Pick-off: Red Bear, Picksandstones, Wegen, Gravity etc

Discussion in 'Pickups, Electronics & General Tech' started by ilyti, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. ilyti

    ilyti Lazy Ryebread Viking

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    Like most of you guys, I've been through a load of picks over the years. I stopped using Jazz-IIIs in 2008, when I got this lil' buddy:

    [​IMG]
    It's a 1.5mm brazillian agate stone jazz pick from picksandstones.com . I have played with it extensively over the years and it shows absolutely no wear. Edges are glassy smooth and it glides across the strings with very little effort. I am confident it will last forever as long as I don't lose it. So I guard it with my life. Unfortunately, they are going out of business at the end of this year, so if you wanna try 'em, you gotta act fast. This one cost me $25 and it has been my go-to pick for 90% of my playing. I find it doesn't do acoustic very well and it has a percussive "tick" to it when it hits the strings, which is fantastic for playing loud, though lacking warmth when playing softly. That said, the "tick" is a lot less noticeable than the "flap" of plastic picks.

    So I heard about RedBear through obvious channels and bought a Lil' Jazzer for about $30. I had it for about 3 years, and over time it showed quite a bit of wear. The middle of the pick developed cracks and color faded from pink to brownish peach. Then one day I lost it. Several weeks later I moved a piece of furniture and found the pick surrounded by a dozen dead sow-bugs. Gross. Apparently, the animal protein RedBear picks are made of coupled with 3 years of thumb sweat makes it delicious to bugs! They had eaten a good chunk of it, and subsequently died. Here's a blurry pic of what was left of it:
    [​IMG]

    That said, I liked it while I had it. I mainly used it for acoustic because for all my electric playing, the stone pick was better. It seems that RedBear are now even more exclusive then they used to be, so I decided not to buy another. But since then, I have been on the lookout to replace it.

    Enter: Gravity picks. At 8 dollars for a handmade pick I thought "why not?" I ordered a 2mm Sunrise with "master finish", not knowing what that meant. It means rough edges that go FF-FF-FFFFF against the strings. Ugh. Hated that. But a minute with fine steel wool took care of that. Its a fast little picker, but it still made more pick noise than the stone, so I only use it for practice. Classy company though, the guy sent me a free one with the one I ordered. It is a little smaller than a Jazz-III.

    I started to miss my RedBear so I looked into what other companies make picks than mimic tortoise shell. Wegen picks, based in Holland, looked promising so I bought one of his "Twins" for $12 from thepickshoppe.com in Ontario. A 3.5mm gypsy jazz pick that's between a standard pick and a jazz-III in size. It has beveled edges and a dimple in the middle that sits very comfortably on your thumb. It hits the strings very loudly with lots of warmth and very little pick noise. It blows the RedBear right outta the water if I may so boldly say so. It is amazing for cleans and acoustic, but can really hit hard for shred and metal too. I cannot comment on it's longevity yet, but the material seems very hard indeed. I needed it a little pointier than it came and it took very well to filing and re-polishing. (the picture down the page shows the stock condition)

    I threw a $3 house brand pick from thepickshoppe into it, in case I didn't get along with the Wegen. It is the size of a standard pick, but 2.5mm thick with rounded edges. I didn't like size of it for guitar, but it is perfect for bass, so yay!

    Here's a group shot of the picks mentioned, minus the RedBear (RIP). The BKP pick is there for size comparisons. Clockwise from top left: Jazz-III, ThePickShoppe, Wegen, Gravity, BKP, Picksandstones.
    [​IMG]

    And here's a thickness comparison:
    [​IMG]

    Now, I hope you found some meaning in reading of my quest. Forgive me if I came off a little... picky.

    (sorry... I had to)
     
    HoneyNut and bloc like this.
  2. bloc

    bloc tha vagina finda

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    Wow this is pretty inspiring, I just started using Gravity picks a few months ago but perhaps I can try experimenting with a few other brands? And I never knew there was a pick store in Ontario yay! Gonna check out their site for sure.
     
  3. nistley

    nistley SS.org Regular

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    [​IMG]

    /thread
     
  4. CaptainD00M

    CaptainD00M Lungsman

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    Interesting stuff dude. Like a lot of guys here I too have been using Jazz III's (I used XL's) for a long time, and generally I'm reluctant to stray to anything that doesnt resemble it vaguely. Personally I'm an Ultex man, however I did try one Winspear Shiva and wanted to drop a good £30 on Picks with them as it felt amazing.

    You may wanna give them a shot:
    Winspear Picks
     
  5. pastanator

    pastanator electronic musician

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    1.14mm Tortex Sharps >

    srs they play great and they're 17 dollars for 6 dozen on Amazon.
     
