If you're new to alternate picking then you might be
asking yourself what's the best pick to use to alternate pick fast. Well, it's definitely not an easy question
to answer. It's a bit like asking what car is best for driving fast. (There are plenty that would get the job
With that said, let's take a look at the type of pick that I use. I've been using this type for a long time.
And it's the one that I recommend to my students all the time. (Especially if one of their goals is to pick at
blazingly fast speeds).
So what pick am I talking about?
It's my trusty black-colored Jim Dunlop Jazz III pick! If you don't own any of these very
cool picks, you're truly missing out. OK, maybe that's a bit melodramatic! All I'm saying is this…buy some, and
give them a go.
So what's so great about them?
Well, here are a few things that I like about Jim Dunlop Jazz III picks…
They are heavy-gauged:
I'm too lazy to Google it now. But from memory, I think they are around 1.38mm thick. And this is a good
thing. Why? Because the pick doesn't move at all when you pick a string. And that means that you always know
where the pick is relative to the string. And this definitely helps with accuracy, control and speed.
You might not think that having a heavy-gauged pick makes all that much difference. But try this experiment.
Make a pick from a piece of paper. Just cut out something that resembles a pick. Now try fast alternate picking
with it. See how fast you can pick with that piece of paper. Without seeing you, I'm guessing it was pretty
hard to do!
They have a sharp point:
This is a good thing, because only a small amount of the pick will hit the string when you pick. And this
helps to reduce the effects of friction. Which will make it easier for you to pick at fast speeds.
You can see how much difference this can make by using your current pick the wrong way round. Try it now.
Grab your pick and try picking quickly by using the rounded-end of the pick rather than the pointy-end. It's
not easy is it? (I find that as well are being less accurate, it also produces a less-articulated sound).
They are really small:
The Jazz III pick is smaller than normal picks. And why is this helpful? I find that the smaller size
virtually forces me to hold the pick with very little of the pick sticking out. And this forces me to only use
the very tip of the pick when doing fast alternate picking. It also helps me to keep my picking hand very close
to the strings. Which definitely helps me to play more cleanly by making it easy for me to mute unplayed
strings. (Which is critical if you play a lot using a distorted guitar tone).
So what are you waiting for? Rush to your local music store and give them a try!
Return To: Alternate Picking