7 Best Banjo Picks In 2022 | How to Choose?

There’s a saying that a banjo can never play a sad tune. It always turns a tune into a cheerful one. For playing such a happy instrument as Banjo, you need a banjo pick.

A banjo pick is an important part of your banjo musical instrument set.

Some people think using a banjo pick produces bad and harsh music, and a softer sound can be produced without a pick. This way, you’ll learn better music techniques.

Moreover, it’s better to play with picks to save your fingers from swallowing.

Also, with picks, you can play popular banjo music like “Bluegrass” or “Scruggs Style.”

It’s crucial to find the right pick to play in music. As you will get an expert in playing banjo, you’ll have different tastes in guitar picks. If you are a beginner, you should try a few varieties of picks to know what you like better.

In this article, we have reviewed 7 of the best banjo picks for you to choose from –

  1. Banjo Pick for Professionals: National NP1-7B Thumb & Finger Pick Pack
  2. Low Price Banjo Pick: 12 Pieces Steel Finger Picks Set
  3. Versatile Banjo Pick: National NP1-8W Thumb & Finger Pick Pack
  4. Beginner’s Banjo Pick: D’Addario National Guitar Picks
  5. Emergency Banjo Picks: Yeshone 15 Pieces Guitar Finger Pick Alaska
  6. Ornamental Banjo Picks: 15pcs Stainless Steel Celluloid Guitar Picks
  7. Banjo Pick for Most Type Of Fingers: Dunlop 9023P Shell Plastic Thumbpicks
best banjo picks

Comparison Table for Best Banjo Picks

NameWeightMaterialBrand
National NP1-7B0.352 ouncesStainless Steel, PlasticNatiofnal
12 Pieces Steel Finger Picks0.634 ouncesStainless Steel, ABSShappy
National NP1-8W0.493 ouncesStainless Steel, PlasticNational
D’Addario National Guitar Picks0.317 ouncesStainless Steel, PlasticNational
Yeshone Guitar Finger Pick Alaska1.76 ounceStainless SteelYeshone
Stainless Steel Celluloid Guitar Picks2.39 ouncesCelluloid, Stainless Steeljiaoguo
Dunlop 9023P0.32 ouncesPlasticJIM DUNLOP

Banjo Picks Buying Guide

When you are out there buying fingerpicks and thumbpick for your banjo, there are several factors to consider before buying.

Size Fitting

This is the most important factor before buying fingerpicks and thumbpick for playing your precious banjo. To use the banjo picks, you at least need to be able to put them on your fingertips before anything else.

So you have to gauge the measurement before buying.

People have different shapes and sizes of figures. Not all banjo picks will fit your finger. That’s why some brands manufacture metal finger picks that have free sizes.

Comfort

Fitting the finger picks and thumb picks shouldn’t be your only concern. After fitting the banjo picks on your finger, your prime target should be comforting.

If you are comfortable wearing the banjo picks, then it should be alright. 

If you feel uncomfortable then there is something wrong somewhere and it’ll probably not even sound very good.

picks for banjo

Material

Material is a very important factor to consider to choose the best banjo pick for you. Depending on the material, your comfort and the sound quality will differ. 

Usually, fingerpicks are made with stainless steel. Some may be made with brass but we don’t recommend it. It’s because brass will have a blackish tarnish after some time.

Most of the metals including brass have this type of problem. It’s a hassle to clean them.

It’ll be safe if you use fingerpicks or banjo picks made of stainless steel or plastic.

Brand

Buying banjo picks from renowned brands can be a safe way to ensure the quality of your finger picks and thumbpick. A brand is established by earning the trust of people which takes time. When a brand invests so much time in building up a good reputation, they won’t be willing to give that up by selling you a cheap product.

Return Policy

Make sure to read about the return policy of the product. If the product is faulty then you need to return it and get a new one. Or perhaps the banjo picks are not what you thought it was and need an exchange.

