Guitar Picks – The Journey So FarVicki
I got my first electric guitar in 1994 as a birthday present from my parents. The guy at the store threw a whole bunch of stuff into the deal including my first guitar pick – a Dunlop Tortex Standard .88mm. A lot of people probably start off the same way. As the years went by, I also tried the 1.0mm and 1.14mm gauges but always had the same problem – Tortex wore too fast for me. I also kept playing them beyond what was probably a sensible wear point (which probably didn’t help my technique at all). Plus the graphic comes off too quickly.
So I switched to the Dunlop Gator Grip 2.0mm. I liked the gator graphic and how the grip powder made it look grey until it wore off and became black. Probably not the best reason to play a pick for the longest period of my guitar history. In hindsight, I think 2.0mm was way too heavy for me.
I remember reading a post on Dunlop’s blog a few years back about guitar pick material and shapes; while that post is long gone, here is a simliar one on pick shape. This is what started to break the cycle of habit for me when it came to my guitar pick choice.
By this point, new materials had been invented and there was a buzz around this thing called Ultex. Plus all the guitar magazines had ads for James Hetfield’s Black Fang ultex pick. So I got both types.
People hate when I describe using a sharp pick for the fist time as a life changing experience, but for me, that’s what it was. All of a sudden my playing had become articulate and less of a chore somehow.
I never really liked the yellow colour of the standard ultex pick but more than that, it was too slippy and I kept dropping it.
The Black Fang on the other seemed much more grippy – I think because of the graphics on both sides. The combination of ultex, the sharp point, grippy graphics and the 1.14mm gauge was the perfect match for me. So naturally I bought enough to last a life time believing I would never find a better guitar pick.
Fast-forward to the present and thanks to social media, a lot of brands get name dropped quite often. Like a lot of people, I’m a fan of Rob Chapman and he kept banging on about Gravity Picks. So much so I eventually caved and bought one.
I went for the Razer Standard 1.1mm hoping I would love it as much as the Black Fang. When it arrived I was hesitant about how glossy it was; but on first play it was actually really grippy in the weirdest way. It could even hold its own weight against gravity from the heat in my hands. Maybe that’s where they got the name from? I haven’t had it long enough to comment on wear but I have a feeling its a keeper.
Never stop searching for the ultimate guitar pick. Technology evolves, you evolve. Next time you’re in a guitar store, why not buy a few different picks and see if you still love your old workhorse pick as much as you used to.