Digital musical instruments seem to make the real instruments a thing of the past, but they virtually can never really replicate the beautifully rich sound of what’s real and tangible.
Playing the real instruments can cause quite the fatigue on the fingers, which is why I also opted to use the best guitar finger picks as the more I played the guitar ever since I was younger, as it reduced the pain and formation of calluses on my fingers, aside from reducing fatigue.
After going through a couple of finger picks over the years, I found that Dunlop 37R Brass Fingerpicks worked so well for me, being on the thinner yet more durable side.
The Dunlop 37R fingerpicks are my favorite because they easily fit around the tip of my fingers without falling off even if I’ve been plucking at my guitar strings for hours.
What’s great about it is that despite being so thin, its brass material prevents it from breaking so easily, so I got to use the picks for a year or so before they broke or got misplaced.
However, I understand that what’s best for me may not be the best for others, as what’s most important about “picking” a pick is a way it feels in your hands when you play.
As I’ve mentioned, I have tried a couple of finger picks over the years, so I’ll be discussing them in this article to help you choose or even just weed out the picks you might want to buy, as well as a buying guide to help you make a more prudent decision!
The Best Guitar Finger Picks in 2021
- Dunlop 37R Brass Fingerpicks
- National NP-2B-4PK Finger Picks
- Dunlop 9020R Finger Picks
- Alaska Pik Fingerpicks, Large
- D’Addario 4CSH6-5 Large Finger Picks
- Ernie Ball Pickey Picks Metal Finger Picks
- D’Addario 4CSH4-5 Medium Finger Picks
The Dunlop 37R Brass Fingerpicks are, as the name implies, brass fingerpicks that are around .0225 inches thick, which is around .5 millimeters, and come in a pack of 20, more than enough to have spares, gifts, or for whatever you use the rest as.
Given that the Dunlop fingerpicks are made of brass, they make playing comfortable, especially when playing rather upbeat and fast songs, because they don’t bend as much as picks with a lighter, more malleable material.
Additionally, these picks can be very durable when worn and stored properly, as bending is minimal when played on light-gauged strings that offer very little resistance to the brass fingerpick.
As the finger-shaped fingerpicks start to become more common and trendy, Dunlop 37R Brass Fingerpicks take it a step further, giving their picks an adjustable design for customers with both large or small fingers, making it easier and more comfortable for them to wear.
As mentioned earlier, the picks are around .0225 inches or .5 millimeters, making them one of the thinner picks in the market.
Thin picks are known to be great to string instruments installed with light-gauged strings, as thin picks cause less wear and tear for the strings as compared to using thicker picks.
The tips of the picks are also shaped in a blunt manner, rather than the common sharp-tipped picks, as the shape of the tips of the picks will undoubtedly also affect how much wear it gives on the light gauge strings.
The Dunlop 37R Brass Fingerpicks, for all its design and ergonomics, does not forget its main purpose: to help aspiring musicians give good music to the world.
The picks are known to give a good tone and a warm, natural sound, making it much easier for musicians to really bring out the best in their string instruments!
- Good for light-gauged strings
- Easily adjustable
- Gives a warm, natural sound
- Breaks after bending a couple of times
National, the brand well known for its steel fingerpicks, has its own line of bras fingerpicks that are thinner and more malleable, making it more appealing for their customers who are more sensitive to pain and complain about using steel fingerpicks.
National’s brass fingerpicks are very comfortable to the hand and have a very good release, being one of the harder picks to bend out of shape when playing strings, allowing you to play any upbeat tempo you like.
National promises lifetime durability for these, which is very much possible if you take enough care to bend them within good range, store them in the right conditions, and just generally treat them how you would any other precious item you own.
The finger-shaped picks are what most string musicians opt for as they are less stressful and painful for the fingers when playing, as even the common triangular picks can cause fatigue overtime, as you would need to grip it with two fingers and maintain that awkward position while you play.
The picks are rounded at the end so they don’t damage the strings of your instrument that much, allowing you to play more and pay less, as the strings will take longer to snap as compared to playing with bare fingers or even just sharper picks.
These picks are also great for light-gauge strings because of their thin size, being only 1/4th of an inch.
Because of its metal material, they can also be used to play on heavy-gauged strings, but expect some fatigue and a few deformities on the picks, because they are still made for lighter gauged strings.
For its sound, most of National’s steel pick users have found that the steel picks produce a brighter sound, at the cost of having a more fatigued finger.