If you know thoroughly about their return policy and terms & conditions, then it’ll be easier for you to deal with all this hassle.

1.Banjo Pick for Professionals: National NP1-7B Thumb & Finger Pick Pack

Brand: National

Features

  1. Quality Material
  2. Ergonomic
  3. Durable
  4. Good sound quality
  5. Lightweight
  6. Wide range of usability

This set of finger picks comes in 4 long-wearing picks and 2 thumb picks. 

NP -1 Picks

The long-wearing NP-1 picks are made of stainless steel. These metal finger picks are very ergonomic and are fit for size middle. The stainless steel picks are very durable but very light. 

The picks stick to your hand pretty firmly but they can be taken out easily.

NO-7B Pick

The NP-7B thumb pick is made out of high-quality plastic. The quality of these plastic thumb picks is very good. But the size of this pick might be a bit smaller as complained by several.

The thumb pick comes in black color.

Durability, Comfort, and Sound

This pick is a great balance between durability, comfort, and sound. If all of those 3 matter to you this pick is a great choice to have. The stainless steel makes great noise without the cost of durability. 

Wide Range of Usability

The National NP1-7B Thumb & Finger Pick can be used in a wide selection of instruments such as guitars, resos, banjos, mandolin, and other instruments.

Renowned Brand

National is a very renowned brand for making quality products for musicians. 

This product is no exception. This pick is good for professionals and who have a lot of music practice.

Overall, this is a great fit for your finger and quite comfortable. 

Recommended to those who like playing with steel picks.

Pros

  1. Long-lasting
  2. Comfortable
  3. Quality sound
  4. Can be used in various instruments

Cons

  1. Thumb pick might be a bit small for some
  2. Might not be perfect for beginners

Solution for the Cons

  1. Thumb pick might be small: The simple solution for this problem is, as suggested by one of the customers, to put it in some hot water and try molding it into your finger.
  2. Might not be perfect for beginners: It might be a bit awkward without enough practice. You have to practice a bit more to get used to the sensation.

2.Low Price Banjo Pick: 12 Pieces Steel Finger Picks Set

Brand: Shappy

Features

  1. Designed for most types of instruments
  2. Easily Fits into Finger
  3. Comfortable
  4. Finger and fingernail protection
  5. Low Pricing

Designed for Most Types of Instruments

This is a large set of picks designed for most types of guitar, ukulele, and banjo. 

This set comes with 12 sets including 8 stainless steel long pieces and 4 thumb picks.

Easily Fits into Finger

The long stainless steel picks are 1.7 cm or 0.67 inches in diameter and can be fit into your finger. The steel is quite thin and easily moldable. They are easily breakable and bendable which is why it fits easily.

Black Plastic Thumb Pick

The thumb pick is made of ABS material (a type of polymer material) and the color is black. They come in 3.5 cm or 1.27 inches in length. These can also be fit into most thumbs. They also protect your fingertips and fingernail.

Low Pricing

The specialty of this set is that it’s cheaply priced. So the quality is not the best. 

These can be kept as an emergency backup. They are made to be of disposable quality but it’s not the worst quality. This banjo pick will get the job done without sacrificing much performance.

It’s mainly used for giving gifts to your dear ones. But they might want to get a new one for the main practice. Overall, this pick makes up for quantity instead of quality.

Pros

  1. You can play most types of stringed instruments with it
  2. The picks will easily fit into most adult fingers
  3. Protection for finger and fingernails
  4. It’s comfortable to use these picks
  5. The pricing is very low

Cons

  1. It May not fit some fingers
  2. Not for professional use

3.Versatile Banjo Pick: National NP1-8W Thumb & Finger Pick Pack

Brand: National

Features

  1. Long-lasting
  2. Bendable
  3. Lightweight
  4. Attractive white thumb pick
  5. Thick thumb pick
  6. Versatile usages

Package

These are another splendid set of picks. These picks come in a large size that contains 4 long-wearing NP-1 picks and 2 NP-8W thumb picks.

