The material that a pick is made of impacts it’s tone in a huge way, but it goes beyond that… The material also has an effect on the pick’s stiffness. Think of it this way: you can have a 1mm pick made out of delrin or you can have a 1mm pick made out of cattle bone; although both picks are the same thickness their inherent stiffness is very different.
That is the very thing I noticed upon trying TUSQ picks by the company Graphtech. These picks were brought to my attention by Acoustic Tuesday viewer Andrew D. and I am very happy that he got me to try them because I was stunned.
These picks are incredibly stiff and that correlates into a fast snappy release from the string as well as a very clear tone. Not only did I try different thicknesses of picks I also tried different materials (graphtech has three different materials which they advertise as the tones: Bright, Warm, and Deep). I was amazed at the variety of tones that were possible and also how comfortable I was with a subtly thinner pick at 1mm as compared to my usual 2mm ultex pick. The thing that was the most pronounced for me was the stiffness and the resulting clarity that it helped me achieve.
For any player looking for more articulation these are a great starting point. It’s always hard for me to put down my Dunlop Ultex 2mm pick, but these are a very enticing option for certain.
TUSQ Pick Links
I really like the jazziii size. These do have a great sound and feel.
I also tried their thumb pics which use the same composite materials. I have the gray ones which are supposed to be warm. They also feel different very solid don’t slip around. However they do not have sizes for thumb pics only thicknesses which relates to how stiff they are. I do not have large hands and usually use a Dunlop large and then size it down a little bit with hot water. I prefer the tusq thumb pick but can only wear it for about 3 minutes and my thumb goes cold and numb. They do not seem to respond to hot water to change the sizing. I have even cut a slit down the length of it where it angles over the thumb. I hope they make sizes for the thumb pics that would be awesome and might go to thumb pick.