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  1. #1

    Review Boutique Pick Reviews (BlueChip, RedBear, V-Picks, etc.)

    *UPDATE* 4/29/15 - JB Corzo line, Strum n' Comfort Sharktooth and Pisano models, ChickenPicks Bermuda III - Added to this post below...

    About 6 months ago, I discovered that there was such a thing as a boutique guitar pick. I've been playing guitar for 15 years and I'm a huge gear nerd so I have no clue why it took me so long to find out that these picks exist. Anyway once I started testing some out, I quickly became obsessed. I've purchased at least one model from literally EVERY boutique pick maker out there that I know of, so I figured it'd be useful to post some reviews and links to where you can purchase them.

    Keep in mind that I'm using these picks to play guitar in a loosely labeled "jazz" setting. I also use these picks to play blues and funk and while some work well for certain genres and not so well for others, I'm mainly rating these on their ability to play with speed and produce a good tone. I love picks that are outfitted with speed bevels, which are slightly angled edges on one side of the pick that help it glide smoothly off the string. I rated each pick out of 10 to help give an overall idea of where each pick lies in terms of my satisfaction. If anybody has any specific questions I'd be happy to answer. Lastly, and most importantly, all of these opinions and ratings are completely relative to my preferences and are totally subjective.




    Chicken Picks
    (ChickenPicks guitar picks)

    Bermuda III (9/10) - I had been annoying ChickenPicks creator Eppo Franken for a while about getting a jazz model made. He had been designing a pick similar to the Jazz III for a very long time and finally released it last year. The main difference that the Bermuda picks have is a pointed tip. It certainly achieves the same sharp attack that the Jazz III is known for. Aside from the tip and a smaller overall size, it's the same as the other ChickenPicks...which is a good thing. If you like the normal models, it's worth checking out the Bermuda III.

    (9/10) - I bought a "try-out" set that had both sizes and a few different thicknesses. Chicken picks are very unique because of the thermosetting plastic material that they're made out of. It's unlike any other pick material that I've tried and feel wonderful. My only criticism is that they're a little short on variety. They only offer a normal size and a smaller size and then a few thickness options. Not to fear though...I've spoken with the creator and he said there will be more models soon.



    JB Picks
    (JB Guitar Picks)

    Corzo Models (9.5/10) - JB has released a new line of picks made out of Corzo...which looks and feels like bone but has a warmer/darker sound. The Corzo line also sports a few new pick shapes in addition to the original JB models (351 and Jazz III shapes). There's a medium sized teardrop, which is slightly larger than the typical mini teardrop shapes that a lot of companies make, and my newest favorite JB model, a large jazz shaped design that's just about as big as a 351 and includes grip holes. This model is great for players who like the typical Jazz III shape but want the feel of a larger pick. Not much more to say about these...bottom line: the Corzo produces a warm sound, a bit darker than celluloid, and the new shapes are great. Like all JBs, they're offered with bevel options. Definitely worth checking out, especially at their affordable price.

    2mm Jazz Sonic Bevel (9.5/10) - I absolutely love these picks. They're made out of a tortoise shell polycarbonate plastic that is hard to find due to its apparent flammability. The speed bevel, or "sonic" bevel as JB calls it, is absolutely perfect...it's a little more dramatic than most speed bevels and makes for a super speedy piece. Add a very musical tone and awesome playability and you have an amazing pick.

    2mm 351 Shell Sonic Bevel (9/10) - All the features and playability of the Jazz model above but in a classic 351 shape.

    *Note: I've tried all the Jazz models with all different tips and while I can't say enough to review them, I do highly recommend trying them out.

    Strum n' Comfort
    (The SharkTooth & Kodiak Crossover Picks are a Revolution in guitar pick design, guitar playing functionality and player skill development.)

    Sharktooth/John Pisano Signature (9.5/10) - I had been turned on to these by Gilad Hekselman and at first sight, I was a little discouraged by the flat, non-beveled edge. Pretty much every boutique pick brand I've tried has placed a good amount of value on a beveled edge to help create a smooth and speedy attack. The unique feature with these picks is the shape...one side is slightly scooped out and resembles the shape of a shark tooth. At first I thought it was nothing more than a gimmick but I was verrrrrry pleased to see that the shape really does offer a function. The scooped side produces the same sort of smooth speed that a bevel would offer. Pair this feature up with a nice warm sounding pearloid material and you've got a fantastic pick. It may just be because they're still brand new to me, but this is my current favorite pick, hands down. Highly, highly recommended.



    John Pearse Picks
    (http://www.jpstrings.com/brpicks.htm)

    Fast Turtles (8/10) - These are really great picks. I love how they feel in my hand. They're nice and thick (close to 3mm) and the thumb divot makes them super comfortable. The rounded tip makes them very fast and provides a very round, dark tone. Out of all the picks I've tried, these affect my tone much more than normal. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's personal preference.

