Finger Picks For Guitar [The Definitive Guide]

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Justin

I’d like to touch on a topic which I get a lot of questions and that is regarding the best finger picks for guitar. When it comes to the world of guitar picks, I’d have to say that I hold the view that fingerpicks are the least known and least used of all the different varieties and types of plectrums.

The reason for this is not because fingerpicks are a bad choice but rather due to the fact that fingerpicks are generally used for specific types of music. That is why we very rarely see them used by mainstream musicians.

This article covers the many regularly asked questions surrounding finger picks as well as reviewing the best fingerpicks that you can buy.

National Finger PicksDunlop Plastic Finger PicksOpen Design Finger PicksFred Kelly Freedom PicksErnie Ball Nickel
Top ChoiceMost PopularGives Most controlMost InnovativeClassic Fingerpick

What are finger picks?

Fingerpicks are specifically made guitar pick that is designed to slip over your picking fingers. These picks are made for your index, middle, and ring fingers to help finger picking on the guitar.

The fingerpicks are not to be confused with Thumbpicks which as the name suggest, are made for the thumb. However, fingerpicks are very often used in conjunction with thumb picks.

Fingerpicks come in different materials and brands. The shape and style of these picks are generally the same however can differ between brands. See below for examples of the best finger picks.

The Advantages of Finger picks?

Due to the fact that fingerpicks are so specific, it is hard to compare them to regular guitar picks. However one should rather think of them in their own class.

For that reason, we’re not looking at what makes fingerpicks better but rather we’re looking at what advantages you can have by using them. These include:

  • Using finger picks makes the guitar string ring louder as it amplifies it more than bare fingers.
  • They’re brighter when compared to just using your fingers which can sometimes sound dull
  • These eliminate the need to grow your nails.

The Disadvantages of Fingerpicks?

  • Fingerpicks are generally better suited for acoustic guitars and acoustic music
  • I find them to be quite hard for beginners and intermediate players to grasp and get used to

What materials are Finger picks made from?

The two most popular fingerpick materials are definitely celluloid (which is a type of plastic) and steel. Nylon is also a popular material for fingerpicks but not quite as popular as celluloid or steel.

It comes down to preference as to which material you prefer the sound of as they both sound different tonally. As one would imagine, the steel finger picks produce a more metallic sound with a higher end which results in a brighter sound.

1) National Fingerpicks Steel

My number one choice for the best finger picks for guitar have to be the ones made by national. What I believe separates these fingerpicks from the rest is that have been ergonomically made to improve the guitar-playing experience.

As an added bonus, you also get 1 extra finger picks and 2 thumb picks. These fingerpicks feel good on the finger and are comfortable to wear. But most importantly, they sound good too. They’re a top contender for the best acoustic guitar picks that I’ve tried.

2) Ernie Ball Nickel Silver Finger Pick

The nickel silver finger picks by Ernie Ball have been a mainstay in the finger pick world ever since I can remember. These nickel picks are available in either 0.15″ or 0.20″ in size.

What makes the Ernie Ball finger picks unique, and different from most, is that they have been designed with a pointed tip. This pointed tip is narrower compared to standard finger picks. But this is not a bad thing, in fact, I prefer the narrower tips as they give me more control over my picking technique.

3) Dunlop Finger Picks

Dunlop fingerpicks are what you would consider being your regular or “common” fingerpick style. It’s made out of plastic however to be more specific, the type of plastic I believe is celluloid.

The Dunlops come in three sizes (small, medium, and large). This set of fingerpicks also comes with a thumb pick to complete the set.

You can expect high-quality picks from Jim Dunlop as they’re the leading pick manufacturer in my opinion.

4) Open Finger Picks

These open fingerpicks are seriously epic. If I must be completely honest, these are the most fun to play. The reason I find them the most fun and easiest to play is because of their open design.

The open design means that you’re able to touch and feel the guitar string. What this does is give you more control over the strings you’re picking without compromising anything.

These are very similar to the Butterfly picks which I have featured in a separate article. The open-finger picks are made from stainless steel.

5) Fred Kelly Fingerpicks

Freedom Delrin Finger Picks: S / M / L
Freedom Polycarb Finger Picks: S / M / L
When it comes to innovation and guitar picks, Fred Kelly has to be up there as one of the front runners. Their innovation carries over into the design of their Freedom fingerpicks.

They’re completely different from any other finger pick I’ve seen on the market. They come in three different sizes and you have the choice between getting these in the Delrin material or the polycarb material.

6) Jim Dunlop Nickel Finger Picks

The Nickel finger picks by Dunlop are possibly the most popular and most widely used of the metal finger picks. They’re made from nickel silver which makes them resistant to corrosion and exceptionally durable.

At first glance, they look identical to the Ernie Ball nickel finger picks. However, the Dunlops have a broader tip. I prefer the narrower tip of the Ernie Ball finger picks which is why these didn’t score so high for me.

Having said that, they’re still great picks and made from high-quality materials.