I've tried a lot of guitar picks and I can't find one I'm 100% happy with...

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Nicki, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    Oh yay, not another "which guitar pick should I use?" thread.

    Well... no. It's not one of those. I've just tried a lot of guitar picks and I'm never 100% happy with any of them and I feel like every guitar pick I've tried feels like there's some sort of compromise and there's no "best of both worlds" kind of deal. The intent behind this thread is to give you an idea of what I like and don't like about each pick and maybe you'll think of something I haven't thought of. I'm going to write up my thoughts on each and every pick I've tried, so this is going to be a wall of text. Fair warning. Rather than spam out pictures of all of the picks, I'm going to link to each one as best I can because uploading pictures to somewhere just to post them on here has become a bit of a nightmare. Also, these days I'm looking for something that has mass availability and don't have to order online (or if I do, I can do so through Amazon).

    Anyway... the reason I've been trying so many picks is because I'm getting older. It's getting harder for me to comfortably play for hours on end (which I do) with a Jazz III. I've noticed that with the bigger sized picks where there's more to hold on to, I don't get this problem. To give you an idea of how I hold my pick, on general rhythm playing, I hold the pick between my thumb and index finger, but the rest of my hand is in a relaxed state. Think signaling to someone "okay". On faster leads, I hold the pick between my thumb and side of index finger while my hand makes a fist with my knuckles being staggered. Onto the roundup...

    1. Dunlop Tortex Pitch Black Jazz III 1.14mm
    Pretty much the gold standard for anyone playing metal. What I like about it is that it's a great feel in between the fingers and gets just enough of the string to feel like pick attack isn't a problem. Not an overly loud pick noise. What I don't like is the size. It just doesn't work for me anymore and the hand cramping is real trying to hold on to this thing when your hands get even a little clammy. Even under ideal circumstances, it still starts to hurt after a while.

    2. Dunlop Gator Grip Jazz III
    I thought that by solving the "hard to hold onto" part of the Jazz III, my problems would go away. Nope. Sure, these are a little easier to hold onto when the sweat starts to build up, but every other problem I have with the Jazz 3 shape remains. I did really like the feel in the grip though.

    3. Dunlop Max-Grip Jazz III Stiffo
    More grip solves the problem, right? Big nope. On top of that, since these have a slightly beveled edge to them, they don't feel like they grab the string the same as the previous two picks, they just kinda rub the string and not actually grab it.

    4. Dunlop Stubby Jazz Pick 1.0mm
    Big fucking nope here. First of all, 1mm thinness combined with the general shape of this pick make it feel like you're not holding anything at all. Damn thing hurts to hold for long periods of time. Second, does not feel good in the grip at all. Third, oodles of pick noise.

    5. Jackson 551 Black Heavy 1mm
    Basically, a slightly improved Jazz III. For a few years, these were my go to picks. The more teardrop shape coming to a sharper point is really great for guitarists who want the Jazz III shape but more pick attack. Great pick, but again, getting harder to hold.

    6. D'addario/Planet Waves Black Ice 1.10
    A very slightly larger Jazz III, but not as much of a point at the business end. Basically feels like the pick just rubs on the string without any pick attack at all. Generally I found these terrible.

    7. Dava Jazz Grip Delrin
    I used these a lot in the mid 2000s. I definitely liked how grippy they were. Overall a good pick. Switched because at the time, you couldn't find them available en masse in stores (which has since changed), but these days I find the pick attack is lacking when compared to some of the other picks I've tried so I've generally moved away from these. But also, it's a jazz size. I wouldn't be able to hold these for extended periods anymore. Also, I remember the rubber basically falling apart and getting gross when my acidic sweat ate away at it.

    8. Dunlop Jazz III XL Stiffo pick
    Okay, surely I've learned my lesson that it's the size of the Jazz III that is the cause of my discomfort, so SURELY the scaled up version of them will be the solution, right? I wish... Everything I loved about the Jazz III didn't translate to the XL version here. Maybe it's the stiffo variants as I've yet to try either of the Tortex XLs as of yet. But the stiffo has the same bevel that the Max-Grips do and pick attack suffers. The tactile feedback I get of the pick grabbing the string is just missing from this.

    9. Dunlop Tortex Flow 1.0mm
    I didn't like this one. No pick attack at all. The bulbous point just makes the pick glide over the string without actually grabbing it. The size is damn near perfect though.

    10. Dunlop Standard Flow 2.0mm & 1.5mm
    This one was interesting. The textured grip kept the pick in place in my hand and the Standard variant didn't suffer from the same problem that the Tortex variant did. The pick attack isn't completely removed as the pick starts with that uncomfortable rub against the string that the Max-Grip and XL Stiffo does, but at the very tip, this one grabbed the string. Playing fast with this, I can see it, but I'm not sure that rub and grab (gentlemen, minds out of the gutter please) is something I could get used to. It's just not enough feedback for me. Definitely preferred the 2mm to the 1.5mm though.
     