    Studio & Jazz Flatpicks (7/10) - These are nice for rhythm playing since they're thinner but can still handle single note lines. I like the offset shape too.

    Django Button (8/10) - Super fast and warm, round tone. The round shape glides over strings but can darken your tone a little too much. I never thought I'd like using a button shaped pick but I ended up liking it a lot. Try it...you might be surprised.

    Wood/Bone/Shell Picks (6/10) - I ordered a mix of ebony, coconut shell, buffalo horn, rosewood, etc. Aside from being comfortable to hold, I found absolutely nothing special about these picks. Not bad, not good, and not worth buying.


    Gravity Picks
    (Home - Gravity Picks Inc.)

    Classic (7/10) - I bought a bunch of variations of the Classic shape that differ in size and thickness. My favorite is the 2mm Big Mini. They feel nice and have good tone but just fell a little short for me. I expect a boutique pick to be a pleasure to play. Gravity picks aren't much different from some picks you can find at a local music store aside from being way more expensive.


    Red Bear Trading Company
    (www.RedBearTrading.com)

    (9/10) - Although I own 5 different models, I decided to write one review because they all fall under the same description. These picks are awesome. Besides looking fantastic, they're very comfortable and have wonderful tone. They offer a bunch of different models. I own a Classic, type A, type F, Lil' Jazzer and a Big Jazzer (probably my favorite). They also offer different thicknesses from light all the way up to gypsy jazz which is super heavy. I have right handed speed bevels on all of my models and I highly recommend getting them put on yours. On top of this, their customer service is fantastic. I've gotten personal emails from both Rick and Monica (the owners) that catered to any specific request that I had. Highly recommended.


    Wegen Picks
    (http://www.wegenpicks.com)

    Twins (8/10) - I love the way these picks are designed. One side has a thumb divot and the other has deep rivets to help with grip. They also have beautiful large speed bevels. They have a great fat tone but aren't quite as speedy as I'd like. I highly recommend trying these out.

    BigCity (8.5/10) - Nice and tall with great speed bevels and holes for grip. These felt similar to the Twins model but had a little more speed for me. Very, very comfortable and nice tone.





    Blue Chip Picks
    (http://www.bluechippick.net)

    Jazz 80 (8.5/10) - I saw the BlueChip picks site a long time ago when I first discovered boutique picks. I saw their prices and moved on. After months and months of collecting different high end models, I decided it was time to see what could possibly make a pick cost $50. I initially ordered the Jazz 60 LG (1.5mm) to save money but it was just too thin. If I was gonna spend, I might as well get something I could use. I exchanged the Jazz 60 LG for a Jazz 80, which is 2mm and a normal Jazz III size. This pick is really nice...speedy with good tone...but for $50?? I was expecting something that stood out from all the picks I already had, and this doesn't. I found out that the reason for Blue Chip's high prices is because the plastic material that they use is $1,000 per sheet. It's super durable and lasts forever. I even read a customer who said they were melting metals at super high temperatures and decided to test their Blue Chip...it didn't even start to melt. So bottom line: these picks play just as good as some other high-end beveled picks, but their super durable material warrants the added cost.

    *Note: Blue Chip customer service was pretty helpful in my exchange and didn't charge me for the additional shipping. Also, the site's explanation on bevels is a little misleading...they WILL put a speed bevel on a jazz pick.
    Last edited by bluewaterpig; 04-30-2015 at 01:13 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluewaterpig View Post

    I love picks that are outfitted with speed bevels, which are slightly angled edges on one side of the pick that help it glide smoothly off the string.


    Blue Chip Picks
    I found out that the reason for Blue Chip's high prices is because the plastic material that they use is $1,000 per sheet. It's super durable and lasts forever. I even read a customer who said they were melting metals at super high temperatures and decided to test their Blue Chip...it didn't even start to melt. So bottom line: these picks play just as good as some other high-end beveled picks, but their super durable material warrants the added cost.

    *Note: Blue Chip customer service was pretty helpful in my exchange and didn't charge me for the additional shipping. Also, the site's explanation on bevels is a little misleading...they WILL put a speed bevel on a jazz pick.

    V-Picks
    I use a Blue Chip KS-60 without speed bevels (the stock KS has speed bevels, unlike the stock Jazz model). Yes, Blue Chips last forever. It has no sign of wear after at least a thousand hours. Personally I dislike speed bevels. I find they contribute to a thinner sound, depending on pick angle. I get a fatter, more consistent tone minus the speed bevels. The great thing about the KS model is that it has the exact same size/shape no matter which tip you are using. It's like an equilateral triangle.

    However they will melt - or at least burn - if you put them to a flame. I've tried it. Perhaps "melt" is the wrong term, but it will render that edge of the pick useless.

    I tried V-picks several years back but I found their tone a bit too "glassy" for my taste.

  3. #3
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    Rub each side of the pick on your carpet to get the point back again.

