Dragon’s Heart Picks
Dragon’s Heart is the flagship model, heart shaped and featuring three tips – one very pointed, one very rounded, penny-like tip and one in between that resembles regular guitar pick tip, meant for everyday use. It’s a very unique design that allows players to switch from the precise jazz-style tip to a conventional rounded tip in a split second. That can be handy when playing a fast solo and then switching to strumming chords where pointy tip may not be as useful. Thickness of 2.5mm may scare away players that are used to regular picks, but they do not feel too thick between fingers because they get thinner around the edges ending with a razor sharp edge.
- “Pure” – polyamide-imide with no additives
- “Original” – 12% graphite filled polyamide-imide
- “GT” – 30% carbon fiber filled polyamide-imide
- “Hardened” – 30% glass fiber filled polyamide-imide
Graphite, being very slippery, adds self-lubricating properties to the material, making it glide faster across the strings. Carbon fiber improves both wear resistance and speed, while glass fibers further improve wear resistance while adding brightness to the tone. Besides longevity and slight difference in tone, there’s also a slight difference in how they feel between the fingers. When brand new, there’s hardly any difference in tone because the edge is so sharp, that it takes away any differences in tone. After playing them for a while they break in and start developing “flavor” from the material they are made of.
One thing to note, graphite and carbon fiber will leave some black residue on your fingers and guitar while playing. As it comes in contact with the string, super fine dust comes off the pick. It comes off easily with some water, but thought you should know.
In addition to the four materials based on the fancy polyamide-imide, there’s also a “Faux” model that features the same shape, but is molded from very stiff high-grade thermoplastic that feels very similarly to plastic used by Chickenpicks. It offers sound and feel very close to the fancy models, but costs much less. Sure, maybe it won’t last forever, but keep in mind that this is still very hard material that should last a causal player like myself at least a year (I’ve used few Chickenpicks for over a year with minimal wear).
Like the materials, build quality and packaging is top notch. The picks are molded and then (I think) laser engraved with the logo and model name. They are not polished after molding, so the surface of the pick is very slightly rough. That makes the sound more aggressive and bright, but also increases picking noise making audible scratchy sound. If you don’t like this, it’s easy to polish the edges with a very fine nail file or extra fine sandpaper (the kind that doesn’t feel abrasive under fingers at all).
What I like about them?
- Selection of materials is great, from affordable (but still super tough) thermoplastic to four different kinds of fancy polyamide-imide.
- 3-tip design is cool and unique.
- All materials are tough and long lasting compared to most other picks.
- They sound bright and aggressive on electric guitar.
- They look cool!
What I don’t like about them?
- None of the three tips are comparable to the Jazz III tip, so people used to Jazz III shape will have hard time adjusting. The sharpest tip is very slim, so it digs into the strings much deeper than Jazz III tip which makes it harder to pick faster, as you spend a lot of energy and time getting the tip in and out of the string. For me, the most usable is the regular tip, but it’s a lot rounder and wider than Jazz III, so I feel like it lacks precision.
- The shape is not symmetrical and it’s uncomfortable when held with the pointy tip facing away from the guitar, so you need to worry about orientation when taking a pick.
- Audible picking noise makes them less suitable for acoustic guitars, as acoustic guitar amplifies it further.
Being a tinkerer, I’m always looking for ways to “improve” things and bring them closer to my liking. In this case, two mods that improved these picks for me are – reshaping the main tip to be slightly pointier and closer to Jazz III, without sacrificing the “heart” look, and polishing the edges with very find sandpaper to make the sound smoother and reduce scratchy picking noise. Below is a photo showing my modded pick above the stock pick.
I cannot give up my favorite Jazz III/Sunrise tip, but I do enjoy using Dragon’s Heart picks every now and then. I wouldn’t recommend them for acoustic guitar because of the picking noise and I wouldn’t recommend them for very fast alternate picking because they do lack precision. But for everything else, they do their job rather well. They are very unique and very well made, but it’s impossible to say if they are going to work for you or not. I suggest giving them a try and deciding for yourself!