Many years ago I didn’t know you could get pointed picks off the shelf because the only store in my town carried standard shaped picks only. I would buy them and immediately sand them to create the pointed tip. Later I discovered Jazz III style picks which immediately grew on me. Recently I found out about V-Picks, which is like Jazz III pick lover Mecca. They make an amazing selection of pointed picks of various sizes, thicknesses, edge bevels and finishes. So I got few different models to try out. What’s common for all of them is that they are hand made and have a nice grip and comfort I didn’t expect by the look of them. Details of each of them follow.
Small Pointed Pearly Gates (link)
These are Jazz III derivatives with all three edges shaped the same way. By doing that, you get a pick with three usable tips which means that it will last three times longer than a regular pick. When one of the tips wears out, just flip it to the next one :). Having three tips doesn’t make it any less comfortable than the regular Jazz III shape. It’s 2.75mm thick which is ticker than any Jazz III model you can get from Dunlop and has smooth round beveled edges. Stiff, pointed picks generally have strong attack and these are no exception. This ensures high volume, while smooth, round beveled edges prevent the tone from being too sharp. Compared to regular Jazz III, these are a tad warmer, I think. If you haven’t tried picks this tick you’ll need some time to get used to it, it feels very differently than 1.5-2.0mm picks. For me, I think that this shape in 1.5mm would be the best match.
Small Pointed Ultra Lite Ruby Red (link)
This one has the same symmetrical Jazz III shape like the previous one, but is only 0.8mm thick, so it will flex a little. I usually don’t like flexible picks for faster alternate picking on electric guitar because they take some time to flex back and forth, so you lose some precision. But I found these to be perfect for acoustic guitar. I was struggling to find a good Jazz III style pick that will work nicely with my acoustic. I have tried regular Jazz III, Jazz III Ultex, Jazz III 2.0mm Ultex, Petrucci model, Stubby, even the James Hetfield pointed pick (what a piece of dong!) but wasn’t happy with either of them. Stiff picks with smooth round bevel edges tend to sound too dark with acoustic, while others, like 2.0mm Ultex and Hetfield had too scratchy sound. Also, none of them (except for the Hetfield model) were flexible which makes them less suitable for strumming. Small Pointed Ultra Lite V-pick sits right in the middle. It’s got sharp tip that will produce stronger attack and more output, but it’s flexible, so the sound will be brighter. It’s got smooth edges so there’s no scratchy noise. I would love to see the exact same pick in 1.0mm thickness for slightly less flexing for a tad more warmth, but it’s a great pick nonetheless.
Stiletto Unbuffed (link)
This one is not for a faint-hearted. It is Jazz-inspired but has several major differences. The tip is longer which means that it will dig deeper into strings and create stronger attack. It’s 1.5mm thick and stiff with a very sharp tip, so string release will be quick. All that combined will ensure a lot of presence and high volume. Add to that the unbuffed edges that increase string friction and add grit to the sound. The result is a very unique sounding pick, but make sure that it fits your bill. I find that it’s not a great choice for acoustic because that gritty sound tends to be too scratchy. Also, (to me) it’s not perfect for fast alternate picking because you need to put in more energy into picking due to longer tip and unbuffed edges. My hands aren’t strong enough 🙂 It seems to be perfect if you have a dark instrument that you want to add edge to. I can imagine them being great for bass.
For more info visit V-Picks.com.