Let’s be real; finger picks are a niche. It is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea. And there are several reasons behind it. One that tops the list is the fact that they are for professionals. When you start learning a guitar, the standard procedure is to use a pick, a normal pick. That is what teachers and tutorials on YouTube will suggest. And it is obviously a good practice too. It is easier to play chords, the sound is louder and crispier, and the playing overall sounds bright. But as you grow from being an amateur to an advanced level player, the exercises make you focus more on having more control over your individual fingers on the rhythm and the fretting hand both. Usually, people keep focusing on the fretting hand, but that is incorrect. The rhythm hand has to have as great control as the fretting hand. And this is where the bifurcation begins. Most people focus on playing scales and solos. That is one style. That can be pulled off really well with a normal pick. But some people focus on finger-styling and picking. This is the kind of playing where the individual control on fingers matter more. Multiple strings are picked simultaneously to create superimposition and constructive interference, and therefore, melodious music. This is the style where it is important to pick each string with enough impact. Not only that, picking with different materials, other than fingers or nails, give another tone in the same guitar and same string set altogether. This is primarily where finger picks are needed. However, some people fuse both the style. They play solos and scales in a fingerpicking style. These guys are another league. Their tones, the feel of their music, everything is just one of its kind. And these guys, well some of them, prefer finger picks too.
Another reason might be the kind of genre. Finger picks, and fingerpicking in general, does not suit every genre. Yes, you might be a pro and might have found an entirely unique style of playing a genre not usually played with finger picks with them. But generally, they suit blues and bluegrass. People do use their fingers, and it is also normal behavior to grow their nails. But, even grown nails are just one kind of tone. They are always going to sound the same. Secondly, grown nails are also going to affect your day-to-day life. They are obviously going to hinder your normal chores. To avoid that, players go for finger picks and they also get a lot of versatility.
The material of a finger pick, the coating, and everything, matters a lot when it comes to the sound it’s going to produce. But that is not the only thing that matters. There are other factors, too. All of these factors can be put into consideration to extract a list of the best finger picks in one sense or the other. You will learn about the details of finger picks and the factors involved more as you continue.
Best Finger Picks Summary:
Top 10 Best Finger Picks 2021 Reviews
1. Dunlop 37R.018 Brass Fingerpicks, 0.018”, 20/Tube
In the music industry and otherwise, Dunlop is always known for its authenticity and credibility. The products they develop are always of really high quality, be it table tennis tables or guitar picks. Coming to the latter, they have a wide variety of guitar picks in both types, normal picks, and finger picks. The one under discussion here right now is the brass finger pick they introduced.
Brass has a lot of benefits. Firstly, because it is a metal alloy, the sound it produces when it is strummed against the strings is really bright and loud. It is clear. Plastic picks might suit some styles but if you are looking for increased amplitude in your picking, brass picks work better. Considering that the more defined sound of picking is one of the major reasons why one goes for finger picks, brass picks are certainly a great option. As far as this one is concerned, it comes in various gauges and sizes, so you will definitely find a size between 0.13 inches and 0.25 inches that perfectly suits your fingers and playing. Also, this comes in a pack of 20. So, you can wear one in all your fingers, twice. Lol.
2. National NP-2B-4PK Finger Picks – Brass – 4 pack
National might not be the most famous company that makes picks, but these guys have been around since the 1930s and if they have not gone bankrupt by now, they definitely produce good picks. Because they are being sold.
These specific ones are finger picks made from brass. Brass has multiple advantages over other material choices. For instance, brass is softer than steel. Hence, to re-shape and mould these to fit your fingers is relatively easier compared to harder materials like steel. However, they are harder than plastic, so they also produce the crisp, bright sound finger pickers intend to buy finger picks for.
Usually, comfort and sound are a tradeoff in finger picks. You can either get a finger pick that is comfortable to wear or one that produces good sound. That is not the case in this choice. National’s NP-2B-4PK is a comfortable finger pick design and also produces a sharp sound. Interestingly, these picks are more suitable for instruments other than guitar. Banjo players, for instance, would and do prefer these picks over any other design available out there. For a guitar, you might have to be a pro. This might not prove to be the best choice for a beginner.
