1.6 The Guitar Pick / Plectrum
The plectrum is a implement used to play the guitar and there are a huge variety of them on the market today. It should be noted that 'pick' and 'plectrum' refer to the same thing.
The material that a plectrum is made of can be anything from plastic to metal or stone. Basically as long as its durable enough it can be made of anything. Personally I've never really diverged from the conventional plastic ones as I find them easy to use.
The conventional shape for plectrums is a rounded triangular shape. However there are many other types out there. The sharks fin for example (search for it using the search page if you want to see it) has a jagged edge, as well as 2 other more conventional edges. There's also a plectrum called the jelly fish (again use the search page if you want to see it) which is a really interesting invention. It basically has multiple 'brushes' which can be used in various ways to achieve a range of different sounds.
Some plectrums are shaped so they are more ergonomic, with contouring so that they are easier to hold than others.
This makes a huge amount of difference. Plectrums have different stiffness and basically you should experiment and find one that suits you as it basically depends on your style of play and preference.
As a guide you should hold the plectrum with your thumb across it and your forefinger pointing down. This is if you are holding the plectrum with 2 fingers (it is possible to hold it with 3). Again this is only a guide as it should be held in whatever way is comfortable for you. The diagram to the right shows method.
It is important to keep in mind that like almost all elements of guitar playing, you should keep your muscles relaxed while using the plectrum. Tensing your muscles will only cause discomfort and will limit your ability to play well.