Is the Jazz III the ultimate lead guitar pick?


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When we posted our 351 video a few days ago, we got several comments to the effect of “but what about the Jazz III??” Well, we’ve got you covered!

Here’s another chapter from our “Pick Design & Function” update, recently added to the Pickslanting Primer, all about the iconic Jazz III:

The Jazz III is not only an instantly recognizable pick, it’s also surprisingly popular, used of course not only by jazz guitarists but by notable lead players across genres, from Michael Angelo Batio to Eric Johnson.

When we did our “pick choice” poll a while back, we learned it was an overwhelming favorite among our audience, too.

Watch the video above to learn more about the Jazz III, its pick point geometry — controlling edge picking and tone — and how pointy picks like the Jazz III compare to more rounded-point picks like the 351.

This is one of a few chapters we’re making free for everyone to watch as a preview of this new material we’ve been working on for the past few months. You can watch all the chapters here with either Pickslanting Primer purchase or Masters in Mechanics membership:

Let us know what you think!

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I don’t think the Jazz 3 is the “ultimate lead pick”, although it might have the best clarity + articulation, and demands more accuracy and thumb control.

If a player would prefer a more legato feel with a smoother onset and release, or want more arm weight in attack with a heavy rest stroke - it’s not so optimized for that purpose as a bigger standard or triangle pick, with a thick grip and beveled edge. Dunlop Flow and Stubby are nice for this - the Andy James + Petrucci Flow are my favorite picks.

All are good for lead playing, single note soloing, sweeping, and string skipping. I don’t think the pick impacts the player’s control over core skill & mechanics of these techniques, only the fine edge control of playing and tone.

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It has always been my favourite pick shape. I just fell at home with them.

Since I use 0.50’s, the first weeks I play with a new one I have a pointy end, and after that , a much rounded one.

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Though very similar in shape to a Jazz 3, and if you like the Jazz3, try the V-Picks Chicken Picker. It is a bit thicker and harder and teeeeeeeeny less pointed. It is a BLAZINGLY FAST and positive response pick, and its hardness adds a bit of chirp depending on where you play on the string and what PUP is selected.


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You should check out Michael Batio’s signature picks. Imagine a jazz 3 with the gator grip finish.

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What kind of picks are they?



The material is the same as Tortex

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I like the control a rounded tip gives, the pointed picks have to much attack in my opinion.


For me the jazzIII is too small. I prefer a standard 351 shape.
FWIW, I went to the Generation Axe show a couple of years ago…3rd row seats. I came home with a pick from Nuno, Zakk and 2 from Yngwie.
All used a 351 shape. And Zakk and Nuno surprisingly used a thinner pick than I would have imagined.


And all predominantly play single-escaped licks.

I think the value of a pointier (and more rigid) pick emerges more where double-escaped licks are involved, in particular the consistency of attack brightness when the amount of edge picking and/or attack depth varies. Of course, that consistency can also be shunned as “lack of versatility” or “lack of range of color”; all about picking the tool that meets your needs in a particular circumstance. I like the Primer’s suggestion to experiment with different picks, while recognizing the ubiquity of 351 style picks.