It comes in a pack of 4, for 4 fingers, but the thumb pick is to be bought separately.
3. Alaska Pik Fingerpicks, Large
Now this one is an innovative design. See, a lot of people who finger pick or finger style grow their nails. That is like the most common practice amongst finger pickers. They use their nails to pick the strings because it produces a different kind of tone compared to the tips, and this different tone is their things. You might find a lot of famous guitarists with grown nails, and this is primarily the reason. If they are not choosing to go for a fingerpick, it means that they basically do not want to. They prefer the sound that their nails produce.
However, this comes with a set of drawbacks. Grown nails might be a huge hindrance in your otherwise everyday life. People with grown nails often break them pretty badly and are unable to do normal day-to-day tasks without keeping their nails into consideration.
Alaska took this observation and designed a product to suit this need specifically. This finger pick goes into your finger and fits right over your nails. It is made of acrylic so you can re-shape it a bit to push it in your finger further or hold it a little above than where it naturally fixes. The ideal position is when it completely covers your nail, not more, and definitely not less. So, it works more like a nail cover than a pick. Once that is done and you start playing, you will still feel you are picking with your nails, but now that they have support behind them, you can pick harder without the fear of breaking your nails and with an added richness in tone.
Having said all of that, this might not be everyone’s choice but to whom it suits, it is a perfect choice. It is exactly what they need. They come in packs of 12 and are not expensive either.
4. 3 x Stainless Steel, Open Design, Metal Finger Picks
This one is made from Stainless Steel, and the design itself is also pretty interesting. They call it the Open Design. The finger pick is hollow from its center and just has a steel outline of a finger pick with a conventional collar at the end to fix on your finger.
Being made of Stainless Steel, the biggest advantage it has over other materials is that it will not wear off soon. More often than not guitarists have to readjust the diameter of the collar to fit the finger pick perfectly in their fingers. With other materials, even metals or metal alloys, the problem that arises is that they lose their grip and kind of wear off. But this won’t happen with stainless steel. You can readjust it as many times as you want, these picks are not leaving you for years to come. In fact, this readjustment is the major reason why the manufacturers decided to use stainless steel instead of anything else. And hence, they do not even have different sizes. They only have one size that is adjustable and fits every finger. Simple as that.
However, the sound the stainless steel produces against the strings is not really everyone’s cup of tea. It is not balanced; it is more on the sharper side. This might really suit some styles, but it won’t suit every style.
Because these finger picks are Open Design, you still feel the strings on your fingers when you play. This is really important for some players because they are used to feeling the strings on their fingers. This is the sense they use to play precisely.
They come in a pack of three for the mentioned price.
5. Dunlop 9020TP Shell Plastic Finger and Thumb Picks
Here is a plastic version of finger and thumb picks by Dunlop. The design is extremely basic, and the color is attractive. Segmentation and introducing variants are some smart moves by Dunlop.
Plastic is a great choice for making finger and thumb picks as far as sound is concerned. While metal finger picks usually produce a bright, sharp sound, finger picks made of plastics have a beautifully balanced sound. It is not sharp, and it is not muted. Their sound is very “whole” and feels really warm, which is also why they can be a great option for multiple instruments. People can use it for guitars, banjos, mandolins, or any string instrument. They will even prove to be a great choice for nylon guitars. Normally, it is really hard to choose picks for nylon guitars because not everything makes nylon strings sound perfect. But some things do, and this set of finger picks is one of those.
With respect to wearing, these plastic finger picks might not be the best. Dunlop offers only one size in these plastic finger picks and you obviously cannot adjust the sizes of their collars. It is plastic, it will break if you try to stretch or contract them. So, you will have to compromise with the size Dunlop is offering.
Every pack of Dunlop 9020TP contains 3 finger picks and 1 thumb pick. The price is super competitive.
6. Epic Berry Thumb and Finger Picks – Large
Epic Berry makes plastic finger and thumb picks. The company is not known as such, but that does not mean that the product they offer is a compromise in any case. The picks are gorgeous.
