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Why Use Ergonomic Guitar Picks?

Updated on February 14, 2011

Ergonomic guitar picks are less widely known and used than conventional guitar picks, yet they can actually be a much better choice in many cases. Let's take a look at ergonomic picks in more detail, and see what they have to offer to guitarists.

Problems with conventional guitar picks

ZeroGravity Orbit Ergonomic Pick


There’s an enormous variety of guitar picks on the market, in various sizes, shapes, thicknesses and materials. What most of them have in common, however, is that they are flat. The problem with flat guitar picks is that they can be difficult to hold in position for any length of time, especially when you’re striking a string hard and putting a lot of pressure on the pick.

As a result of this, flat guitar picks cause various problems, such as being difficult to keep a firm grip on. Many guitarists will drop their picks quite frequently, often at the worst possible time, such as during a flashy solo while on stage. In an effort to keep a firm grip on the pick, people will naturally grip harder. While this may lead to the pick being dropped less often, it isn't a good thing when it comes to your long-term health, because holding a pick in too strong a grip can lead to repetitive strain injury. Over time, this ailment can become bad enough to completely derail a guitarists career.

Holding the pick too hard also causes muscular tension, which can make playing fast passages more difficult, and have a negative effect on accuracy - as all guitarists know, it's important to stay relaxed if you want to play well.

How ergonomic guitar picks differ

So, despite their widespread use, conventional guitar picks do have their downsides. These problems have been acknowledged by manufacturers of ergonomic guitar picks, and different designs have been introduced in an effort to alleviate these issues.

One type of ergonomic pick uses a concave surface, in which the index finger can sit without sliding around. Similarly-shaped covers are also available, which can be used to slide over conventional plectrums - this way you can still play with your favourite pick, but get the benefit of the cover’s more user-friendly design.

Another type of ergonomic guitar plectrum is the same shape as conventional picks, but it features a hole in the middle, so the thumb and forefinger actually meet, making it easier to keep a firm grip on the pick without having to clench it.

So if you're one of the many guitarists who has trouble with conventional picks, don't blame yourself - the fact is that the conventional design is flawed, and better alternatives are available. You should certainly give these a try if you’re gripping your pick with excess pressure, as repetitive strain injury is not a risk that’s worth taking.


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    • johnnycook profile image

      johnnycook 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very useful - glad it's not just me! I'll look into the one with the ring hold.