Nylon guitar picks are some of the most popular and widely used by guitarists. Back in the 60's and 70's Nylon as a material for guitar picks were probably the most popular but subsequently have been taken over in popularity by the Dunlop tortex material which is essentially like delrin. Nylon guitar picks were mostly popular among rock n roll guitarists of the 1970's like Jimi Page just to name one. Despite the fact that nylon plectrums are popular for rock music, they are also widely used by jazz guitarists. This should give you an idea in terms of the versatility of nylon picks. In this article I'll be discussing the sound, feel and characteristics of Nylon plectrums as well as reviewing the top nylon picks on the market. If this interests you, check out our list of the best guitar picks here.

Dunlop Nylon StandardPlanet Waves NylflexErnie Ball Nylon PicksDunlop Jazz III NylonDava Grip Nylon Pick
Most PopularMy Top ChoiceUnderrated PlectrumNylon For JazzMost Innovative Pick

What Are Nylon Plectrums?

Quite simply put, nylon guitar picks essentially refers to the fact that the pick has been made out of the nylon material. Whilst some guitar pick companies make their plectrums slightly differently, for the most part they are moulded using injected nylon. I'll discuss some of the different shapes and gauges that you can get these nylon picks in below.

History Of Nylon Guitar Picks

dunlop herco nylon guitar picks

Celluloid was popular, so was tortoise shell, everyone looking for alternatives. Jim Dunlop came up with nylon as an alternative which quickly caught on. The Herco was actually the first nylon pick (an example of a reissue can be seen to the right) but Dunlop acquired the brand and ran with nylon. After discovering nylon as a replacement for celluloid. Jim Dunlop aslo discovered tortex, which as I mentioned above has now taken over the number position of the most popular plectrum material. That being said, nylon guitar picks are still widely used.

How Do Nylon Guitar Picks Sound?

In comparison to most other guitar pick materials, Nylon is one of the warmest sounding. However, despite being warmer in tone a brighter sound can be achieved simply by striking the strings in a particular way. It is this versatility in sound which I believe makes it popular in different styles of guitar playing from rock to jazz. When the strings are struck hard with a nylon attack one gets almost a compressed sound which ultimately leads to a much tighter tone. It must be because of this that nylon picks are prefered by rock players. On the contrary, nylon picks are insanely popular for strumming especially on the acoustic guitar with a thinner gauge. Ultimately the nylon plectrums are very versatile in my opinion and I'd recomend you try them at least once.

How Do Nylon Guitar Picks Feel?

The number one thing nylon is known for is the flexibility it allows in terms of feel when striking or strumming the strings. This flexibility is also consistent throughout gauges. What I mean by this is that nylon picks feel thinner than they actually are. For example, a 1mm nylon picks feels like a 0.88mm nylon plectrum.

Another characteristic of the nylon guitar pick is the slippery feel. However, MOST nylon picks are designed with a stubbed grip which are also referred to as dimples. This stubby grip has combated the slippery feel of nylon and was adopted since the first nylon plectrums came out in the 1970's. In fact, this stubbed grip/ dimples found on nylon guitar picks has actually been adopted by many guitar players over the years by using the stubby part/.dimples to actually strike the string. The use of is still common today but is still probably most associated with the Edge guitar picks from U2.

One of the many challenges I face is trying to express the way a guitar picks by putting into words. The same goes for describing the way nylon picks feel as it is definitely something that needs to be tried in person. However, there are some key characteristics in the feel of nylon picks that are consistent no matter which guitar pick brand you choose.

Downsides To Nylon Guitar Picks?

The flexible way in which the nylon plectrums feel is something that unfortunates wears away after extensive use of the pick. Also, over time nylon can also disintegrate and break. So we can tell that nylon might not be as strong and durable a material as delrin, stone picks or wooden picks but having said that, when last did a guitar pick last forever anyway?

What Shapes & Gauges Do Nylon Picks Come?

As with pretty much most guitar plectrum materials, nylon comes in a vast array of brands, shapes, materials and gauges. The two most popular shapes when it comes to nylon picks are probably the Jazz shape as well as the regular shape. However with that said, you'll find nylon in most plectrum shapes. Due to the fact that nylon is a synthetic material, it means that they are generally cheap and easy to produce and so you won't find yourself paying a lot for them like exotic plectrums. Also this means you can find them in pretty much any gauge and any shape because of how easy they are to manufacture.

Top Nylon Guitar Picks

If you've come with this far it means you're probably interested in trying out nylon guitar picks for yourself. So the next step is to find yourself some of these picks. A problem arises like with all guitar picks. This is the problem of having way too many options to choose from. I've tried most nylon guitar picks and I've narrowed down my list which you can see below.

1)  Dunlop Nylon Standard

jim dunlop standard nylon guitar pick

Jim Dunlop Nylon Standard Guitar Picks

These are the most popular choice when it comes to nylon guitar picks. You can get these in a wide range of gauges from super thin (0.50mm) all the way up to 1.5mm. They might even make a 2mm version but I stand to be corrected. These Dunlop standard nylons only come in this regular shape. That being said, Jim Dunlop guitar picks have many other nylon shapes which you'll find below.

2) Planet Waves Nylflex

planet waves d'addario nylon guitar picks

Planet Waves (D'addario) Nylflex Guitar Picks

When it comes to my favorite nylon guitar pick, I always go for this Planet Waves (D'addario) Nylflex guitar pick. I love everything about this pick but to be specific, I like the grip and I like the shape. The shape is unique and whilst it is very similar to a standard/regular shape, it has its own thing going on. From what I understand this is a relatively new guitar pick to the market but I highly recomend them.

3) Ernie Ball Nylon

ernie ball nylon guitar picks

Ernie Ball Nylon Picks

Ernie Ball are most well known for their celluloid guitar picks but a lot of people aren't aware that they make these nylon picks. I'd have to say that there isn't much that differs between these and the Dunlop standard's above other than the fact that the Ernie Ball's have quite a nice grip which I think is better.  Read more about these Ernie Ball Nylon's here

4) Dunlop Jazz III Nylon

jazz III nylon guitar picks

Dunlop Jazz III Pick Pack, Red Nylon,1.38mm

This is the guitar pick that changed it all for me and I have it featured as number 1 in my list of best guitar picks. I mentioned earlier in this article that Nylon guitar picks are used by rock players as well as jazz players. The Jazz III is as the name suggest, for jazz. And the nylon material gives produces a warm tone very suitable for jazz music.

5) Dava Nylon Grip

dava nylon guitar picks

Dava Grip Nylon (Light Green) (9124)

This is a very innovative nylon guitar pick made by Dava. I won't get too much into this because I have a full article dedicated to these Dava guitar picks here. If you are looking for a guitar pick that is different to what you are used to then I suggest giving the Dava nylon picks a go.

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