If you like your guitar music fast and heavy, you might be interested in experimenting with extra heavy gauge guitar picks. Today, there are a number of companies that manufacture extra heavy gauge picks out of a variety of materials that give aggressive guitar players plenty of choices when pick shopping.
How Heavy is Extra-Heavy?
Terms like heavy and extra heavy are definitely relative and might vary from person to person. Generally speaking, guitar picks are considered extra heavy gauge when they are 1.50mm or more thick. These are the thickest guitar picks that are manufactured specifically for use on the electric or acoustic guitar. However, if bass players choose to use a pick when they play, the picks designed for basses are usually at least 2.0mm thick. This is because bass guitar strings are so thick and heavy that even the thickest guitar picks are not thick enough to hold up to the pounding a bass guitar gives a pick.
Where to Find Extra-Heavy Gauge Picks
Several companies make extremely thick picks in a variety of materials. Below is a partial list of some of the most popular styles. Links in each section will take you to where you can see the picks for yourself and decide whether or not you want to buy them.
- Jim Dunlop - Jim Dunlop is one of the most reputable names in guitar picks. This company sells a variety of extra heavy guitar picks including the 2.0mm Delrin 500, the 3.0-5.0mm thick Primetone Picks and the famous Big Stubby. The Big Stubby has been a favorite among bass players for years and is also available in a triangle shape.
- Steve Clayton - In addition to their standard line of acetal guitar picks that are available in thicknesses up to 1.90mm, they also feature the Black Raven line of picks that is also available up to 1.90mm.
- Wegen's Guitar Picks - This site is run by the professional pick designer and manufacturer Michael Wegen. Michael specializes in extra thick guitar picks. His Gypsyjazz picks are available in either 2.5 or 3.5mm thicknesses, and The Fatone might just be the heaviest gauge guitar pick in the world. Registering a staggering 5.0mm in thickness, this monster pick promises to make your guitar louder and brighter than any pick you've ever tried before. All of these versions of picks are also available in triangle shapes if you prefer that your picks have a more angular shape to them.
- Sweetwater - Sweetwater is a company that prides itself on its stellar customer service. They carry a variety of guitar picks, many of which are of the extra heavy gauge variety. They carry extra heavy gauge Fender 351 guitar picks that are available by the gross in white and tortoise shell.
Who Uses Extra Heavy Guitar Picks?
The style of music that a guitarist plays influences the thickness of the pick that they prefer. While there are always exceptions that relate to a player's personal taste, there are some rules of thumb that typically apply. While folk guitarists generally prefer light gauge strings because they allow strummed open chords to ring out, heavy metal, jazz and bluegrass guitarists often prefer guitar picks that are on the thicker end of the continuum. The reason for this is that thicker picks give the player more control when picking individual notes than thin picks do. In addition, heavy metal, jazz and bluegrass guitarists often use heavier gauge strings on their guitars. Thick strings will quickly tear thin guitar picks to shreds, so guitarists who use thick strings need to use thicker picks to ensure that their playing technique doesn't suffer.
A Cheap Experiment
Even if you don't play a type of music that traditionally favors thick guitar picks, trying out an extremely thick pick is a relatively inexpensive way to experiment with your sound. If you've always used the same thin gauge pick, give one of these extra heavy gauge guitar picks a try sometime, and see what you think. There might be songs that it is perfect for, and it might just inspire your playing to go in a new direction.