  4. #4
    Reviews Continued (#2)

    I forgot one of the boutique picks I had ordered and wanted to include the review. I don't have any additional room in my original post, so I'm posting it here...


    Gravity Picks (#2)
    (Home - Gravity Picks Inc.)




    Sunrise (9/10) - Gravity Picks were the very first boutique picks that I tried. Their model options have been a little limited, and I've previously tried, and reviewed, the Classic model (reviewed above in group #1). I emailed Chris, owner of Gravity Picks, and begged him to make a few new models, specifically something based off of the typical Jazz III shape. There must've been a bunch of people who shared the same request because he finally created the new Sunrise model (and also now offer their picks in fatter gauges). While GP doesn't offer a ton of models, they do offer a lot of options. Just about every pick can be made in one of four sizes, pointed or rounded tip, different colors, up to 4mm thick, with or without a grip hole, and has the option for a master finish (an unbuffed, slightly rougher edge).

    I was very skeptical of the Sunrise but I couldn't be more pleased. It's super fast and offers a surprisingly warm tone...even the pointed tip doesn't get too bright. I've tried 3 and 4mm and I'm very happy with the 4mm thickness. The slanted oval grip hole is a nice feature too. There isn't a whole lot to say about this pick other than it's really, really awesome. It's my current default pick. If you tried a Gravity pick before and wanted something geared a little more towards the typical jazz pick, you need to try a Sunrise. Highly, highly recommended.


    Dugain Picks
    (http://www.dugainpicks.com)


    Mini Wood (4/10) - A few months ago I was referred to Dugain picks. I read a description saying that these picks were unlike anything else, used by top musicians, and guaranteed to be the best pick you've ever played. Naturally, I had to investigate. These picks are handmade by Jean-Charles Dugain out of materials like bone, wood, metal, stone, etc. I ordered a "mini" model. What was peculiar was that I was unable to select the material it was going to be made out of. I requested ebony, but received an email a few days later from someone who told me "Monsieur Dugain" was very busy and would select a material when he was available to make my pick...weird, but ok. Then I noticed on the site that it said a bunch of top guitarists were ordering Dugain picks, including John Mayer. Now of course, I could totally be wrong, but I've never seen or heard anything about John using Dugain picks, and I follow his gear like an obsessed gear nerd. I've spoken with John's tech Rene Martinez about a dozen times before so I decided to ask him...he told me he never knew anything about John using the pick and had never heard of Dugain picks himself. This is really beside the point, but I'm including it in my review because my overall experience with Dugain picks can be described in one word: weird. I ended up paying about $20 for the pick including overseas shipping. More than a month later I finally received my pick. It was not made of ebony, but instead it was made of a wood called bubinga. So it came time for my big playing test. This is one of the worst boutique picks I've ever spent money on. The finger divots were oddly placed and made it uncomfortable to play. I'm sure they're comfortable for some players but I tend to choke up on my picks, and the divots made it very hard to hold the pick the way I wanted to. It didn't enhance my tone, it deadened it. It did nothing for me. Maybe I'm missing something, and I'd love to hear if any others who have tried these found them to be good picks, but these just really missed the mark. Save your money.



    Zenfire Picks
    (www.ZenfirePicks.com)

    Phat Jazz (8.5/10)
    - Let me start by saying that I hate metal picks. I think they're a gimmick used to fool beginner players to spend money. Metal creates a super bright, shrill, harsh tone that nobody could like. Even people that make metal picks must know it fails in the tone department but making a pick out of metal sounds like a cool idea so they keep doing it.

    That being said, and I'm sure you know where I'm going with this since I already posted my rating, this pick totally surprised me. Just holding the pick left me kind of dumbfounded. It feels extremely light, almost like it's hollow but it isn't. The tone it produces is brighter than plastic, but not by much. I like using it on my Telecaster through a Fender amp to get a glassy tone. It also sounds nice through a jazz setup to get a little more clarity when the amp/guitar tone is set pretty dark. Naturally, it retains the best part of a metal pick: speed. It slips between the strings in a good way. At $11 it's relatively inexpensive compared to other high end models. I definitely advise checking out a Zenfire pick.


    Guzz Picks
    (www.DjangoBooks.com)


    Guzz S3 (8/10) - The makers of Guzz picks write that their picks are the "first in the world" where you can use all 3 sides...we all know this isn't true and has been done for a while. Even though that kinda pissed me off, I do like the pick. Each side is very usable and it produces a nice sound. Nothing amazing here, but it's a solid pick that has nice speed and nice tone.
    Last edited by bluewaterpig; 06-18-2014 at 07:04 PM.

  5. #5
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    I like poly carbonate picks, I cut a triangle from a sheet of poly carbonate, shape it on a grinding wheel, when I like the shape I then buff it on a buffer wheel. Poly Carbonate is very tough and doesn't sound clicky like most plastics.

  6. #6
    Hated V-Picks.

    Blue Chips were ok, for bright acoustic guitars... the mellow the sound somewhat.

