Thick Guitar Picks: A Full Guide and Review

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by Justin

As a beginner guitar player or an experienced pro, you’ve likely noticed that the guitar pick, a small piece of equipment held between your fingers, significantly influences your sound and guitar playing style.

In the guitar world, one key characteristic to consider when choosing a pick is its thickness, otherwise known as the guitar pick thickness. This article elaborates on thick guitar picks, their benefits, proper uses, and examples, all to enhance your guitar playing experience, whether on acoustic guitars or electric guitars.

What Exactly is a Thick Guitar Pick?

Typically, guitar picks are categorized as ‘thick’ if they have a gauge of 0.88mm or higher. These picks, which can go up to 3mm or even more, provide a wide pick thickness range. Thick guitar picks are generally more rigid and less flexible than thin picks, leading to specific benefits and drawbacks, largely depending on personal preference. Let’s delve into the advantages of thick guitar picks.

My Best Thick Guitar Picks

Numerous quality picks fall into the ‘thick’ category. Here are a few notable examples:

1) Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.14mm

Tortex Standard Purple 1.14mm

A popular choice among guitarists favoring thick picks, Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.14mm picks are known for their durability and bright, clear tones. The matte surface ensures a secure grip, avoiding slippage during intense playing sessions. Famous guitarist, Slash is known for using this exact pick.

2) Dunlop Jazz III

Dunlop Jazz III (Red)

Loved by many for its precision and control, the Dunlop Jazz III pick, approximately 1.38mm thick, is perfect for playing fast and intricate lead parts. in fact, it is also one of the best guitar picks for speed and precision. There are many variations of the Jazz III. Including signature versions and material variations. However, the classic red and black ones are thick, with the black ones being a litter stiffer in terms of feel.

3) Dunlop Big Stubby 3.0mm

Jim Dunlop Big Stubby 3.0mm

The Jim Dunlop Big Stubby 3.0mm, a highly rigid, super-thick pick, is perfect for those desiring maximum pick stability. The pick’s indentations provide a secure grip, ensuring control. A dimpled grip for your thumb has been integrated into the design of this pick. This is actually quite a nice feature that not only helps with grip but also makes it a lot more comfortable. I know a lot of guitarists either love or hate the Stubby picks. While they’re not my first choice, they’re certainly really good in my opinion. Especially as a guitar pick for electric guitar.

4) Fender 346 Extra Heavy Celluloid

Fender 346 Extra Heavy Celluloid

With a rounded triangular shape offering three playing edges, the Fender 346 Extra Heavy pick, around 1.21mm, is a good option for players who want a blend of thickness and versatility. Made from celluloid, it provides a traditional feel and a warm tone. The triangle shape provides interesting control and dexterity that can not be achieved with regular-shaped picks. If you’ve never tried triangle plectrums, I definitely recommend checking out my review on triangle guitar picks.

5) Gravity Guitar Picks Classic Standard Polished 2mm

Gravity Picks Standard Classic 2.0mm

Handcrafted Gravity Guitar Picks offer a unique playing experience. The Classic Standard 2mm pick is thick and durable, ensuring excellent control and a rich tone. Its polished surface ensures smooth transitions between strings. Check out more about these on my list of best guitar picks. These ones in particular are 2mm in gauge. However, Gravity picks make many different shapes, most of which vary between 1.5mm – 3.5mm gauge.

6) Gator Grip Heavy 1.5mm

Dunlop Gator Grip 1.5mm 

When exploring the universe of thick picks, it’s impossible to leave out the Dunlop Gator Grip. Known for its impressive durability and reliable grip, the Gator Grip is a favored pick among guitarists who prefer a thicker gauge. Most notably, Dave Grohl is a user of these plectrums.

A significant feature of the Gator Grip is its matte surface. This feature ensures that the pick stays firmly between your fingers, even during the most aggressive playing sessions. Gator Grips, due to their thick nature, can produce a fuller, louder tone than thinner picks. They are a perfect example of how a pick’s thickness can contribute to the tonal qualities of your playing.

