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Different Types of Bass Picks: Which One is Right for You?




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If you’re just starting out playing bass, you may be wondering what type of bass pick is right for you. There are many different picks on the market, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will discuss the different types of bass picks and help you decide which one is right for you. We’ll also talk about bass pick thickness and how it can affect your playing style. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced bass player, read on to learn more about bass picks!

Picks versus Fingers: The Eternal Debate

When it comes to playing the bass guitar, there are two main ways to create sound: with a pick or with your fingers. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, playing with a pick tends to produce a brighter, more attack-heavy sound, while playing with your fingers results in a warmer, rounder tone.

In addition, picking is generally easier to learn than fingerstyle playing, and it can be less physically demanding. On the other hand, fingerstyle playing gives you more control over dynamics and allows for more complex bass lines.

Ultimately, the best way to play bass is the way that feels most natural to you. Experiment with both techniques and see what works best for your own style of music.

Learn Bass Pick Technique With Pick Techniques In Practice Exercise eBook

Pick Techniques In Practice is the perfect eBook for bass players who want to improve their pick technique.

There are six chapters packed with 135 fully tabbed and notated exercises, making this the most comprehensive guide to pick technique available.

Covering everything from slurs and harmonics to artificial harmonics and tapping, this eBook is essential reading for any bass player looking to take their playing to the next level.

With clear explanations and detailed diagrams, Pick Techniques In Practice makes learning pick technique easy and fun. So whether you’re a beginner wanting to get started with picks, or an experienced player looking to perfect your technique, this eBook is for you.

Using Fingers to Play Bass

When it comes to playing the bass guitar, there are two main ways to do it: with a pick or with your fingers. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, playing with a pick gives you more control over each note, which can be helpful for complex passages.

However, it can also make the bass sound thinner and less full. Playing with your fingers, on the other hand, can make the bass sound warmer and more detailed. Additionally, it gives you the ability to add vibrato and other expressive effects.

However, fingerstyle playing is often more challenging than using a pick, and it can be harder to achieve a consistent sound. Ultimately, the best way to play bass is whichever method feels most natural to you. Whichever way you choose, practice is key to becoming a skilled bass player.

Using Picks to Play Bass

When it comes to playing the bass guitar, there are a variety of picking techniques that can be used. While some players prefer to use their fingers, others find that a pick provides a number of advantages.

First of all, picks allow for greater speed and accuracy when playing fast-paced passages. They also produce a clearer sound, which can be helpful when playing in a band setting.

Additionally, picks are less likely to slip than fingers, making them ideal for sweaty hands. Finally, picks provide an extra measure of protection for the fingers, which is especially important for beginners.

While there are benefits to both fingerstyle and pick playing, those who are just starting out may find that a pick is the best option.

Pick Thickness

The thickness of a guitar pick can have a significant impact on the sound that is produced when playing the bass guitar. Thicker picks produce a brighter, crisper sound, while thinner picks provide a warmer, rounder tone.

Ultimately, the best pick thickness for any given situation is a matter of personal preference. However, there are a few general rules that can help guide your decision. If you are playing complex passages with many notes, a thinner pick may be best in order to minimize string noise.

On the other hand, if you are trying to produce a powerful and punchy sound, a thicker pick may be the way to go. Experiment with different pick thicknesses and see which produces the sound that you are looking for.

Pick the material

One important factor in choosing a bass pick is the material it is made from. The most common materials are metal, plastic, and wood. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Metal picks are very durable and produce a clear, bright sound.

However, they can be difficult to control and may cause the strings to buzz. Plastic picks are much easier to control, but they tend to wear out quickly and produce a duller sound. Wood picks are somewhere in between, offering a good balance of durability and sound quality.

Ultimately, the best pick for you will be the one that feels comfortable and allows you to produce the sound you want.

What should you look for in a bass pick?

When choosing a bass pick, there are many different factors to consider. Each bass player will have their own set of preferences for how the pick should feel in their hand, what sound they prefer the most when playing, and what material they like best for a pick.

Some players may prefer a smaller, lighter pick that fits more easily between their fingers, while others may prefer slimmer picks that give them more control over the strings when plucking.

Other players may focus more on getting a particular sound from their instrument, looking for picks that create a crisp or warm tone depending on what type of music they’re playing.

And finally, some players may be more concerned with the material of the pick itself and may choose to go with something like nylon or alternative materials if they find those types easier to use with their particular instruments.

In short, there is no one “correct” way to choose a bass pick; it’s really up to each individual player to decide which factors are most important and which option feels the most comfortable in their hands.