    Red Bear are AWESOME- my favorite acoustic pick, probably work well on electric too, but I haven't tried that yet (for whatever reson)

    I really like Lollar pics for electric- they are made out of pickup bobbin material. Very unique, and hard to describe the tone, but it's great. They don't last long tho. I don't think they are on the website- I just called and ordered some after receiving one with a Lollar pickup I had ordered.

  7. #7
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    Since no one has scoffed at us yet for buying expensive guitar picks, I'll admit my favorites are Blue Chip KS 60 and BC Jazz 50/60.... and the older Red Bear No. 9 w/o speed bevel. The thicker Jazzers with speed bevel don't work as well for me (thin tone on lower strings).

    I used Wegen twin jazz 2.5 and 3.5 for a while, but after getting BC and RB found their (wegen) attack too noisy or "chirpy." I do also really like the feel and dark sound of John Pearse Fast Turtles. Thanks for the thread... picks can make a significant difference in tone and articulation.

  8. #8
    +1 for Chicken Picks. I agree that they're limited in size options, and I find them a tad too bright on my jazz archtop, but they make an acoustic flattop just sing loud and proud (if that's what you're looking to do), more than any other pick I've tried thus far.

  9. #9
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    Vernon - if you haven't tried it yet, you should try a KS60 without speed bevels. I think it sounds quite a bit better than the regular KS60.

  10. #10
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    Blue,
    Fun and informative review -- thanks!

    Also check these out: http://strum-n-comfort.com/stkodiakflatpicks.html

  11. #11
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    CoolVinny, the KS speed bevels are pretty subtle and never seem to get in my way, unlike some of the thicker Red Bear jazzers. If I could grab one cheap on ebay I'd give it a try. Thanks!

  12. #12
    I've used carol Kaye's picks available through her site forever. For bass and guitar. I can't seem to get used to anything else except maybe some d'andreas recommended by jimmy Bruno.

  13. #13
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    Choice of pick is so personal and one can't really be sure to like what others recommend. FWIW, I have tried many, many picks, including expensive boutique picks, but I always come back to Dunlop Jazz Tone 205 and D'Andrea Proplec 358 for electric guitar (depending on my mood and the setup, including the amp, I may want a more or less audible attack) and Dunlop Ultex 1.18mm big triangular for acoustic 4-to-the-bar rhythm strumming. They work very well for me, and they are not expensive. I have a box full of them and I believe my stock will last the rest of my life.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by vernon View Post
    Since no one has scoffed at us yet for buying expensive guitar picks, I'll admit my favorites are Blue Chip KS 60 and BC Jazz 50/60

    It seems the KS60 is a wide favorite. I've never been a fan of mandolin style picks because the super dull rounded edges don't give me enough articulation. You guys don't find the rounded edges to be in the way of getting a nice clear tone? Keep in mind I'm talking about a jazz guitar application where picking single note lines is the main function.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluewaterpig View Post
    It seems the KS60 is a wide favorite. I've never been a fan of mandolin style picks because the super dull rounded edges don't give me enough articulation. You guys don't find the rounded edges to be in the way of getting a nice clear tone? Keep in mind I'm talking about a jazz guitar application where picking single note lines is the main function.
    I agree. I too prefer a pointed tip as opposed to a rounded tip. It adds clarity and crispness of attack to the tone, especially in the bass, where the rounded tip tends to produce a muddy sound. But that's just my taste. Many find that it's the archtypical jazz tone, but not me. Likewise I don't like to roll off the tone knob a lot. If anything I tend to turn up the treble and turn down the bass - the opposite of what is often recommended here. I like my sound to be clear with good note separation in chords - on the bright and dry side. Besides, the muddy and dark "jazz tone" doesn't have good cutting power and is not heard well by an audience. I am very picky (no pun intended) about where I pick. I believe this is important for the sound of the attack and thus for the overall impression of tone. By picking above the neck pickup, I get a nice and warm tone despite my EQ settings. By changing the picking location just ½" in either direction, I can hear a very audible change in tone. This is more notable with single coil PUs and a pointed pick than with a humbucker and a round tipped pick. By picking between the neck pickup and where an imaginary middle pickup would be placed, I can get a typical Strat like "quack" with an archtop and the neck PU only. Again, this works best with SC PUs and a pointed pick.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vernon View Post
    Since no one has scoffed at us yet for buying expensive guitar picks,
    I see no problem in spending $35 on a small piece of plastic, it's cheaper than buying another guitar.


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyBoden View Post
    I see no problem in spending $35 on a small piece of plastic, it's cheaper than buying another guitar.
    Neither do I - provided it makes a difference. Personally, I have never found that the expensive picks work better for me than the cheap ones, I use. BTW, I have never found either, that there has to be a direct relation between the quality of sound and the price of the guitar (playability, durability and looks is another matter though one can also be positively surprised by cheaper guitars). But that's just me.
    "But if they all play like me, then who am I?" (Lester Young)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldane View Post
    I have never found either, that there has to be a direct relation between the quality of sound and the price of the guitar.
    I totally agree, there are plenty of good sounding inexpensive guitars, if you use your ears and not your eyes.

