Best Mandolin Pick Review – Top Rated Models in 2018 with Buying Guide
Here you can find out what the best mandolin picks are, and in case you lack the time to do the research yourself, we can help by providing you the necessary information. After analyzing the value and the quality offered by many of the critically acclaimed products in this line, we concluded that the Fender Premium picks are the ones you should keep in mind. They are suitable for any style, musical instrument, and preference. Made from premium celluloid material, and coming in various sizes, colors and designs they allow you to create warm musical tones. In the unfortunate event you cannot find this model for sale, you can take a look at the Jim Dunlop 24514130003, as it is an option worth considering.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
After carefully reading customers’ mandolin picks reviews, analyzing product specifications and specialists’ opinions, we managed to select seven of the top-rated items in this line. You can read about all of them, as they are showcased below.
With the Fender Premium collection, you can select your favorite pick style and color from a variety of options.
There is no way you will go wrong with choosing the classics. This pack comes with eight heavy gauge, eight medium, and eight thin picks. You can choose from ocean turquoise, abalone, shell, assorted moto colors, or confetti and you can mix until you find the ones perfect for your style and your musical instrument.
The items are made with Fender’s superior celluloid material, and it offers a traditional feel, with a soft striking surface which supplies a round and warm musical tone.
These picks are made in the standard shape, featuring a wider body and a rounded tip. Each one has the Fender logo on the front. Fender is a famous name in the world of musicians, and their picks have become the favorites of players of every style, all around the world.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.99)
Jim Dunlop 24514130003
The Primetone Sculpted Plectra collection from Jim Dunlop comes with picks that glide off your strings and generate the true voice and clarity of your mandolin. Featuring hand-burnished sculpted edges, they allow clear, fast runs and easy strumming, and have an elegant design.
They are made from Ultrex, which offers maximum durability and excellent tonal definition, which are essential characteristics. These picks are available in a wide array of textures, materials, shapes, and artworks. This particular package includes three semi-round, 1.3 millimeters thick plectra.
Jim Dunlop comes with the custom imprint program through which they can produce any signature, or logo on the picks in order to make them as unique as the person who is requesting them.
With these items, it does not matter if you are a renowned artist, a small local band, or if you play or collect them, you are bound to get a great product.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($4.95)
Golden Gate MP-12 Deluxe
The Golden Gate mandolin picks are extra-heavy, extra large, triangular-shaped with rounded edges, and they are perfect not only for the mandolin but for any similar musical instruments which require clarity and power. They are also very popular with electric guitar and bass players.
The tortoise-style mandolin pick is extra thick and stiff, which are characteristics preferred by most acoustic musicians. These units have a rounded triangle shape with the Golden Gate name and logo on the face side.
The material used to create these picks is nitrocellulose, and they are made in Japan. These types of plectra that are stiffer are perfect for fast string playing, such as the tremolo style.
The Golden Gate plectra are not part of the cheap mandolin picks category, but they are ideal if you are a newbie in the mandolin world. Being heavy, they emphasize and render every sound you make when you hit the string more powerful.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.94)
Jim Dunlop 24513150003
If you think that the mandolin you got deserves good mandolin picks, we suggest looking at Jim Dunlop’s Primetone Sculpted Plectra collection. The plectra are triangle shaped and have a gauge of 1.5 mm. This particular product comes in a pack of three pieces.
These picks are made from Ultrex, manufactured in the United States, and feature hand-burnished sculpted edges and a smooth surface.
The texture, shape, material, and artwork of these units are high-quality, and the design is an elegant one. Each customer has the option to personalize his or her picks, through the manufacturer’s custom imprint program. Any logo, signature, or both can be produced in order to make them unique.
The reviews for this product are impressive. The customers are pleased with the price, and with the quality as well, although most praises go to the sounds they generate.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.4)
If you want a comfortable and familiar feel when playing your mandolin, you can keep Fender’s picks in mind. They have the traditional 351 shape, and you can never go wrong with the classics! The pieces have a smooth surface and offer a warm, round musical tone.
These medium gauge items are perfect for players looking for the emotional tone of a heavy pick, but the flexibility of a thin one.
This pack comes with 12 pieces, made from celluloid, with an ocean turquoise design. These plectra offer comfort, high-performance, and flexibility for every performer and every musical style.
With a classic shape and heavier weight, these picks mix the traditional tone and feel of celluloid with a beautiful and unique color. With the Fender 351 collection, you can experience the classic feel of Fender no matter if you are using a beginner bass guitar, a starter electric guitar or a mandolin.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($3.89)
Manufactured in the United States using industrial strength thermoplastic, the D’Andrea Pro Plucks boast a 1.5 mm gauge and an elegant shell finish. The six distinctive designs provide demanding artists with a diversity of options to achieve their desired articulation and tone.
These are incredibly smooth plectrums for softer pick attacks and roll-offs. They are ideal for warmer, richer sounds, or for acoustic strumming. They are made in the standard, triangle shape, with rounded edges and feature the Pro Plec and the D’Andrea logos on the front side.
