Looking for the perfect guitar pick to shred through your metal riffs? Check out our comprehensive guide to the best guitar picks for metal, featuring top picks that deliver the ultimate precision, speed, and durability for your heavy metal playing needs.
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Today we’ll explore the top picks favored by metal guitarists.
Like most guitar picks, all of these picks are similar. The primary distinctions are:
- Small or large size
- Texture/ grip
- Thumb pick vs flat pick (there is only one thumb pick on the list)
With that out of the way, let’s dive in to this list of best guitar picks for metal.
Guitar picks for metal quick glance
- John Petrucci Jazz III
- Fred Kelly Bumblebee
- Dunlop Jazz III Pick Nylon
- Jim Dunlop Flow
- Ernie Ball Prodigy Picks 1.5mm
- Dunlop Big Stubby 3.0mm
- Jim Dunlop Hetfield’s White Fang 1.14mm Flow Guitar And Pick Tin
- Ibanez B1000PG Paul Gilbert Signature Picks
- Gravity Guitar Picks – Acrylic | Classic Standard 1.5mm
- D’Addario Duralin Precision Guitar Picks
- JIM DUNLOP Max-Grip Jazz III
John Petrucci Jazz III
The John Petrucci Jazz III is one of the most popular guitar picks for metal and was crafted by the most iconic progressive metal guitar player. It combines the precision of the Jazz III design with John Petrucci’s guitar pick preferences.
It’s typically made from a durable and rigid material, ultex, providing a solid attack on the strings.
The pick has a thickness of 1.5 mm., and this thickness contributes to precision and control while playing intricate metal riffs.
It also features a textured JP logo grip enhancement. This helps you maintain a secure hold on the pick, especially during intense and fast-paced metal-picking sequences.
Fred Kelly Bumblebee
The Fred Kelly Bumblebee is certainly underrated, and is my favorite thumb pick for metal!
It’s a unique pick made of delrin and combines the traditional jazz pick shape with a thumb pick, which is awesome.
Now, here’s the thing about metal: It’s a diverse genre. And if you’re anything like me, then you probably like to incorporate fancy techniques like tapping and hybrid picking.
And because the Bumblebee is a thumb pick, you gain a lot more technical freedom with your picking hand, allowing you to effortlessly execute advanced techniques.
If you’re feeling like a real innovator, you can even use this pick to incorporate travis picking into your metal playing.
Overall, this is a unique pick choice for metal shredders.
Dunlop Jazz III (XL or regular)
Moving on to a classic, the Dunlop Jazz III, has been a staple in the both the metal scene and shred scene for decades!
The Jazz III is smaller than standard picks, making it easier to handle and control. This is advantageous for metal players who often engage in tremolo picking and shred techniques, such as sweep picking or economy picking.
On top of this, its sharp, pointed tip allows for precise picking and a flap-free sound, making fast and intricate metal guitar playing a breeze.
Whether you’re playing rhythm or lead guitar, you’ll probably love the Jazz III. The only hurdle for some players is the small size. But give it a try for yourself, and come up with your opinion.
Jim Dunlop Flow Standard
The Jim Dunlop Flow Pick stands out as an excellent choice for metal guitarists due to its unique design and durable ultex construction.
Crafted with a beveled edge and a streamlined shape, this pick allows for the fast and accurate picking commonly required in metal genres.
The Flow Pick’s choice of material, Ultex, contributes to its longevity and ability to withstand the intense playing styles associated with metal.
Its sculpted edges and comfortable grip make it very comfortable to use, and it has proven to be a reliable, standout guitar pick for metal.
Ernie Ball Prodigy Picks 1.5mm
The Ernie Ball Prodigy Pick is a stellar choice for metal enthusiasts.
With a beveled edge and a 1.5mm thickness, this pick allows for precise attack and effortless control, ensuring every note cuts through with clarity in the midst of heavy distortion.
The Prodigy Pick’s choice of material, Delrin, provides a robust feel that can withstand the aggressive demands of metal playing.
And like several other best guitar picks for metal, it has a sharp point, which allows for a precise, yet strong pick attack.
Lastly, its non-slip grip means that you won’t worry about losing control of this large pick as you play.
Dunlop Big Stubby
The Dunlop Big Stubby is one of the best guitar picks ever, and the largest size has a whomping thickness of 3.0.
It’s thickness makes it one of the most durable and diverse guitar picks for any genre, and it’s proven to be one of my favorite picks from Dunlop.
One unique feature of this pick is its indented grip, ensuring that you’ll never let go of it when you’re riffing like a boss.
Lastly, the Big Stubby is made from Lexan plastic, which has a smooth feel and provides a great picking sound.
Dunlop James Hetfield White Fang
Metallica fans, this one’s for you. The Dunlop James Hetfield White Fang pick is a tribute to the metal legend.
This is an improved version of James Hetfield’s original pick, the black fang. He describes it as a flow pick that meets the black fang.
With its aggressive design and durable material, it’s tailored for the heavy tones and power chords synonymous with James Hetfield’s playing and riffs.
And yes, getting this pick is your first step towards playing and writing riffs like James Hetfield.
I recommend getting the White Fang Pick Tin, which includes 6 of the picks.
Ibanez Paul Gilbert Signature Pick
Paul Gilbert’s signature Ibanez pick is one of the coolest guitar picks ever.
And we all know that it must be a good pick for metal, because it’s used by Paul Gilbert, and he’s a speed metal machine!
It has a teardrop shape, which is part of Paul Gilbert’s secret sauce for shredding.
As for the material, it’s made of celluloid, which is a popular and comfortable guitar pick material.
And to top it all off, the pick features a unique self-portrait cartoon, which is what makes it look so cool!
Gravity Guitar Picks Classic Standard
The Gravity Picks Classic Standard is certainly the most boutique guitar pick on this list.
It’s constructed from high-grade acrylic, and its transparent.
Unlike many other picks with grip, the grip on the classic standard comes from the laser engraved words, rather than typical grip material.
And like every other pick on this list, it’s thick, coming in at 1.5mm.
Overall, If you’re looking for a guitar pick that steers clear of plectrum norms, you need to check out Gravity Picks.
D’Addario Duralin Precision
D’Addario enters the scene with their Duralin Precision picks.
Its Duralin material, known for its durability, grants the pletrum resilience against the heavy-handed playing styles often associated with metal genres.
I recommend the extra heavy 1.50mm version of the pick, but it comes in a wide variety of thicknesses/gauges.
Dunlop Max-Grip Jazz III
The Dunlop Max-Grip Jazz III is the perfect pick to wrap up our list with.
It’s the perfect fusion of the classic Jazz III design with an enhanced grip for those demanding metal sessions.
With the added grip technology, this pick ensures stability during intense metal performances.
It’s one of the finest alternatives to the traditional jazz III, and looks awesome in the red colorway.
That concludes our look at the best guitar picks for metal.
Remember, the right pick can and will elevate your metal playing to new heights.
Experiment with these picks, find your favorite, and get back to practicing your favorite metal guitar licks!
Until next time, keep shredding!