    Maybe taking a blind fold and just listening is the best strategy for buying a guitar.

  19. #19
    Maybe it's me or the way I hold the pick or how much I practice but it's rare that a pick makes it through a week for me. I couldn't justify $30/pick. When I find a pick I like, I usually buy a couple gross of them (144==1 gross) because manufacturing changes as do the specs.

    For example, I exclusively use the 346 (rounded triangle) style picks in medium. Used to get them from fender but they changed the shape a few years ago to way more rounded than previously and I switched over to d'andrea who also recently changed the shape.

    I'm now using the Clayton Acetal picks in .63mm which is a bit thin but IMO produces the best tone of any pick on the market and they're inexpensive. I bought a couple gross but may buy a couple more.

    The acetal picks are very slick and do not drag at all against the string which makes them easy to play fast tempos. They also have a great tone for digging in and using rest strokes and they really bring out the acoustic properties in your instrument.

    You can hear the acoustic sound of the pick on this recent clip I did where I was 10 inches away from the microphone and using this pick.


  20. #20
    I've pretty much settled on the D'Andrea pro-plecs for most situations, except for acoustic archtop where I prefer a little more oomph of the John Pearse Fast Turtle.

    I've tried the Blue Chips, and found them unimpressive.

    Where I'll spend the bigger bucks on picks is for gypsy jazz playing...there you really need a Wegen, Dugain, or Moustache, at least 3mm...the sound really depends on it.
    Jeff Matz, Jazz Guitar:
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    "Jazz is like life...it goes on longer than you think, and as soon as you're like 'oh, I get it,' it ends."

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  21. #21
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    Great reviews! Thanks.

    I have a few favorites, some boutique, some inexpensive. Sometimes I'll use specific ones for specific tunes. They all have their own quality tone-wise, but which one I choose is a lot about which one feels right at the moment.

    Here's a pic of the plectrums in my toolbox. A short(er) list would be the Red Bear Lil' Jazzer and No. 9 (old specs), the BC Jazz and the (very) inexpensive Traynor.


  22. #22
    Just wanted to add that I've added another review to the second review post (the one that starts with Dugain picks). It's a review of Zenfire picks, a company I had never ever heard of and was pleasantly surprised by.

  23. #23
    Just added a few more reviews to the 2nd post.

  24. #24
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    I use Blue Chip Jazz 60's on both electrics; I only bought 2, but I have 7 - I put them on my XMAS list every year! I use Dunlop John Petrucci Ultex Jazz III's on my acoustics - I can afford to buy those myself!
    "Thanks, but you should have heard what I was trying to play!" - T. Monk
    http://network.online.berklee.edu/profile/1200078

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jzucker View Post
    When I find a pick I like, I usually buy a couple gross of them (144==1 gross) because manufacturing changes as do the specs.
    Good thinking! I just bought a gross of the Traynor Delrin Jazz picks.

  26. #26
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    How many of you use different picks for different situations, styles, or guitars? Who uses a pick that is so tough to replace that they must preserve it with their lives?

    I found a pick that worked for me many years ago and bought a hundred of them hoping that they will last for many years to come.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klatu View Post
    How many of you use different picks for different situations, styles, or guitars? Who uses a pick that is so tough to replace that they must preserve it with their lives?

    I found a pick that worked for me many years ago and bought a hundred of them hoping that they will last for many years to come.
    I use Wegen picks pretty much exclusively these days:

    - 7mm with my gypsy guitar
    - 3.5mm for my Eastman 403
    - 5mm Fatone for my Godin Kingpin
    - 5mm Trimus for my Eastman 905 rhythm guitar
    - 2.5mm for my strats/teles

    Picks are cheap,even at $20/30 a pop. How much do you spend on strings in 1 year?

    If you're happy with a $0.25 plastic pick and it gives you the sound and feel you're after, more power to you. Some of us have different needs.

  28. #28
    just tried blue chip 1.5 fender shape w speed bevel.
    hated it
    too bright on everything.
    got it because i played a lager triangular c. theile one for a minute and liked it, may try that

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by D.G. View Post
    I use Wegen picks pretty much exclusively these days:

    - 7mm with my gypsy guitar
    - 3.5mm for my Eastman 403
    - 5mm Fatone for my Godin Kingpin
    - 5mm Trimus for my Eastman 905 rhythm guitar
    - 2.5mm for my strats/teles

    Picks are cheap,even at $20/30 a pop. How much do you spend on strings in 1 year?

