There is still such a thing in the internet age as a hidden gem. While these things are few and far between, occasionally plectrums cross my path that fire my imagination harder than others, as is the case with the this odd-looking tool.
A few weeks ago I received an email from one Scott Conner, a bloke I don’t know, advising me of a list he’d compiled over the years with a friend – whenever they found a pick company, they’d stick it on the list, and while I don’t think he tried them all, I decided to get in touch with everyone who was still making picks in an effort to bring you, dear reader, the most comprehensive site it’s possible to have. One of those makers was Xufoy, and following a conversation with Malte Sadler, I received in the post a large number of picks from him, one of which was the plectrum that got his Kickstarter funded – the GO.
Initially, I didn’t get on with this. It was too small and weird, and colleagues I spoke to thought the same. However, the sound was too good, and I decided to try and understand it. Here, ladies and gentlemen, was the secret. The GO is made from what the website refers to as ‘Grafit‘ – I’ll take a punt at graphite – or Black Ultem, which is a great wrestling name. Developed following a conversation with a gypsy jazz player, it calls to mind the pick designs of the Golden Age, when everything was made from Celluloid and covered in cork, only what this pick achieves is incredible.
First things first – I’ve never come across any other plectrum that yields so little string noise. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Dragon’s Heart GT, which does chirp a little, especially at slower speeds. I got my girlfriend to try it to make sure I wasn’t losing the place, and in a test that was truly out of my hands, I got to hear the GO gracefully blossom each chord out like I was watching a field grow. Why is this? Why does it happen?
The answer lies in the shape. When I first started playing with this, the amount of plectrum poking out from my fingers was minimal indeed, but after accepting that it was clearly meant to sit a certain way, I got on with the playing. Being used to picks that are, at the very least, the size of a Jazz XL, the GO felt like nothing, but as I pressed on, I got it.
Imagine that instead of acknowledging your fingers, the pick, and the strings, you’re waving your hand across the guitar, conjuring the notes rather than striking them. That sounds strange, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it. There’s no resistance at all, and yet everything that I played felt so impossibly natural. The grip is ace, and the shape means that it didn’t move around in my fingers because it can’t – the upper tip goes into the crease of my first knuckle and stays there. Strumming at speed was hilariously easy, even to the point of making me laugh out loud, and single notes had body, even at higher registers on the acoustic.
What’s especially beguiling about this pick is that it made a lot of my other plectrums feel needlessly sharp and clumsy. Too eager might be a better descriptor, as they rush about desperately trying to get to the next note. In a way this mirrors my own approach to guitar playing for many years – always worried that I wasn’t doing enough as a player, and that more notes meant more ability. This isn’t true, and the GO let me see it in real terms.
It would be crazy of me to suggest that you should bin whatever you’ve been using for years and take up this contrary pick instead – all I can tell you is what I thought of it. Yes, the attack isn’t as sharp as you’d get from traditional teardrop shapes. Yes, the shape takes a bit of getting used to. Indeed, the feeling may be one that you’re not familiar with, but boy oh boy, is this a find. These are pretty cheap too, so take the risk – try a GO.
- 2.7mm Thick
- Injection Moulded from Grafit and Black Ultem
- Made in Germany
- A clandestine 9/10
- Price Per Unit: 3 Euros for the Grafit, 5 for Black Ultem
- The undiscovered country of magic ease. Cast the spell!