I’m not just about the costly here at Heavy Repping!. I know that a lot of players, while they might have an interest in exotic materials or plectrums shaped like the human brain, will have a tried and tested shape, size and thickness that they use. Some of you will worship at the altar of the Jazz III, some people like those Ibanez sandpaper-grip efforts, and some love the pick that we all came across when we started out, the humble Celluloid.
This material is not to be discounted. It was the standard for guitar picks for years, and alongside Delrin formed the basis for all the mad stuff you see on this site. Standing slightly smaller than a traditional 351, the swirling 1.5mm Original Extra Heavy is the heaviest that Pick Geek creator Antony Scott offers – I know because I asked him – and is one of the cheapest non-Dunlop picks I’ll likely review. At £6.49 (at time of writing) for 16 picks in 4 thicknesses including a tin, you do get a lot of these for your hard-earned wedge, so let’s see how they do.
First things first, the grip. It’s good, tactile without being adhesive, and smooth without being weird. Celluloid is a thermoplastic, and the way it’s finished drastically affects the grip. This is polished, with that gold logo on the front, and it works. It doesn’t feel particularly special, bit as you mostly want your plectrum to not fly across the room or shatter, I guarantee you’ll be in safe hands with this.
The closest I could get to the tone of this marbley merc was a Dunlop 1.4 Primetone. Those are made from Ultex with a directional bevel to take the hardness off the sound, and while the Original doesn’t bark its orders like the Primetone, it’s definitely training at the same compound. There’s a positive sound in the upper mids, which makes itself known particularly on acoustic, and when strumming, the Original has an extremely balanced mass – not too much of any one frequency.
My only real complaint is the bevel. 1.5mm is not a great thickness for shaping the edges of your picks, but there’s enough leeway to make a plectrum bonk less than this. Single notes feel resistant regardless of pick angle, and there’s a grinning inelegance to the response. This isn’t the end of the world as the strumming is solid, but as an all-rounder it’s too thick to be graceful. The lighter guages might fair better in this test, but it’s worth remembering we’re talking about a pick that costs 40p per item including the tin, so there’s going to be some tradeoff.
As an everyday pick for very, very little money I’d recommend this over the standard Dunlop Tortex, solely on the basis of how much body there is for the money. That comparison to the Primetone wasn’t idle boasting – there really is a surprising amount of bass – and the balance is great. If you’re strumming or you’re perpetually losing plectrums, start here. Great value.
- 1.5mm thick
- Made somewhere in sensible amounts
- A decent 7/10
- Cost per unit: an insane 40p per pick at the time of writing, or £6.49 for 16
- The workhorse’s workhorse
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