Wooden picks are something of a difficult topic here at Heavy Repping!. I’ve never really got on with them, and though there’s been a few that have made me think twice, as a general rule, I’d choose almost any other material given the option.
But what if the wood isn’t the bit that strikes the strings? My excellent Colombian chum Alejandro at Dasotomic Picks has provided an answer to this question in the form of his Secret Wood series, crafted from an amalgam of wood and Polyester Resin. Easily the thickest plectrums I own by a solid millimetre, these surprisingly light picks are really, really, really ridiculously good-looking, but what do they sound like? How easy is it to play with a plectrum this wide?
The idea that a massive plectrum is any harder to handle than a thin one is common in the field of boutique picks. It’s a bit like the idea of giant necks, the ‘baseball bats’ that players like Jeff Beck are into. In truth, this is as personal a choice as you could imagine – a pal of mine has a Stark Strat build with a neck so huge I could scoop it out and use it as a Timeshare, but he gets around on it brilliantly. Comparatively, huge plectrums serve a purpose other than personal preference. Alejandro hasn’t elected to make enormous picks out of vanity – an injury prevents him from having the required grip strength for normal picks, and larger ones allow players with limited physical dexterity to continue playing. In all honesty, once you’ve spent ten minutes with one of these, the only thing that’s strange is going back to anything under 10mm, so the old saying applies here – don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
Impeccably finished and insanely striking, this is one of a trio of Secret Woods I got my hands on, and although they’re all different, this is the one I thought I’d share with you today. The tone is strident and eager, weighted towards to the treble end, and as the taper is so extreme, there’s a real pointed nature to the sound. One of the brightest picks I own, I put this down to the sharpness of the point and the abundance of resin, which naturally results in some pretty obvious chirping when playing softly. That being said, it’s ludicrously agile for something that looks so big, and if you’re wanting speed with minimum effort, it’s terrific.
The grip, like anything on the internet, may surprise you. Unfinished wood like this is relatively porous, and as a result, took to my fingers with a keen feel. It felt like it wanted to get stuck right in, even if it didn’t know exactly what we were going to be doing. That’s the overriding feeling of this plectrum – it put me very much in mind of an excited puppy, super jazzed to be involved in whatever was going on. This made it a joy to play with, even if it got a bit carried away sometimes.
I love the picks from Dasotomic. I love the stunning looks, the ambition in them, the fact that there’s no distinct models, and all the working as the company takes shape is on show. What will come next is anyone’s guess as Alejandro continues to experiment, but if you’re reading this blog and you’re not excited about that, I don’t know what to tell you. To be making picks like this at such a young age is insane, so even if you don’t fancy a plectrum this thick, I’d encourage you to keep an eye on him.
- 10mm thick
- Crafted from a blend of wood and polyester resin
- Hand-made in Bogota, Colombia
- A grandioso 8/10
- Price per Unit: around $40, but price is dependent on the build itself
- Outrageously good-looking and treble-keen