The brass fingerpicks by National produce a warmer, more natural sound, as they are made of a lighter metal good for those who like having a warmer tone in their music.
- Finger-shaped for comfort
- Easily adjustable
- Can be used for heavy-gauged strings
- Does not have a bright sound
The Dunlop 9020R Fingerpicks are large fingerpicks in a beautiful brown shell color, and come in a finger shape to easily fit in over your fingers and cause less fatigue when playing for a long time.
Do note that the fingerpicks come as large in size, so they are more suited for string musicians with large fingers, as they are not adjustable.
The fingerpicks are made of plastic, which are harder to reshape, making it an advantage for greater durability as they are harder to bend, while making it a disadvantage for musicians who are unsure as to what the size of their fingers are.
The release for these picks are much greater as compared to brass or steel fingerpicks, as plastic has the tendency to build up tension and tend to take some time to spring back into their original form, so it might be harder to play upbeat tempos with these fingerpicks.
The picks belong to the thicker side of picks, allowing them to produce a deeper and heavier sound when plucking on your strings, as compared to thinner picks that produce a warmer, more natural sound.
The thickness of the pick makes it a great tool for players who use medium to heavy gauge strings, as they might find it more comfortable to play since the strings will be easier to strum and pluck given the size.
The Dunlop 9020R Fingerpicks are quite durable picks for the plastic they are made of, as they are, as mentioned, on the thicker side, and can be comparable to really thin brass fingerpicks that easily bend and break out of shape.
However, just because they are durable does not mean that you can just leave them lying around, as anything that forces them to move beyond their capable range will certainly break them.
- Thick picks for heavy-gauged strings
- Durable design
- Finger-shaped picks fit over fingers
- Cannot be reshaped to fit perfectly
Alaska Pik Fingerpicks are one of the more unique fingerpicks in the market, as they look entirely different from most finger-shaped picks being sold.
The beige color is very attractive, as it matches its plastic material and unique design, but they might not be as durable as picks made from thicker plastic or brass or steel picks as they can be very thin.
The picks also come in a pack of eight, with two of the picks being in the medium size and the rest of the six pieces being in large, and Alaska gladly provides measurements, with their medium picks being 14mm or .55in in diameter, and their large picks being 16mm or .63in in diameter.
What’s even greater about these picks is that they are easily adjustable, and the company encourages you to adjust these fingerpicks to suit your playstyle and have them conform to the shape of your fingers.
To adjust these fingerpicks, you can easily cut them with nail cutters, nail files, sandpaper, or other blades to reshape them however you like, but do be careful to avoid cutting yourself!
Because the fingerpicks can be easily cut and reshaped, this might also be a problem for durability, which Alaska provides you with a hard case that comes free with the fingerpicks to help you protect them and use them for longer!
Alaska Pik Fingerpicks are made of good material, so they don’t break easily as you use them to play your string instruments for a long time.
Do remember that reshaping the picks can cause it to have sharp edges, making it give your instrument a scratchy sound, but you can easily avoid this by filing or sanding the tips or edges you cut to make it sound better.
Along with the aforementioned risk is also ruining your guitar strings and tearing them much earlier than expected, as the sharp edges can easily damage the strings, so take the proper precautionary steps to avoid this.
- Unique design
- Can be cut for reshaping
- Comes with a durable plastic case
- Needs to be polished to give a smooth sound
D’Addario 4CSH6-5 Large Fingerpicks are one of the greater and more preferred fingerpicks out there, as their material is made of something similar to what traditional string musicians used as picks.
The celluloid material used in manufacturing these picks makes it superior to musicians who like to stick to the traditional methods of playing their instruments, as celluloid was used to replace fingerpicks made of tortoise shells back in the early days of string instruments.
Additionally, the sound the pick produces is warmer and fatter in tone, thanks to the celluloid material it was made with, giving it a more natural and traditional feel for you.
However, because the material is not as malleable as steel or brass, it is best to look into your finger size before purchasing the picks, as they come in a large size and might fit too loose for your fingers, making it more difficult rather than easier to play your instrument.
The ends of the picks are rounded, unlike the sharp-tipped picks, to avoid damaging your strings when plucking them, as sharper tips undoubtedly do more damage to your strings as compared to round and blunt tips.
The picks come in a finger shape and are ergonomically designed to easily fit over the buds and curves of your fingers, so it will be easier and more comfortable to play if the picks fit you perfectly.
