How to move on from a 0.38 pick

In the nitsuj lessons, can’t remember which one he starts to use a 0.6 orange tortex pick early on rather than a 0.38 Jim Dunlop nylon which he recommended for beginners.

This is a question of how, not when to make the change.

Do you you work your way up the thicknesses, I have Jim Dunlop 0.46 or do you go straight up to 0.6.

I am thinking the former not the later or is it whatever you find the best.

What are anybody’s thoughts on this.

Michael :grinning:

Hiya Michael,
I’d suggest going in stages, I started on a Dunlop Tortex .5 which to be fair I still use quite alot. The .6 does make quite a difference in sound which is nice but I can still find I either hit the strings too hard or catch a little bit.
If you’ve got a .6 then give it a go, it won’t do any harm and you may find it works for you.

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The “how” is easy… just try it. :slight_smile: You’re not going to ruin anything by just grabbing a thicker pick and giving it a go, to see how it feels. Once you have strumming basics down there is nothing stopping you from just experimenting, and finding a pick that feels good to you personally. You can get multipacks which include examples of all types, materials and thicknesses exactly for this purpose.

Personally, I found 0.46 picks too “flappy” almost from day one, so switched to .73 instead. Used that for a while, then bought one of the aforementioned multipacks to see if I could find anything better. Tried the almost solid Dunlop Ultex Jazz III just for a laugh… and haven’t looked back since. I use it for everything now, with the added bonus that the thing is so hard it barely seems to wear at all!

So yeah… just explore and experiment, and you pick a pick (lol) that works for you.

PS: I bought the Dunlop Variety Pack for pick testing. Only a fiver and you get a bit of everything.


That’s how I have been doing it. Started off with the 0.38 nylon, then onto a 0.46 nylon/0.48 delrin, then onto a 0.53 nylon/0.5 tortex, then onto a onto a 0.6 nylon/0.6 tortex. If playing electric then its a higher thickness pick that I use. If I find it difficult going up a grade in pick thickness rather than getting frustrated I just go for an in between size for a little bit to ease the transition.

Thanks I think I am going to go up in stages but will give a try at 0.6 first.
Michael :grinning:

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Michael, I jumped straight from a .48 to the .60 that Justin recommends. It took me about 3 weeks to get used to it.

I use a 1.00 for when I’m on the electric.

I have a variety pack but most are above 0.6.
But as you say do a bit of experimenting.
Michael :+1:

James @Socio
Stefan @SgtColon
I think stages is worth trying.
The reason for asking was that the 0.38 was beginning to sound a bit flappy, perhaps my strumming is getting better which is why I am perhaps noticing it.

Michael :notes:


Everyone’s different. I have a good friend who’s been playing for years and he uses a .62 which is light by my standard. And his playing is awesome.

I played with .62 and .78, a friend handed me a 1.5 (mm) and it helped my playing immensely. I hardly ever go back to lighter pick now. I went straight from .6/.7 to 1.5.


Everybody is different, it would be a boring world if we were all the same.
Michael :+1:

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Interesting @tony, what do you think it is about the 1.5mm that helps you play better? I mainly use 0.6, sometimes 0.73. Haven’t tried one that heavy yet but I noticed the thicker ones have a much heavier attack.

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Probably the main advantage for me personally is precision. A thick pick doesn’t bend much, if at all, so the tip is going to go exactly where you want it to go. Great for solos and picking out single strings when strumming.

But as mentioned, I use the Jazz III (1.5mm) for everything now. Once used to it strumming is easy, pick noise is much reduced when compared to flappy picks, and you can really dig in whenever you want to raise the volume.

Honestly can’t see myself going back to anything thinner now… they just feel too imprecise.


Use whatever feels comfortable in your hands and makes the sound pleasant to your ears. I think that some of these suggestions given to beginners, while good rules of thumb, make people overthink things and reluctant to be independent/creative. It’s not a rule set in stone that you can switch to a thicker pick only after x number of months. Experiment with different sorts and eventually you’ll find the ones you like.

I usually find myself switching between various picks back and forth, sometimes going back to thinner ones, then back to thicker ones. Sometimes I have “why haven’t I used this pick more often?” moments. Regarding precision, what I think makes a difference to me is the shape of the tip of the pick, whether it’s sharp or blunt or rounded. For strumming, I prefer 0.46-0.88 mm picks with a more rounded tip.


Same! I love the Jazz III


That definitely makes a difference too. The Jazz III is very pointy so I assumed it would be a bit rubbish for general strumming, but I actually find it just as easy as the more rounded varieties. Easier maybe, though it’s probably not to everyone.

Anyway, I’m going to shut up about it now. This is the third time I’ve mentioned the name, and people are going to start thinking I’m on commission or something! :laughing:

I’d have to say I found that out about the Jaz III by accident, messing with my POD GO. I was using Max Grip .88 and 1.0s for rhythm and the switching to either a 1.0 Gator, and Extra Heavy Ibanez Sandgrip and Jaz III for lead work. I was just working through pre-sets and paying more attention the sound, I found I’d switched from impro to Rhythm and was still using the Ibanez which I always considered to small for strumming. But it was ok albeit a little bigger than the Jaz. So I had a go with the Jaz III and found that was just as good. So its a +1 from me. :+1:

As to the OP I would suggest getting a selection and experimenting and see what feels comfortable for you right now. Think I used the .38 for about 2 bars, when I started Justin’s old BC. Then tried a .46 and junked that after a couple of weeks and went back to 0.5 and 0.6s I used when previously learning. Stayed on 0.6s for a good while for rhythm and now alternate between 0.73 0.88 and 1.0s all Dunlop Max Grips or Gators of the same gauge.



@jkahn It brought about more delicate playing. My view is that because the attack is heavier, it forced me to lighten up on my own attack / intensity. I can now strum songs much lighter / quieter than before. On songs that use some form of alternate picking, I can be a lot more precise.


Great observation Tony. A heavy/thicker pick certainly improves touch and feel. A smaller one improves accuracy.


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I started on 0.5 but its rubbish for lead which i found 1.2 working well for and after time found 1.2 good for strumming too. Last week i tried a 2 for lead (someone handed me one to try with their guitar) which i really liked, so now its 1.2 for strumming and 2 for lead.


While you could certainly move up to thicker picks in stages (nothing wrong with that), I’d probably just go straight to what you’re interested in using. Give it a few days; there will be an adjustment period.

Ultimately, I’d say give it try and take whatever approach works best for you.