I am a person that buys a lot of picks and I mean A LOT. I must have about 100 picks by now, of different shapes, materials and thicknesses and yet I could never be satisfied with one.
Most rock/metal guitarists would swear by Dunlop’s Jazz picks, though I could never get into them personally. I still use them occasionally, though I can’t say I like the beveling Dunlop does:
Graphtech picks are nice and the material feels solid, but they really need to offer other shapes as well.
Dunlop’s Petrucci picks are nice, but again, the bevels need work to be usable for me.
The little Stubby ones are nice, but I don’t like the material much; it feels a bit weird, plus it’s slippery, despite the engraving.
I had mostly settled on Hetfield’s picks that while of the larger variety, they felt nice and the playability was good too.
I’ve tried other picks as well, the black ice ones (very dark sounding, good for very specific live only usages), wooden picks (not bad, a tad dark), abalone picks (yeah, nothing more than a gimmick), even Satriani’s chrome (this could have potential if it were shaped a bit differently and had sharper beveling).
Now, there are quite a lot boutique pick brands out there and I would have gone through them all probably, if it weren’t for RJL’s carbon fibre picks.
I had bought 3 of the normal picks, two Jazz shaped and a larger one, all of the medium variety. I then proceeded to buy three more variations, two heavy ones and one of the custom range.
Here’s what you need to know about these picks. They are super light and they are hard. And I mean HARD. The thinner ones (medium) take some effort to bend, while the hard ones bend with even more difficulty. Suffice to say that the 1 & 2mm custom ones won’t bend; period. Now you may think that your 3mm picks are already unbendable, so what’s the big deal?
Well, consider that the medium version has the thickness of super-light (as in 0.3mm thickness) normal picks while they exhibit a hardness that surpasses those of ~0.8mm. The heavy ones are marginally thicker ( I’d guess 0.5mm) but they feel like ~1.5mm of the normal plastic ones. See where I’m going with this? By the time you get into the 1 & 2mm custom ones, the picks are essentially unbendable which for some music styles it’s a requirement.
There’s one more thing about these picks. There are 3 different designs you can choose from and they offer additional flexibility should you need it. The Omega ones are the most flexible which is ideal for lead acoustic playing. The Longhorn allows for less flexibility yet still helping reduce rotation on the hand, while the Jolly Roger ones are the least bendable ones.
How do they sound? Full range – that’s how I’d put it. These are the brightest picks I have bought, yet they don’t sacrifice anything on the mids and the lows. I prefer picks that produce brighter sounds, because it’s easier to cut any unwanted treble in the mixing stage.
There are only two things to consider with these picks. First, the non-custom range won’t have nicely beveled edges and will feel a bit rough. But that’s OK because the picks will take a shape that’s adapted to your playing within the first 10-15 minutes.
The second thing to consider is that (as you can probably tell) these picks wear faster than most. While they won’t degrade as fast after the first 30 minutes (essentially due to smoothing out), they are not as durable as your typical plastic ones. Also, you will get black dust on your fingers, especially if you play with the fingers close to the strings. Have a box of wet wipes when you are done playing and this is a non-issue.
Do I recommend them? Yes. Go buy some now: https://www.rjlguitars.co.uk/ – I am gifting most of my old picks since I’ll probably won’t use them ever again. I am sure you’ll do the same!
If you have suggestions, Bobby is a great guy; drop him a line and he’ll be happy to discuss it with you.