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  2. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    11. Dunlop Tortex TIII 1.14mm
    I generally like these for rhythm playing, but not for fast leads. it just doesn't grab enough of the string to give me the amount of feedback I like to get.

    12. Dunlop Max Grip Nylon Standard 1.0mm
    Ach, no. Just felt all kinds of wrong. No pick attack on faster runs, didn't feel good in the grip. Just not my thing.

    13. Dava Grip Tips
    These are basically the same as a Tortex TIII but slightly rounder. Didn't like these. They just flexed too much and didn't like the lighter pick attack these gave.

    14. Dunlop Tortex Sharp 1.5mm
    So I liked almost everything about this pick and I didn't expect to. The very sharp point gave me the pick attack and tactile feedback that I really like feeling when playing fast leads, the size is right, the thickness is right and the overall feel of the pick is right. So what's wrong? For whatever reason, I can't pull off a pinch harmonic with this. Choking up on the point helps, but then I'm left with less of the pick in my grip which them defeats the whole point of going with a bigger pick. Damn, was really hoping this would be it.

    15. Gravity JHS
    Did not like this one bit. Came with a JHS pedal so gave it a shot. Didn't like the feeling of the material. Slipped around a lot. Also gave off a lot of pick noise which was no good. Doesn't give me much hope about any of Gravity's other picks. Am I wrong?

    16. Dragon's Heart Guitar Picks Pure & GT
    Ok... The only good things about these picks are the material. By far, this is my favorite material. It feels really, really good and low pick noise. Everything else about these picks SUCKS. The shape is so awkward and actually REQUIRES you to hold it a certain way. If the guy who makes these can take this material and make some normal shape guitar picks, he'd be onto a winner, but the shape of these... No. Any pick that requires you to hold it one way is not a pick that has any use. Sorry to the fanboys of these, but no, these are awful.

    17. Dunlop Gator Grip Standard 2.0mm
    These felt really good in the grip, like the Jazz III shape version did, but the bevel just made the pick rub against the string, losing all pick attack.

    18. Dunlop Ultex Sharp 2.0mm
    Generally okay... I find Ultex to be a little too smooth of a material against the string which dulls pick attack. I prefer the feeling of Tortex.

    19. Chicken Picks Shredder 3.5mm
    I really liked the thickness of this, but not much else. The pick just rubbed against the string so there was no pick attack. I generally don't like the two sides of the pick having a different texture because it changes the grippy-ness.

    20. Chicken Picks Badazz III 2.5mm
    I really like how this pick feels against the string. Right now, it's the pick I reach for. It's bigger than a Jazz III which means it doesn't hurt to hold. The material feels good in the grip. The taper on these is really good as it begins to grab the string at the start of the taper and it's pointy enough that there's a good amount of pick attack. The things that I don't like about this are that there's still 2 different textures on each side and I don't like the points on the sides of the pick. It makes it dig in slightly to my index finger when playing faster leads. But this is still the pick I'm going to use until I find something better.

    21. Winspear Shiv Stealth/Ice/Bloodline/Purity/Amber/Gold
    There's a lot to like about the Winspear Shivs. Tom did design a really great pick when he came up with these. Of all the materials, I like the Stealth, Bloodline and Purity the best. However, I've actually used the Gold the most. The shiv's taper took some getting used to, but the way I hold my picks now makes it almost a non-issue. Other than that, the logo on one side means two different textures on each side which I've already said I don't like. However, I'd still like to try the flat designs of these. Also, the Gold material wore down way faster than I was expecting where the point of the pick is now non-existent. I don't think the material is as durable as advertised. However, what really prevents me from switching over to these is that these are boutique picks, made by one guy. Availability is an issue (stealth is currently sold out) and they're not something you can walk into a store and buy. Unless that becomes a thing, these picks are less utility and more novelty.

    So that's just about it. Basically, if you gave me a Winspear shiv using the material of Dragon's Heart Guitar picks material or hell, I'd even take it in Tortex, made both sides have identical textures and make it available mass market, I'd probably be happy. But until then, I'll just keep trying more picks until I find one that isn't a compromise... Feel free to throw me some recommendations on something I haven't tried yet.
     
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  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    try some stuff from BHL or blue chip. They both make jazz iii picks with some harder wearing materials. I found blue chip's material to be veeeery hard wearing, moreso than UHMPWE (like the bloodline/purity picks).
     
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  4. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    The point is that I need something that's bigger than a Jazz III and widely available.
     
  5. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    Ibanez jtc pick. like a cross between winspear and gravity but very durable and the material is sticky not glassy.

    you can order winseapers with no logo so they are the same on both side. Ya it's boutique but just order a lot of them.

