String spacing and pick choice

I’ve been playing guitar for over 25 years and had a variety of guitars. One thing I found to detrimental to my pick choice is the spacing distance between each string. My main guitar is a Washburn KC-40v. The neck is amazing but after experimenting with different picks I finally came to the conclusion that a Jim Dunlop stubby 1.0 mm was perfect for that guitar. I see a lot of love for the jazz iii picks but found them too thick. What’s your pick choice and do you use different picks depending on which electric guitar you use?

I recently bought some Jazz III XL’s, I like this pick for fast lead playing, the thickness is about right and I like the grip on it. I’ll probably be using this pick from now on mainly. I’ve used Fender Heavy celluloid picks (351) for many many years (not the dull ones, they sound different), and it’s a favorite pick of mine, I scratch a diagonal hash pattern in them with a razor knife to give them some grip. I also like using a green or purple Dunlop Tortex pick for playing thrash metal, again I carve a hash pattern in it for grip. I’ve also used purple Tortex Jazz III’s on Fender strats and telecasters because the pick is less bright when you wear the edge in, because I really don’t like the sound of single coils in high gain settings and this darkens up the tone a lot so it doesn’t have that “chirp” the other picks do.

Lh_satch, that’s interesting. In what way is string spacing a factor for you? Are you switching between, say, an electric guitar and a mandolin, or banjo, or ukulele?

Personally, I use a different pick depending on the tonal characteristics I want for what I happen to be playing. The string spacing difference between my 6- and 7-string electrics isn’t a factor.

I have a few favorite picks that work for me mechanically and that sound good to my ear, with my gear. They vary in tone, so I use the pick that best suits the tone I’m looking for at the moment.

Below is a pic of my picks. The group on the left are the ones that live in a drawer. They just don’t sound good to me. The group of six on the right are the ones I keep handy.

Most of the time I use the V-Picks Bullseye (1.5 mm). It is curiously controllable and variable in terms of the attack and tonal quality. As John Petrucci said in regard to “playing” the amp, I can “play” this pick. It’s a tool for manipulating tone, unlike any other pick I’ve used. I guess it’s made of acrylic. Yet I cannot stand the sound of the Gravity picks! Apparently not all acrylic is created equal.

Speaking of JP, I find his Trinity (1.4 mm) pick (bottom row on the right) to be really good at minimizing chirp and maximizing accuracy. For me, the slightly wider taper makes it more fluid as compared with, say, a Jazz III.

I find that thicker picks (> 1.5 mm) with a wide bevel tend to be too chirpy. It’s worse if the bevel is unpolished. A less rounded tip adds chirp as well. But for bluesy stuff, a nice sounding chirp can add “color” or “texture.” I love the tone of the Dragon’s Heart GT (2.5 mm), which has a prominent attack, but it’s not harsh, to my ear.

If anyone wants more info on a pick in the photo, let me know.


That’s a great selection of picks. I think my Washburn has a 41.5 mm nut and so the string spacing is not as wide as my Jackson dkny (43mm) I think. Even though we are talking mm I find my Jim Dunlop small stubby (1.0 mm) to be swimming (Slight exaggeration) in space with the Jackson and so big movements are needed but with the Washburn I can keep movements smaller.