best guitar picks jazz iii

I cover pick choice and pick technique in detail in my course Rockstar 101 – Essential Guitar Skills For Beginners but today I’m going to give you some specific advice about choosing the best guitar pick.

A few hours ago I finished a lesson with a student who has been playing for roughly 9 months and is making great progress. We had a very productive lesson, and it’s a lesson I often enjoy teaching as it’s one those lessons where a small change makes a BIG improvement for the student.

It is the lesson where I go though which I deem are the best guitar picks – especially for beginners. I show the student a variety of guitar picks and we look at which ones are suitable for which type of song, guitar and genre of music.

By the end of the lesson my student knew exactly which 3 picks he likes for which song, guitar and genre and we both both noticed big improvements in the sound coming from his guitar.

Choosing 3 picks is something I recommend you do too.

How many different picks do you use at the moment? And more importantly, when you grab a pick to play with, do you choose it because you know it will sound good for that certain song or because it’s the nearest one to you?

What I recommend to my students and what I recommend to you is this – choose:

  • 1 pick for strumming songs
  • 1 pick for chord picking songs (in songs such as Green Day’s ‘Time of Your Life)
  • 1 pick for rock, metal, jazz and single string (riffs or solos) based music

So many guitarists just grab whatever pick is nearest to them. Things like those awful cheap nasty Tiger picks. If you use those I recommend you leave this page and go and watch some You Tube videos titled ‘cat playing guitar’ or something like that.



I’m kidding of course, I want you just to see the error of your ways.

Tiger picks are crap, not as crap as Will Smith’s wife’s metal band but crap none the less. You want to get yourself some high quality picks. The difference a good pick makes is huge.

The best guitar picks I recommend are the Dunlop Nylon Series of picks.

Pick #1 – Strumming Songs

If you like to strum an acoustic guitar, go for the lighter one – 0.46 is the most popular for most beginner guitarists that I teach. They sound rich, have a lovely ‘zing’ across the strings, and are thin, therefore easy to control.

best guitar picks for beginners 0.46mm

Pick # 2 – Chord Picking Songs

For songs where you pick chords rather than strum them, then try something a little thicker, such as the 0.55 or 0.73 – they are definitely two of the best guitar picks for beginners.

You will find chord picking sounds quieter than strumming, (that’s because it’s one string being hit at a time as opposed to six when you strum), therefore having something slightly thicker helps keep the volume at an audible level.

Having a slightly thicker pick for chord picking will also help you hit the right string more often. This is because thinner picks are great when strumming but bend too much when chord picking which causes a lack of control and the wrong string being hit.

best guitar picks for beginners

Pick # 3 – Electric (Rock, Jazz, Metal) Type Songs

For any single string riffs (think Led Zeppelin or Metallica style riffs) lead guitar (any of those widdly 80’s virtuosos or douchebags as they are often called – not by me though), or fast jazz players, thicker is better,

Not too thick though. Around about 0.9 to 1.1 is good.

best guitar pick for metal 1mm


If you have played for years and can control a thicker pick, go for the Dunlop Jazz iii XL. I love them. I can’t believe no one told me about these until about 5 years ago.

Before I used those, I would use a multitude of different picks, never settling on any particular one as when I would get all sweaty on stage, they would fly out my hand and disappear somewhere in the audience. I’m sure I once ‘flicked’ one in someone’s drink, or maybe I just wish I was that cool.

I used to be the world’s worst culprit for using the wrong pick. When learning, I would often lose all my picks or just be too lazy to go and grab one, instead using a 2 pence coin (thinking it was cool and anti-capitalist or something like that) when I was a dorky teenager.

I’d be sitting there strumming a bunch of cool, simple chords and writing some songs.

The 2p sounded terrible and made everything harder.

Well, we didn’t have a guitar shop close by and Amazon hadn’t been invented in 1999 as far as I was aware, so it was either hunt for my favourite picks, use the 2p or use the corner of a cut off butter tub (that’s a story for another time).

Anyway, the Dunlop Jazz iii XL is about 1.38mm thick and sounds great and has an awesome grip. No more wasting them in someone’s Gin and Tonic any more.

A lot of students enjoy playing with a wood guitar pick which is becoming a little more common these days, so that’s a possibility for you too if you don’t get on with nylon, tortex or the other standard materials.

Best guitar picks for beginners (as chosen by my students)

The following three picks are the ones my students have chosen as their favourites. If you struggle to get a good, solid sound from your pick, try these three picks for these three styles of playing:

  1. Strumming – 0.46mm
  2. Chord picking – 0.75mm
  3. Electric riffs/solos – 1.0mm

If you are super picky (excuse me, had to be done), then you could always head to Pick World and get yourself some custom made personalized picks, then you could be the coolest player in town.

