Review – Coarse Picks

Some of the picks I test are rough as hell. Some of them are very smooth, but very few are both. Not to worry though, as Heavy Repping! does it’s best to bring you the good stuff, and this it definitely the good stuff.

Hailing from Orange County, California, Coarse Picks are the result of much research from Jonathan Thompson, who put an enormous amount of effort – and in a weird way, himself – into the design and craft of these plectrums. While most of the stuff I review here is both costly and very thick, Coarse are neither, and while I’ll freely admit that I got into them out of pure curiosity, I sit here chewing away on my hat.

Why is that you might ask? Well I’ll tell you. Coarse come in one shape, in one gauge, in a metal tin. They look a tiny bit like little boomerangs, with one polished and one very rough side, separated down the middle by the word ‘COARSE’ in raised lettering. The tin comes in black and silver, is lined with crumpled black paper, which seems like nothing until you remember that someone had to put it in there – it’s the little things that count.

The grip is ace. At no point when using these did I think for a second I was going to drop it, nor did I have to adjust my hold as I was going along. It was also refreshing to have something that was actually worth testing against the Dunlop 73, and after comparing the two I can state with total confidence that while the yellow champ has a well-deserved reputation, it kneels humbly before the extra power and volume manifested by the Coarse.

To the two sides then – the polished side of this 0.88mm giant-killer sounds very much like a Delrin pick, but with more depth and projection. When I handed out some of these to a local guitar shop – thanks for the extra review tin Johnathon – everyone had a favourite side, but I’d be a braying jackass if I didn’t say that I loved the 165 grit rough side immediately and only tried the smooth side for this review. This sandpaper-y feeling is unique, and though every part of my brain was screaming drag coefficient I couldn’t get over how involved I felt in what was happening. It’s the opposite of what you’d think would work for the purpose, but that feeling of connection is so strong that I put my heftier, slicker plectrums to one side and stayed with these for days.

On acoustic, the benefits were immediate. Strumming with thick plectrums can be daunting to some, and most articles I’ve tracked down do suggest using thinner picks (under 1.5mm) for chord work. I think it can give you a lot, like the 10 to 11 push, but factoring in the scrapy bit of the Coarse meant the pick was slim enough to strum with and thick enough to get purchase. Electrically it was a great laugh, especially combined with an FY-6 to get real grit and rasp, though I shall confess that in this context, where single notes were concerned, a bit of additional thickness would have been welcome. Even going up to a 1mm would have made a huge difference, but that’s really my only complaint, and I’m used to using picks well over 2mm.

For the price, detail, feel and delivery, not to mention the fact that you get 12 picks and the tin for your $12.99. In value alone, this is genuinely hard to fault, and the gauge chosen will work for just about anything. Jazz III die-hards might want to keep walking, but if you want a pick that doesn’t cost you a lung, comes in proper numbers and puts you in touch with your instrument, these come very highly recommended. Magnificent.

Vitals:

  • 0.8mm thick
  • Made from a proprietary material that I’m not 100% sure of
  • Crafted in Orange County, USA
  • A gritty 9/10
  • Cost Per Unit: no – cost per dozen – $12.99
  • Demented value for money, absolutely hilarious

http://www.coarsepicks.com/

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