You’ve got to be picky when you’re looking for the best mandolin picks. The shape and thickness of the pick helps define the tone of your mandolin, making it brighter or more mellow.

My name is Anthony, and I’m a professional music composer and sound designer with several years of experience using the mandolin in my productions. I’ve tried countless picks over the years, from thick to thin, and I know what to look for when you’re choosing the best mandolin picks.

Quick Look: Best Mandolin Picks

#1 Best Mandolin Pick Overall: Jim Dunlop Primetone


In this article, I’ll guide you through the most important things to consider when choosing the best pick for your instrument.

What Is a Mandolin Pick?

Many picks for the mandolin aren’t so different from normal guitar picks. In fact, you can use any guitar pick on a mandolin, if you’d like.

But, because mandolins have double strings, mandolin picks are generally thicker, wider, and more rounded at the tip. Some of the picks you’ll see in this guide aren’t even a triangle at all, but are almost a circle.

This design is to facilitate the common mandolin technique of extremely fast tremolo picking, which is easier when the pick is thick and doesn’t come to a sharp point. Also, wide body of most mandolin picks makes them easier to hold, which is necessary when you’re playing two strings at a time.

Beyond that, the shape and thickness of your mandolin pick depends on your playing style and the musical genre you’ll be performing.

a variety of mandolin picks

So, aside from the unique qualities of the mandolin, your choice of pick comes down to personal preference, as each type of pick has its own features.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Mandolin Pick

The easiest way to find the correct pick is to go out and try as many as you can. Some mandolinists might prefer wide and heavy picks, while others really like thin and small picks. You must find a pick that matches your personal style and fits comfortably between your fingers while you play.


The thickness determines the volume and durability of your pick. Mandolin picks come in several types of thickness:

  • Thin: Ranging from .4 to .60 mm, thin picks are perfect for delicate playing styles where high volume isn’t that important.
  • Medium: From .60 to .80 mm, medium type picks are the most common type of thickness used for most electric and acoustic instruments.
  • Heavy: Picks with thicknesses from .80 to 1.2 mm are normally considered a heavy type of pick. This type has a more dynamic range and is perfect for fast tremolo picking and solos.


There are many different models with unique designs and shapes. Each one has its own purpose and recommended playing style. The most commonly used shapes are:

  • Standard: The classic shape of a pick is narrow triangle. It’s the most common and popular of all shapes.
  • Jazz: This shape is smaller and has a sharp point, which gives the pick better precision and control. They are often quite thick at the base and get thinner near the tip.
  • Teardrop: This shape is becoming more popular each day and is normally used for acoustic instruments. The teardrop shape and sharp tip give a warm tone.
  • Triangle: Unlike the narrow triangle of standard picks, this type is a larger equilateral triangle (or close to it). More surface area means the pick is easier to hold, making it a common choice for bass and mandolin.

Playing Style

Depending on your playing style and the musical genre performed, the pick shape and size vary quite a bit. For more plucking and precise melodies, it’s better to have small and pointy picks, and for rhythmic and strumming types of music it’s better to use a bigger type of pick with wider edges.

10 Best Mandolin Picks

There are thousands of different brands that produce picks for acoustic instruments. Some of them have high-quality standards, which helps them to produce top-level picks that are comfortable to use and have top-notch grip and sound.

A close up hands hipster man playing mandolin instrument

1. Fender Premium Picks Sampler

  • Size: 9 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Weight: 2 ounces
  • Thickness: Thin, medium, and heavy
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Fender Premium Picks Sampler is a classic pack of guitar picks in a variety of thicknesses and colors. It’s an excellent choice for beginners who aren’t sure what they’re looking for, and would also make a good gift for the guitarist or mandolinist in your life.

Why I Recommend It

Fender is a famous brand that always delivers high-grade products and accessories for musicians around the world. This unique set of picks is no different, as it brings you a huge set of robust high-quality picks with a wide variety of colors and shapes.

As a mandolinist who also dabbles in other string instruments, like guitar, I’ve played countless Fender picks in my lifetime. If you’re a guitarist switching to mandolin (or vice versa), or if you host jam sessions in your garage, this is the set to get. You can leave it out where you play and have picks at the ready for years to come.



2. Jim Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round 1.3mm

  • Size: 4.4 x 0.1 x 3.4 inches
  • Weight: 0.63 ounces
  • Thickness: 1.3 mm
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

Jim Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round 1.3mm is a professional high-quality pick made of Ultrex, a unique plastic alloy that provides better durability and clean sound quality. With a semi-round edge, this pick can glide over the strings without any wobbling noises or cracks.

Why I Recommend It

Besides Fender, Jim Dunlop is probably the most famous brand when it comes to picks. This pick is another gem made by this company, and it has a professional sound.

I’ve used this pick several times and it’s surprisingly durable, lasting several weeks or months of constant use. As you can see by the photo, it’s a dedicated mandolin pick, with extremely rounded sides and a wide body.

