Do Different Plectrums Make A Different Sound?

Wood, leather, nickel, felt, celluloid, nylon, tolex, delrin, delrex. Who knew plectrums could be made from such a wide array of materials? And who cares; does it actually make a difference in tone?

Find out in this short comparison video. I take one rock riff on my MusicMan StingRay 5 and play a couple of bars over and over using the different plectrums.

My conclusion is that they feel different and make me want to play slightly differently too. I can hear a change in sound, certainly between some of them. The gauge makes a difference too and some sound darker to me than others.

I think it’s a great idea to carry a few plectrums, especially to a session when you can choose the right one for the job. I used one bass here but I’ll do a follow up to this using basses with different strings. Flatwounds sound great with a plectrum…

Favourite Everyday Plectrum

It’s probably because Bobby Vega uses it but the Dunlop .73mm Tolex is the one I use the most.

Wildcard Plectrum

Dunlop jazz III plectrum

The one I didn’t really use much at all but had a sound I liked was the Dunlop Jazz III. It was really direct, bright and focused. I can see that being a useful addition in songs where I might want the bass to poke out in the mix a little more.

The UK made Hawk picks cost £12 a pop for their tortoise shell creations. Might have to try one of those next.

What about you – have you found your plectrum of choice? Comment below.