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Can You Use Metal Guitar Picks?

There are lots of different methods one can use to create unique sounds with their guitar. If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your music, a metal guitar pick could be the solution.

Metal guitar picks create much sharper, brighter sounds. Although metal picks produce a unique tone, they tend to cause more damage to the guitar strings. Metals used for guitar picks include brass, silver, and even gold and these guitar picks will last longer than plastic picks.

Before you pick up a metal guitar pick, there are several things you should know about.

In this post, you’ll learn about metal guitar picks and the unique sound they produce.

Metal Guitar Picks: What do They Sound Like?

A finger-picked or strummed guitar generates a melodious, smooth sound. However, every now and then, you need to change it up.

The easiest way to do this is with a guitar pick. But not just any old plastic guitar pick. To play truly exceptional sounds you’ll need a metal guitar pick.

Not convinced that a metal pick works with a guitar? Consider this, many famous guitarists have issued metal coins to play their guitar with. Need an example? The most famous example is Brian May of Queen.

You don’t have to use a metal coin to create the unique sound you’re looking for, you can just use a metal guitar pick instead.

Metal guitar picks produce much better, sharper tones than a plastic guitar pick. While this works for some, for others, the sound isn’t as clear. Watch the following video to hear what a metal guitar pick sounds like compared to a plastic one.

Setting the sound aside, metal picks make a clicking noise while they are played. This is likely due to the fact that metal picks are less flexible than plastic ones.

The most notable feature of a metal guitar pick is the clarity of each string. As you play, you can hear each individual string as it gets strummed.

The only way to know exactly how a metal guitar pick sounds with your music is to use one for yourself. You can purchase a metal pick at your local music store for around a dollar.

When to Use a Metal Guitar Pick

Metal guitar picks are best used with electric guitars. However, they can be used in combination with an acoustic guitar as well. Listen to how an acoustic guitar sounds with a metal pick in the video below.

Because metal guitar picks aren’t as flexible as plastic ones, they shouldn’t be used by beginners. Beginners do better with a plastic pick because it glides across the strings

On the other hand, metal picks can catch on the string. More advanced musicians capable of adjusting their strumming style are better suited to handle metal guitar picks.

In addition to being stiffer than plastic guitar picks, metal guitar picks tend to be heavier.

The extra weight makes it easier to hold onto than the plastic ones. While metal picks are heavier, they can be just as thin or thick as plastic guitar picks.

Metal Guitar Picks: How Long Do They Last?

As you can imagine, metal guitar picks are much more durable than other types of picks.

While plastic picks need to be replaced every month or so, metal guitar picks last much longer. Some plastic picks show signs of use after their first strum. Meanwhile, a metal pick comes away without any scratches.

  • While the metal pick itself will last longer, using this type of pick could cause significantly more damage to your guitar. Depending on the type of metal the pick is made from, it could seriously wear on the strings.

Guitar strings are typically made with a steel core covered in nylon or another soft material. If the metal pick is harder than the strings, they will need replacing more often.

Another way metal picks wear on your guitar is on the pickguard and the guitar finish.

A metal pick can dig into the finish and guard. For this reason, you might need to replace your pickguard more often. You should never use a metal guitar pick on a guitar without a pickguard; otherwise, you’ll end up with lots of scratches in it.

Of course, this could create a fairly cool-looking guitar if you’re into that kind of look.

Different Types of Metal Guitar Picks

In general, metal guitar picks are made out of soft metals. As previously mentioned, harder metals will break down the strings too quickly.

That said, you can purchase a metal guitar pick made out of a variety of materials. You can even get a guitar pick made out of gold! Of course, a golden pick is going to cost you quite a bit of money.

Other common materials used to make guitar picks are stainless steel, nickel, silver, aluminum, and brass. But don’t just choose any random metal guitar pick to play with. Know the type of strings you have and what metals are too hard to use with them.

Metal Finger Picks

Metal guitar picks come in a variety of shapes, thicknesses, and materials. Not only can you get different metal picks in the traditional shape, but you can also get metal finger picks as well.

Metal finger picks attach to the end of your fingers to make picking easier. You can wear finger picks on one finger or all of them.

Start by finding the right size for your finger picks. Chances are, you’ll need a different size for each finger. You can visit the local music store to try on different finger pick sizes.

Like other metal picks, metal finger picks can be made from a variety of materials. You can even find finger picks made out of wood.

In addition to size and material, you’ll need to decide on a certain thickness.

Once you have the right picks, wrap them on your finger, and adjust to get the right sound. Now you’re ready to play! See some finger picks in action in the following video!