Review – Howling Monkey Antonios

Beneath the Parthenon there is a secret chamber which is presumably opened by this ancient key. One of the most outrageous plectrums I or you have ever seen, it seems almost churlish to describe this tone-generating peripheral as a pick.

Made by Howling Monkey in Rochester, New York, in the US of A, this incredible item is the Antonios. Named after a customer called Antonios Kalogeris who requested it as a custom order, it’s a wild bit of kit, and I shall openly confess to ordering it out of morbid curiosity.

How I enjoyed chewing my hat, words and shoes once I’d spent some time in its company. With colleagues of mine stating variously that the Antonios looks ‘impossible’ and ‘wildly uncomfortable’, I returned to these very colleagues to inform them how wrong they were. Made from Tagua – or vegetable ivory if you’re in the jewelry game – the Antonios produces an engaging, muscular tone with great note separation, clarity and bloom. Used on an acoustic there’s nothing I own that can top this material, and though I initially struggled with the concept that it could be relaxing or enjoyable to play, I shall state openly for the record that I haven’t used anything else I have as much as this since it’s arrival.

I love that there’s an organic inconsistency with the sizing, something that Howling Monkey are quite open about, and that the grace and composure of this pick doesn’t hit you until you go back to whatever you were using before. Ultex sounds like concrete, Acrylic sounds skittish, and Delrin has the definition of soap. The only obstacle to this pick becoming one of your favourites is the preconceptions attached to its holey shape.

Even the grip works, which is insane. It shouldn’t work, it shouldn’t be this good, it should be opening the ark of the Covenant, but here we are. There’s no string noise. The tone is mature and impeccable. Above all of this though, it feels like an event – picks like this make me look forward to picking up the guitar, and as much as that might sound crazy, you are reading a blog that’s exclusively about that.


  • Approximately 2mm thick
  • Tagua/Vegetable Ivory
  • Made by hand in Rochester USA via Ecuador
  • A very firm 9.5/10
  • Cost per unit $10 (you can get free tea with this and it’s ace)
  • Vast tones, mad build, truly striking

Instagram: @howlingmonkeypicks

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