When I was a young player fresh to the game, one of the first plectrums I had was a Techpick made of bare steel, the one with the holes in the top you could make it into a fetching piece of jewelry. It was horrendous, covering my guitar with metal shavings and making me wince whenever I put pick to string. 20 years on I find myself writing this review – older, wiser, and a better player. But how has the steel changed?
With so many pick materials to choose from, why the hell would anyone use a material that’s better for building bridges than belting out chords? Well, the answers are few, and quite straightforward. Steel is extremely durable, bright, and can be made to extreme thin-ness without any flex whatsoever, making for a very, very light plectrum. It looks the heavy business as well, and T1 Picks have crafted a tool that carries its shape beautifully.
Those of you who keep up on my Instagram (@heavyrepping) will know that the Jazz came as one part of a three-piece demo pack – I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test the other two as much as I would like, so expect write-ups in due course. This, however, has seen its’ share of active service, so here we are.
Testing the Jazz was incredibly irritating, but not for the reasons you might think. The note separation was so rapier-graceful it made my acrylic picks sound like wooden clubs, the grip is worryingly easy and there’s an effortlessness to the way it delivers its crisp tones. There’s no string noise, and it’s so fast and responsive that I found myself shocked by my own capability. It’s perfectly crafted from chemical-bathed 304 steel, expertly screen printed and vented to grant it a hair of flex, and in all honesty it’s extremely well priced and presented.
Why the aggro then? Well, apart from showing up a lot of my collection to be lumpen pebbles – thanks T1 – it was also not what I’d call a relaxing experience. The perpetual riddle of steel, the notion that it might slowly saw my strings in half, meant that every wiry scrape brought pound signs to my eyes. If the pick was thick enough to accomodate a bevel I don’t know if it would work the same, and I’m not educated enough in the ways of steel to know how it would affect a pickups’ magnetic field.
Full disclosure – I love this thing. I think it’s an amazing piece of work, with flair, style, untold clarity and superb quality. It’s the size of a Dunlop Jazz XL if you rounded the tip off, and because it’s steel you’d really have to work to wear it down. It’s easy on the wrists too because it doesn’t weigh anything. On the plain strings it is incredible, but that scrape when I hit the lower registers gives me a twitch. I’ve got a gig on Sunday and I’m gonig to see what happens when I use this very item for a whole set, so get ready for the first in a series of real-world road tests! A brilliant, scary thing.
- Very very thin. I’m going with 0.3mm
- 304 Stainless Steel
- A truly ace 9.5/10
- Cost Per Unit: $12.99 + shipping for three
- Tremendous and terrifying in the extreme
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