After getting into acoustic guitar I set on a quest to find a pointed pick that will work well on acoustic guitars and hopefully on electrics as well. My criteria for a good acoustic picks, sorted by importance, are:
- Clarity and presence
- No scratchy picking noise
- Nimble for single notes, string skipping, etc
- Comfortable to hold
- Good for strumming
My favorite picks for electric guitar, like Dunlop John Petrucci model, or Jazz III Ultex fall short on at least one of my top two factors. The problem I had with them is that some models will have sharp, unfinished edges that sound horrible on acoustic. Some have beveled edges but are too thick making the sound too dull on lower strings. Regular Jazz III is OK, but nothing special. I came across Gravity Picks, which is another boutique acrylic pick shop. They have a bunch of picks in various sizes, shapes, thicknesses (and colors), so I decided to give them a go.
According to the makers of Gravity picks, the new Gold series is designed to compete with “premium” picks, such as Red Bear and Blue Chip picks, at a slightly lower (yet still not cheap) price. They follow the same shape and sizes of acrylic models, but are made from a hi-tech thermoplastic that is much tougher than acrylic.
Sunrise Gold 1.5mm Big Mini
Sunrise pick is one of my favorite picks of all time, so I had to try the Gold version of it. It’s a beautifully made pick that sounds and plays great. I love the precise pointed tip and the way edges are beveled. It’s a perfect combination of precision (think Stubby) but with heaps of tone and volume (unlike Stubby). One thing I don’t like about picks with sharp edges and three tips is the sharp back edge that cuts into my fingers and makes it less comfortable to hold. So I usually sand off the back edge and make it rounder. It instantly improves the comfort without sacrificing performance. I got the Big Mini to compare with the Mini acrylic I already have and try to figure out perfect size for me. The Big Mini is about the same length as Jazz III, but is noticeably wider which makes it seems bigger than Jazz III. After going back and forth I discovered I prefer the Mini size better. So sanding away the back edge helped to make it smaller too.
After sanding down to desired size and after 6 or 7 months of using it almost every day, I took another photo with my girlfriends gold bracelet. You can see that the very tip of the pick got worn away, but it’s still precise enough. In a few months I’ll probably need to reshape the tip to make it pointy again. The plastic it’s made of is though and wears out slower than acrylic without chipping, but it doesn’t last *that* much longer than acrylic. Even though it’s a great pick, so are acrylics, so at this point I think it makes more sense to get 4-5 acrylic picks for the price of one gold.
What I found common for most acrylic Gravity picks is that edges are beveled in a way that leaves a sharp, razor like edge. It makes the sound brighter and adds a little bit of picking noise. After few days, the pick will “break in” and edges will become a bit more rounded and the tone will settle for bright, but not twangy, ringing bright. It resembles very much how new strings behave. They are typically super bright for the first day or two and then settle for the rest of their life.
All their picks seem to be built from some sort of acrylic, which in theory sounds very slippery but although it’s super smooth, it does stick to the skin pretty good and feels comfortable to hold.
Striker Mini 1.5mm Pointed Tip
Being a fan of Dunlop Petrucci pick (for electric guitar), this is probably the closest model that they make at Gravity Picks. Tip shape is exactly the same, but unlike Dumlop, there are three tips, so you get three times more life out of one pick. Like the Petrucci, it’s 1.5mm thick, however, it sounds very differently. The edges are beveled but are slightly sharper than Petrucci. So it’s down to material and different bevel. Not sure which of the two, but it has a lot more presence and punch than the Petrucci. It’s comfortable to hold and play, as it’s wider because the remaining two tips serve like “wings”, so there’s more contact with fingers. The pointed tip makes it a very nimble pick.
When brand new there is a small amount of picking noise that can be heard on thicker strings, probably due to sharper edges, but it goes away soon. So far, this is my favorite pick for acoustic. I don’t have any electrics right now, but I don’t see a reason it would not perform great there as well.
Sunrise is a very small pick, even noticeably smaller than Jazz III, and has a more pointed, sharper tip. As a result, it’s super precise, probably the most precise pick I’ve tried. Also, it’s slightly brighter sounding compared to the striker. It’s great for both electric and acoustic, especially if you want to brighten up a dull sounding guitar. This one wound up being one of my favorite picks. The photo above shows Striker Mini with Sunrise in front of it, to illustrate difference in tip shapes between the two models.
Sunrise 2.0mm Master Finish
Master finish option is available for most if not all all models and it means that edges will not be polished after rough sanding. That leaves them coarse, more raw, and it translates into more raw and brighter sound. Also, it adds some grit and picking noise, which may be useful for some electric genres, but is not good for everyday acoustic or clean sounds. The edge is razor sharp and very pointed and the pick is pretty tick, so there will be a lot of energy transferred into strings and it will be released very fast. The model I got also has the grip hole.
Striker Mini 1.1mm Round Tip
I haven’t played round point picks in over a decade, but still wanted to give it a go because it’s small. I wanted to compare what do I like more about small pointed picks, the size or the tip. It’s a great introductory pick for people who use standard shaped picks. It’s smaller, so it’s more comfortable to hold and gives you more control, yet the tip is more like a standard tip, so it shouldn’t take too long to get used to. It may even be better than the pointed tip for strumming, but I don’t do too much of that. I did notice, however, that there’s slightly more picking noise with the acoustic guitar compared to the pointed tip. I assume that’s because there’s more contact with the string. Pointed tips dig in and release the string faster. Also, 1.1mm seems to be a good compromise between stiff and warm and flexible and bright. They are stiff enough not to flex too much, but they are not too warm.
Razer Mini 2mm
Unfortunately, I didn’t click with this one. It resembles Jazz III shape, but is slightly narrower, so it doesn’t sit that well between the fingers as Jazz III or other Gravity picks I tried. If you can get used to the shape, it will sound more aggressive than the standard pointed tip because it will dig into the string more.