You can even get engraved guitar picks and if you are true guitar geek, a guitar pick necklace – I love the guitar, but geez, that’s too far for me.

I must have gone through this process with dozens of students and each time they all say something along the lines of “wow, I can’t believe how much difference a pick makes”, and see instant results in their playing.

They not only feel better when playing, but they sound better, which in turn makes them feel better and so on.

Go and try these picks out now, and go and experiment with more. It’s time well spent, and this is coming from the guy who was too lazy to walk past this 2p coin to pick up his favourite pick.

Enjoy the big improvements that choosing the right pick will make!



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September 13, 2016 Reply

Nah, the best for me are double bladed twinpicks. You can find them on They just make such a special and unique sound. And they ship free anywhere in the world.
Some would say that they are not for beginners, but I started out with them.
Did anyone try them out?

September 21, 2016 Reply

You almost sound like an ad for them, but they do look interesting, so I`ll give them a go.

Pickin and grinnin
February 24, 2018 Reply

I’ve tried every pick available and for all guitar including my deANQUUSO and classic CLASICAL GUITAR nothing beats a fender medium.

L. Josserand
December 27, 2021 Reply

Interesting! I am fairly new to learning electric guitar and when I started to try slightly more forceful strumming, I began breaking off bits from my pics.
I went to a local guitar shop and tried to find a thicker pic, just not much thicker. I tried several types and ended up buying a pack of Fender Medium pics (with a black&white checkerboard graphic) and they have been great pics!

L. Josserand
December 27, 2021

Just to clarify, I was trying to agree with someone’s brief comment which said that “Fender Mediums” are the best pics.

But after posting, I can no longer see the comment to which I was responding?

Iron Age
November 1, 2016 Reply

Awesome post, its amazing how such an overlooked piece of gear can impact one’s playing.
+1 for the thicker picks, they seems to offer more control for playing leads
Thanks for sharing & best regards from Iron Age Guitar Accessories.

Ben Davella
June 17, 2017 Reply

I am a pick nerd. Settled on the gravity picks. The $5 ones, not the real expensive ones. Love tortex and ultex too. For me, not just about sound, but the grip as well. Hate slippery picks as it causes tension from squeezin too hard. Thanks

June 19, 2017 Reply

Too true, Ben. Good comfort with the pick will certainly help good tone. It can be a `great` pick but if it doesn`t fit and feel right it ain`t right.

January 27, 2018 Reply

I do a lot of down/up with accents. What pick would you recommend? The one I use (Blue Chip 35mm) slips all the time.

February 27, 2018 Reply

Hi Gene, I love the Dunlop Max Grip picks as they have great tone and feel. They`ll be useful for you too as they stop the pick from slipping. The .60 ones are a great choice.

Nethan Paul
October 26, 2018 Reply

I liked the guitar pick tips for beginners. I am learning guitar from youtube videos. I have a Gibson guitar. As it is old, I need guitar tuner buttons immediately. I am searching for that, in the meantime, I am also trying to buy a new guitar for future purpose. If someday my one guitar need to repair, I will have another guitar to practice.

Dan Thorpe
October 30, 2018 Reply

Hi Nethan, it is always good to have a second guitar, either as a backup, for alternate tunings, (e.g. half step down tuning) or for the different tones on offer. All the best with your playing.

November 13, 2018 Reply

I have been playing about 2 years, and it seems anything thicker than .46mm is awful to play with. It has no give and gets stuck in the strings. The only downside of the .46 makes a bit of a clackity clack sound. Any recommendations for .46 picks?

Dan Thorpe
December 18, 2018 Reply

Hi Julie, I love the Dunlop Nylon series – max grip picks. They have a warm sound and the grip on them allows you to keep them stable in your hand, allowing you to focus on perfecting your strumming technique. Thanks. Dan

January 18, 2021 Reply

Hi Dan, I am just a beginning acoustic guitar player and thought I’d buy the Dunlop Max Grip Nylon picks but cannot find them thinner than 0.60mm. Thought I should start with 0.46mm picks after reading many reviews. What do you think? Would there be much difference between 0.46 and 0.60? Thanks!


learning guitar fast
December 1, 2018 Reply

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Drew Leitch
March 21, 2019 Reply

Try a Dunlop JAZZ III. When I first tried this pick I realized that the pick or fingers impact my tone in a very important way.

Dan Thorpe
March 30, 2019 Reply

It`s a great pick indeed, Drew, and my choice for electric playing! The xl version is perfect for me. 🙂 You`re so right in that the pick/fingers makes a massive difference. Many guitarists are never taught this or discover it way later than they should.

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