Shop Talk: Guitar Picks

I’ve been playing guitar for over 30 years and I’ve accumulated quite a few guitar picks. Over time I’ve lost the some of the ‘cool’ ones, like my Rick Nielsen pick and my Joe Satriani ‘Silver Surfer’ pick, but those were more collectible than functional anyway. In any case, when I’m in the midst of recording a guitar track on a song, I open up my right desk drawer and grab whatever’s in there. If it’s a live show, I grab whatever’s floating around my guitar case or in the back of my amp. In them used to be an assortment of light picks, heavy picks, and everything in between. On top of this, these picks have rotated in use throughout the years and have been worn down, or have small grooves in them that grab the guitar strings in unpredictable ways.

Old Guitar Picks
old guitar pick collection

Today I was getting ready to play at an open mic and realized that my acoustic guitar strings were getting pretty dingy. (It’s entirely possible that I had never changed them since I bought the guitar in 2004.) I found a pack of unopened new strings that I got from a distributor when I was working at a music store. As I was putting the new strings on, I busted one of the bridge pins (which keep one end of each string pinned down). I ran out to the store and bought 6 new bridge pins as all of them were pretty old and needed to be replaced. While I was at the store, I decided to get a big bag of picks. New picks. All the same, my favorite of thicknesses. I tested out a bunch, starting with the middle of the road medium thickness. Way too thin for me. Then I went right to the thickest. A bit too thick. 

Boss (Dunlop) .88mm Guitar Picks
new guitar pick collection

Turns out, I like the .88mm ones. Somewhere in between medium and heavy. They’re branded by Boss (the guitar effects company) but the sales guy told me they’re just Dunlop brand, tortex style. No more of this searching through my desk drawer or guitar case for the right pick. All the old picks went right in the trash, and from now on I have only the picks that 1) are brand new and 2) are my favorite weight.

As the clerk was ringing me up, I told him that I was excited to come back and get some new gear. He asked if I was new to the area. I explained that, no, I’ve lived here forever, I just realized that all my gear sucks. He asked how I came to that realization. … and the answer to that question will be the beginning of my next gear-related blog, which will arrive sometime in the near future.

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