Paul Gilbert explains why he's switched to using thinner guitar picks

(Image credit: Joby Sessions/Future)

Ok guitarists, let's be honest; hands up those of you who rarely experiment with using different guitar picks? Plectrum conservatism is definitely a thing as some of us tend to stick with what we know, but Paul Gilbert has revealed he's been discovering the advantages of changing things up with his pick choice.

"I'm using a really thin pick these days which, if you strum a lot, a thin pick sounds nice," he tells Ultimate Guitar in a new interview. "For something on electric, like [The Who's] Pinball Wizard [starts playing 'Pinball Wizard] that feels good with a thin pick.

But the switch to thin picks wasn't part of some grand playing plan…

"What actually happened was that I ran out of heavy ones," he admits. "I had a box of heavy-gauge picks and I ran out of those, so I went a step lighter, and I ran out of those, so I started using the thin ones.

"Pick scrapes are so ferocious on a thin pick - that in itself almost makes it worth it"

"Pick scrapes are so ferocious on a thin pick - that in itself almost makes it worth it. That, and the more I got used to it, the more I found myself strumming acoustic-style through the solos.

"Kind of like when Hendrix would do Killing Floor – there are solos going on but he's not picking individual strings, he's just banging away. So thin picks are good for that stuff.

"So that’s what made me get as close to acoustic as I can because I can't fingerpick at all. That's a whole other art form." 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.