Top Guitar Picks For Acoustic

Last Updated on March 30, 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 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 for when you want to play lead lines, licks and riffs.

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 guitar players due to their warm tone. Their versatility, feel as well as durability make them a favorite among guitarists for over half a century. The medium thickness of this pick suits acoustic players who mix strumming and picking. And the clarity of the pick definitely brings out the best in any type of acoustic.

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 very unique and warm tone that complements acoustic extremely well. The thickness of these picks makes them a little less suitable for strumming and better for cutting through with lead playing. However, with that being said, strumming using wooden guitar picks sound absolutely incredible to my ear.

4. 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. Using triangular-shaped guitar picks also offers something unique in terms of grip. It is quite hard to describe in words, but, triangle picks make for better dexterity when strumming and picking. This is due to their larger surface area but also, the opposite tip fits nicely and firmly in between your palm and fingers. Thus, providing greater stability and greater control in all aspects of your playing.

5. 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.

6. 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.

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 similarly 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!