Thin Guitar Picks

Last Updated on September 9, 2023 by Justin

When it comes to guitar picks, there are many thicknesses (also known as “gauges”) available to choose from. One of the options available are thin guitar picks. These picks, as the name suggests, are characterized by their slim profile and reduced thickness compared to their thicker counterparts. In this section, we will explore the benefits and applications of thin picks, my top recommendations, and some frequently asked questions about their use.

What Are The Best Thin Guitar Picks?

In this curated selection, I review some of the best options (in my personal opinion) of thinner picks you can get almost anywhere. These guitar picks offer the ideal balance of flexibility, control, and tone, allowing you to achieve the desired sound and expressiveness in your playing. So, let’s dive right in.

1) Dunlop Tortex Standard Guitar Picks 0.50mm

Dunlop Tortex Standard 0.50mm

The Dunlop Tortex Standard picks are known for their durability and excellent grip. Made from Tortex material, these picks provide a balanced feel and offer a warm tone. Their 0.50mm thickness is their thinnest option available. This makes them the perfect guitar pick for strumming and rhythm playing. Thus, allowing for smooth and precise strokes. Dunlop’s range of Tortex picks are by far some of the best guitar picks around and have been for decades now.

2) Fender Celluloid Guitar Picks (thin)

Fender Thin Celluloid Guitar Picks

Fender picks are known for their versatility and durability. With a thickness of 0.50mm, these thin guitar picks offer flexibility and responsiveness. Made from celluloid material, these guitar picks provide a classic feel and produce a bright tone. They are great for strumming and lead playing, allowing for better articulation and smooth contact with the strings.

3) Ernie Ball Everlast Guitar Picks

Ernie Ball Everlast 0.48mm

Ernie Ball Everlast guitar picks are designed for players who prefer a lighter touch. My recommendation comes in a thickness of 0.50mm, and they offer increased flexibility as well as being well-suited for strumming and rhythm playing. The Ernie Ball Everlast plectrums are made from high-quality Delrin material, which provides a comfortable grip and excellent durability. Ernie Ball has made picks that produce a balanced tone with a clear attack. Which, is also a characteristic of the Delrin material.

4) Dunlop Nylon Standard Guitar Picks 0.38mm

Dunlop Nylon Standard 0.38mm

Dunlop Nylon Standard picks are a popular choice among guitarists.  This range of picks contains the thinnest guitar picks that I am aware of. The particular pick I am talking about comes in a thickness of 0.38mm. Which is insanely thin! I would say that due to these being so slim, they’re definitely the best-suited guitar pick for light strumming. You will find it particularly hard to try picking notes, playing scales, and playing solos. That is because these provide the most flexibility out of any other guitar pick, which leads to less control over picking notes. But again, great for strumming! The nylon material offers a smooth playing experience and produces a warm tone.

5) D’addario DuraGrip Guitar Picks

D’addario DurGrip Thin 

D’Addario dura-grip guitar picks are favored for their versatility, tone, and most famously, grip. With a thickness of 0.50mm, the DuraGrips offer a good compromise between flexibility and control. The Delrin material ensures a smooth playing surface and the stubbed-like surface enhances grip. When it comes to sound, these picks produce a warm and well-rounded tone, making them great for a wide array of musical styles.

Benefits of Thin Gauge Guitar Picks

A thin guitar pick offers several advantages for guitarists, thus making them a popular choice among guitar players of various skill levels and musical styles. These benefits include:

  1. Flexibility and Control: Thinner picks are more flexible than thicker picks, allowing for greater control and precision while playing. The increased flexibility enables guitarists to produce softer tones and execute intricate techniques with ease.
  2. Responsive Strumming: Thinner picks are well-suited for strumming chords on both acoustic and electric guitars. The flexible nature of these picks enables a smoother and more responsive strumming experience, resulting in a brighter and more articulate sound.
  3. Enhanced Articulation: Due to their reduced thickness, these guitar picks provide enhanced articulation, making them ideal for playing single notes and intricate melodies. The thinner profile allows for cleaner string separation, enabling guitarists to achieve a clear and defined sound with each note.
  4. Gentler on Strings: light plectrums exert less pressure on the strings compared to thicker picks. This can be advantageous for guitarists who prefer a lighter touch or want to minimize string wear. Additionally, the reduced contact area with the strings can lead to less pick noise, allowing for a cleaner and smoother playing experience. Especially when compared to thick guitar picks.

