Over the last few months, I’ve been exploring the world of guitar picks. There are ga-zillions of picks out there, and by no means, have I looked at even the smallest fraction of ’em. However, here’s a few that I’ve tried over the last few months during my quest for sound.
Chris, from Gravity Picks, put a deal on the Acoustic Guitar Forum a while back, offering a free pick to evaluate. Chris makes a boatload of picks, and I suggested what kind of playing I did, and what sound I was looking for. He sent a Classic XL. Most of what I’d used up to that point was Dunlop Tortex yellow (0.73mm) and red (0.50mm) picks, and this pick is pretty comparable in size and weight as the Dunlops, at least to my fingers. Playing-wise, it’s a thin, sorta “slappy” sound on the strings. There’s a time and place for that, but as I’ve discovered during my pick vision quest, I’m finding that I don’t care for that sound as much as I thought I did. Chris has some other kinds of picks, and I suspect I’ll be trying some of them out at some point. Picks, like strings, are pretty cheap ways to experiment with the sound coming out of the instrument.
Vinny, from V-Picks also put up a freebie deal on the AGF. Unfortunately, I missed out on the deal, and ended up just buying a set of picks from him. I ordered the Acoustic Premium Pack, which included the five picks in the image. Four of them were acrylic, similar to the Gravity Pick sample I’d received, but that white beauty in the middle, the “Screamer”, was gold. I really like that pick. It’s thick, which I’m learning I like, and it has a very, very crisp sound on the strings, without the slap of a thinner pick. Definitely a pick to keep playing around with.
I’d been hearing about BlueChip Picks for a while. Bryan, at Fazio’s, demoed a few picks for me, and the one that really grabbed my attention was the BlueChip. These aren’t exactly cheap picks, with the pick I chose — the TP40 — running $35. Frankly, I was skeptical that there was that much of a difference with this pick, but, oh was I wrong. This pick is a jewel. I love the different voices I can generate on the strings with it, spanning a tinny, treble sound to a thick, luscious womb of sound. Really, really great product, and I’m finding that it’s a go-to pick for me.
Last week, the Mike at StoneWorks Picks sent out a deal for 25% off. That’s a good deal, but along with that they’d throw in a “Plain Jane”. Mike creates picks from stone… cool looking stones. And there’s loads of different kinds of stones he uses, making every pick unique. I ended up with a couple of picks in the 2.7mm area, with the Plain Jane being a little bit thicker — maybe 3.0mm or so. Mike also included a couple of nylon-like picks. This collection of picks is just cool. It oozes the organic nature that I attribute to my acoustic guitar playing, and there’s just something cool about dragging a rock across a piece of metal, stretched across a bunch of wood. Much like the BlueChip, the stone picks really can generate a lot of different tones. I was absolutely blown away with the range of “bright” to “dark” that a single stone pick could generate. Now, I don’t know if there’s any sonic difference from stone to stone, much less material to material, but I really do dig these picks and their sound.
So, what did I discover?
Well, I found that I didn’t like the thinner picks as much as I thought I did. The sound and feel of the thicker picks has really grown on me. I also discovered that I’m not as big a fan of the nylon and acrylic picks as I thought I would be. In fact, it seems like the picks that either are — or emulate — natural materials are where I’m turning my attention when I’m playing. There are still some types of picks out there to try, and I’m sure I will, but the first part of my pick quest seems to have netted some real results, and helped me figure out what kind of sounds I like.
This is, after all, a journey!!!