    If you're happy with a $0.25 plastic pick and it gives you the sound and feel you're after, more power to you. Some of us have different needs.
    I wrote my post at work and see that the sentence "Who uses a pick that is so tough to replace that they must preserve it with their lives?" is so clumsily worded as to sound antagonistically rhetorical, even though I meant it as a straight forward question. Boredom + sleep deprivation = sloppy

    That said, I've got a couple of Wegen picks that I use on my Dell Arte gypsy guitar. It provides a brighter, louder sound than my usual pick, so I use it when I want to try and massacre the gypsy genre. When I use that guitar to pick out some acoustic standards, I stick with my usual pick.

    The cheap plastic pick I've found that really does suit my needs is the Jim Dunlop Jazztone 207. It's a thick, stiff pick at around 1.5mm and has a rounded tip which reduces the pick's effect on attack. It comes closer to the sound of a thumb than any other plastic pick I've come across. I encourage jazz guitarists to check out the Dunlop Jazztone series. They are well made with the jazz guitar community in mind.

    As far as annual expenditures on strings, I spend far less that I probably should! I use D'Addario Chrome flatwounds on my electrics and only change them about twice a year, which comes to about $60 a year. My acoustic archtops with floating pickups get D'Addario roundwound EJ21s. At 5 bucks a pack, I tend to change them 3 times per year on average. My acoustics get D'Addario phosphor bronze strings, which thankfully aren't expensive either.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,837
    Quote Originally Posted by D.G. View Post
    Picks are cheap,even at $20/30 a pop. How much do you spend on strings in 1 year?

    If you're happy with a $0.25 plastic pick and it gives you the sound and feel you're after, more power to you. Some of us have different needs.
    I spend about $20/year on strings. TI Swing flatwounds last forever!

  31. #31
    I'm finding I like different picks, depending on guitar or tone i'm after. Mostly on electrics; on my acoustics I pretty much stick with a Red Bear.

    On my electrics, I have Dunlop Ultex heavy, Dunlop XL JAzz III red, and today I just got some white 1.5mm Dunlop Jazz III tortex which are very nice.

    In the end, almost any pick will do, and I certainly woudn't have several different picks for different songs at a gig, but at home, it's enjoyable to experiment and experience the different feels and textures different picks provide.

    The only pick I really didn't get on with, right out of the gate, were Wegens and V-picks.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    TN, close to Knoxville
    Posts
    874
    "Django Button (8/10) - Super fast and warm, round tone. The round shape glides over strings but can darken your tone a little too much. I never thought I'd like using a button shaped pick but I ended up liking it a lot. Try it...you might be surprised."

    These are all I use anymore. The first time I picked one up, I couldn't imagine a person using a pick completely rounded like a button, but I'm addicted to them. I wouldn't mind to find a pick like this but a little bit thicker.
    Any ideas?

    http://www.jpstrings.com/D%20Button.jpg

  33. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    TN, close to Knoxville
    Posts
    874
    Quote Originally Posted by Melodic Dreamer View Post
    "Django Button (8/10) - Super fast and warm, round tone. The round shape glides over strings but can darken your tone a little too much. I never thought I'd like using a button shaped pick but I ended up liking it a lot. Try it...you might be surprised."

    These are all I use anymore. The first time I picked one up, I couldn't imagine a person using a pick completely rounded like a button, but I'm addicted to them. I wouldn't mind to find a pick like this but a little bit thicker.
    Any ideas?


    http://www.jpstrings.com/D%20Button.jpg
    Bumping my question once more. Any ideas?

  34. #34
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    81
    V-picks offers a button pick, the "Gypsy". It is 1" in diameter and 1.5mm thick.

    Chuck

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    512
    Quote Originally Posted by Melodic Dreamer View Post
    "Django Button (8/10) - Super fast and warm, round tone. The round shape glides over strings but can darken your tone a little too much. I never thought I'd like using a button shaped pick but I ended up liking it a lot. Try it...you might be surprised."

    These are all I use anymore. The first time I picked one up, I couldn't imagine a person using a pick completely rounded like a button, but I'm addicted to them. I wouldn't mind to find a pick like this but a little bit thicker.
    Any ideas?

    http://www.jpstrings.com/D%20Button.jpg
    Michael asked Wegen Picks to make a "button" pick that is modeled after one Django had used. Not perfectly circular, but darn close: Wegen Button Pick - DjangoBooks.com

  36. #36
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Amarillo, Texas
    Posts
    64
    Picks do make a difference. I was interested in getting a woody sound from my archtop. Synthetics were not able to do there trick. It was not till I started using a maple pick that the discovery was revealed. If you would like one I can get it to you.
    Boutique Pick Reviews (BlueChip, RedBear, V-Picks, etc.)-pick-ad-png

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    TN, close to Knoxville
    Posts
    874
    Quote Originally Posted by es34569 View Post
    V-picks offers a button pick, the "Gypsy". It is 1" in diameter and 1.5mm thick.

    Chuck
    I have a handful of V-picks, not the Gypsy of course, but of the ones I own they all have a chirp to them. When picking the string one can hear a chirp like sound that after a period of time starts to degrade on ones nerves.
    Have you had any experience with this version of the V-Pick line?

