I’ve spent a decade playing with a variety of picks–predominantly Fender mediums, Tortex heavies, and most recently Jazz IIIs. Recently, just out of curiosity, I picked up a Dunlop Jazz III “variety pack”–all picks with the same geometry, but with different materials and thicknesses. I was fairly surprised at how different they feel, in aggregate–by which I mean, yeah, they’re all definitely Jazz IIIs when you play a few notes, but over the course of a practice session or a lesson, you sense a serious difference.
Here are the notes I’ve got for various materials of Jazz IIIs:
-Nylon: the classic for good reason, it’s got a sort of “buttery” feel compared to a lot of the other materials. People who aren’t fans might say “plasticky” instead. The softness of nylon seems like it dampens the attack a little bit, but also is more “forgiving” on articulation, in a way. Also becomes scuffed up quickest out of the whole variety pack.
-Tortex: powdery, not my favorite. A very solid pick with lots of authority in the attack, but it seems like it “grabs” the string so much that you can’t control your articulation as well. (Subjectively, as are all of these thoughts)
-Ultex: I’m a big fan of other Ultex picks I’ve played–if you’ve never used one, they’re a super neat polymer that basically never wears away–and the Jazz III geometry is suited to it as well. Three months of teaching lessons six hours a day with one, and it’s got no visible signs of wear. However, it just feels… I don’t know, maybe a little too stiff? at 1.38mm, which is standard for Jazz IIIs. Almost to the level of a wooden pick, or something.
What are your thoughts on pick materials? Naturally the CtC video on “chirp” gets into it quite a bit, but what are your favorites on “feel?” Personally I’m still hunting for a Jazz III in celluloid in my area.