One of mankind’s favourite things to do is to judge a book by it’s cover. As unwise a thing as this can be, it’s relatively easy to do with people, and understandable to a certain extent – we like to know where we’re at and what we’re dealing with, so to place something into a neat box makes us freak out about the craziness of life a little less. The same can be said of picks, and looking at something that’s clearly for jazz or shredding lets us know exactly where we’re at with it immediately. Something came into HR! towers that firmly bucked that trend, and I’m going to give you the skinny on it right this very second.
My initial impressions of Antony Crawford’s Ace Performance Picks was that they were nothing special – no logos, oblique bevels, fancy patterns or dramatic photography – just picks. After a brief discussion out of curiosity, Antony sent me 6 plectrums to try, of which the Red Force was definitely the champ. However, dear reader, I would like to publicly apologise to the highly-likable Mr. Crawford for my initial dismissal of his work, because the Force is superb.
Clocking in at 24.5mm at the shoulders and 28.1mm long, the Force is 1.7mm thick, which makes it ever so slightly smaller than a Jazz III XL (24.9mm x 28.9mm x 1.6mm), with a more rounded tip than its Dunlopian cousin. There’s very little flex in the material, which is a strengthened polymer that I don’t know that much about. What I can tell you is that it’s unlike anything I’ve come across previously – grippy, crazy strong, and bears surface scratching but doesn’t score like polycarbonate. Antony does these in a couple of finishes, one of which includes nickel, but we’re talking about the raw material today, so let’s get to it.
When I first got my hands on the Force, I was struck by how easily it went through the strings. There’s a reassuring strike but no drag, and despite much aggression on my part, no notching or catching. The thing that really caught my attention was the power – playing through my set with the Force was a leisurely experience, and when I switched to some other plectrums I was testing at the time, I noticed a significant drop in power. I thought I was imagining it at first, but after exhaustive research with some of my most extreme units, I can confirm that there’s almost nothing in my collection with this amount of push. Only the ludicrous Wegen Trimus 250 could best it in mortal kombat, and the Wegen is what you’d use to cut through a phalanx of Roman centurions.
There’s no string noise either. The front end has a slightly dead quality to it that’s reminiscent of Nylon, with the power of beefed-up Kirinite and the happy-go-lucky quality of rounded Acrylic. If I were to compare it to any one plectrum in its totality, it’d be the Taylor Thermex Ultra, if the Ultra had been down the gym for every second of the last ten years. That slightly hooded front end makes for a great acoustic plectrum, and it’s one of the very, very select few picks that takes to both acoustic and electric like a duck to other ducks.
If you need a sharp, aggressive tone you’d be better off looking elsewhere as this material doesn’t really offer that, but for damn-near everything else, this is amazing. If I were to really get my pedant’s britches on I’d love to see what it does round the 3mm mark, if only to see if the string-noise absence persists, but man alive, what a thing.
- Shoulders: 24.5mm, Shank: 28.1mm Thickness: 1.7mm
- Strengthened Polymer
- Made in the USA
- A romping 8.5/10
- Price Per Unit: approx £12
- May this Force be with you