Different Picks for Different Sounds

One important factor to consider when choosing guitar picks is the sound they produce. Slim guitar picks tend to produce a brighter and more treble-focused tone compared to thick picks. This can be advantageous for genres such as pop, folk, and jazz, where a lighter and more delicate sound is desired. These guitar picks are also popular among lead guitarists who value precision and clarity in their solos. An example would be Paul Gilbert, who is a metal guitarist who uses thin picks to increase speed and precision.

On the other hand, thick guitar picks generally produce a warmer and fuller tone with more emphasis on the bass frequencies. This can be beneficial for players who prefer a heavier sound or genres like rock, metal, or blues, where a thicker pick can provide more attack and sustain.

Material Matters

Thin plectrums are available in a variety of materials, each contributing to the overall sound and feel. Some common materials include:

  1. Nylon: Nylon picks are widely popular due to their flexibility, durability, and affordability. They offer a balanced tone and a smooth feel.
  2. Celluloid: Celluloid picks have been popular for decades and are known for their warm tone and vintage aesthetics. They provide a slightly softer attack compared to nylon picks.
  3. Delrin: Delrin picks are favored for their durability and resistance to wear. They offer a bright and crisp tone, making them suitable for genres that require precision and articulation.
  4. Tortex: Tortex picks are made from high-quality synthetic material and are known for their grip and control. They provide a balanced tone and are particularly popular among alternative and rock guitarists.
  5. Ultem: Ultem picks are made from high-strength thermoplastic material. They offer a smooth surface and a warm tone, similar to celluloid picks, but with added durability.

Finding Your Perfect Pick

Choosing the right guitar pick is a personal decision that depends on your playing style, musical preferences, and individual comfort. It’s recommended to try out different picks, including thin ones, to find the one that feels most comfortable and suits your desired tone.

If you’re a beginner guitar player, experimenting with different pick thicknesses can be beneficial. Thin picks can offer better control and allow you to develop proper picking technique. As you progress and explore different playing styles, you may find that using a combination of thin and thick picks gives you versatility and flexibility in your playing.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to guitar picks. The best pick for you is the one that feels comfortable, enhances your playing style, and helps you achieve the desired tone for your music. So don’t be afraid to try out different picks and find the one that becomes an extension of your playing hand.

Certainly! Here’s some more information about thin guitar picks:

Strumming and Acoustic Guitar

Light guitar picks are often favored by strummers and acoustic guitar players. Their flexibility allows for a smooth strumming motion across the strings, producing a softer and more rounded sound. They are particularly well-suited for playing chords and rhythm parts on acoustic guitars, as they can prevent excessive string vibration and provide a mellower tone. To read more about this, check out my review of the best picks for acoustic guitar.

Lead Guitar and Speed

These picks can also benefit lead guitarists, especially those who prioritize speed and precision in their playing. The flexibility of a thin pick allows for faster alternate picking and intricate picking techniques. Guitarists can execute rapid single-note lines and arpeggios with more ease, giving them greater control and articulation. I have more info on playing faster in my article on the best guitar picks for speed.

String Flexibility

Another advantage of using thinner guitar picks is that they allow for more string flexibility. When strumming or picking, the strings can vibrate more freely, resulting in a more resonant and expressive sound. This increased string flexibility can be particularly advantageous for players who enjoy bending notes and adding expressive techniques to their playing.

Personal Preference and Skill Level

It’s important to note that the choice between thin and thick guitar picks ultimately comes down to personal preference and playing style. While thin picks are generally associated with strumming, acoustic playing, and lead guitar work, there are no strict rules. Some guitarists may prefer a thicker pick even for strumming, while others may opt for a thinner guitar pick for lead playing. It’s all about finding the guitar pick that feels comfortable and allows you to achieve the desired tone and control.

