Best Guitar Picks for Bass in 2021

Bass guitars are great instruments and exciting to play. However, you need picks that will respond correctly to the tone you want.

Picks come in different shapes and sizes, and all you have to do is choose one that suits your needs.

Here is a guide of what to look for when selecting bass guitar picks and the top 12 bass guitar picks.

What to look for when picking a bass guitar

When selecting a bass guitar, there are four basic things that you consider.

  1. Thickness and Flexibility
  2. Personal Preferences
  3. Shape and Size
  4. Pick Material

Thickness and Flexibility

In most cases, the thickness of a bass pick is what matters most. For example, if you use a bass pick that is too thin and floppy, it won’t give you the control and consistency that you would like.

Using a thin pick to hit a string will take a while before returning to its normal position.

Although the thickness difference is slight, you will be surprised by the difference it makes.

However, a thin pick is not bad since it is great if you use it for strumming.

You measure the thickness of a pick using millimeters. The picks can be small, medium, or heavy. Here is the measurement of each category.

Thin- Picks which measure between .40mm – .60mm

Medium – Picks which measures between .60mm – .80mm

Lastly, heavy- Picks which measure .80mm -1.2mm

The sound produced by bass guitars greatly depends on the thickness of the pick you’re using.

The pick you use will affect the tone and the playability of the bass guitar.

Here is what to expect when you use picks of different thicknesses and flexibility.

a) Thin Picks

Thin picks make your bass guitar produce light, brighter tones that have low volume and high frequency.

Thin picks are flexible and produce less bass sound.

Thin picks are preferred by guitar players when playing chords and strumming.

The pick’s flexibility and size affect the ‘attack’ range you want to apply when striking a string. Small picks tend to limit the ability to control volume levels.

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b) Medium and heavy picks

Heavy gauge picks tend to produce a rounder, fuller tone. Unlike thin picks, medium to heavy picks has a lower frequency.

Medium and heavy picks provide more control and limit the ‘attack’ range.

Thicker picks allow the bassists to have accurate notes separation.

Most guitar players like using heavy picks when playing the lead parts and use thin picks when playing the rhythm and strumming parts.

You need to apply more strength and agility when controlling heavier picks.

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How to select the thickness of a bass pick

The thickness of a bass pick greatly depends on your personal preferences.

Your preferences include; the kind of music you want to play, your preferred sound, and your physical attributes.

Most guitar player uses thin picks, especially when playing the strumming and rhythm parts.

On the other hand, most bassists like using a thicker pick with heavy or medium range densities.

Thin plectrums don’t produce the required midrange tones that bassists want and desire.

Moreover, unlike thin picks, thicker picks allow you to control volume giving you accurate note separation.

Personal Preference

Personal preference is significant when selecting bass picks. In your mind, you have the ideal tone and sound that you wish to achieve.

Your perfect pick should be comfortable and playable. Choose a pick that matches your playing style.

It’s advisable to try using different picks and then choose the one that works best for you.

You might even need extra picks when playing different types of music.

Regardless of the pick you choose, remember to make your personal preference your number one deciding factor.

Shape and Size

You will find picks of different shapes and sizes in the market today.

The size you choose will significantly affect the bass playability. Moreover, choose a bass pick that you’re most comfortable with.

On the other hand, the shape of the bass pick you choose will affect the tone produced. Here is a list of the most commonly used bass picks.

i. Standard bass picks

Standard bass picks are mostly heart-shaped.

They are also known as 351picks.

They come in different materials are mostly referred to as multi-purpose picks.

Some standard bass picks have a sharpened end to allow accurate notes separation.

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ii. Jazz III

They are similar to the standard picks, but this type has a sharper tip.

They are commonly used by bassists who want to increase speed and accuracy.

They typically fall under the thicker picks category.

Commonly popular among bass players.

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iii. Teardrop

As their name suggests, this type of pick resembles a teardrop.

Teardrop picks are similar to Jazz III but are a bit narrow.

They have a sharper tip that gives more precise articulation and provides definitive attacks.

They are narrow, thus making it hard to control them.

They have a beveled edge that gives you more speed.

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iv. Triangular

These bass picks are triangular, and their edges are either rounded or pointed.

They fall under larger sized picks category.

Their edges are identical, so you can use any edge you like.

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Pick Material

Bass guitars come in different materials. The material used to make a pick significantly determines the sound that the bass will produce.

Most picks are made of synthetic materials like nylon, Delrin, celluloid, ultex, etc. Nylon and Delrin materials are the most common pick materials in the market.

Most manufacturers usually list the material used to make the pick on the packaging box.

If you’re still new to using bass picks and prefer using the tone of your fingers, you can buy a rubber pick to help emulate the fingers’ sound.

