Picks are an integral part of playing guitar and for many players the only way of plucking the strings.
Most of us have developed certain preferences through the years, and have a go-to brand or kind of pick.
Metal picks are on a rather extreme part of the spectrum and really get to polarize the crowd.
It’s unlikely that you are indifferent to them.
You either love them or hate them.
But to get to the point: Are metal picks any good?
Metal guitar picks are a rather niche alternative because due to their hardness they provide a rough experience when plucking the strings and an aggressive tone. They are also more likely to damage the strings, especially if you are a heavy-handed player. The good thing is that they will last for years.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, please stick around with me.
I will tell you all you need to know about this kind of plectrums and help you decide if they are the right ones for you.
After reading this article you will have a clearer idea of how metal picks can influence the way you sound and the way you play.
Are you ready to get started?
Is it ok to use metal picks on an electric guitar?
Yes, you can use any kind of pick with any kind of guitar. Nothing is likely to go extremely wrong.
The thing with metal picks is that they are very hard on the instrument, and apart from the chance of damaging your strings when you strum heavily, there is the possibility of scratching the top of your instrument heavily.
A plastic pickguard will be no match for a sharp metal pick, but thankfully they are not as expensive and easily replaceable.
After all, they are called “guards” for something.
What kinds of metal picks are there?
Picks are usually categorized by their thickness and rigidity.
With metal picks, however, although you could find them in different shapes, grips, and thicknesses, I don’t think the taxonomy is that important since they are extremely hard and stiff.
In my opinion, if you like the idea of using a metal pick, you should define your choice among the alternatives mostly on ergonomics, and what feels more comfortable to play with.
Is it ok to use metal picks on acoustic guitar?
Using picks made of metal on acoustic guitar is perfectly fine, however, take into consideration that you could damage the finish and top of the instrument particularly if you are a heavy strummer.
Strings are likely to wear done quicker, and the tone will probably be different.
However, if you enjoy playing with stiff picks, metal ones might be the best out there for you.
What are the benefits of using metal picks?
Metal picks are preferred by many players due to their rigidity. This stiffness gives a certain feel when playing, that many enjoy, and provides a particularly aggressive tone, natural to the interaction of this material with the strings.
Additionally, metal strings last longer and feel heavier in your hand (because they are).
The feel of using a metal pick is completely different, and for some players, it might help them achieve the gravitas they look for when picking.
Are there any drawbacks to using metal picks?
Using metal picks will likely damage the surface of your instrument, near where you usually strum or pluck the strings.
The extra rigidity of the material will make it really hard to play some more flowy licks, and some players might feel like the pick gets stuck between strings.
Sound will also be affected, and the result will be a more in-your-face, twangy aggressive sound that could not work for everyone.
Finally, a heavier, stiffer pick might drive you to grip the plectrum with added force, and in the long term could make you develop some of the most common conditions for guitarists such as tendinitis.
Do metal picks last for longer?
Metal picks do indeed last for way longer than plastic ones.
If you are a heavy player, you might destroy your picks within months of usage.
However, metal picks will look and feel as new maybe for years.
There’s nothing to argue about how durable the different composites used for making picks are, especially when compared to the materials used to make strings, which are usually softer.
Are metal picks better than plastic picks?
It’s very hard to say that metal picks are better than plastic picks, particularly when the majority of players use plastic ones.
What I can say with certainty is that metal picks provide a niche solution for the needs of a reduced group, and that’s perfectly fine.
As with everything in life, the material, thickness, and size of a pick is just a matter of taste, and won’t make you a better or worse player.
It’s very important that you take your time to experiment with the different alternatives, and you end up with what suits better your playstyle.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.