If you’ve struggled with tremolo picking while using a guitar pick, give the Jim Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round a try. You’ll find the technique a whole lot easier.



3. D’Andrea PRO-346 Rounded Triangle Plec

  • Size: 4 x 5 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight: 0.35 ounces
  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The D’Andrea PRo-346 Rounded Triangle Plec is made in the United States with the highest quality standards and materials. This pick is made of thermoplastic, which gives this product better durability and control.

Why I Recommend It

With this unique pick, you can have more control of your volume, and the rounded edge will give you more flexibility for your strumming. This pick is the best option if you need a natural sound for your mandolin.

It’s not quite as rounded as the Jim Dunlop above, so you many find playing melody lines at regular speed a little more comfortable. I keep both picks in my arsenal and switch between them depending on the style of music or song that I’ll be playing.



4. Clayton Spike Ultem Gold Sharp Triangle

  • Size: 4 x 2 x 0.25 inches
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Thickness: 0.72 mm
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Clayton Spike Ultem Gold Sharp Triangle is a big and sharp pick that produces crisp and clean tones. Made of Ultem, which gives this pick extra strength, this product is perfect for loud plucking with high attack levels.

Why I Recommend It

Try this pick if the rounded tips of some mandolin picks don’t give you enough attack, but you like the wide body that’s easy to hold. It’s also thick enough to be used on a bass.

I personally love this type of pick and I use them all the time. With that triangular, pointy shape, you get a better definition and control of your tonality. It’s a great pick for acoustic instruments and musical styles like bluegrass and folk.



5. Fender 351 Sharp Classic Medium Celluloid Picks

  • Size: 1.77 x 0.1 x 1.18 inches
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Thickness: Medium, from .60 to.80
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

Fender 351 Sharp Classic Medium Celluloid Picks is a set of classic picks made by the famous brand Fender. If you need something comfortable and with a great natural tone, look no further, as this old classic will never let you down.

Why I Recommend It

This set of picks brings a warm natural tone with a great grip and curious visual designs and colors. If you’re not sure what type of pick you need, you can always go with Fender, as they always deliver the best products possible.

I like this pick a lot for general strumming and melody playing. It’s also my go-to pick for guitar. While it may not be the best for super-fast bluegrass, it’s a good all-rounder.



6. Pickboy Mandolin Pick

  • Size: 0.12 x 0.04 x 0.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.48 ounces
  • Thickness: 0.75 mm
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Pickboy Mandolin Pick is a unique pick made of celluloid, which gives this pick a natural tone and great durability. The unique shape of this pick gives you better control for your plucking, as well as a better grip and great comfort when playing.

Why I Recommend It

One of my frequent jam partners swears by this pick, and it’s the only one he’ll use. I’ve tried it many times, and I like it a lot. It’s a bit of a compromise among other mandolin picks: not too rounded, not too thick, and wide enough for fast-moving fingers.

If you need a more precise type of pick, this model is a perfect match for you. With this pick, you’ll get a highly comfortable and durable product that will help you get the best sound out of your mandolin.



7. Golden Gate MP-12 Deluxe Tortoise Style Flat Pick

  • Size: 2.25 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 0.32 ounces
  • Thickness: Heavy
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

The Golden Gate MP-12 Deluxe Tortoise Style Flat Pick is a very popular type of pick, which has an extra-thick gauge and a rounded edge. It’s well suited for fast strumming over the double strings of a mandolin.

Why I Recommend It

If you’ve ever played your mandolin with a quarter and liked the speed but didn’t like the unrelenting thickness and harsh edges, then this pick’s the one for you to try. It’s heavy, but with just enough bend that it doesn’t feel stiff. The rounded tip will slide right over the strings at lightning fast speed.

I love this pick for fast bluegrass, but I wouldn’t want it for anything slower. Many mandolinists swear by this shape, however, and the Golden Gate Deluxe is the pick of choice of lots of pro players.



8. Jim Dunlop Primetone Triangle Plectra

  • Size: 4.4 x 0.1 x 3.4 inches
  • Weight: 0.21 ounces
  • Thickness: 1.5 mm
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Jim Dunlop Primetone Triangle Plectra is a bestseller set of picks made of resistant materials. These high-quality picks are perfect for the mandolin, as they give you great comfort and tonal clarity in all ranges.

Why I Recommend It

I personally use this type of pick often and will continue to use it. These triangle picks are really easy to hold, and the rounded edges work well on melody lines and strumming.

Besides guitar picks, which are obviously comfortable for aspiring mandolinists switching over from guitar, this is the pick I recommend most to beginners. The sharpness of the tip and wide triangle shape are about in the middle-range of what’s commonly used on mandolin.



9. D’Addario Chris Thile Signature Casein

  • Size: 4.5 x 2.5 x 0.1 inches
  • Weight: 0.63 ounces
  • Thickness: 1.4 mm
  • Best for: Intermediate players and professionals

D’Addario Chris Thile Signature Casein is a well-balanced pick designed with the help of the famous mandolin player Chris Thile. These picks will give you a deep tone without sacrificing any of the clarity and sharpness of your mandolin.

