Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I just made a gigantic change in pick styles. I went from:

Dunlop Tortex .5o mm (the red super light ones)

To Dunlop Jazz IIIs

The pictures don't show the size change but the jazz IIIs are about half the size of the Tortex and at 1.38mm almost 3x as thick! Why the change? I'm still doing these speed drills with my teacher and my right hand was noticeably keeping me from going faster. My teacher gave me a disclaimer: "I'll never tell you a piece of gear will make you a better player.... except these picks." and he handed me one. It's not a magic pick that makes you play faster, but offers a very fast release and great control. In other words, it doesn't slow you down or get in your way like other picks can. It was definitely weird at first, kind of feels like you're playing with a rock but I noticed better control right away.

It took about a week to get used to, and it messed up my playing at the time, like one step backwards to go two steps forward. I wouldn't recommend trying them right before a gig. It makes my Tortex feel like a playing card in comparison. I thought I would go between the two picks based on the song but there's really no way, they're so different. Now that I've gotten used to the Jazz IIIs I find I can do all styles with them - not just single note picking like I originally though. Strumming's fine and the pick doesn't fly out of my hand like I thought it might!

I really hadn't thought about picks or even tried a new one in 4-5 years. If you like yours, stick with it! If you notice you're lacking control in your right hand give the Jazz IIIs a try!

Out of curiosity, what picks do you use??


Phillip said...

I use the green tortex jazz picks. I like 'em.

Ben said...

I started out with the green Dunlop tortex picks. I think the hidden question here is, what gauge strings do you use? On my acoustic, I use mediums, and while I now use a heavy Fender cellulose pick for heavier, more bluesy or grungy songs (or for single-notes), I've also got one pick that I can no longer remember if it's light or medium, but it's cellulose. I find that I can get the percussive "worship" sound with it. I've also tuned my acoustic down half a step, and it really opened things up.

electric community said...

I used to play acoustic a lot, I used light strings and the light tortex picks. I was playing a lot of shane & shane at the time so I needed a light pick for those crazy 16th note strums. I guess I just kept using the light picks when I switched to electric.

rhoy pamparo said...

hey mike, i used to use the same tortex (sometimes the orange) and i made a switch about 2 years ago. now i can't seem to play using other picks. one thing i noticed using the jazz III, it makes the tone a little "darker" than using the tortex. it could just be me, but do try to compare it. btw, i switched to the red jazz III recently, and i kinda like it better than the blacks. have fun!

Karl said...

Nice post! Picks are one of the most important yet often overlooked piece of gear, in my opinion.

And I use Herdim picks from Germany. Yep, I admit...because Edge uses them. I have no style or originality of my own.

Larry said...

I used the red tortex, but only when I play acoustic and when my role is mainly rhythm- they give a great attack.
I use the yellow tortex for electric rhythm in church where I play a 10 second lead at time once or twice during a set. It has a stiff snap and pops great for bluesy riffs.
When I play more leads, or riff based- i used the red jazz pick, a little thinner than the jazz IIIs, but still killer. I don't know what it is cuz its 5 years old and worn smooth.
Good blog, I'm gonna link a post to you later!