A great advantage to using these picks, besides the size and good grip is the fact that the sides are equal, so if you wear down one of the edges, you can simply flip the plectrum around; at least until you get new ones. Also, with the rounded edge, it is easier to control the volume in the instrument, compared to the sharp-edged picks.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.6)
Celluloid is a material preferred by many musicians. It also offers sounds similar to real tortoiseshell. The Pickboy Nytro picks are made from celluloid, and they generate warm tones and respond well.
These tools have a gauge of 0.75 mm, and they come in a pack of ten pieces. Pickboy’s plectra are believed to be the finest in the world by some players because each item is made to produce excellent tone, deliver great response and feel, in order to bring your musical expression to different new heights.
The Pickboy plectrums come in a teardrop shape (resembling a heart), with a mandolin design and the word mandolin imprinted on the front side. Although they are thinner and cheaper than most recommended picks for mandolins, these actually sound great.
If you want to go for a bright, clean attack, they are perfect for the job. They are also ideal for single notes and runs on your mandolin.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.48)
Yearly Guide & Report
Picks, which are otherwise known as plectrums or the correct plural form, plectra, are small tools used to pluck or strum strings. You can find them in an almost infinite number of sizes, shapes, colors, and thicknesses. They can also be customized with graphics or text, or both.
They are often thrown in the crowd by many musicians, and they even inspire traders and collectors.
Picks can be made from a variety of materials. The most popular types are those made of plastic. Other kinds can include metal, felt, stone, wood, and rubber. Each model has unique characteristics when it comes to the sound, longevity, and the cost.
You might also have heard about picks referred to as tortoiseshell, which was very popular back in the day due to its tone, durability, and ability to be shaped by the player. In 1973, it became illegal to use the shell of the Hawksbill turtle to produce such items.
Few players still own authentic shell plectrums, and today’s tortoiseshells are some form of synthetic. Out of all the types of plastics, celluloid became very popular. Nylon is also used, as it is inexpensive and long-lasting. Delrin is lightweight and extremely durable. Tortex and Delrex simulate the natural tortoiseshell.
It is recommended to purchase a few of each type, in various thicknesses. You will probably find two or three models that work for you, and then you can settle on specific ones.
Mandolin picks range in thickness from very thick to very thin. Some materials such as Tortex are too stiff if they are made too thick. However, if they are very thin, other plastics can easily break, as in the case of nylon.
Thinner units are way more flexible, but they can break and crack easily. They are best used for fast strumming. On the other hand, thicker picks generate brighter sounds. They are best utilized to emphasize distinct notes for solos, scales, and runs.
This feature is measured in millimeters. The Everly company, which was founded by Phil Everly and the Everly Brothers, produces picks and their thicknesses are color-coded. You can immediately select the right plectrum without really making an effort. Many other manufacturers use this same color scheme for their picks.
If you just purchased a mandolin for beginners, there is no point in stressing about the right pick just yet. If you are a newbie, the type of plectrum will not make too much of a difference.
You should wait until you develop more technique. Only then will you be able to feel the subtle differences in the sounds generated by various picks.
The only thing to remember as a beginner is that you should start with a hard pick of at least 0.75 millimeters in thickness.
Since mandolin picks are small items, there is a good chance you will lose yours, regardless of how careful you are.
The recommendation is to always have more in your mandolin case so that you will have one at hand at any time.
So, you see, no one can say which the best picks for mandolins are. It all depends on the technique used, musical style, experience, and ultimately, personal preference. And if you want to try different musical instruments, you can also keep a digital piano in mind.
Frequently asked questions about mandolin picks
How to hold a mandolin pick?
First, curl your index finger so that the tip is pointing towards the palm. Lay the pick flat against your finger. Then, gently squeeze the tool by pressing your thumb against the pick from the other side. Both your index finger and your thumb should be gripping the pick in a line parallel to the floor, ensuring maximum stability, that is required to drive through each pair of strings.
What pick to use for mandolin?
Although many players think that acoustic guitar picks can be used for mandolins as well, that is not always the case. Mandolin plectrums need to be very stiff because the rhythm is very fast.
If you try to use one that is not stiff enough, it will be flexing back and forth when you need to play a note, disabling you from playing as fast as you should.
Do you use a pick with a mandolin?
Many mandolin players prefer finger picking the mandolin strings. However, if you decide to do this, prepare for a lot of broken nails and bloody fingers. But you will get used to it.
In truth, it is a matter of personal preference. Most musicians favor using picks instead of finger picking because the generated sound is more powerful.
How to tremolo pick a mandolin?
One way to do this is to hold the plectrum like you normally hold it for single note picking. It is essential to use a heavy pick that will not deflect when hitting the string.
The tremolo motion is in the entire forearm, not just in the wrist. You should start slowly using a metronome and play one note per beat.
What mandolin pick does Chris Thile use?
Chris Thile is a mandolin player, a member of the Punch Brothers band. According to him, it is very hard to find the right plectrum that can deliver perfect feel, tone, and durability. He prefers to use the BlueChip picks.
He considers that they are extremely comfortable to use, and they are the most empowering and balanced known to him.