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Stone Guitar Picks – Ever Tried Playing Guitar With Gemstone Picks?

Updated on February 14, 2011

Although plastic guitar picks are the most common variety, plectrums are actually available in a huge range of different materials, including gemstones. In this article we’ll take a look at why so many guitarists like using stone guitar picks, and perhaps you might want to try them too.

Stone picks can be made from a wide range of gemstones, although the various varieties of agate are probably the most common. Agate is easily recognisable due to its banded appearance, and comes in a variety of colours. However, any stone can be - and often is - used to create plectrums, including jasper, bloodstone, amber, tiger’s eye and quartz.

Amber Guitar Pick


Advantages of Stone Picks

So, why use a stone guitar pick? The answer is that these picks give a fantastically resonant guitar tone. Plastic guitar picks, which are the ‘norm’, tend to have a deadening effect on the string. So when you use a plastic pick to strike the guitar string, it doesn’t resonate as fully as it might do if you use one made from other materials. Basically, the denser the material from which the pick is made, the more resonant the tone will be.

Another reason why people like gem guitar picks is their aesthetic appeal. Every pick is unique, and like other gemstone items, they can be very beautiful. Stone picks are also extremely durable, and will not wear down easily like plastic picks do. However, they should be treated with care, as they may smash if dropped on a hard surface. Stone plectrums can also retain their value, and make excellent gifts, either to give to guitar-loving friends, or to pass down through the generations.

Downsides of Gem Picks

A downside to gemstone plectrums is that they’re very smooth and polished, which can make keeping a firm grip difficult. However, you can get stone picks that have been designed with a slightly rougher surface on the area where your thumb and finger, so you can keep hold of them much more easily.

Stone picks are also by their very nature unbendable, which makes them unsuitable for guitarists who prefer to use a very thin and flexible pick. And although very thin crystal guitar picks are available, most of them tend to be on the thicker side, so they won't be the best choice for everybody.

By using a stone pick, you’re basically allowing your guitar’s true tone to ring out unimpeded. Even if you already have your favourite plastic picks, it's well worth giving stone guitar picks a try, as they can add an interesting new dimension to your guitar playing, even if you don't use them all the time.

Where To Buy Stone Guitar Picks

Stone picks aren’t as easily available as the more common materials, but as with most things, if your local music stores don’t have any, there’s always the internet!


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      mandolin pick 6 years ago

      One would truly feel inclined to play the guitar when she/he is comfortable with the guitar picks being used. Others prefer not to use picks when they play but most are encouraged to do so in order to further enhance the sound being created.