Advantages Best in class
Disadvantages A little dull and overpriced?
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|Value for money|
Most guitar players are experts at everything guitar and have an opinion on everything guitar related. I have never particularly been that sort of guitarist. Not that I am not opinionated, a little too much. But simply that I have always enjoyed the playing of the instrument more than the instrument and all its accoutrements. Different shades of pick-ups and humbuckers have never floated my boat. But I have also had to come to some kind of conclusion regarding plectra (apparently this is the correct plural of plectrum).My need and experience are twofold; firstly, I have to lead songs before groups of a few hundred at a time. I therefore need a plectrum which is reliable, is not easily dropped but also has enough strength to produce a strong sound. But, secondly, I am also learning jazz guitar where the world is divided between purists who despise such bits of plastic, and those who use a plectrum to pick out a tune.
Plectra, however come in all shapes and sizes as well as designs. Choosing one is a matter of personal preference and need. Often the more garish the design, the more sought after they are (certainly when it comes to 8 year old boys, whom I teach).The plectrum itself has the purpose of either picking the string or strumming all 6 strings of a chord, with the intention of making a louder, more vibrant, sound than when using the fingers. It certainly creates a harsher sound and saves the pain of blistering. They are rounded triangles of plastic, nylon in the case of Jim Dunlop, which vary in price considerably between makes and designs.
Jim Dunlop plectra are wonderfully ubiquitous. They are the first ones you see when asking the vaguely whiffy, long haired, grunting teenage assistant in the guitar shop to see their range. As his breaking voice passes the selection across there will be ones with designs which look like they were drawn sometime in the mid 1980’s, but in the centre of the box will be a series of rather dull coloured Jim Dunlops which simply speak of ‘serious’ guitar playing. While 8 year old boys may be drawn to the large, black bits of plastic with a fluorescent pink skull and ‘Elves of Essex’ emblazoned on, I have always preferred the more mundane basics of those pictured above, which come in shades of grey.The advantage of these basic Dunlop picks are that they have a non-slip grip. The nylon is slightly raised in dots to prevent those sweaty fingers dropping it mid-gig. Incidentally the horror of this occurrence led Buddy Holly to wear his glasses on stage. This makes this design slightly more user friendly. The colourful design cannot be seen when used, anyway; a similair argument could be made for dull underwear!
This range of plectrum comes in an assortment of thicknesses: 0.38, 0.46, 0.60, 0.73, 0.88 and 1.00mm. Personally I have found the 0.38 a little too thin. The noise they make is a little tinny and not loud enough. It’s a bit like flapping a newspaper across some railings. On the other hand the 1.00mm is too thick to suit my needs and is for picking out a single line on a string, for lead guitar. I have tended to settle on the 0.60mm which is loud enough to fill a hall but still enables strumming out a tune.
Yes – it’s a good price in that 40p is not a lot of money and these are made to an exact thickness.
No – it’s not a good price because they are simply a small bit of plastic and a regular user will need loads of them as they disappear everywhere; the back of the sofa, in the car, in the washing machine. I always have one in my pocket and it is forever getting pulled out with my keys and dropped.
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