The last five years has been a truly exciting time for plectrum makers. Although companies like Dunlop, Pickboy and Fender still dominate the shop-front retail market, the number of players seeking specialised alternatives to the big guns is increasing, in much the same way that the boutique pedal landscape changed a few years ago. One of the most common plectrums to get imitated almost universally is the Jazz III, that quintessential shredder’s tool beloved by so many, and although I did a video on alternatives to the Little King, one serious contender hadn’t arrived by that stage.
The Fellow Plectrums Gorilla Grip 2mm is closer to a Jazz II than a III, but as it’s slightly pointier than a II it sits neatly in the middle. Made from Delrin and ridiculously cheap, a pack of ten of these cost me £5.56 including shipping from Australia, putting them close to 50p a time. This is an insane amount for how much plectrum you actually get, and on that point alone they’re worth looking at.
Fellow were one of, if not the first, boutique plectrum companies I came across when I joined up to Instagram. I loved the look of them and how simple they were, so when I finally got round to ordering some after starting HR! I’d built them up quite a bit in my mind. The grip needed to be Velcronian, untouchably solid, or they would have failed. This was nonsense of course, but in order to be fair and rid myself of such drivel I played with this pick for a few days, then abandoned it completely for a couple of weeks. When I returned and compared it to its contemporaries, not just other Jazz’s, I was struck by a number of aspects.
Delrin is a great material if you want to avoid string noise, but it can deaden your top end once it goes past 1.5mm. Fellow have decided to correct this issue by adding walloping bottom end and smoky mids to the Gorilla, making it both a joy to play and highly usable on both electric and acoustic. Though perhaps a little small for me, my Jazz-loving colleagues found it to be bang on, as it smooths out your attack rather than deadening it in the traditional Nylon manner. When it came to test day, it made a mockery of the chirpiness of some of my other picks, making them sound needlessly eager and shrill. This was a bit annoying as I’d been right into some of them until then, so thank you Fellow.
Finishing these plectrums in a lightly coarsened, textured finish means that they grip more efficiently than Dunlops. In fact, given the cost and materials involved, I can put the Gorilla directly against the Big D in a realistic sense, and I have to say that it’s not really a contest. There’s a very subtle bevel to the edge of this plectrum – not to mention the other Fellows I’ve tried – that renders the hard 90-degree angle of its peers somewhat inelegant and stiff. Getting through bronze or steel with this was easy, and the lack of chirp makes it a bit of a find.
Compared to other materials, Delrin is lacking a bit in treble, particularly when compared to Acrylic and UHMWPE, but that lack of string noise is hard to ignore. When the picks are this cheap and the finish is so consistent, it’s very difficult for me to find any serious faults though, and if you’re seriously into the Jazz series, you need to get your paws on some of these. I’ve got an order in for the XL size, which I’ll no doubt prefer as that’s my general preference, but if you’re into smaller picks, these are killers, so get on it immediately!
- 2.5mm Thick
- Made in Australia
- A bonzaroo 8.5/10
- Price Per Unit: an utterly ludicrous $6.99 Australian, or about £4 for ten
- A true rival to the Jazz III and everything it says on the tin