Paul Gilbert with very light gauge strings and thin pick

Paul shredding with a 0.50 mm Tortex pick and .08 to .38 strings!


I always said that the hard pick thing is a myth :wink: I can also reach my fastest speeds with a .5mm. I am not as good as Paul of course :smiley:

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Paul almost seemed ashamed of 8 and said that in terms of tone 8 < 9 < 10.

Paul seems to like thin picks for their superior pick scratching, but this is also manifest when edge-picking wound strings (Paul calls that “cello sound,” if I recall). Perhaps the solution is to have a sharp scratch-only edge like KH’s signature pick?

Oh, one unrelated thing: One would think that a Kemper might make sense for a fly rig, particularly if one was to have a Kemper endorsement.

Ah, the superstition is still strong in the world of guitar :smiley:

Going from a lifetime of 10s to 9s was one of my best guitar decisions - my vibrato got instantly better and my left hand tendons are thanking me every day!

(And having said that, I am still not immune to weird unfounded guitar beliefs!)

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Do you not find it flops around too much?

Having said that thinner picks do something to the Tone, they have a different attack release than thicker picks.

So why not 8’s? My strings (8–38) are around a mere 10# of tension (bottom four are a semitone flat), and it sounds fine and is much easier to bend than 9’s.

Ultimately I look at it as tension in the string, some people want #30, others want #10, and most are in between.

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I’m going to try Misha Mansoor/Horizon Devices’s progressive tension strings next. I’m also going to put together a couple of sets of so-called “balanced tension” strings from individual Elixir strings. I’ve been curious about this for a while.

String gauge:
For me 10’s work best for the feel i want.
I like a strat style guitar with low action. With 9’s you can’t get the action that low without string rattle, with 8’s it’s even worse of course.
That is you maybe can, but you will have to have a very light touch, and at times i realy like to dig into the strings, for a different sound and more dynamic playing.


With a thicker pick i can’t get more dynamics and also playing faster is easier for the way i pick.
I am expirimenting with a Fender medium now again ( when i started playing i always used Fender medium picks), and i must say it is not that bad as i thought.
You get more snap and high’s and more noise on the lower strings but less bass and less dynamics.
If you like that scratchy (Cello like sound as Paul G calls it) then a thinner pick is the way to go; I don’t like that sound though.

I think that people really think in terms of tension (I am around 10#), but they quote gauge. This web site mostly works,

I like the tension of heavier strings, I’m in 11s for E, but personally pick thickness contributes to worse technique. The larger picks require more delicate and precise movement. I used 1.35mms and liked those, but the other day I had an .88mm and noticed how much cleaner my playing was because of it and now I am not messing with anything larger than 1mm, I don’t want to relearn more things haha

I was browsing through CtC’s Insta and found this…

It reads:


When you wanna get funky, break out them thin picks. With a @jimdunlopusa .46mm Nylon you’ve got so many snappy sounds available, no compressor required.

This is kinda subjective. Different sounds for different gauges/thicknesses.

But also, I find there is more ‘give’ with thicker strings. With thinner strings, I can hear more ‘string talk’ and pitchyness, but with thicker strings, it sounds a bit cleaner, accurate, solid.

But of course, with 11s, I do have issues with vibrato.

What tuning are you in with your 11s?

I just changed back down to 8s and I love them. Sure the tone isn’t as thick, but I don’t mind really. It makes my guitar so playable.

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Standard ‘E’ tuning. No question my strings are tight. Hammer-ons tend to require a bit more exertion. Pull-offs are fine though.

I do go back and forth occasionally to my other guitar with light strings. But I can never get it to sound the way I want.

I think I have a pretty aggressive attack on the string, so that strings would also flop around a bit with 10s, there was perhaps a small difference in feel but I adapted pretty fast and the left hand benefits were just too significant to be ignored - I probably don’t have a very strong fretting hand :slight_smile: (In fact I find barres and such exhausting - e.g. I hate the F chord 1st fret).

Tone wise, I actually like my attack more with slightly bendier picks, as I hear less chirp. I haven’t yet watched the latest chapters on edge picking etc. but this is probably a well known thing. Volume wise, I think I just pick deeper and it does the job.

As a little demonstration, here’s some noodling I just did with a .60 dunlop “wedge”:

You can tell that your attack isnt as pronounced as when you are using heavier picks. Personally, I prefer the attack of thinner picks. I picked (pun intended) up Dunlop Tortex Flow .50mm and .60mm and they are very nice picks.


I went from 10’s to 9’ for decades and for the past 3 or 4 years using 7’s and don’t like 8’s! My hands have no stress, left hand loves it, especially any legato stuff. I’m working on developing my extreme shred stuff these days. My picking is undergoing a renovation too, and that’s a bit more challenging with super light strings. I also use thin picks, Delrin for years.