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    TN, close to Knoxville
    Posts
    874
    Looks interesting, but from the image it looks a little bigger.

  39. #39
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    TN, close to Knoxville
    Posts
    874
    How do they handle a lot of play? Do they the wear down easy?

  40. #40
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania
    Posts
    81
    MD,
    I have several versions of the v-pick, but I've never tried any of the button-shaped picks. Also, I have noticed the chirp sound to which you refer. I've tried different picks angles, but it still remains to some degree. However, I only notice the chirp unamplified. I really like the speed the v-pick material offers, and the way it sticks to your fingers. My go to pick has been the Pro Plec. I may cut a button from one of my Pro Plec's triangle shaped picks and polish the edges.
    Chuck

  41. #41
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Amarillo, Texas
    Posts
    64
    Not experience with the v- pick as described. There is s jazz pick made of hard plastic that is 3.0 mm which reminds me of what you describe. It is manufactured by Jim Dunlap. It is easy to grip and has a click sound when strumming and nice for melodic single note work.

    Another pick I like is Herco Flex 75. It's made of nylon. nice strum quality and single note.

    The cello wood pick is my new favorite.

  42. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    1,321
    Quote Originally Posted by Melodic Dreamer View Post
    How do they handle a lot of play? Do they the wear down easy?
    They last a long time. After several years of constant playing, the corners get rounded a bit which makes the tone a bit mellower. This is for the Classic original. I have now switched to using a Papa's faux turtle for jazz/instrumental because I find the tone a bit smoother. But the V pick is may choice for rock.

  43. #43
    I just added a new review of the latest offering from Gravity Picks...the Sunrise. You can find it on the first page under Continued Reviews #2. ​Gravity Picks finally gave in and released a jazz oriented pick...and I absolutely love it.

  44. #44
    Reviews Continued (#3)

    Ninja Picks
    (Ninja Picks - DjangoBooks.com)

    (7.5/10) - Ninja picks seem pretty basic and straight to the point as they aren't beveled, specially shaped, or anything like that but for some reason I do like them. They have a nice release and good tone. I would say they're worth trying out.


    Moustache Picks
    (Moustache Picks - DjangoBooks.com)

    Gypsy Jazz 2mm (7/10) - I was a little frustrated with my order when I got these picks. The pick shown on the site looked great and had a nice deep bevel, but what I got barely had any slope at all. The rep at DjangoBooks said that Moustache Picks had discontinued certain models or something like that. Anyway, nothing too special about these picks, but I still reach for them over a regular plastic 351 or something like that.

    V-Picks
    (www.v-picks.com)

    Instead of reviewing every single model that I've purchased, I've decided to give a general description of V-Picks and then give a number rating to each specific model.

    I was was originally a little hesitant to try V-Picks because they seemed to cater towards metal players who wanted a brighter tone. I still don't like that their slogan is "Never Drop Your Pick Again"...I've never had a problem with holding on to picks and I didn't want to spend money on something that focused on grip instead of playability and tone. I finally gave in and ordered some Chicken Pickers. I was pleasantly surprised. They were the perfect compliment to my Telecaster on a New Orleans funky big band gig. More recently I purchased a Farley, Dimension Jr. Smokey Mountain Buffed, Infinity, and Small Pointed. They threw in a free Medium Rounded Ruby Red as a thank you, which I think they do for most orders. The "acrylic blend" that they use produces a nice bright tone but can also enhance middle and bass frequencies as well. It's also super speedy. V-Pick creator Vinni Smith is very personable and will answer any question you could possibly have including which pick is right for your playing style. He said speed bevels don't make sense to him and he couldn't apply one for me when I asked, but hey nobody's perfect. Bottom line: I definitely recommend finding a V-Pick you think suits your style and trying it out. Finding one shouldn't be a problem as they have a HUGE variety of picks covering everything from thin acoustic strummers to their ridiculously huge 11mm Insanity model.

    Chicken Picker - (8/10)

    Dimension Jr. - (8.5/10)

    Infinity - (7.5/10)

    Farley - (8/10)

    Medium Rounded - (8/10)

    Small Pointed - (8/10)

  45. #45
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Newington, CT, USA
    Posts
    88
    I have a Bluechip Jazz60 and its a little smaller than I hoped for. I have always used Dunlop Jazz iii's. Is the LG jazz60 closer to the jazz iii size, or a little bigger? I want to make sure that if I'm using my non-bluechip picks, I don't have to adjust for the size. The smaller pick definitely has taken some adjustment. I'll send it back in for replacement if anyone can tell me that LG version is closer.

    Thanks

    Dan

  46. #46
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Miami, Fl
    Posts
    2,202
    I don't have a whole lot of experience with boutique picks outside of Wegen, but I wanted to test the waters and placed an order with V Picks.

