Top 5 Shred Picks – I Don’t Drive 55

So you wanna be fast bro sick bro fixin to blaze that board bro hit the shredmill I gotchu man I gotchu so hard bro sick *top gun 5*

Speed. If you’re a guitarist who hasn’t experienced pangs of velocity-related jealousy at some point in your life, congratulations on your unconvincing lie. Great players are not defined by their speed, and many of them have  drawbacks. Rapidity isn’t everything, but as it’s extremely important to many players, I thought I’d bang out the top 5 fastest picks I’ve played in recent years, in no particular order.

1. Dunlop Maxi-Grip Jazz III

The first pick that springs to any guitarists mind when you think of run-mouthing and excessive legato is the Jazz III, and this version is the shreddiest-est I’ve tried. More graceful than the cast-iron-rigid Ultex version, the Maxi GripJazz III is grippy, potent and mad fast, with a hint of flex. Less ultra-aggro than the munching Carbon version, its rounded bevels and tiny size are perfect for gripping in your balled-up fist, and they cost pennies to replace.

2. V-Picks Venom

Even shreddier than its larger, weirdly-adaptable cousin the Black Hole, the green tornado that is the Venom is immense if you have no interest in playing chords outside of those irritating 5ths that only hold you back man. If we’re talking about point A to point B exclusively, the Venom is ridiculously fast, and as it’s made from acrylic it’ll preserve your top end perfectly while keeping a tight bass in your attack. I found it total bone for playing more than two strings at a time, but you’ve got the 100+ V Picks range for, like, songs and that.

3. Gravity Sunrise Big Mini

So fast that my rhythm-player-who-tries-really-hard digits can’t keep up with it, the Sunrise is my favourite of all the Gravity shapes, and in its XL form is still one of my all-time favourite rhythm plectrums. However, the Big Mini version is insane, and if you use the rounded edge at the top (which is the best bit of the Sunrise), don’t be surprised if you can’t even sync your right and left hands together. Fast to the point of exploding, its acrylic surface delivers crisp, clean highs and a determined, committed focus in contrast to the hey-man-let’s-have-a-fun-blast feel that you get from V-Picks.
4. Worf Shop Jazz

There’s a separate review coming for this tiger-striped assassin, but the Lithuanian-made Worf is a ripe old wizard for the fleet-fingered among you. Made from carbon fibre and shaped by hand, it’s got super grip and, in its Jazz XL-sort-of size, has enough surface area for tight rhythm, should your other guitarist miss a rehearsal. Not the cheapest pick you’ll ever play thanks to the nature of its construction, but the sharp, defined, extremely present tone is absolutely worth it.

5. Winspear Instrumental Fountainhead Signature

So fast that it can finish the song a full minute ahead of you, the Fountainhead is, unequivocally, the fastest pick I’ve played to date. I’ll admit that initially I found its suprising flexibility confusing, especially as it’s made from an Ultem/Glass blend, but god damn this is a wild ride. The pistol grips cut into the side seem to mesh with your fingers on a cellular level, and while it’s not a life-changing experience in a clean setting, with the drive on this thing is unstoppable. Making every single note terrifyingly clear and with absolutely no chance of being dropped even if you’ve been massaging sea lions all day, if you like your frets fanned and your guitars headless this is the pick you need to get your hands on. Mental.

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