Best Mandolin Pick Review – Top Rated Models in 2020 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.
Our Top Choice
These picks are made from celluloid, which is considered the best material for mandolin picks. Their ability to produce a rich tone is what recommends them above all else. You will get 24 picks in a single package, each one with its own beautiful design so that you can pick your favorites without a problem. They are available in thin, medium and heavy gauges, so you will appreciate the versatility.
Some customers are displeased with not getting all the beautiful colors advertised.
A superb pack of mandolin picks that lets you play to your heart’s content.
Bring out the true sound of your mandolin with this exquisite pick that will slide over your strings like charmed. From the first glance, you will notice the elegant design that happens due to the hand-burnished edges that are also sculpted for an amazing visual effect. The smooth runs, the ease of use, and the overall stunning performance recommend this pick as a solid choice for any player.
Some complaints about the grip not being as good as expected appear in reviews.
A beautiful pick that will bring out the beautiful sound of your mandolin.
If you like to purchase mandolin picks by the dozen, this is an option you should not overlook. Made from nitrocellulose, these picks are durable, and they can help you produce the sounds you want with your instrument. The rounded triangle shape is an excellent choice for clear attacks, rich sounds, and rapid tremolos. As it is thicker and heavier than other models on the market, it is more robust, too.
These picks don’t seem such a great choice for classical music genres, except for Bluegrass.
A set of 12 picks that will help you produce deep rich sounds with your mandolin.
7 Best Mandolin Picks (Reviews) in 2020
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.
- 1. Fender Premium Picks Sampler
- 2. Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round 1.3mm Sculpted Plectra
- 3. Golden Gate MP-12 Deluxe Tortoise Style Mandolin Pick
- 4. Dunlop 513P1.5 Primetone® Triangle Sculpted Plectra
- 5. Fender 351 Shape Premium Picks
- 6. D’Andrea PRO-346 Rounded Triangle Plec
- 7. Pickboy Nytro Mandolin Picks
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about mandolin picks
1. Fender Premium Picks Sampler
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.
This is a pack that offers all you need to start playing the mandolin, and that means eight heavy gauge picks, eight medium ones, and eight thin picks.
In terms of colors, you also get a variety of options, from a beautiful ocean turquoise to something like assorted moto colors.
Due to the strong superior celluloid material, the picks give you a nice, traditional feel, and they all have a soft striking surface that will get the warm tones you want from the mandolin.
The shape is a standard one, so you can use them for other instruments too.
The brand is known for delivering high-quality products that last for a long time and this one will probably be of great use, until you lose them, of course.
Some complained that the thin ones are a bit too thin, and that’s why they don’t use them as much.Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.99)
2. Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round 1.3mm Sculpted Plectra
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.
These picks are made from Ultrex, a material known for how strong yet flexible it is, and with the help of this material, the picks are excellent in offering a good tonal definition.
You can get these picks in a wide variety of shapes, materials, textures, or artworks, and that’s why you can’t say you can’t find a favorite one amongst them.
Jim Dunlop is known for the picks it produces, and the brand also has the possibility to print anything you want on the picks.
These picks are specially made for mandolin and they have a soft touch, gliding off the strings, creating a nice tonality and making your mandolin sound clear.
Due to the hand-burnished sculpted edges, they will make your playing easier, and the sound clearer.
You only get three picks in the pack, so you will probably have to buy more packs if you know you’re the type of person that keeps losing them.Buy from Amazon.com for ($4.95)
3. Golden Gate MP-12 Deluxe Tortoise Style Mandolin Pick
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.
These picks are great for mandolin players that want to have a powerful sound, and they’re also great for similar instruments due to how heavy and large they are, but also thanks to the classic triangular shape.
The picks are extra thick and stiff, which will be great for playing the mandolin with force, or for picking.
Each pick comes with rounded edges to make sure they don’t pull on the strings too hard.
Because they are made in Japan, you know that they are of great quality.
They are so stiff and that is ideal for a tremolo style, and the fact that they’re made of nitrocellulose makes them some of the most durable around.
Due to being so heavy, every sound you produce will be emphasized, and you won’t have to put too much effort into it.
They come in packs of 12 but they lack diversity, in case you want some thinner picks.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.84)
4. Dunlop 513P1.5 Primetone® Triangle Sculpted Plectra
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.
Made in the United States, you can be sure that these picks go through a good production process.
Having a smooth surface, the picks won’t catch on the strings too hard, sliding across them beautifully.
With a gauge of 1.5 mm, they aren’t neither too thick or too flimsy.
You can see that the design is an elegant one and even though they are only picks, you will feel proud to have them.
Everything about these picks is high-quality, from the texture to the material, and the artwork on them.
You can choose to personalize your pick, with the help of Dunlop’s custom imprint program, and that adds to the uniqueness of them.
Due to the rounded edges and the gauge, they produce a mellow beautiful sound.
If your hands get sweaty the picks become slippery and you will lose control over them.Buy from Amazon.com for ($4.95)
5. Fender 351 Shape Premium Picks
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.
Anytime you use these picks you get a comfortable feel, thanks to the traditional shape.
Being the classic style of picks, they are really smooth and when using them you get a warm and round tone out of your mandolin.
They are neither too thick or too thin, and their medium gauge will give you the emotional tone you are looking for, while still being flexible enough.
You get 12 picks in this pack, so you have enough of them to last you for a while.
They are all made of strong celluloid material, and they have a beautiful turquoise design, so they’re not only durable but good-looking too.
These picks have a slightly heavier weight and that means they can still help you create the traditional mandolin sound.
Their glossy surface means that you will be dropping them often if your hands get sweaty.Buy from Amazon.com for ($6.13)
6. D’Andrea PRO-346 Rounded Triangle Plec
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.
These six picks are all made in the United States, so you know the process they go through is a quality one.
With a gauge of 1.5 mm, they aren’t too thick or too thin, and they will be good in any situation.
The picks are a bit wider than regular picks and that means you will be able to hold them better. They won’t slip away as easily.
You will be surprised by how soft these picks are and how well you can use them for attacks and roll-offs.
Because of how they are made, they’re great for rich and warm sounds coming from acoustic strumming.
They have a good grip on both sides, so if they wear out on one side you can always flip them over and go on playing.
The picks are a bit too soft for some people that want more volume from them.Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.37)
7. Pickboy Nytro Mandolin Picks
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.
Because it offers a sound similar to tortoiseshell, high-quality celluloid has been used in making these picks.
With a gauge of only 0.75 mm, these picks are soft and they create really soft tones when strumming.
Many mandolin players love them because the picks are capable of producing an excellent tone, with great response and feel, and they let you produce any musical note you can on the mandolin.
Furthermore, they are made especially for mandolin players, and they come in a great-looking teardrop shape.
They will be great for those players looking for a clean attack and a bright sound, and they can also be used for picking.
You get ten of them in a pack, so even if you lose some, you will still be able to take advantage of how good they are.
It would have been nicer if they were wider, for those players with bigger hands.Click to see the price on Amazon!
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
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: Do you use a pick with a mandolin?
Many mandolin players prefer finger picking the best 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.