Many years ago I attempted to clean my kitchen listening to The Hot Club Of France. If you’re ever having a rotten day, I can’t recommend this experience enough, as it brings a jerking smile to the stony-est of faces.
It was, in effect, my introduction to the world of Gypsy Jazz, with Stefane Grappelli doing the heavy business on the violin and the incredible Django Reinhardt tearing up the fingerboard. An insane amount has been written about this field of endeavour over the years, and it will come as zero surprise to anyone anywhere near this charming blog that some of the biggest consumers of specific plectra are those in the jazz community.
Attaining that extremely specific gypsy sound is frequently accomplished using very round, very hard picks. Rumour has it that at one time or another the world’s most impossible jazz guitar player used a button, although Martin Taylor shows a plectrum that Reinhardt owned, which was given to him by Grappelli. Made from what looks like Bakelite and rather dense to say the least, it gave a focused, intense sound with potent thickness which was absolutely perfect for hot jazz.
This is important, as the Wegen Trimus 250 is purpose-built for this style. Made from an ‘undisclosed material’ – ‘some kind of composite or something’ according to the internet – the 250 is a 2.5mm triangular pick with right-handed bevels and a concave, slotted recess on one side. This was a bit weird at first, as the dip is for the thumb, meaning that the flat side is against your finger, and as that also has slots in a different direction, it takes a little bit of getting used to. Like anything, once you’re used to it, it’s not that strange.
Right – the tone. Good God this is powerful. It’s demented how much beef is on tap with this thing, which isn’t all that surprising given its intended purpose. I’ll state right now that if you want to jazz, this will jazz out the arse. Precise, meaty, direct and with a slight smile, it’s incredible for downstrokes, single note alternate picking, and choppy chord work. Perhaps it’s my technique, and how used I am to different shapes, but playing chords at speed was – I’m going to be kind – tough. I am more than confident that Wegen didn’t have trem-picking in mind when they designed this red-blooded barn-burner, particularly as it managed to produce another 30% over and above the volume I believed my acoustic was capable of producing.
Utterly devastating when compared to other picks of any thickness you’d care to mention, the Trimus 250 is the most powerful plectrum I’ve played to date. I’d be afraid of the higher widths if such a notion weren’t completely stupid, and can confirm without hesitation that if you play jazz, doom, rampant blues or anything where colossal tonal mass is required, think about these. This is not cheap at £20 a pick, but after a number of tests designed to discover such weaknesses, this pick is unmarked and utterly defiant, so you should be able to pass it on as an heirloom. Mad.
- 2.5mm thick
- Hewn from some impossible composite that seems completely indestructible
- Made in Holland because of course they are
- A burly 8/10
- Cost Per Unit: a trousering £20, though it’s like buying a car with infinite wheels
- A devastating pile-driver of a thing that is physically unstoppable
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