But by considering all aspects of different picks before making your decision, you can be sure that you’ve chosen the right option for your particular needs and preferences as a bass player.

With all that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of different pick materials to help you decide.


On the one hand, using a metal bass pick can have several advantages when playing bass guitar. First of all, the heavy weight of the pick provides extra attack and punch compared to using your fingers alone.

This enhanced sound translates to greater volume and clarity in performance, as well as more defined articulation on fast runs and quick licks. Additionally, because metal picks are durable and tend to be thicker than other materials, they are less prone to breakage or wear-and-tear over time, making them an extremely reliable choice for those who play bass frequently.

However, there are also some downsides to using metal bass picks. For one thing, the extra weight and thickness may make string bends or slides more difficult for some players than with other materials.

Furthermore, metal picks can cause extra squeaks and rattles that do not occur when a finger is being used. While these issues cannot be ignored entirely, they should not deter musicians from exploring the distinct possibilities that metal picks offer for playing bass guitar.


Wooden bass picks have both advantages and disadvantages when compared to other types of picks. On the plus side, wooden picks produce a warm, full sound that is well-suited to most genres of music.

They are also relatively durable and comfortable to hold. However, wooden picks can be more difficult to control than other types of picks, and they are also more likely to slip out of your hand while you are playing.

Ultimately, the best pick for you is the one that feels comfortable and produces the sound that you are looking for. Experiment with different materials and sizes until you find the perfect match for your playing style.


Plastic picks are popular among bass players for their flexibility and low cost. However, they can wear down quickly and produce a dull sound. Metal picks are incredibly durable, but they can be quite slippery and produce a brighter tone.

Stone picks offer a level of grip and detail that is unmatched by any other material, but they can be expensive and difficult to find. Ultimately, the best pick for any given player is the one that feels comfortable and produces the desired sound.


The debate surrounding celluloid bass picks is one that has divided musicians for years. Some players swear by the responsiveness and snap of celluloid, while others find it too slippery and difficult to control. So, what are the pros and cons of celluloid bass picks?

On the plus side, celluloid is a very responsive material, which means it’s easy to get a bright, snappy sound out of it. Additionally, it’s quite durable, so it can withstand a fair amount of abuse.

However, celluloid can also be quite slippery, making it hard to get a grip on it. Additionally, it’s not the most comfortable material to play with, so it can cause some hand fatigue after a long jam session.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference; some players love celluloid picks, while others find its drawbacks outweigh its benefits.

The durability of Bass Picks

The durability of a bass pick depends on a number of different factors, including the material that it is made out of and its thickness.

The most durable bass picks are usually made out of hard plastic or metal, as these materials provide a strong foundation that can withstand everyday wear and tear.

Additionally, thicker picks tend to be stronger and more resilient than thinner ones, making them better suited for long-term use.

Ultimately, the most important thing to consider when choosing a bass pick is how frequently you will need to use it.

If you regularly play gigs or practice for long hours every day, then you will likely benefit from choosing a more durable material or with a thicker pick.

However, if you don’t often use your pick or prefer light and easy playing, then thinner options may be preferable for your unique needs.

Pick Size & Shape

Bass picks come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, ranging from larger to smaller, rounder to pointier. The size and shape of the pick can have a significant impact on the tone produced by the bass and also on how comfortable it is to hold.

For example, a larger, thicker pick will produce a more powerful sound with more low-end frequencies, while a smaller, sharper pick may provide more clarity and definition. Similarly, if you prefer a more snug fit when playing your bass, then a smaller pick might be right for you.

Ultimately, the best way to find out which bass pick is right for you is to experiment with different sizes and styles to see what fits your playing style and preferences best.

Popular Pick Shapes for Basses

The world of bass guitar playing is filled with many different types and styles of playing. While there are countless factors that influence the sound and feel of a certain piece, one particular element that often determines tone and dynamics is the shape of your bass pick.

In the paragraphs that follow, we will explore some of the most popular picks used by bass players today, including the flat pick, triangle pick, scalloped pick, and V-pick. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional, understanding how each shape can impact your sound will greatly enhance your musical experience.

So whether you prefer a smooth, rounded tone or something snappier and more aggressive, there’s no doubt that changing up your pick can open up a whole new world of possibilities on your bass!


One of the most popular shapes of bass pick found on the market today is the triangle. This versatile pick is generally used for playing a variety of styles, ranging from fingerpicking and slap bass to delicate solo runs.

The pointed edges of this pick make it easy to grip, while its elongated shape allows for greater accuracy when plucking individual strings or sliding across the fretboard. Additionally, because many modern bass players prefer a stiffer feel when they play, a triangle-shaped pick will generally provide more support than a round or oval option.