Why I Recommend It

Well, if it’s good enough for Chris Thile, one of the best mandolin players of all time, it’s certainly good enough for you and me.

I’ve played this pick a number of times, and it definitely delivers. It’s quite thick, so it’s not really the best choice for beginners, and it’s a bit smaller than many mandolin picks. But if you’re already getting your playing up to speed and want a pick that provides a little more attack and response, then give this pick a try.



10. Dunlop 494P101 Americana Round Triangle

  • Size: 4 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 0.8 ounces
  • Thickness: Heavy
  • Best for: Beginners and intermediate players

The Dunlop 494P101 Americana Round Triangle is a high-grade set of picks that provides dark and deep tones when played. With an extra thickness compared to other picks on this list, Dunlop 494P101 is a solid choice for any mandolin player around the world.

Why I Recommend It

I use these picks constantly for my music. The heavy gauge of these picks gives me that warm and deep tone, as well as high comfort and volume control for my mandolin.

They call it a round triangle, and it’s nearly a perfect circle. That means it’s much better for strumming and tremolo picking than for melody lines and passages played at regular speed. Despite this, it’s good for beginners, because it will make fast playing on the mandolin a whole lot easier.



Best Mandolin Pick Brands

The most famous brand of picks is Jim Dunlop, although you’re just as likely to see a Fender pick in a sting musician’s hands. And there are many other different brands that offer different materials and shapes.

A bluegrass musician playing a mandolin

Here let’s explore some of the best mandolin pick brands on the market.

Jim Dunlop

Jim Dunlop is a world-class pioneer in pick production and distribution. Their innovative methods of fabrication using highly durable materials make their picks one of the best-valued products in the world.


Fender is one of the most important musical instrument companies in the world. Their high standards when it comes to pick production give them that incredible fame as the most trusted brand for guitarists, bassists, and even mandolinists. The picks made by Fender offer great comfort and durability for a reasonable price.


This Italian brand created one of the first celluloid picks in 1922. Their long tradition and dedication to finding the best possible formula for their picks makes this company a highly trusted ally to any aspiring or professional musician.

Golden Gate

Although a relatively young brand, Golden Gate has already introduced some of the most popular sets of picks in the world. Their unique design and high-grade materials provide a foundation for the most comfortable and durable picks you can find right now on the market.

Mandolin Pick Features

There are thousands of different formulas when it comes to picks. Some are made of plastic, while others are made of metal alloys or other materials.

close up hands of a man playing mandolin

Each material provides a different tone and sound, as well as different levels of comfort and durability.


The most common material used for picks is nylon, with many different variations on the formula. Celluloid for example will give you a warm and balanced tone, and some other materials like Ultram will give you a louder and sharper tonality.


There are many different color schemes you can find on picks. Yellow, black, red, and blue are some of the colors you can find out there, along with blended colors like tortoiseshell and unique graphics. The color pattern doesn’t influence the sound and tone of your instrument, so just choose the one you really like.

How Much Do Mandolin Picks Cost?

The cost for a set of picks can go from $4 to $30, depending on the pack size and material quality. The best way to find the correct match for you is to try many different types of picks. Most of them are quite cheap, so you can buy several packs each week or month.

What Are the Best Mandolin Picks?

Here let’s revisit some of the best mandolin picks I selected for this list. From Fender to Jim Dunlop, these are the best mandolin picks you can find on stage, in jam sessions, or in recording studios.

Jim Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round 1.3mm: Best for Beginners

The Jim Dunlop Primetone Semi-Round 1.3mm set of picks is a classic for many musicians, as it offers great comfort, durable materials, and a natural tone. If you’re not sure where to start, this set is a perfectly balanced package for almost any playing style.

Jim Dunlop Primetone Triangle Plectra: Best for Intermediate

The Jim Dunlop Primetone Triangle Plectra heavy pick gives you the best attack and tone control you can get. Personally my favorite, these picks are quite durable and comfortable to use.

D’Addario Chris Thile Signature Casein: Best for Professionals

The D’Addario Chris Thile Signature Casein signature model is specially tailored for the mandolin, as it comes with a rounded edge, which will give you the most natural and warmest tone possible. It’s highly recommended for musicians that need a special type of pick for their music.

Review This Post

In Conclusion

I hope you found interesting this voyage through the best mandolin picks I could find. As you can see, there’s a lot more variation among mandolin picks than guitar picks, and many players, myself included, carry several types of picks to use depending on the song or musical style.

The correct pick can make a huge difference when it comes to the tonal qualities of your mandolin. So, choosing the right one is quite important for any aspiring or professional musician.

In this list, I hopefully helped you decide which type of pick is the best for your playing style. If you liked this article, feel free to share and leave any comments, as I will gladly answer any doubts you may have.

Stay safe, and as always, good luck with your sonic adventures!