With my collection now breezing effortlessly past 850, it would be natural to assume that I’d be having plectrum burnout. After all, there’s only so many options a player can have, and so many ways to remove a cat’s exterior. But every day, the Plectroverse shows me that there’s worlds as yet uncharted, feelings unexplored, and that even materials I believed that I know well that have more to give.
As this week’s video concerns the Ecuadorian Ivory Palm nut known as Tagua, I thought I’d share my feelings about a pick I’ve been seriously digging over the last couple of weeks, the Pleks A(pleks). It takes a lot for a plectrum to stand out among its rivals so much, and when Pedro sent this thing over, I’ll confess that I had so much coming through The Office that I’d forgotten what I’d even ordered from him. All the same, this 3.1mm take on the Dunlop Stubby felt like a very important piece, for reasons that weren’t immediately apparent.
Rounded everywhere and sporting 7 holes in a quasi-floral formation, the A(pleks) looks to all intents an purposes like a pick that would be best played sitting down. It’s got a weirdly gauche quality too, with the total lack of an edge making it slightly goofy-looking. The good stuff lurks beneath the surface though, and my experience with the A(pleks) reminded me a lot of that other HR! favourite, the Xufoy GO. Both picks look a bit off but for very different reasons, and both had me ignoring the rest of my collection for days at a time. I often measure how much I’m truly into a plectrum by how much time it spends in my pockets, and Pedro’s latest offering has chalked up some serious trouser hours.
The most confusing thing about this Taguan titan is its dexterity. I took this to the scene of the last Sunday Special as I couldn’t bear to not, and I made some serious jams with it. Despite the lack of an edge, I was taking all sorts of risks, tackling runs at speeds I had no business even considering, diving headlong into fluid legato runs, alternate picking, heroic chord work and choppy staccato that I didn’t think this thing could handle in a million years. To my amazement, the A(pleks)clung to me as if it couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to hang out if I was having such a good time, and even now, a week on, I can’t quite believe it. It’s not a velcroey grip like I got from the Metapixs or a sticky grasp like I get from Gravity or any other acrylic maker, but a physical co-existence that’s as keen to find out where I’m going as I am to discover it. There is a bit of chirp because of the broad bevel and subsequent surface area, but I’ll take that hit for all the positives.
Tagua has an abundance of natural depth to its tone, and while I’ve played plenty of picks made of this superb material in the past, the A(pleks)’s significant extra thickness meant all of that mass and power was pushed up the strength ladder. Deep and plentiful, with a thick warmth just shy of UHMPWE, it would be great for jazz, but as I’m no jazz player, you’ll have to settle for me telling you how excellent it is at everything else. Sure, trem-picking harbingers might want to seek their Jazz III-inspired shred mechanisms elsewhere, but for damn-near everything else this is engaging, thorough and grand.
If you want a better understanding of what Tagua is, watch my video on it here, but if you really want to know what it’s like, order one of these. It might look like a blunt lump, but the last pick I enjoyed this much was the GO, and I don’t say that lightly. As Pedro offers almost his entire range in this material and Delrin, buy both. You won’t be disappointed.
- 3.1mm thick (may very slightly)
- Made in Italy
- An outrageous 9/10
- Price Per Unit: £15 or thereabouts
- Just the business, chirp or no chirp.