Durable

The long picks are made of stainless steel and are very durable but they are also made to be a bit bendable to fit the fingers. They are lightweight and feel great on the finger.

NP-8W Thumb Picks

The NP-8W thumb picks come in a gorgeous color of white and look very attractive. 

The thumb picks are made with good-quality plastic. They are comfortable for most fingers. This pick is made a bit thick to ensure quality.

Versatile Usages

These picks can be used for guitar, resos, banjos, mandolin, and other instruments. They are very durable, thick, ergonomic, and make a great sound. This is a great balance of everything including style.

Pros

  1. Made with durable material
  2. Bendable to fit your fingers perfectly
  3. Lightweight and comfortable
  4. Can be used on other stringed instruments

Cons

  1. The thumb picks may not contain “National” and “Golden Gate” inscribed on them as shown in the picture.
  2. Thumb picks may be a bit tight
  3. May not be suitable for beginners.

Solution for the Cons

  1. Inscription problem: Although your thumb pick may not be inscribed with the brand name, you can rest assured that these are indeed manufactured by “National”.
  2. Tight Thumb Pick: You can put the thumb picks on hot water. Since the plastic is a bit thick you might have to apply the heat for a bit longer.

4.Beginner’s Banjo Pick: D’Addario National Guitar Picks

Brand: National

Features

  1. Stainless steel NP-1 picks
  2. Durable and heavy
  3. Extra thick thumb pick
  4. Mock Tortoise colored thumb pick

Package

This set comes with 4 long-wearing NP-1 picks and 2 thumb picks. This is made by the D’Addario brand.

NP-1 Picks

The long-wearing NP-1 picks are made of stainless steel and the size is medium. 

The picks are very durable and heavy but it is still bendable to some extent. 

They are a great fit for medium fingers.

Thumb GP-9 Picks

The thumb GP-9 picks are medium in size and made out of plastic. The plastic is high quality and extra thick. There is not much room for bending though. 

So you have to bet on whether it will fit or not. The color of this pick is ‘Mock Tortoise’. 

It looks great with most guitars.

Ergonomic

This pick is ergonomically made for the comfort of fingers and it’s quite comfortable for medium size fingers. It is also a product if you want to experience quality and durability that also offers great sound.

Brand

The company making this product is D’Addario (acquired National Picks) which makes a quality product for the music industry. So you can be ensured that you will get quality picks if you are a professional. 

Beginners Banjo Pick

This pick is also compatible with beginners. This can be used as your primary pick option for your guitars, resos, banjos, and other instruments. 

Most of the customers of this product are pretty satisfied.

Pros

  1. Durable material
  2. Renowned brand
  3. Ergonomic
  4. Extra thick thumb pick
  5. Attractive color
  6. Compatible with beginners

Cons

  1. Metal picks are hard to adjust

5.Emergency Banjo Picks: Yeshone 15 Pieces Guitar Finger Pick Alaska

Brand: Yeshone

Features

  1. Adjustable and bendable plectrum
  2. Various colors
  3. Lightweight but durable material
  4. Long fingernail protection
  5. Open design thumb pick

Package

This is one of the largest sets of this list. This set contains 15 pieces of which 10 are long-wearing ones and 5 thumb picks.

Plectrum

From the 10 long-wearing picks, 5 are made of stainless steel and 5 are made of plastic. The stainless steels are lightweight but durable.

The plectrums are quite adjustable and bendable to fit. The plastic fingerpick comes in various colors such as green, black, white, yellow, and purple.

Thumb Picks

The thumb picks are also made of plastic. They are of an open design which means you can adjust the size of the rings to match your finger. They also come in various designs and beautiful colors.

Measurement

The long-wearing picks measure 1.5cm/0.6inch in diameter and 2.7cm/1.1inch in length. And the thumb picks are 3.5cm/1.27inch in length.

