It’s not all paint-peeling black metal and swivel-eyed improv here at Heavy Repping. I play and gig a lot of acoustic and dulcimer, so I need picks that compliment those tones. What works for your steel-strung electric won’t necessarily bring out the best in your bronze-strung acoustic, so today I’m offering my current Top 5 picks for acoustic work.
From the left this time:
1. Mathas Junior 2mm
Softer than a fluffed cushion filled with marshmallows, this one came a little bit out of left-field. Given that Mathas are all about the SHRED this matt-finish Delrin number is almost pillowy, making it perfect for slow, blooming chords in quieter sections. The size is almost identical to the Jazz III, but with a hair more width in all directions. Imagine a Jazz III that’s got a bit plump, or has a cosy sweater on. Good grip, gracefully subdued top end,, minimal string noise and the feeling that you’ve never had so much time.
2. Dragon’s Heart Dragon Scale
This was a tough call because the Golden Dragon is also immense, but the Scale wins by a hair. Crafted from thermoset and with a mid-treble range that begs you to give country a try, the Scale is included here partly on the merits of its tone, but also because its gradual, rounded bevel and broad ‘shoulders’ make it a must for hybrid picking and rhythm work. Low register chords carry a confident weight, and the tiny chirp it emits on the high strings is engaging rather than intrusive. One of the best pick designs ever, if this material doesn’t suit you, they have others.
3. V-Picks Freakishly Large Round
Essentially a pebble, albeit one made from acrylic, the FLR was one of many V-Picks considered for this list, but gets an extra special mention as it has no attack whatsoever. Using this plectrum on acoustic is like being in a dream state, and it brings out an otherworldly sound that I struggle to accurately describe. That’s my job though, so imagine the shok-a-chok-a-chok of Django’s gypsy chords with more top end and no aggression, not even if you really try. It’s incredible because it makes me think differently about what I’m doing, and how to achieve more impact with less. A valuable tool, to say the least.
4. Chicken Picks Regular 2.2mm
Out of my current crop of Chickens this would be the dude. Rendered beautifully in matt-finish thermoset, this is the brighest button here and no mistake. That long, smooth tip is grand for strumming, and with the focus in the mid/upper-mids and treble it’s got a presence that a lot of other picks don’t have. Yes, you can get more bottom end out of the 3.5mm Shredder, but the Regular (in both its 2.2mm and 2.6mm versions) has a gentle scrape and high-end spring that doesn’t exist with other companies or materials. Ace.
5. Howling Monkey Primate
So clear and broad that it makes most other picks sound like rumbling elephants by comparison, the Primate is the one that, were I to choose a single plectrum from this list (which I would never be able to do, hence this blog), this would be it. Crafted from Tagua (vegetable ivory) and with a surprisingly sharp point, it’s a little fuller-figured than you get from, say, a standard Tortex, with a thickness of around 2mm. Bright, and with the glorious bass swell you get from Tagua, it’ll take a small bodied acoustic and pour it out like a mountain stream into a flowing river. Not the most urgent plectrum in existence, but it lays every single note out in front of you, so it’s worth the trade.
Find these magnificent builders here:
Don’t forget to subscribe to the mailing list and follow Heavy Repping! on Instagram @heavyrepping.