The plastic finger and thumb picks they manufacture have a beautiful red marble polished finish. All the picks look the same. In one pack, Epic Berry offers 3 finger picks and 1 thumb pick. The plastic they use is a little harder and thicker than usual plastic picks. This gives loudness to the warm sound plastic picks produce and what really can be a deadlier combination?
The best part about this product is that they come in a basic, small black pouch. Something that nobody else has to offer. You can carry all of them pretty easily and you won’t lose them quickly either.
7. Planet Waves Finger Picks – Medium
There is a music/guitar equipment or accessory that D’Addario doesn’t make? That’s impossible. Well, D’Addario itself doesn’t manufacture finger or thumb picks but D’Addario group owns a company named Planet Waves that do manufacture finger picks. Planet Waves is known for musical instrument accessories, D’Addario itself is known for musical instrument equipment.
The picks offered by Planet Waves are plastic finger picks. However, it is not just any plastic. It is Celluloid. Celluloid is a manmade substance that was introduced in the 1800s to replace tortoise shell that was being used in products. That is enough information to identify that Celluloid is a hard, durable material. The picks have a beautiful shell finish and produce a brilliant, warm tone. This is the tone pros call the “fat” tone.
It is a set of 5 medium-size Celluloid picks that is available in multiple gauges. And don’t you worry about the price; it’s probably the lowest!
8. Ernie Ball Picky Pickeys Metal Finger Picks
How in the world can Ernie Ball not step in? They will definitely step in and make a product that is nothing like what is offered in the market!
The Ernie Ball Pickey Pickeys are metal finger picks that are unique in both design and construction material. Yes, the material is metal, but it’s not just any metal. It is something that is called German Silver. It is a special alloy of Nickel, Zinc, and Copper. What is the specialty, you may ask? The weightlessness. Although having the strength and durability of metal, this German Silver is extremely lightweight.
Coming to design, the entire finger pick is exactly like others, but with just one difference that makes all the difference. The plectrum of this pick is more pointed than usual. This gives a greater, brighter attack on the strings and produces a sound like no other. They come in a pack of 24, the gauge is 0.5mm, and the weight is 0.32 ounces.
9. Fred Kelly Picks D7FF-L-3 Delrin Freedom Finger Pick – Large
Fred Kelly finger picks are not conventional. They are made of Delrin in a unique shape that gives comfort and sound both.
Delrin is a type of plastic that was created to replace metal in some industrial places. Imagine. Delrin is strong, it is tough, it is thick, it can withstand heat and pressure, and it is resistant to a lot of substances. All of this makes it a great replacement for metal materials. Considering that, making a finger pick out of Delrin is basically giving it the strength and durability of metal but a sound and tone of plastic. It produces a very soft and warm sound that is still loud like metal. Interesting.
The design is such that apart from picking, you can also strum up and down the strings very easily, so it can also be used as a normal pick. It fits in very comfortably and the functionality is brilliant.
10. 15 Pcs Stainless Steel and Celluloid Thumb and Finger Picks – Jiaoguo
Are you still confused what is your thing? Are you still struggling between metal and plastic finger picks and are unable to decide which ones to buy? Then this is the solution for you. By both. Lots of them.
Jiaoguo offers a 15-piece set of thumb and finger picks. It has 5 metal finger picks, 5 Celluloid finger picks and 5 Celluloid thumb picks. All of this comes in a plastic box, compartmentalized neatly. This is a great option for people who are in a conflict between the two types of picks and who have budget constraints. The picks can be used for any instrument and not just the guitar. Banjos, ukuleles, mandolins, and other string instruments can be played pretty easily with these.
Both metal and plastic finger picks have their own ups and downs. It is hard to say which type wins over the other because it really depends on the type of sound you require for your music. If you are more into soft and warm sounds, plastic finger picks are your thing. But if the bright and crisp attacking sound is what you are looking for, metal picks are your thing. However, a hybrid product that has advantages of both and disadvantages of none might top all of them off. Having said that, Fred Kelly picks appear to be the best option, if and only if they fit your size. If they do, there is nothing beyond it. It will give you the warmth and comfort of plastic, and the loudness and strength of the metal.