Emergency Banjo Picks

These picks are comparatively worse quality than the other picks in this list but they are not unusable. They can be used as secondary picks or emergency picks if you are looking for performance. But if you can work with any type of picks, these picks will give you excellent support.

Attractive Gift

This set can be given as gifts to your friends who are into string instruments as they are reasonably priced. 

Convenient

And they are quite lightweight but make good sounds. These also protect long fingernails which are pretty convenient.

In conclusion, this product makes up for quantity but does not sacrifice too much quality. Not recommended for beginners.

Pros

  1. Adjustable & bendable
  2. Attractive design
  3. Beautiful as a gift
  4. Lightweight
  5. Makes good sound
  6. Protect long fingernails

Cons

  1. Thumb picks are tight
  2. Not recommended for beginners

Solution for the Cons

  1. Thumb Picks are Tight: Just put them on hot water for a while and hopefully, you’ll be able to loosen them a little.
  2. Not Recommended for Beginners: You just have to practice enough to go with the pro stuff!

6.Ornamental Banjo Picks: 15pcs Stainless Steel Celluloid Guitar Picks

Brand: Jianguo

Features

  1. Various colors to choose from
  2. Produces good sound
  3. Decorative
  4. Large set
  5. A cool looking grid case

Package

This is also a large set in this list, containing 15 pieces of picks out of which 10 are long-wearing picks and 5 are thumb picks. It also comes with a 1×15 grid case to store all the picks, which is quite handy.

Plectrums

The 10 long-wearing ones are almost like the previous Yeshone banjo pick. 

5 are made of stainless steel and 5 are made of celluloid. The stainless steel ones are very lightweight and thin but durable enough.

Various Colors

The celluloid ones are of very good quality and come in various colors. The color will be randomized for delivery and most of the celluloid picks will not be the same as the image. The same goes for thumb picks.

Good Sound

The sound it makes is quite good and it is usable enough. There may be complaints about other issues but they make good sounds.

Brand

This product is made by Jiaoguo which is not so much of a renowned brand. We hope that the quality of the products of this band goes up.

Ornamental Banjo Pick

This is a good enough product to give as a gift. This can be considered as an ornamental banjo pick that can be used for decorative purposes. The case that comes with it is pretty cool as well. But it should not be the only reason to buy.

This can be used on guitars but is not recommended for beginners.

In a nutshell, this is not a recommended product but usable if necessary.

Pros

  1. A large set of banjo picks
  2. Lightweight
  3. Various colors
  4. Good sound

Cons

  1. Small and tight fit
  2. Celluloid material is breakable

Solution for the Cons

Small and tight fit: Throwing the tight banjo picks into the hot water should do the trick! 

7.Banjo Pick for Most Type of Fingers: Dunlop 9023P Shell Plastic Thumbpicks

Brand: JIM DUNLOP

Features

  1. Gorgeous design
  2. Quality plastic material
  3. Great fit for large fingers
  4. Versatile usages
  5. Good sound

Package

This is an odd one on this list. It’s a set but it consists of one type of pick. That is the thumb picks. And it contains 4 pieces.

Gorgeous Design

The thumb picks are made of plastic and painted in red and yellow. There is a beautiful Dunlop logo molded to it. It looks gorgeous with any red and yellow guitars.

Quality Material

This pick is made of very good quality plastic and of medium thickness, which gives it good durability.

Great Fit for Large Fingers

These plastic picks come in a large size and are a great fit for large fingers. But if you need to make it a size small (or big), you can use the hot water method to make it moldable.

Versatile Usages with Good Sound

The sound it produces is very good and works with any type of instrument. Guitar, Banjo, Ukulele or resos, it will sound well and will also feel very comfortable.

Manufacturer

This product is manufactured by Dunlop, which is renowned for making quality picks. So you can be assured of the quality of the product.

This can be used by a pro as your primary pick of choice. This can be also recommended to beginners as it is comfortable for most types of fingers.