    I love my winspears but I've switched over to the jtc's primarily because I can buy stacks and stacks of them.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NDW2L5L/?tag=sevenstringorg-20
     
  6. X1X

    X1X SS.org Regular

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    [​IMG]

    There's also a 2 mm model

    Edit: Prepare to be broke
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2021
  7. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    I'm interested on this topic as well.

    I've been using a Jazz III carbon fiber for like 15 years. But like you, I'm startin to lean towards bigger picks but I still haven't found any other pick that grips as well while not being overly big. And like you, the Dunlop Flow (1,5mm) is the best compromise I've found yet. but it's still not quite there.

    The best pick shape I've ever played is the ancient Ibanez Paul Gilvert picks.
    https://www.ibanez.com/na/products/detail/1000pgwh_01.html
    Just perfect. not too big, not too small, with a decently sharp tip. Problem is they have zero grip and I desintegrate them pretty easily. I wanted to try the ibanez picks that share the same size, but the concept of "hard" picks for Ibanez is 1,0-1,2mm which is too light for me. You might like the 1,2mm though.
     
  8. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    I don't know if those would be for me. The whole glassy texture would be hard to hold onto since my hands sweat.

    Maybe? Honestly the sharp just looks like a Dunlop sharp and would have the same issue with pinch harmonics for me and the standard, while it looks like it has a sharp point in the promo pics, if you look at the pics of it in the retail bag, they just look dull as hell. I'll keep an eye out for them though and see if that's the case. I haven't been a fan of Ernie Ball anything so I'm not holding out hope.

    I actually prefer 2mm picks. Those PG picks wouldn't have a sharp enough tip on them to get the pick attack that I look for. However, I think they're closest to the D'Addario/Planet Waves Black Ice picks I mentioned in my list.
     
  9. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    maybe just "pick" one

    :D
     
  10. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    I was prepared for the puns to happen.

    I mean.. I did... kinda... See #20. I'm just not 100% happy with it.
     
  11. penguin_316

    penguin_316 SS.org Regular

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    I’ve used mostly jazz 3’s forever, tried a few different picks last year. Man, I’m surprised you didn’t like the Flow 1mm, I was shocked at how great they were. Especially in the wear and tear department, last quite awhile.

    When I swap back to a jazz 3 though, I don’t know...they feel so unhindered. I go back and forth.
     
  12. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    Ok. I can't really relate I guess. I've tried some different picks and I just use the ones I liked the most.
     
  13. CerealKiller

    CerealKiller SS.org Regular

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    I've had a lot of the same experiences, but eventually settled on the 1.14mm tortex Jazz III XL.
    I enjoyed a Red Bear Big Jazzer for about a year as well, until it snapped into two pieces. Also pretty expensive.
     
  14. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    I use the red nylon jazz III XL. They seem to work fine, right amount of flex, not too small. Maybe I'm just used to them though. I might give the tortex ones a try if I stumble across them.
     
  15. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    I tried a ton, settled on Dunlop Stubby Jazz 3 mm for a long time, but got tired of how quickly they wore.

    When I was working as a full-time guitar tech, I found Dragon's Heart picks and have used them since. They are the most durable picks I have found. The Hardened picks are glass fiber filled, super durable. The GT have carbon fiber fill for a bit more slickness, but almost as much durability. At 2.5 mm, they are really comfortable for me coming from 3 mm picks.
    ..............
    I see that you have tried those. I got used to the shape pretty quickly. They were the only picks that could handle having guitars in front of me nearly 2000 hours a year. For a while, the owner was trying to get funding for a mold for a different shape, but apparently that did not pan out for him. I think those prototypes were called Dragon Scale picks.
     
  16. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    Blue chip and BHL both make lots of different shapes, not just jazz iii picks. The problem with like 95% of easily accessible picks is they use less durable materials ime. The dunlop primetone line (which are basically made of ultem, comparable to winspear's gold line material) would be more in line with what you want .
     
  17. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    Also, the Dunlop Flow picks do go up to 3 and even 4.2 mm. The flow 420 pick feels pretty good, almost a bit too much at 4 mm though. The 3 mm version of the flow might be worth a try.
     
  18. X1X

    X1X SS.org Regular

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    I linked the picture of the Prodigy Sharp. There are also more rounded versions. I used the Dunlop sharp but moved on to these which just feel better. They do wear out faster so even the sharp version becomes a little rounded soon. I would give them a try. They are expensive though.
     
  19. gnoll

    gnoll SS.org Regular

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    This was my problem with blue chip though, too slippery, could not feel what I was playing. Like playing in the dark. And very expensive. When I realized that I disliked such a fancy pick I quit worrying much about what picks I use. I don't think the perfect pick exists, and that's great because then I don't have to spend my days looking for it.
     
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  20. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire only the dead have seen the end of GAS

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    What thickness were you using? I had zero problems with my jazz 60.
     

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