Flat picks are perhaps the most common type of bass pick, due to their versatility and ease of use. They are typically made from a thin piece of plastic or nylon that is cut into a rectangular shape with smooth edges.

Because they do not taper or have any other distinguishing features, flat picks can be used for both strumming and plucking techniques without feeling awkward or uncomfortable. They also provide good sound control when used for bass lines, making them a great choice for both beginner and experienced players.


Round picks are another widely used type of bass pick. Unlike flat picks, which are usually very thin, round picks tend to be much thicker in diameter and feature more pronounced edges.

This makes them better suited for aggressive playing styles such as heavy strumming or slapping techniques. However, because they have more friction as well as an increase in weight distribution at their center point, round slips may not feel comfortable to use at first for those who prefer light plucking styles.


Another popular choice among bass players is the teardrop pick. As the name suggests, this type of pick has a teardrop-like shape that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. Thanks to its curved edge, this type of bass pick provides excellent articulation and is ideal for smooth transitions between notes.

Additionally, since its surface has a slight curve towards one end, it always lands perfectly flat against your string as you move your fingers up and down the neck. Overall, if you’re looking for an engaging bass-picking experience with great sound and control over each note you play, then this might be the ideal option for you.

Best Bass Picks (in my opinion!)

In this section, we’ll talk about some of the recommended brands of bass picks. These are the brands that we think offer the best quality and value for money.

We’ll also provide an affiliate link to where you can buy them. If you have any questions about any of the products, please feel free to leave a comment on this post!

Jim Dunlop Tortex Triangle Picks

  • Tortex Triangle Guitar Picks 6 Pack
  • 88 mm Pack includes 6 triangle shaped guitar picks for a great grip and feel
  • Dunlop Tortex gauges correspond to these millimeters/colors unless otherwise noted:
  • 50-Red,
  • 60-Orange,

Jim Dunlop’s Tortex Triangle Bass Picks are designed for both speed and control. The sharp point and triangular shape make them ideal for fast runs and quick changes, while the rounded edges provide a smooth, comfortable grip.

The picks are made from a durable tortex material that is resistant to wear and tear, and they come in a variety of colors and thicknesses to suit your playing style.

Overall, the Tortex Triangle Bass Picks are an excellent choice for any bass player looking for a high-quality pick that will help them play their best.

Dunlop Big Stubby Picks

  • Gauge: 3.0
  • Thick, hefty tone and feel
  • Molded tactile gripping surface
  • Precision tip
  • 24 pack

Dunlop Big Stubby Bass picks are designed for bass players who want a heavier pick. They’re made of Ultex, which is a material that’s similar to nylon but with more rigidity. The result is a pick that’s very strong and durable, but also has some flex to it.

The big stubby shape makes it easy to grip, and the pointed tip provides good control and precision. The downside of these picks is that they’re not very comfortable to hold for long periods of time, and the thick material can make them a bit noisy on the strings.

Overall, however, the Dunlop Big Stubby Bass picks are a great option for bass players who need a durable pick with good control.

Fender 355 Shape Classic Celluloid Picks

Fender is one of the most popular brands when it comes to musical instruments and accessories, so it’s no surprise that their 355 Shape Classic celluloid bass picks are some of the most popular picks on the market.

I’ve been using these picks for a few months now, and I have to say that I’m really impressed. The celluloid material is extremely durable, and the pointed tip helps to produce a clear, consistent tone.

The size and shape of the pick also makes it very comfortable to hold, and the grip is just firm enough to prevent slipping. Overall, I would definitely recommend these picks to any bass player looking for a high-quality, durable pick.

Jim Dunlop. Gator Grips

The Jim Dunlop Gator Grip Standard 2.0mm Black bass guitar picks are one of the best options out there for those who are looking for a pick that is both durable and provides a great grip.

The material used is high-quality nylon that is designed to last long and resist wear and tear. One of the best features of this pick is the fact that it has a textured grip which makes it easy to hold onto and prevents it from slipping out of your hand while you are playing.

The size is also ideal for those who have large hands or who want a bit more control over their picking. Overall, the Jim Dunlop Gator Grip Standard 2.0mm Black bass Guitar Pick is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a high-quality, durable pick with a great grip.

  • Gauges (mm): .58, .71, .96, 1.14, 1.5, 2.0mm
  • High-quality plectra
  • Incorporates quick-release beveled edges and matte gripping surface
  • Provides both playability and positive attack
  • Made in USA
  • Model Number: 417P1.14

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