Additionally, the ideal pick thickness may also depend on your skill level. Beginners may find it easier to start with a thinner guitar pick, as it provides more flexibility and forgiveness when developing good picking technique. As your skills progress, you can experiment with different pick thicknesses to refine your sound and playing approach.

Tone Variation

Thinner picks can offer a different tonal character compared to thick guitar picks. Due to their flexibility, they tend to produce a brighter and lighter tone. When strumming chords or playing arpeggios, thin picks can emphasize the high-end frequencies and produce a more delicate and chime-like sound. This tonal characteristic can be desirable in certain musical styles or when aiming for a specific sonic texture.

Thin Picks and Pick Noise

One consideration when using thin picks is the potential for increased pick noise. Thin picks are more prone to producing audible pick clicks and scraping sounds when striking the strings. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on the desired musical effect. Some guitarists appreciate the added texture and percussive quality of pick noise, while others prefer a smoother and cleaner sound. It’s worth experimenting with different picking angles and techniques to minimize unwanted pick noise.

Different Materials

You can get these guitar picks in various materials, each offering its own characteristics. Common guitar pick materials include plastic, nylon, celluloid, and even metal. Each material can contribute to the overall tone, durability, and feel of the guitar pick. Plastic and nylon guitar picks are lightweight, affordable, and widely available, making them popular choices. Celluloid can provide a warm and vintage tone, while metal offers a unique brightness and articulation.

Bass Tones

As I have already mentioned, these plectrums are often associated with acoustic and electric guitar playing. But, they can also be used for bass guitar. Producing a softer attack as well as a smoother sound on bass strings, which can be desirable in certain playing styles and musical genres. Bass players who want a more rounded and mellow tone may find that thinner guitar picks offer a different sonic option compared to traditional bass techniques with fingers or thick picks. Read more about this in my comprehensive review of bass guitar picks.


One aspect to consider when using thin picks is the level of control they provide. Due to their flexibility, these guitar picks can require a more precise and controlled picking technique, especially when playing fast or intricate passages. The increased flexibility can result in a slight loss of stability and resistance compared to thicker picks. However, with practice and adaptation, guitarists can develop the necessary control to fully utilize their benefits.

Guitar Pick Thickness

Guitar pick thickness is a fundamental aspect that greatly influences your playing experience and the sound produced by your acoustic or electric guitar. The thickness of a guitar pick, often referred to as its gauge, is measured in millimeters and can range from extra thin to extra heavy.

Thicker guitar picks, typically ranging from 0.80mm to 2.0mm, offer a stiffer and more rigid feel. They provide greater resistance when striking the strings, resulting in a more pronounced attack and increased control. Thicker picks are often favored by lead guitarists and players who require precision and speed in their playing. Thick guitar picks excel at delivering defined and powerful single-note lines, making them suitable for genres such as rock, metal, and shredding.

Medium guitar picks are somewhere in the middle ranging from 0.70mm to 0.80mm and are great on electric guitars as well as acoustic guitar.

On the other hand, thin guitar picks, usually ranging from 0.40mm to 0.60mm, offer a more flexible and lightweight option. They have a softer and more delicate feel when striking the strings, producing a smoother and gentler tone. Thinner picks are favored by acoustic and rhythm players who focus on strumming and chordal playing. They provide an easier glide across the strings and are ideal for achieving a softer, mellower sound in genres like folk, acoustic, and jazz.

It’s important to note that experimenting with different guitar pick thicknesses can open up new possibilities and help you discover the right fit for your playing style. Consider factors such as your playing technique, musical genre, and the sound you aim to achieve. Ultimately, finding the perfect guitar pick thickness is a matter of finding the balance between comfort, control, and the desired tone.

Availability and Experimentation

Thin guitar picks are widely available, both online and at local music stores. They typically come in various quantities, ranging from individual picks to packs of multiple picks. If you’re curious, it’s recommended to try out different guitar pick brands, materials, and thicknesses to find the one that suits your playing style and preferences. Remember that personal experimentation and exploration are key to discovering the ideal guitar pick for your needs. One of the best ways to do that is by utilizing variety packs.

As you continue your guitar journey, don’t hesitate to explore different guitar pick options and embrace their versatility. They can open up new sonic possibilities and enhance your playing experience.