingers – a common issue, especially for vigorous strummers. The nylon provides a bright, clear tone suitable for acoustic guitars.

8. Dunlop Primetone Standard Smooth

Dunlop Primetone Smooth 0.88mm

The Dunlop Primetone Standard Smooth pick is made from high-quality Ultex material, providing excellent durability and a bright, clear tone. Its hand-burnished beveled edges allow for quick string release, which is beneficial for fast strumming and picking. These picks are available in a range of heavy thicknesses. A little heavier than one would usually use on an acoustic. However, I have added these to the list because you can get some beautiful acoustic tones with these guitar picks.

9. Timber Tones Heart Tones Black Horn

Timber Tones picks are made from a variety of natural materials, each offering a unique tone. The Heart Tones Black Horn pick is made from buffalo horn, which provides a warm, mellow tone similar to tortoiseshell. The heart-shaped design of this pick allows for versatility in picking and strumming. You can also try the Timber Tones stone guitar picks on an acoustic guitar for an even more unique and fulfilling sound.

10. D’Addario Planet Waves DuraGrip

D’addario DuraGrip Light/Medium

The D’Addario Planet Waves DuraGrip pick is made from Duralin, a material known for its bright and punchy sound. This pick features a unique textured surface for a secure grip, which can be beneficial for more aggressive strumming patterns common in certain acoustic genres.

Thumb Picks and Finger Picks

When it comes to acoustic guitar playing, especially styles like folk, blues, and fingerstyle genres, thumb picks and finger picks come into play. These picks are worn on the thumb or fingers, which can open up new possibilities in terms of playing techniques.

Thumb Picks

A thumb pick is a pick that is designed to be worn on the thumb. It can be used in a similar way to a flat pick for strumming or picking individual strings, but it also allows for fingerpicking techniques using the other fingers. Thumb picks are often used in styles like folk and country, and they can provide a louder, clearer sound compared to using the bare thumb. The Fred Kelly Bumblebee, for example, is a thumb pick known for its comfort and adjustable fit. Another great thumbpick for acoustic is the Black Mountain guitar pick.

Finger Picks

Finger picks, like the National NP1-8B, are designed to be worn on the fingertips. They are often used in combination with a thumb pick, allowing for complex fingerpicking patterns with a bright, clear tone. Finger picks are popular in genres like bluegrass and country, but they can be used in any style where intricate fingerpicking techniques are required.

Key Factors in Choosing an Acoustic Guitar Pick

1. Thickness

Picks come in a range of thicknesses, usually labeled as thin, medium, and heavy. Thin picks (below 0.60mm) offer a softer and lighter sound ideal for gentle strumming. Medium picks (0.60mm-0.80mm) are more versatile, accommodating both strumming and picking. Thick picks, also known as “Heavy”, (above 0.80mm) produce a louder, fuller sound and are better for individual note-picking or soloing. For acoustic players who strum chords frequently, thin to medium picks are typically the best.

2. Material

Picks are made from various materials, each affecting the sound and feel of your play. Nylon and celluloid are common materials; nylon is flexible and durable, whereas celluloid mimics the characteristics of natural tortoiseshell and produces a warm tone. Other materials like wood, metal, or tortex offer different tonal characteristics.

3. Shape

Picks come in various shapes, including standard (a small, teardrop shape), triangular, and large, rounded shapes. The shape can influence the precision and the type of sound produced.

Which Acoustic Pick Is For You?

The best guitar pick for an acoustic guitar largely depends on your personal preference, playing style, and the tone you desire. You might have to experiment with a few options before you find ‘the one.’ All the picks on this list are tried and true options that have proven to be favorites among acoustic guitar players. Remember, the journey to finding the perfect pick is a fun exploration, so enjoy the process. Happy playing!