Most electric guitar players (and many acoustic players also, I suppose) use a pick, or plectrum, when playing. And while a percentage of these players are equally happy with any old pick in their hand, many—myself included—are part of an eternal quest, a never-ending search that occupies a tiny part of our brains 24/7...
The Quest For The One True Pick.
There are many who seek the One True Pick, and a smaller number who will claim to have found it. It is an even smaller number of these, who have indeed actually found it. Some say it cannot be found, that it is a myth, or even that if it were in fact to be found, another greater pick would spring up immediately somewhere else to supplant it.
They are all wrong. The One True Pick does exist, and I have found it. I was given it, in fact. But first, what is the One True Pick? What does that mean? And why? Also, who are you and why are you in my house?
When you start playing guitar, you likely don't know your Jim Dunlops from your D'Addarios, your Tortex from your carbon fibre, your Jazz III from your... er... Jazz III XL, etc. In fact you've probably got a handful of flappy bendy nonsense that's no good for anything other than chord strumming. (You may even have been given one of those crappy things that let you press your own picks from used credit cards or whatever. These are exclusively given by well-meaning relatives and friends who have never even heard of The Institute of Pickography, the Shredder's Guild, or the OTP. It's not their fault.) This is completely normal, and usually goes away during early guitar lessons, assuming your teacher is not some kind of idiot. Early guidance should inform you that you want something rigid in your hand (!) whenever you are really getting into the repetitive back-and-forth motions (!!) of advanced picking, something that won't go all bendy at the crucial moment (!!!) when things are getting sweaty (!!!!).
Thickness can be important too, but it's largely a matter of taste.
And so it came to pass that in my early years of playing, I gravitated towards the Jim Dunlop 500 1.14mm pink ones, and occasionally the 1.5mm purple ones for variety. They felt right, they were cheap, they were in every guitar shop, I didn't feel the need to go any further with my research (at this time I was not aware of the OTP, of course).
Years went by, and nothing changed. I might have had a bit of a dalliance with the Tortex purple ones but it was just that. Too bendy. I stuck with what I knew.
Later, I met some real good guitar players 😉, some of whom really liked to talk about the details, really dig into the nitty gritty of the brass tacks about what gear was best, and I discovered that a couple of these in particular used Dunlop Jazz III picks (also known as "The Small One"). Guff, thought I. Too small. I'd be missing notes and that.
Not long after that I discovered the One True Pick: the Jim Dunlop GatorGrip 2mm (also known as "The Roof Tile"). My picking was more confident and when I picked a note, it stayed picked. I bought bags and bags of these things and threw away all else. Why would I need any other pick? I had chanced across the OTP! The quest was over, without my having known I was even on it. I decided there and then that all other picks were inferior, the Roof Tile was the OTP, and anyone who used anything else was a fool. The end, thank you and goodnight.
My good friend and guitar brother was playing The Small Ones by this time. When I was round his house, it was all he had lying around, so I would try one. "Yeah it feels fine, but... small!" I would say. "I do like the pointier shape though. Shame they don't do a big one."
Well, dear Listener, it turned out they did. Enter stage left, the Dunlop Jazz III XL (the Bigger Small One). When I got my picking paw on this, I knew in a split second I had been a fool. The Roof Tile was not the OTP after all. The Jazz III XL had all the benefits of the Jazz III (pointier shape for increased accuracy, but not too pointy, calm down calm down), without the downside (too small), and brought it all together in one tidy package, available from all good music shops as well as some of the bad ones. It was less clanky, too.
Chastened, I got rid of all the Roof Tiles and bought bags of The Bigger Small Ones. I felt a little silly, looking back on it, to have thought I had found the OTP on the first try, but at least I had realised the error of my ways and discovered the real One True Pick now, and could continue on through my guitar playing life with unwavering certainty. I would not be distracted from the path.
Well, I kept going round my mate's house, and all he had were The Small Ones. He even had a few different types of them now... there was The Red Grippy Small One, The Black Grippy Carbon Fibre Small One and The Red Eric Johnson Small One. There were more, I know, but these were the ones he had. And the ones he gifted me. The swine. I said thanks but no thanks, but he insisted I put them in my wallet and give them a go, so I took them home. One day I couldn't find a pick for a moment, and one of The Small Ones was laying around nearby, so I gave it a try. A proper try.
Within no time, The Bigger Small Ones were history, the scales fell from my eyes, and a golden new age of Plectrology dawned, as I accepted The Small Ones as my church and specifically The Black Grippy Carbon Fibre Small Ones as my personal saviour. Many bags of The Black Grippy Carbon Fibre Small Ones were purchased, and hitherto advantages that hadn't even occurred to me revealed themselves (you can get three in the little pick pocket on your jeans, whereas with big picks two is probably maximum, if you want to also get your fingers in there to get them out again). Being carbon fibre, they lasted a while too. I was overjoyed to have finally discovered the REAL One True Pick.
I should thank my guitar brother, and indeed I do. I shan't use his name here as he prefers it that way, but I am truly grateful for his continued interest in providing me with new and different ways to discover the One True Pick, among a million other things. (Truthfully I would not be the player I am today without him. We have evolved together over the last 30 years and learned an unimaginable amount from each other over that time, about a great many things, not just picks.)
One day I was round his house. (You can see where this is going, can't you?) He'd moved house, so he wasn't just down the road any more. In fact he had moved to an entirely different country and had a family there and everything, so I reckoned it was probably serious. Anyway, we were playing guitar. He handed me a little bag.
Have a stab at what was in it.
Go on, I'll wait.
That's right. In the bag was the One True Pick.
It came in three different shapes, only one of which was the OTP, but the three were clearly hewn from the same flourescent cloth. They were the Gravity Classic Mini, the Gravity Sunrise Mini, and the Gravity Razer Mini. Oh my days. Playing with these felt like I had been driving with the brakes on for decades. Suddenly fast runs were faster and more accurate, notes were clearer and more defined, the air contained 7% more oxygen, carbon emissions were down in the area, Local Sports Team began winning all their Sports matches, the sun shone down from the heavens, the lame walked, the blind saw, and all was truly well.
Such is the limitless power of the Gravity Razer Mini, 1.5mm, flourescent green, with "master finish" bevel for preference.
For it is The One True Pick.
Feel free to @ me with your Hawk picks, and your GraphTech Tusq picks, and your Red Bear picks, and whatever boutique picks made out of, I dunno, whalebone or something, that you personally use and/or recommend. Just be aware that I will very probably ignore it, since the Quest is over, and I have found the One True Pick.