Advantages of Thick Guitar Picks

1. Control

Guitar players using thick picks gain improved control thanks to the pick’s rigidity. This dependable, consistent feel allows you to execute precise movements. The control is especially useful when playing intricate melodies or quick, complex riffs, often a feature in lead playing.

2. Rich Tone

Unlike thin guitar picks, thick picks create a fuller, louder, and warmer sound. The increased mass allows for a more forceful attack on the strings, leading to a louder sound. The absence of flex in thick picks also results in a more defined, articulate tone. These brighter tones can be especially appealing for those playing lead guitar. You’ll notice this even more when using thick picks for acoustic guitar.

3. Durability

The longevity of your guitar pick is another crucial factor to consider. Thick picks tend to outlast thin picks, withstanding aggressive playing and heavy strumming without breaking or wearing down as quickly.

4. Reducing Pick Noise

Thicker picks can also minimize pick noise, an aspect that bothers many guitarists. A thin pick, due to its flexibility, might create more noise against the strings, while a stiff pick makes less.

Ideal Uses for Thick Guitar Picks

Thick picks, while suitable for any music style, are particularly handy for genres requiring precision and speed, such as rock, metal, and jazz. Thick picks, such as the Dunlop Jazz III, provide excellent support for lead guitar parts and solos, where their control and clear tone can shine. However, for strumming chords or playing rhythm guitar, some guitar players find thick picks less suitable due to their rigidity.

Heavy and Thick Guitar Picks: How Do They Differ?

Often, “heavy guitar picks” and “thick guitar picks” are used interchangeably in the guitar community, typically referring to the same thing. Both refer to the gauge or thickness of the pick. However, the term ‘heavy’ sometimes implies nuances such as the physical weight or the perceived heaviness of the pick, even if they are the same thickness.

Here are some similarities and differences between these two terms:


  1. Thickness/Heaviness: Both terms refer to the gauge, or thickness, of the guitar pick. Thick or heavy picks are typically those with a gauge of 0.88mm or higher. The increased thickness contributes to a perception of “heaviness” when holding and playing the pick.
  2. Tone and Control: Both heavy and thick picks produce a fuller, louder tone due to their increased mass. They also provide greater control because they’re less flexible and thus more responsive to precise movements.
  3. Durability: Heavy or thick picks tend to be more durable, capable of withstanding aggressive playing without breaking or wearing down as quickly as thinner picks.


While they generally refer to the same category of picks, some guitarists may use the term “heavy” to imply a slightly different nuance:

  1. Material Weight: While it’s less common, some players might use the term “heavy” to refer to the actual weight of the pick, which can be influenced by the material it’s made from. For example, picks made from metals like brass or steel will be physically heavier than those made from nylon or celluloid, even if they’re the same thickness.
  2. Perceived Heaviness: Occasionally, “heavy” may refer to how a pick feels in terms of playability rather than its actual thickness. A pick made from a denser material might be described as feeling “heavy,” even if it isn’t thicker than a pick made from less dense material.

In general, you can assume that when guitarists talk about “thick” or “heavy” picks, they’re referring to the same category of picks with a gauge of 0.88mm or above. However, it’s worth bearing in mind the nuances that some players might imply with the term “heavy,” such as the physical weight or the perceived heaviness of the pick.

Thick Picks for Bass Guitar

Another interesting application of thick picks is in the realm of bass guitars. Bass tones often benefit from the substantial attack that thick picks provide. Many bass players opt for medium picks or thick picks due to their resilience, which is crucial for striking thicker strings.

Using a thick pick can assist in producing a deep, resonant sound that resonates with the low-frequency range of the bass guitar. Nylon picks, due to their balance of flexibility and stiffness, are a common choice for bass players, although the best bass pick largely depends on your personal playing style and preference.

Through Thick and Thin?

Whether you’ve just started playing guitar or are a seasoned player, thick guitar picks offer undeniable benefits in terms of control, tone, and durability. While the transition may require adjustment, especially for those used to thinner picks, many find that the change enhances their precision and overall guitar playing technique. Remember, the best guitar pick is one that feels best and augments your individual playing style. Let the music play!