Different pick as a learning device

I’ve been experimenting with pick size, shape, material and gauge mostly as a tone device and just for the sake of it.

I used to think that the way to go was to find “my” pick, the one that allowed me to play best. I think that approach is shared by most players.

Now I’m the opposite. I purposely switch to a different pick as a way to perfect picking technique. I get the feeling that there’s some “transference” at work here.

Does this make any sense? Anybody else doing it?


I’ve not done this a lot in the past, but recently, I have been using an ultex jazz III to check if something is working.

More specifically, to check if I am using enough edge picking. I can get away with less edge picking with my carbon fibre jazz III, but not with the ultex. I’m not a huge fan of the sound of ultex though… but helpful as a practice tool, for me at least.

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I’ve been a “pointy pick and lots of edge picking” guy for a long time, but lately been messing around with a different grip and very little “edge picking” using a more rounded “Fender 346 (D’Andrea 346)” shaped pick.

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I have a variety of Jazz III XLs for different tones. I use the Ultex for rock and metal for the sharper attack, and I’ll use a black for more laid back stuff, and I’ll use Tortex when I want a softer attack. I do like the grip on the Primetone way better and I wish they made the Ultex and Tortex with that grip pattern, but they are way too expensive and wear out too quickly for me, as much as I like the slightly softer attack than Ultex has.

I don’t really use different picks to see if something is working, but more for different pick attack and feel. Tortex is definitely more smooth both feeling and sounding especially for sweeps and down picked riffage.

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I’ve found as I get more years under my belt of playing and using random picks, I can adapt to just about anything.

There will always be certain picks I’ll default to if I have to play in front of people, but thats just so I don’t get stuck on the strings too much.
I think switching it up overtime builds a kind of generalized technique that always works. I definitely feel as you do it improves playing. Same as using different picking styles.

The more information you can give to the brain the more it will adapt. Thats why playing live is such good practice, as a live situation has so much more going on than sat in bed in a calm unmoving room.

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I can see that up to a point, but I can’t play at all with huge picks or really small ones. Different shapes of standard 351 size are all good though. Not really a fan of those weird Dunlop picks that look like a bottle opener with a shark fin on it tho haha. Big ones I can’t hold correctly and small ones give me thumb cramps and spin around too much.

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