Pros

  1. Long-lasting material
  2. Easily fits on large fingers
  3. Can be used for various stringed instruments
  4. Attractive design
  5. Quality sound

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Do Banjos Use Picks?

Yes, picks are frequently used while playing the banjo. When it comes to playing a four-string banjo, guitar picks or plain shaped picks are commonly used. 

Banjo is simpler to play without all the extra strings, and it can be played by strumming all the strings in a swift motion.

  1. What Kind of Pick Do You Use For A Banjo?

Metal fingerpicks are most commonly used while playing the banjo. Thumb picks are also used in playing the banjo. Generally, metal fingerpicks are worn in the index and middle finger, whereas thumb picks are just for the thumbs. 

Generally, a banjo player wears the picks in their desired fingers according to their technique and comfortability. Some of the banjo players use guitar picks because of their preferable techniques.

  1. What Size Banjo Picks Do I Need?

The size of banjo fingerpicks depends on the size of the fingers. Man will use large sizes, whereas women and children will use the average size. To understand the size of banjo pick, wear the fingerpick pick and see if it’s covering the flesh part of your finger.

The pick part has to be stuck out by ⅛ inch. However, this part depends on your preferred style. Some of the renowned banjo players wear it according to their music style.

  1. Can You Play The Banjo With A Guitar Pick?

Yes, you can play the banjo with a guitar pick. Especially if banjo picking is your favorite method, then guitar picks are a great tool to use. 

The simplicity of guitar picks allows both beginner and expert musicians to play the complex chords, which normally require more exertion. Also, guitar picks are great for switching from one picking style to another.

  1. Is It OK To Play The Banjo Without Picks?

Yes, it is okay to play the banjo without picks. If you don’t like to wear fingerpicks or thumb picks, then you can play without them. If you play the banjo without picks, then a softer sound will be produced. Some people like the quieter sound.

Also, if you need to learn banjo-picking first if you want to master different techniques without picks. However, some specific music styles can not be produced in a banjo that well without wearing picks.

  1. Do I Need Picks For Clawhammer Banjo?

If you learn to use clawhammer banjo with a pick, then it will open a path for you to be a more diverse musician. You can shorten or lengthen the nail in the banjo if you learn with a pick. However, it is best to learn clawhammer banjo with and without picks when it comes to constructing arrangement as it adds additional value to the music style.

  1. What Kind Of Picks Do Banjo Players Use?

Banjo players most commonly use a metal fingerpick, and a plastic or metal thumb pick while playing the banjo. However, banjo players also use guitar picks and even acrylic nails as a pick to play the banjo. It depends on the players’ music style and preference when it comes to what kind of pick they will use.

  1. Why Do Banjo Players Use Fingerpicks?

Banjo players use fingerpicks to produce a better quality sound that has more power. Also, fingerpicks help banjo players to play fast and to make complex music.

  1. How do I choose a banjo pick?

The perfect way to choose a banjo pick is by bending the pick a little. You can follow these steps to choose your desired fingerpick –

Wear the fingerpick in such a way that the collar gets placed between the first joint and end of your finger. With your left thumb and index finger, grasp each side of the collar and squeeze it snugly but not too tightly on the end of your finger.

If the pick is not too large or heavy, you will be able to bend it successfully. If not, then that’s not your preferred banjo pick.

Final Verdict

It’s important to remember that you need to choose a banjo pick that’ll go with your preferred style and technique. Also, keep in mind that comfort first comes in choosing the right pick. If you don’t feel comfortable, then it’s not the right pick.

All the picks that we have reviewed here belong to the best brands, and all of them have their pros and cons. Hence it was not easy to choose the best pick. 

However, If you are trying to go with quality, then “National NP1-8W Thumb & Finger Pick Pack” meets all the requirements to be the best pick. The reason for choosing this banjo is because it’s stylish, durable, and versatile.

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