If you’re unsure of the materials you want to buy, you can still use the general-purpose bass picks or the Dunlop Variety Pack. The Dunlop Variety Pack comes with different picks that you can use.

Here is a list of different pick materials that are commonly used

Nylon Picks

Nylon picks are widely used by bassists and come in different sizes and thicknesses.

Bassists who prefer using nylon picks should pick the thicker option because the thinner version is too flexible.

A plain nylon bass pick can be slippery to use, and it’s recommended to pick the coated one to improve grip.

They are relatively inexpensive.

Delrin and Acetal Picks

Delrin materials are essentially similar to acetal materials. However, the acetal picks are stiffer.

Both Acetal and Delrin materials are made of rigid plastics, thus providing you with a slick and stiff surface.

The picks are non-slippery and also have a matte finish to improve grip.

These materials are ideal if you want a more precise ‘attack.’

Picks made of Delrin and Acetal materials produce warmer tones.

They are long-lasting.

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Wood

If you’re one of the acoustic bassists, then you might find something interesting on this pick.

Wood picks have a natural feel and are very warm.

They offer a silent option, and that’s why acoustic bassists like them.

They produce a warmer tone and are a bit round compared to other materials in the market.

There is a wide variety of wooden materials that you can choose from.

Some of the plants used to make plectrums include, Rosewood, maple, Zebrawood, Walnut, Mahogany, cherry, Cocobolo, and African Blackwood.

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Metal

Metal picks are commonly used by bassists who play heavy metal music. However, metal picks can be more versatile than you think.

Metal picks are very destructive to the bass string, and you might take some time before you get used to it.

They offer you a crispier ‘attack’, especially when you’re strumming.

They are very thin and don’t bend when playing.

Since metal picks don’t bend, they’re likely to wear off the bass strings very fast.

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Stone

Stones are gaining popularity among bass and guitar players. Most Dragon Heart picks are made of graphite.

Stone picks offer you a good grip when playing bass guitar.

They produce a very resonant sound, especially when strumming.

Celluloid Picks

Celluloid picks were made to replace animal shell (tortoise) plectrums.

They’re very comfortable to use and gives you a natural feel when using them.

Celluloid picks are designed to produce rounder, warmer, and fatter tones.

Thinner celluloid picks are not flexible and harder to control.

Compared to other materials, celluloid picks are not durable since they wear down quickly.

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Tortex Picks

Tortex picks are very popular among bassists.

Dunlop Company widely produces these general-purpose picks.

Their texture is similar to that of Delrin picks.

Tortex picks usually produce brighter and crisper tones.

The thicker Tortex picks provide a good ‘attack,’ which is ideal for notes separation.

This material wears out quickly compared to nylon and plectrums made of nylon, Delrin, and Acetal.

Thin Tortex picks are flexible, and most bassists don’t like their flexibility.

Delux Picks

Delux picks are made with Delrin material, but they have a matte finish.

Delux picks give bassists a maximum grip, therefore ideal for bassists that sweat more.

They produce a ‘beefy’ sound.

It has a chalky feel, thus a bit dry for some bassists.

Delux picks provide smooth attack and a softer release,

Ultex picks

Ultex picks are relatively new in the market. Although new, Ultex picks are gaining popularity among bassists and guitarists.

The Ultex picks are durable and long-lasting.

They mainly produce warm, fuller tones.

They’re very comfortable to use and gives you a natural feel when using them.

The hardy picks allow you to have a maximum ‘attack,’ while the sturdy picks are less flexible.

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Acrylic picks

Acrylic picks have a more translucent appearance and a glass-like, sleek feel.

They’re known to produce a bit brighter and punchy tone.

The pick’s slick feel can easily bond with sweaty fingertips.

It’s advisable to buy acrylics picks that have grip holes since they can get slippery at times.

Acrylics picks are durable and long-lasting since most of them have a sharper tip that doesn’t wear down quickly.

Top three Best Bass Guitar Pick Brands

There are many bass guitars picks in the market, and it can be pretty hard to know which brand is good. That’s why it’s vital to buy picks from reputable brands. Here are the best brands that you can consider.

Jim Dunlop has the best picks and has a wide range of bass guitar picks that you can choose from.

Fender is another good company that manufactures a wide range of bass guitar picks.

Clayton has a vast assortment of picks that you can select from.

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The Best bass Picks in 2021

By now, you know the kind of bass picks you to want to buy. Remember that personal preferences are the key determinant of the picks you choose.

You might be required to try different plectrums so that you can settle on the one you like most.

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry since you can get many affordable picks in the most reputable shops like Amazon.

Here is a list of different picks you can use for playing your bass guitar.

1. Dunlop Ultex 1.9mm Standard Bass Pick

Dunlop Utlex is a standard bass pick with a classic shape and size.