  6. ilyti

    ilyti Lazy Ryebread Viking

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    Big Stubbies and Tortex's are a flapfest compared to what I'm used to. Also they get grooves in them when you scrape. With the Wegen or the stone I can scrape all day and not see a single spot on the pick.
     
  7. HoneyNut

    HoneyNut Regular

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    I've been contemplating getting a Blue Chip pick (TD 40)...the traditional shape. Apparently these last very long, years in some cases. I'm curious to know if these will hold up since I am heavily alt. picking with a metronome at this big chunk of phase.

    Another pick I just tried out recently, something that would be similar to the Tortex 1.14 standard was the Traynor 1.2 mm standard! $2.99 for a dozen. I know these would have the same durability as the Tortexes but the egdes are smoothed out and round, so it doesn't make that scratchy noise like a fresh Tortex 1.14. Really happy with this $2.99 purchase.

    Any suggestions as to other traditional shaped 1-1.2 mm picks that last a long way?

    Thanks for the reviews! I'm checking out the stone pick you started the review with!
     
  8. ilyti

    ilyti Lazy Ryebread Viking

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    The stone ones will last forever and have beautifully smooth edges. They do traditional shapes as thin as 1mm. I actually had one of their combo picks (a pick with three different tips) but I lost it. It was 1mm thick with one tip being the traditional shape. It was just too big to fit comfortably in my hand. That's why I've never got along with triangular picks. I used it for bass but found it hit the strings a little too hard. Sounded like I was slapping on every note. The thinner stone pick definitely had a brighter attack that the thicker one, but they seemed equally loud.

    I haven't tried Blue Chip, but from what I've heard they are on par with RedBear. So they'll last a good long while, but not forever.
     
  9. Casper777

    Casper777 Slow Player

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    you should try these...

    best kept secret in the pick world ;)

    Timber Tones: Largest collection of luxury Guitar Picks worldwide

    I ordered many to try from... although not cheap, they look nice, play nice and feel nice.

    Many variations of the Jazz III shape

    I'm waiting for some "metal mini" to try...

    they also have sone stone picks, never tried them
     
  10. Maniacal

    Maniacal SS.org Regular

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    Drilled Big Stubby 3mm

    [​IMG]

    /thread
     
  11. nistley

    nistley SS.org Regular

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    Cool idea!
     
  12. nistley

    nistley SS.org Regular

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    Well, I don't scrape at all, and I'm not really sure what you mean by flapfest. When I strum hard, I can't hear the pick at all, just very effortless string ringing. Since stubbies are thick, smooth and pointy, it pulls the strings with little surface are and snaps hard without friction, effort or noise, and can generally be played more relaxed. It's also seems to me that acoustic sound of a pick is pretty much irrelevant for the actual guitar signal. I can see how the stone is smoother, but it can't be that much. I'd be curious to try these expensive picks, if there are with similar pointy, non-round edge.
     
  13. ilyti

    ilyti Lazy Ryebread Viking

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    To me it feels like any plastic pick no matter how hard still absorbs some of the impact rather than transferring it to the string. The material of the pick needs to be harder than the metal the string is made of. If it is not, I can hear the flap even through the amp. That is, in my experience. If you don't notice it, you don't have my problem and are all the better for it. :)
     
  14. elq

    elq (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

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    I'm also quite picky, and am a big fan of RedBear's but have come to prefer Blue Chip (Flatpicks - BlueChip Picks), the feel and sound like RedBear to me, but are easily available. :2c:
     
  15. Humbuck

    Humbuck Can't stop, won't stop

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    What picks are you using that are made of material harder than the string?
     
  16. HumanFuseBen

    HumanFuseBen SS.org Regular

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    I will put in another vote for Bluechip.... Yes they're expensive, but oh my god! They sound and feel equally incredible on acoustic and electric. I've been playing mine since September. I'm certain I've clock in several hundred hours on it, and it hasn't even started showing any wear at all. Incredible. Probably the best pick I've ever used.
    I use their Andy Wood model. It's not on the site, but the specs are on file if you request them. It's about 1.4mm, and in between the size of a jazz and a jazz XL. It has grip holes too. Worth every penny.
     
  17. ilyti

    ilyti Lazy Ryebread Viking

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    See first picture. Stone is harder than metal. As for the Wegen pick, it is thick and hard enough that it feels like there's no "give".
     
  18. Humbuck

    Humbuck Can't stop, won't stop

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    Duh...sorry. Me no can read.
     
  19. gorthul

    gorthul SS.org Regular

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    Because of your post I placed an order on picksandstones. Man, they are pretty expensive, but I hope it's worth it.
    I will post again when I receive them.
     

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