The picks are somewhat thinner near the base. Making that area more prone to breaking when too much force is applied, so be careful and always store the picks properly to avoid having them break easily.
The tips of the picks belong to the thinner side, so they work well for musicians who use light to medium gauge strings, as they can easily pluck the strings while having minimal damage to either the picks and the strings.
- Made of celluloid material
- Produces warm, fat sound
- Good for light-gauged strings
- Thin material near the base prone to breaking
The Ernie Ball Pickey Picks Metal Fingerpicks are picked on the higher end in the fingerpick market, being made of highly durable material and with great design.
The picks are made from metal, being an alloy of silver, nickel, copper, and zinc, making it one of the more durable and strong fingerpicks in the market, as compared to thinner materials such as brass and stainless steel.
The picks were ergonomically designed to prevent the oils and sweat from accumulating in between your fingers and the pick, as there are holes present to allow airflow, keeping you and your finger comfortable while playing your instrument.
The picks are also less like like to oxidize, unlike brass and other plated metals that leave your fingers with a tint after playing for long hours, so your fingers look as pristine and beautiful as they normally do.
The gauge on the picks is around 50mm or 2 inches, making them suitable for players with larger fingers, so it is best to check the size of your fingers before buying these picks.
It is also wise to remember that these picks are somewhat thicker and made of stronger material, so they are harder to bend around to make it conform to the shape of your finger, but with the right tools and care, they can be reshaped.
The tips of the picks are also sharper, making it more dangerous to use as they can cause quite the damage if not used properly, but the shape of the picks makes it easier to attack from any angle.
The release of these picks is better than most plastic picks, as they easily spring back to shape, allowing you to play upbeat tempos with ease.
These picks are great for musicians who like a very snappy tone to their music, as the shape and material is really meant for upbeat tempos.
- Strong, durable material
- Sharp tip allows attacking at any angle
- A good release for upbeat tempos
- The sharp tip might damage strings
The D’Addario 4CSH4-5 Medium Fingerpicks are similar to the 4CSH6-5 Large Fingerpicks by D’Addario but with their difference in their size.
The fingerpicks come in a pack of five, allowing you to place them in most – if not all – of your fingers when you play, so you can easily use these to play according to how you normally do.
The celluloid material is also great for those who like to stay traditional when it comes to playing their instruments, as celluloid was the material used to replace the tortoiseshell fingerpicks that were initially used.
The celluloid material also does a great job at producing a good tone from plucking your strings, as it has a good release and response that works well if you like to have warm, natural tones.
The tips of the fingerpick are also rounded, making it much safer to use for your guitar strings, especially if they’re manufactured from nylon, as they cause less wearing and tearing, allowing you to play for longer without having to replace your strings.
As always, it is best to store these fingerpicks properly to avoid any damage, as they are quite thin near the base, making them more vulnerable to breaking if too much pressure is applied.
- Celluloid material for a traditional feel
- Warm, fat sound
- Good for smaller hands and light-gauged strings
- Thin material near the base is easy to break
With all the different kinds of fingerpicks in the market, it can be quite confusing to just stick with one.
In this part of the article, I will be breaking down the necessary information to help you choose just the right fingerpick for you!
It all really boils down to how a fingerpick feels in your hands when you play, as you should always go for what feels the most comfortable for you.
Never be too afraid to explore different fingerpicks before choosing one, as it will only benefit you in the long run.
If your guitar has light-gauged strings, you should also opt for the thinner finger picks so as not to cause too much stress on the strings, whereas if you use heavy-gauged strings, going for thick strings will help you strum more comfortably.
There are many kinds of materials used in manufacturing fingerpicks, some more durable and comfortable than others.
What’s really important is to find which material works best for you, especially with how it produces a sound on the strings.
There are many kinds of shapes when it comes to fingerpicks, be it circular, triangular, or finger-shaped.
You can have custom-shaped fingerpicks, but only do that when you’ve found the shape that works best for you.
Fingerpicks are made for musicians who like to play comfortably, so it’s best to use them if you want to avoid fatigued and calloused fingers.
The best one among all the fingerpicks I have reviewed are truly the Dunlop 37R Brass Fingerpicks, as they feel comfortable, are adjustable, and play a good tone for me.
If you’re looking to be able to choose your fingerpicks better, you can try visiting local music stores so they can help you pick out what’s best for you.
You can also look and experiment on them by yourself by ordering them online through Amazon, Ebay, Sweetwater, and more online shops.
Buy yours now!