    Here are some comments on the models I received:

    V Picks
    (V-Picks Guitar Picks : Guitar & Mandolin Picks Handmade in Nashville USA | Some have called them the best guitar pick made today)

    Medium Round Pearly Gates 2.75mm: Good sound and comfortable feel, although not a significant enough improvement over my standard Jim Dunlop Jazztone 207 to warrant a switch. The tip was a bit more rounded than that of the 207.

    Bb 4.10mm: This was my favorite of the bunch. It's essentially a Medium Round pick with a far thicker profile. Although it's than I'm accustomed to, it took no time at all to get comfortable with it. The combination of heavily rounded corners with thick beveled edges produced a sound reminiscent of a thumb. This might just be the pick that I use with my acoustic archtops going forward.

    Dimension Ghost Rim 4.10mm: A bit bigger than the Medium Round, it has three usable beveled sides. The two rounded sides are slightly less rounded than that of the Medium Round, while the sharp edge is sharper than any pick I've played. I liked the rounded tips the best, but I think I might eventually find a use for the pointed end. The Ghost Rim designation is reserved for picks featuring unpolished edges. It was the Ghost Rim edges that I didn't care for. I felt that they produced a raspy sound that felt like an unpleasant aftertaste. I may order another one with the normal polished edges since everything else about the pick is spot on.

    edit: Like a good stinky cheese, I've grown fond of its strong and somewhat bitter character. I'm going to continue using the pick and get a normal polished one for comparison. At the end of the day, I think I'll be using both in order to exploit their respective strengths.
    Last edited by Klatu; 05-07-2015 at 11:06 AM.

  47. #47
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Miami, Fl
    Posts
    2,202
    Dragon's Heart Guitar Picks

    Dragon's Heart Guitar Picks - The Best Guitar Picks Available

    I wanted to add these picks to the list because they've become my picks of choice for all applications. First off, their shape is unique. The heart shaped design allows for three unique picking surfaces that work well in different applications. The main point at the bottom of the heart is the perfect alternative to my preferred pick shape, the Dunlop Jazztone 207. Its wide shoulders and slightly rounded point allow for the thickest tones I've been able to produce using a pick. Next up is the pointy tip: it's meant to approximate the function of a Dunlop Jazz III style pick. I find that while it doesn't necessarily increase my picking speed, it does tend to increase volume, so I end up using it on acoustic passages when I need that extra bit of cutting power. Finally there's the rounded edge which works best for strumming. Being that I don't strum very often, this surface doesn't get much use.

    Beyond the unique shape, the other selling point is the material from which it's crafted. It's a relatively new thermo-plastic used in high heat and long wearing engineering applications. It feels different than other plastics I've come across in that the tone it produces is slightly more "dry" (I understand that describing tone is a difficult task). Since the plastic is meant to be used in demanding applications, it resists wear to a far greater degree than any other material I've used.

    A testament to the longevity of these picks that I've been using the same pick for three months for every application including electric, acoustic, and gypsy jazz, and the pick shows no wear. I dig in on occasion when playing acoustic, so the fact that there is no evidence of wear after such use is impressive.

    Last edited by Klatu; 10-06-2015 at 08:18 AM.

  48. #48
    I tried a dragon heart pick and while it sounds fine, I simply can't hold anything but a small 358 size teardrop. If anyone in the U.S. wants to try a dragon heart shoot me a PM. I am currently away from home, my dad is very sick so I may not be home for another week or two so if you want it immediately don't bother.
    Ignorance is agony.



  49. #49

    What about Stone Picks then? Aren't they "boutique" ?

    Hi all!
    First post.
    Sorry for necrobumping an old thread, but I was searching for all these boutique picks, as well as picking technique. I found very good information in this thread, one of the best.

    However, I think you miss out on brazilian agate stone picks, just because they aren't a brand, and anyone can make them without proprietary design patterns, and especially no engraved brand on the picks. I do think - as they do not com that cheap either - they still have a place in here, although they're hard to nail down as a special maker, brand, or even hand made.

    My experience with some of the brazilian agate stone picks, is that they're the best for archtops, hollow bodies, with the neck pickup on, because there you get rid of their chirpy pick attack which is noise. Due or thanks to their polishing, they produce an attack that has a high pitched tone to it. You can almost use the as slide to produce a note. Now, this is the high polished ones only. The "natural" and grainy stone picks doesn't have this, and the grip is better, way better. It does give you a sort of "cchd" pick attack to that is reminiscent of a violin bow arcing. Which may or may not be to your liking. I swear by these, but as they're unique and individual it is virtually impossible to find another one, that is exactly like the one you've lost, mislaid, or got broken. The thinner ones are brittle and can crack if dropped on any hard floor.

    But by and large I think you could/should choose (any) stone picks in here too, at least any brazilian agate stone pick. Pick your choice of vendor, or manufacturer. They are as boutique as they come. And the DO performs best in a jazz setting with the neck pickup only. Maybe some subgenre heavy metal genres might do, but I haven't even gone there at all.

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