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Are Wooden Guitar Picks Any Good?

Using a pick of any kind allows you to play faster and louder. However, changing the pick’s material also alters the guitar’s sounds.

So, are wooden guitar picks capable of working well?

Wooden guitar picks produce a brighter, richer sound than plastic picks do. Guitarists can use wooden picks with both acoustic and electric guitars. Different types of wood will produce different sounds. Additionally, the thickness and shape of the wooden pick will impact the final sound.

Wooden guitar picks, though uncommon, produce truly unique sounds.

Keep reading to learn more about how and when to use a wooden guitar pick.

Wooden Picks: What do They Sound Like?

Like any other type of pick, wooden guitar picks allow you to play faster and louder than you could just finger strumming. 

While the exact sound of the pick will depend on the type of wood it is made from, wooden picks tend to have a brighter sound when compared to plastic guitar picks.

Musicians also claim that wooden guitar picks produce a fuller, richer sound. 

Although musicians enjoy the vibrant melodies produced by wooden picks, others feel they click too much. This clicking sound is especially noticeable on the upstrokes.

So what’s the verdict? Are wooden guitar picks better than plastic ones? 

Wooden picks aren’t necessarily better than plastic guitar picks, just different.

Every musician has to find their sound by themselves. If wooden picks help you produce “your sound” better than plastic picks do, then you’ll consider wooden picks the better choice. However, if they produce the opposite sound that you want, opt for a pick made from plastic, metal, or glass.

You don’t have to settle on using one type of pick for every song you play for the rest of your life.

Perhaps one pick type sounds better paired with a certain guitar or playing a specific song.

PRO-TIP. Don’t be afraid to start a guitar pick collection and rotate through it as desired.

When to Use a Wooden Guitar Pick

Wooden guitar picks are much less flexible than plastic picks, and the thicker the wooden pick gets, the less flexibility it has.

Because of this lack of flexibility, many agree that wooden guitar picks are not for beginners. When you’re first learning to play guitar, you need a pick that moves with you, not against you. 

While more experienced guitarists can handle a wooden pick, beginners should start with plastic ones. That said, the rigidness of the pick allows for more precise movements while picking. 

Many wooden guitar picks have thumb contours carved into them.

These contours increase the musician’s grip on the pick; however, they also limit how the musician can hold the pick. It is more difficult to use the rounded corners of the guitar pick when it has a thumb contour.

If you’re playing a song that requires you to change the pick positioning, either use a non-contoured wooden pick or stick with a plastic one.

Wooden Guitar Picks: How Long do They Last?

Most musicians agree that wooden picks last about the same amount of time as a plastic pick; however, they will likely wear out slightly faster than a plastic guitar pick.

According to some musicians, their wooden guitar pick lasts about a month with frequent use.

Excessive use can wear away at the wooden pick’s smooth finish.

Without a smooth finish, the wooden pick will stick to the strings and splinter. Don’t continue using a splintered wooden pick, as this could put excessive wear on the guitar strings.

Remember, a wooden pick is often thicker and less flexible than a plastic pick.

For this reason, you don’t need to put as much power into your strokes. So long as the wooden pick is used properly, it shouldn’t damage your strings or guitar.

Although wooden picks last slightly less than plastic picks, they cost a bit more. How much more will depend on the type of wood used and the thickness of the pick.

For example, this hand-carved walnut guitar pick on Etsy costs $10 per pick.

While wooden guitar picks may be more expensive, they offer quite a bit of personalization.

For example, this Unique Personalized Guitar Picks and Pick Holder Box on Etsy allows you to customize both the guitar pick and the guitar pick holder. It’s the perfect gift for your favorite musician.

But how do wooden picks compare to metal and glass picks in terms of price?

Glass guitar picks cost about the same as wooden guitar picks. If you want to add these unique picks to your strumming collection, try this 3 pack on Etsy for $20.

Wood Types Used For Guitar Picks

Wooden picks can be made from a variety of wood types. Basically, if it grows in the ground, it can be made into a guitar pick. Keep in mind, that each type of wood will produce a slightly different sound. 

This exotic guitar pick collection lets you choose between options such as rosewood, ebony, coconut, as well as some more unique materials. 

Watch a coconut shell pick get put to use in the following video.

Other woods that can be used for guitar picks include pine, juniper, African Blackwood, applewood, ash, oak, hickory, walnut, cherry, maple, and so much more. 

In the following video, you listen for the unique differences between rowan, pine, curly birch, and juniper wood guitar picks. This proves just how different each wood’s sound is.

One of the most popular wood types used for guitar picks is teak wood. Teak wood guitar picks are favored for their “earthy” tone, especially when used with an acoustic guitar.

While you could spend a bit more to purchase an exotic wooden guitar pick, you could save some money by making the pick with scrap wood you have lying around the house.

This is the perfect way to experiment with how different types of wood sound on your guitar.

Watch the following video to learn how to make some wooden guitar picks on your own!