Review – Stone Age Customs Agate Jazz XL

Yes, this is stone. Why the hell not?

If you’re even half reading this blog then this can’t be all that surprising. After all, this is a place where 4mm Acrylic is commonplace, and the notion that a plectrum can be made from damn near anything is the lifeblood of The Lifted Chalice.

Crafted using the very earth itself, Stone Age make their picks out of everything from Glass to Seashell, Vinyl to Obsidian, and this is only one of the examples that I’ve had from them, the other being a truly breathtaking piece of Spiderweb Jasper (which met with an untimely demise in my oafish hands). Each one is completely unique, the pattern and grain never to be repeated, making them quite an event.

On one hand, it’s completely pointless comparing these to the Dunlop .73mm that I use as the off-the-peg benchmark because it’s from a completely different universe. On the other, they’re both picks, so it’s completely fair. A Landrover to the Dunlop’s bicycle, this blackened weapon has the faintest transparency in places, but this was impossible to capture on camera, and incredibly hard to see even with the naked eye.

So, what does it sound like? Well, let me tell you this. Out of all the picks I own, this one has the most clarity, and, if I’m being completely straight, the most power. It’s hilarious how clean and clear the notes are, especially when you’re piling on the gain. I did a three-hour rehearsal at full chat the day this arrived, and aside from sticking to my fingers like rigid glue it made my every note ring like a holy bell. Chords seemed to be painted in brighter colours, and the nuances of the micro-bends that I put into so much of my music were astonishingly evident.

I’m obviously into this in a big way, so here are the downsides – well, the downside. The edge, which has been drastically altered to a rounded bevel since I took custody of this Agate scimitar, is very straight, and put me immediately in mind of our huge friend, the Winspear Shuriken. This key physical attribute meant that the scrape when playing acoustic was significant, and although this was completely absent on my electric, I was conscious of it during any single note work. That being said, when playing chords my right hand was so relaxed it was like being on holiday, and when I listened back to the ubiquitous phone recordings of that rehearsal I had truly never been rendered with such a jubilant strength.

I would be lying to each and every one of you directly if I said I wasn’t in the process of selecting further models to try out the new edge, as I believe that it will wipe the floor with anything out there as an all-rounder. If you’re looking for a squeaky sheen, a huddled warmth or a indie clack, then these aren’t necessarily the picks for you, but if what you want is a heartfelt, almost alarmingly detailed rendition of exactly what you’re playing, get in there and don’t look back.

Vitals:

  • 3.5mm thick defiant positivity
  • Polished Agate
  • Made in Burlington, Vermont, USA by hand
  • An 8/10
  • Cost per unit: around £15
  • Actual stone I mean come on

http://www.etsy.com/shop/stoneageguitarpicks

Instagram/Facebook: @stoneageguitarpicks

 

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