The materials your pick is made from matter. An obvious declaration perhaps, but a fact that is perpetually taken for granted by the world at large. Here at Heavy Repping! of course, I look at things a bit differently, and pick materials is a truly exciting thing to consider.
Some time ago I wrote an article called A Material World, in which I eulogised about a number of substances you’ll have come across in your playing life, from Delrin and Tagua to Ultem and Nylon, but one material I didn’t talk about was UHMWPE, or as it’s known to it’s mum, Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene. Possessing the highest impact strength of any member of the thermoplastic family, UHMWPE can have a comparable strength to Carbon Steel but has a better drag coefficient than Nylon or Acetal – it’s closer to Teflon than anything.
This makes it a banger of a material to make picks out of, and today I’m going to talk about my first exposure to it – the BHL Technologies Megalodon. Crafted by Australian native Brock Little in Hong Kong, BHL specialise in daft-tough picks made with ergonomics and physical strength in mind, with a ‘pick’s pick’ reputation behind them, so I was excited to receive my item. Receive it I did, and in a fancy silk pouch no less.
This was a brand new experience for me – new company, new material, and a new feeling to get used to. A broad old thing at 5.5mm thick, it feels weirdly light at first, and – initially – hairy. I was to learn from other companies picks that this was a bit of a characteristic of UHMWPE. I noticed that the Megalodon curves gently from edge to edge, resulting in a ‘hugging’ sensation in the fingers. This was a plus, and truly the first time I’d encountered such contouring – I’ve had them swelling out before, but not in. Every day is a chance to learn!
Applying this blue shard to my electric, I thought the surface was closer to furry soap than anything I’d call a plastic. Again, this is the nature of UHMWPE, and having sought counsel from Brock to understand its properties better, I learned the secret. Sat playing at home with dry hands, it felt odd – not slippy per se, more unsettled – but in the heat and moisture of a long gig, it bonded with my hands like a suction cup. This was truly eye-opening, and I started to get why so many people were waffling about this material online. That adhesion also means that you don’t have to grip as hard, resulting in a more relaxed playing experience.
That drag coefficient I mentioned earlier on is actually a bit ridiculous with the Megalodon. Similarly to the Dugain Acetal I wrote about recently, there’s very little resistance from the strings, but where the Acetal is a treble-less vacuum of blooming bass, the Megalodon has a present top end and is more focused at the bottom. The closest thing I have to compare it to in terms of it’s sharpened tip and sloping bevel was the V-Picks Polished Snake, which aside from being one of my favourite picks, is also acrylic. I was expecting the Megalodon to sound like it was coming through a mattress but no – the top end behaviour was similar in terms of balance, though the BHL had more bass and was more considered in its low end. To use a tactical analogy, the Megalodon is the slick, patient sniper to the Snake’s Leroy Jenkins, and while neither approach is wrong, playing some of my acrylics after this did feel a hair on the clumsy side.
Gliding through the strings with ease, the Megalodon represents a different approach to playing. HR! is only my opinion of course, but I would say this – if you love playing the guitar live but don’t want it to be any harder than it needs to be, buy one of these. The material is hilariously hard-wearing, there’s no drag to speak of, it’s beautifully finished, and it’s elegant without being ostentatious. There’s an air of learned quality to it, and it’s one of an elite group of picks where the money spent is utterly justified. I will be completely frank and say that in my dry hands it was disconcerting at first, but with a hint of moisture it grips to your hands like a cobra.
Tonally much more mature than whatever you’re currently using, this is a proper plectrum, and while the urge to go for brighter, more eager stuff is strong, it won’t have the knowledge that this pick possesses. Sagely.
- 5.5mm Thick
- Crafted in Hong Kong, China
- A miocenic 8.5/10
- Price Per Unit: £19.05 plus shipping
- Modern wisdom, old patience.