Review – Winspear Shuriken

Okay kids, let’s get massive.

In the crazy mixed up world of plectrums where anything can happen, I’d heard talk of picks like this. Tom Winspear isn’t a man for messing about when it comes to the big stuff, and indeed, although I’d had a couple of things off him before, a miscommunication on my part led to this colossal item arriving in my possession a few weeks ago.

Tom builds a lot of picks for the fan-fret-conscious tech-metal community, and while I inhabit a different country to those players, his beautiful work drew me in, and I had to know what the deal was. So, a quick history lesson – Winspear Instrumental started up in 2013, and has gone from a pick maker to a company that makes it’s own cables, strings, and naturally, outlandishly huge picks. Based in Essex, UK and very much a family firm, Tom got the opportunity to be a major sponsor for TechFest in 2018, which is a huge deal for any company, particularly one with an emotional investment in this area of the market.

As this is my third pick from them, let me be completely honest. The first one, a 3mm IceGrip Shuriken, was impeccably made, but the material didn’t stick to my hands. IMPORTANT: this is because of the way my hands get when I play – friends of mine with drier hands couldn’t believe the grip, so that’s not Winspear’s fault. The second one, the incredible Fountainhead signature, had so much grip that I was worried I’d left bits of my fingers on it. It’s also the most aggressive pick I’ve played to date, and if you’re not using one for metal, stop playing.

This 6MM Shuriken is made from a blend of Ultem and glass, and has incredible composure. From the first strum it wasn’t like playing with a book as I’d feared, instead being possessed of an eerie grace – that metal W inlaid into the front gives a tidy grip too. Putting aside the size, the hard-edged bevel is perfectly cut, and the edges themselves are rounded slightly to give a buttery depth to even the harshest guitars. It worked weirdly well on acoustic – where I was expecting it to be far too hard – and it’s got significantly less string noise than acrylic.

Where the Shuriken really shined was in single-note work. The huge mass and extreme slope makes for tremendous body, and it’s incredibly fast. I’d liken it to a quiet sports car – you’re bombing along at 90 before you realise what’s happening, and you were gliding so smoothly you didn’t clock your speed. The Ultem/glass situation is one of my favourite materials, and coaxes defiant brightness out of even the most stone-dead strings.

6mm is clearly thick, and though this pick will terrify a lot of people, I strongly urge you to put your concerns to one side and consider this titanic hand-cannon. If you want big, go big, and I can state for the record that you won’t be disappointed.

*also comes as a 3mm

Vitals:

  • 6mm thick, like the earth
  • Ultem/glass blend
  • Made in Essex, England by hand
  • An 8/10
  • Currently being updated along with the rest of the Winspear line
  • Massive tones – a gentle giant

https://www.winspearinstrumental.com/

Instagram: @twinspear

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