This 1,9mm pick is thicker and relatively flexible.

It is made with a material that grips to fingers naturally.

The edges are molded to allow a sharp ‘attack’. Moreover, the edges are ideal if you want to have a quick release.

It can be used to produce different tones. You can use it if you want a warmer, clear tone.

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2. Dunlop Gator Grip 1.14mm Standard Bass Pick

Dunlop Gator grips are made with a Delrex non-slip material that grips to fingers naturally.

This pick has a pretty matte finish.

The pick is of standard size.

The Dunlop Gator can be easily controlled, and it’s very comfortable to use.

The sound produced by this pick is a bit ‘beefy.’

These picks allow smooth attacks and softer release.

3. Jim Dunlop Max-Grip

They are made of nylon materials but have a matte texture.

They have a coarse part located in a place where the thumb rests when using it.

The rough part helps in preventing your thumb from slipping.

4. Planet Waves 1.0 mm Tri-Tip picks

Planet Waves have a wide surface area that enhances your gripping experience.

This heavy gauge pick allow you to produce a precise sound when picking a bass guitar. Also, it has a tip of all three sides, and you can use the one you like.

They are long-lasting compared to those picks made of celluloid.

The Planet Waves pick produces a large, warm sound that you will like.

They are available in different gauges such a medium, light, and heavy.

The planet Wave picks are environment-friendly.

5. 0.88 mm Tortex Triangle by Jim Dunlop

The Tortex Triangle is manufactured by Jim Dunlop and is popular among bass and guitar players.

These picks have a sharp tip that improves accuracy when you’re playing.

They’re popular among those who sing Rock music.

It has a good grip and produces excellent sound.

They come in different shapes and sizes.

Some of the shapes available include Jazz, Triangle, Jazz XL, Regular, Teardrop, Sharkfin, Pointy, and Flex.

Tortex 0.88 picks usually produce brighter and crisper tones.

6. Dunlop Primestone Picks

They are made of Ultex material and are ideal for bassists who like using round picks.

Their rounded edges allow your bass guitar produces a warm tone.

Dunlop Primestone picks are long-lasting compared to picks made from celluloid.

Each package comes with 12 picks.

The picks have no gripping surface, thus not ideal if you have sweaty hands.

They have a heavy thickness of 1.5mm, thus allowing the bassists to have accurate notes.

7. Jim Dunlop Tri Stubby Picks

These picks are made of Lexan material which is quite durable.

They have a gripping surface where you can place the thumb when playing to avoid slipping.

They are thick and suitable for bass guitar strings.

They give you an excellent ‘attack’ when playing.

Ideal if you want to play different bass styles.

Each package contains six picks and is also inexpensive.

They have a rounded triangle shape.

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8. Master 8 Infinix- U Picks

They are made of Infinix material which has a celluloid-like texture but is not slippery like the celluloid materials.

Master 8 picks have a coarse gripping surface that enhances your grip when playing.

They produce a bright, friendly tone.

They come in different thicknesses so you can choose one that suits your needs.

They are made of long-lasting material.

They have a rounded triangle shape.

Each package contains six picks.

9. D’Addario Duralin Picks

They are made of duralin material, which is durable and abrasion-resistant.

These picks have no gripping surface and they are ideal for people who need to have a reliable pick.

Each package has 100 picks, so you have plenty of them at our disposal.

They come in different thicknesses so you can choose one that suits your needs.

Ideal if you want to play different bass styles.

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10. Clayton Acetal Bass and Guitar Picks

Clayton Acetal picks are made of a long-lasting acetal material.

They give you a great overtone when using them on your bass guitar.

They are ideal for aggressive players.

Their matte finish gives you a gripping surface so that they won’t slip off when playing.

They have a rounded triangle shape.

Variety Packs Option

If you want to know how different picks work, you can choose the variety packs option.

The variety packs include picks of various sizes, shapes, gauges, and materials.

You can try using all the plectrums and choose the one you feel most comfortable using.

You might even like a particular pick that you’ve never bothered to try.

11. Jim Dunlop Variety pack

This pack has both medium and heavy gauges, and you can choose one that suits your needs.

One pack has 12 different picks.

The picks inside come in different materials, including Tortex, Ultex, Celluloid, and nylon.

The pack has picks of different sizes and shapes.

Jim Dunlop picks are the best-selling brand in the world today.

12. Fender Celluloid Variety Pack

The fender pack has eight different picks, which are of medium gauge.

They come in different shapes like oval, standard, narrow, triangular, teardrop, large triangular and standard sharp.

Every pick in the pack produces tones and sounds of different variations.

They have an elegant tortoiseshell design that gives you a natural feel when using them.

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